Category Archives: eggplant

A few weeks ago, Wholefoods’ sale on eggplants, green peppers and summer squash prompted me to envision the soft, tender and ever-so-slightly-smokey eggplant often found in Thai curries. I could not stop thinking about it, so off I went to make some Thai curry with eggplant, green peppers, and summer squash. And, although I was a bit worried, my eggplant came out exactly how I had hoped!

Thai Red Curry

1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
14 oz chicken thighs, sliced
7 oz Thai red curry paste
1 eggplant, chopped
1 summer squash, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
14 oz coconut milk

Place eggplant in a colander set over a bowl and mix with salt. Wait 20 minutes for eggplant moisture to drip into bowl and discard.

Saute ginger and garlic in a wok with oil over medium heat until garlic is golden. Add chicken and curry paste. Allow curry paste to coat all the meat and then add coconut milk. Simmer gently.

Add vegetables and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until eggplant is soft. Garnish with basil or chilies.

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Last Friday, I found myself with a bell pepper, an eggplant and no ideas for dinner. Using my ingredients as a starting point, I came across recipes for ratatouille, which I could make with ingredients we had on hand plus the addition of a small zucchini and some diced tomatoes. The one time I tried ratatouille, I was not that impressed; but the emotions and drama in the Disney movie were so convincing, I decided that there must be something wintery and comforting about such a dish.

I followed this Epicurious recipe, almost to a T, except that I used diced tomatoes from a can and dried basil instead of fresh. Oh, and I added some garbanzo beans for protein. I served this ratatouille over a bed of couscous.

Ratatouille


  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • a 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  •  

    Directions:
    To remove the bitter taste from the eggplant, peel (I like to leave some of the skin on, so you end up with a striped eggplant) and chop your eggplant first, then sprinkle it with salt and set aside in a colander or bowl while you chop the rest of the vegetables. Before cooking the eggplant, drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
    In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and heat it over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened. Stir in the zucchini and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occassionaly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, the thyme, the coriander, the fennel seeds, the salt, and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the basil and combine the mixture well. The ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving.
    Result: Yum! Very soothing on a cold winter night, I especially liked the softness and tenderness of this meal, especially with the couscous.

    Since we’re leaving for Seattle on Friday (and because we like their company), we invited some friends over to help us eat our vegetables and fruit.

    Last Night’s Dinner Menu:

    • Juice & Seltzer (thanks to the Hsus, I wonder I never discovered this sooner)
    • Babaghanoush with crudites of green bell pepper and terrachips
    • Summer squash sauteed with tomatoes, onions and basil (accompanied with pasta)
    • Whole baked fish (Black Sea Bass and Blackfish) stuffed with lemon and leeks, and encrusted in… salt
    • Arugula salad with cherry tomatoes, strawberries, walnuts and goat cheese
    • Bowl of donut peaches and nectarines

    I think when I planned this meal, I wasn’t entirely thinking straight. I think I was so consumed with using up all the produce that I didn’t consider whether the recipes I found would actually be appealing. I guess I just relied too much on people’s ratings of the recipes, without taking into account personal tastes. I mean, everything was palatable, but I think I really should have rethought the fish.

    New furniture layout and table setting to accomodate a party of 8

    chopped and sliced CSA vegetables

    (the only produce I store-bought was the arugula and strawberries)

    veggies being sauteed and delicious stone fruit

    tons of encrusted sea salt after the fish was removed

    plate of food

    1) The babaghanoush. I usually don’t like babaghanoush, except for maybe two times, where it was just the perfect blend of flavors. Grace used her eggplant from last week to make an amazing babaghanoush. Mine was ok, but I think if I ever have another eggplant, I’ll ask for her recipe.

    2) The Fish. Encrusted in salt – really? Weber seemed to really like it, but I think everyone else was just… eating it because it was on their plate, myself included. It. Was. Just. So. Salteeey! If I had been actually thinking through the recipe, I would have foreseen this problem… sigh.

    3) The summer squash was good, but I think I added too much pasta, which was a concern of mine before making the dish, but then in the midst of cooking I stopped thinking about that for some reason. It made the dish a bit bland, which actually was a nice respite from the intense saltiness of the fish. I like that I got to put fresh basil into this dish, but next time would add it later, so the taste doesn’t get all cooked away since it simmers for 20 minutes.

    4) The salad. I liked it! I had intended to put wedges of nectarines in the salad but then realized slicing strawberries was much easier than halving, seeding and cutting nectarines. I made a red wine vinaigrette instead of my usual lemon vinaigrette, which was good, but that lemon vinaigrette is just so excellent. And, anything is wonderful when you can add goat cheese to it!

    5) Peaches & Nectarines. Nothing simpler than just washing and serving. 🙂 Yum! Carrie also made some homemade chocolate covered toffee and brought some ice cream. Excellent end to the meal.

    Thanks friends for being polite and spending an evening with us! I kind of felt like Ina Gartner or Giada prepping and cooking for friends. 🙂


    For spring break, Noah and I are in Paris (and in a few days will be cycling through Provence)! I made sure that we spent our first morning at le marchĂ© de la Bastille (the best and biggest Farmers market in Paris). Paris markets are so much fun – each vendor enthusiastically sells his or her produce, cheese, seafood, meat, wine, etc., shouting at passersby with the utmost cheerfulness. We brought “home” to our teeny Parisian apartment our Farmers market bounty.

    And that evening prepared a meal of lemon-thyme lamb chops (to which Noah added a bit of red wine and butter), sauteed eggplant and white squash, and a salad with mushrooms and tomatoes topped with a lemon vinaigrette.

    The lamb and its accompanying sauce was most excellent. We even used bread to soak it up. Both of us found the tomatoes a bit mushy, and Noah agrees that eggplant in France is better than the states. For some reason, here it’s just so much more flavorful! The best part of our meal was a thirty-year old bottle of Bordeaux red wine which we found in the 3 euro bin at the farmers market. We were wary of drinking such a cheap 30 yr old bottle, but in the end, found it was a rich, earthy and excellent wine.