Tag Archives: eggplant

Eggplant Bhurtha

18 Aug

A friend of mine at work has an impressive vegetable garden.  I don’t know this because I’ve seen it; I’m convinced because of the variety and abundance of veggies she brings in several times each week.  I’m lucky enough to bring home things that I don’t personally grow and at times things I do, but hers are ripe and mine aren’t.  This week was no exception.

Two small purple eggplants found their way home with me and tonight I decided I would find a new recipe to use them.  I searched the internet and as is usually the case came up with a combination of several recipes I could manipulate to suit my family’s taste buds and also utilize ingredients I had on hand.

It’s no secret everyone in my household loves Indian food, so I searched for recipes using the basic ingredients found in that part of the world… cumin, cayenne pepper, tomatoes, onions.  Here’s what I came up with:

 

Ingredients

2 small purple eggplants

2 Tbl vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, grated

4-5 small campari tomatoes (or 1 medium tomato), diced up

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Salt & pepper to taste

¼ cup chopped cilantro

 

White rice

 

Directions

You’ll be doing 3 things at once here:  Broiling eggplant, cooking rice and preparing the remaining ingredients to be mixed with the eggplant.

Pre-heat broiler.  Rub a small amount of oil on outside of eggplant (or coat with cooking spray).  Cook until the flesh is soft and the skin is blistering off; about 30 minutes.

At the 15 minute mark, turn eggplant over for even cooking and begin cooking rice ~ I always use a rice cooker.  It’s a great way to multi-task.  The rice is perfect every time and it doesn’t take up any valuable stove top space.

Once rice is cooking, add remainder of oil, onions, ginger and garlic to large skillet or wok; cook and stir until onions are tender.  Stir in the tomato and season with spices.  Cook and stir a few minutes.

Once eggplant is done, remove from oven. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh.  Discard skin. Chop up flesh and add to skillet ingredients.  Let the mixture cook on low for about 5 minutes just so all the flavors mix with the eggplant.

Serve mixture over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

 

 

We all really enjoyed this new recipe.  Some dishes are just meant to be and this one didn’t disappoint.  It was bursting with flavors that were familiar and pleasing to our palette and it was filling.  It was prepared using only homegrown vegetables and is a great option for the vegetarians in your life.  I happen to have two in mine.  Oh, and it was super easy.  Does it get any better than that?

Thank you Diana for the beautiful eggplant that inspired me tonight!

 

 

Quick Fake-Out “Stuffed” Eggplant

8 Jul

So tonight I’d tried a new recipe that I saw on Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals.  As usual I made a few tweaks to the recipe to either adjust to ingredients on hand, or to our personal taste buds.  I’m providing the link to the original recipe as well as how I prepared it.

Rachel’s Quick Fake-Out “Stuffed” Eggplant

 

My version

2 large Eggplants

5 Tbl. EVOO

Salt & Pepper

1 lb. ground beef (I used 75/25)

2 Tbl. tomato paste

1 small onion, finely chopped

A medium handful of raisins (I combined both black and yellow)

1 container button mushrooms, diced

Splash of chicken stock

A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped

5 Tbl. butter

1 cup breadcrumbs

½ cup chopped parsley leaves

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 475 degrees

Pour EVOO in baking dish/pan.  Cut one of the eggplants in half lengthwise, make 2 or 3 score marks to welcome oil and dip gently in pan.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Arrange cut side down and roast until tender, approximately 20 minutes depending on size.

Peel the remaining eggplant and dice into ½” pieces.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 Tbl. of EVOO.  Stir in the beef, tomato paste, onions, garlic, diced eggplant and raisins.  Add S&P to taste.  Add the chicken stock and cook until the eggplant and onions are soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they become soft.  Stir mixture often to rotate ingredients in pan.  Once done, remove from heat and add the fresh basil.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden.  Transfer to bowl and cool.

Add half of the breadcrumbs to the meat mixture and stir.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and transfer cut side up to a serving plate.  Top each half with a mound of “stuffing” and sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over the top before serving.  Top with fresh cut parsley.

Enjoy!

 

Here’s what we did differently…

I didn’t use the parsley but my husband did.  He said it was okay but didn’t really add anything to the dish.  The original recipe suggests you mix it in with the breadcrumbs but we saved it for the end.

Her recipe also called for pine nuts, but I didn’t see any at my market and didn’t want to go to another store in search.

Rachel’s recipe calls for either Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to add to the breadcrumbs as well.  I omitted that.

I had a basket of mushrooms on hand that were getting to the end of their freshness, so I added them ~ nice call!

Also, her recipe calls for raisins… I mixed black and yellow ~ another nice call.

And finally, I had to increase the butter from 3 Tbl. to 5.  I found the breadcrumbs just burned when I tried them the first time.  I threw out that batch and started over. Maybe if I had used the cheese it would have provided the necessary moisture I was lacking.

 

I really enjoyed this dish.  It’s hearty and full of flavor.  It’s also a nice recipe that can easily be adjusted for the vegetarians in my house (or yours).  Since the ground beef itself wasn’t seasoned, I imagine omitting it would still leave a filling flavorful “stuffing”.  Of course, you could also add other vegetables to make it heartier if interested.  Zucchini, squash or even tofu if you like.  Be creative; make it your own, just like I did.

How does your Vegetable Garden Grow?

20 May

Today I finally got some much needed work done in my garden.  I worked on a specific area of my back yard that I’ve been trying to transform into a vegetable garden.  For the first time I thought I’d try and grow vegetables from seed.  For the most part, I just don’t have the patience for seeds.  I end up pulling up whatever’s growing because I’m convinced it’s a weed, when it fact it was the little plant just trying to do his thing.  I prefer to buy my plants once they’ve been established a little and I already know what it’s going to look like.  No surprises.  No sudden deaths.  No blood on my hands.  Well, some deaths, I don’t have that much of a green thumb, but I’m getting better.

Anyway, I bit the bullet this year and I started with about 21 different vegetable/herb varieties and grew them in a makeshift greenhouse.  I just used a plastic tote, lined the bottom with clothespins to keep the seedlings from sitting in standing water, and then filled in with rocks to make it all nice and snug.  I made little cups from torn strips of newspaper and filled them with potting mix and then dropped the seeds in.  My hubby wrote out the names of the seed on a label and I stuck them on plastic toothpicks.  Easy peasy.  Once I was done, I used a water bottle to spray all the plants, put the lid on and put them in my laundry room.  Each day I check on them and watered when necessary.

Cauliflower March 19, 2012

Seedlings March 19, 2012

Seedlings March 25, 2012

They were doing really well and I thought I might just have the hang of this.  Before long they had outgrown the greenhouse and it was time to transplant them into pots.  All the while I was preparing my garden for the final transplant.  I’ve been working on this patch of my yard that we used to call the wheelbarrow garden.  I have another vegetable garden in a different area of my yard but I really wanted to utilize this space and grow some different things.  It was a LOT of work.  Removing the furniture was the easy part.  Removing the Black-eyed Susan that had taken over the entire section of the fence was pretty tough.  Once the area was clear, I was faced with preparing the ground.  It was covered in pavers and rocks that I had lovingly placed about 8 or 9 years ago.  For the past 2 months or so I’ve been painstakingly trying to get as many of the rocks out as I can, but I finally gave up and just decided I needed to just move forward.  Rocks are my friend.  Hopefully they’ll be my veggies’ friend too.

While I had the back-breaking job of removing rocks and transferring them to another planter, my hubby had the back-breaking job of trenching and irrigating the planter for me.

Trenching and Irrigating

Today I finally got the plants in the ground – those that survived anyway.  I wasn’t left with much from my early successful seedlings.  I purchased a few things from Wal-Mart and still have more to get for my other planter.  More about that planter in another post.

I found this great fishing crate at the Rose Bowl flea market on Mother’s Day.  My original plan was to use it to grow lettuce, and I specifically wanted the crate right where I put it.  However, my great friend Monique came by today and convinced me it would be a better home for my strawberries because of the amount of sun it would get each day.  Thankfully, I also bought a really cool smaller crate that would do well for the lettuce.  More about that planter later too.

Independent Fish Co., San Pedro, Ca.

Greg added a plywood bottom as a protective layer from the soil and I lined it with thick roofing paper and then weed barrier before filling it with soil and compost and then finally my strawberry plant.

Wheelbarrow Garden, April 2006

This is what the garden looked like about 6 years ago…needless to say the Black-eyed Susan had taken over the fence and everything else in its path.

Vegetable Garden, May 2012

 

I still have quite a bit to do but I’m happy with what we accomplished today.  Greg was digging holes and shoveling compost while I did the easy job; deciding what would go where and then placing them in the ground.  4 kinds of beans along the back fence, 2 kinds of peas along the right (not shown), 2 kinds of eggplant, cauliflower and strawberries in the crate.  I lined the edges of the garden with Marigolds not only because they’re friends to a vegetable garden (aphids don’t like them – which suits me fine because I don’t like aphids), but also because they’re so bright and cheerful.  While I type this, my back is aching and I’m tired, but it’s all good because we got so much done today.  Stuff I’ve been trying to do for over a month.  It was like the little engine that could.  I knew we’d get there eventually, but the pace was killing me.  I couldn’t have done it without the help of my Man and my friend, Monique.  And as a thank you, here’s where I plug both their blogs… http://mortondesignworks.com/ and http://littleyellowhouseblog.wordpress.com/

Thanks for indulging me today.  My day was all I hoped it would be – I hope your day was as well.  Happy planting.

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