This was my favorite kind of meal - a team meal! You see, Brett came up with this (awesome) meal idea, we went to the market together to get the necessary grub, and I made the meal. It worked out great!
We are coming around to eggplant. For the longest time, I did not like eggplant, and neither did Brett. I had only had two experiences with eggplant, and both were bad. The first was a rubbery, greasy, and cheese laden "eggplant parmesan" (ick!), and the second was baba ganoush - Brett was present for the baba ganoush experience and it too was bad. But then, at our good friends' wedding, they prepared a special vegan meal for yours truly that contained eggplant, and my opinion began to change. I then attempted to create something similar at home, and my opinion changed even further. After this meal, I can now say that we do like eggplant, at least in the applications we have had it in since the parmesan and baba experience.
Anyways, this is also one of those meals that looks like it took a long time, was expensive, and complicated to make, but it wasn't at all. This meal took less time to prepare than a lot of our quesadilla recipes.
Just a reminder of the produce legend: * = farmer's market ** = CSA *** = Container or Community Garden
So, here she be!
B's Eggplant "Steaks"
The "Steaks" 1 eggplant sliced into rounds (only the thick part of the eggplant) * balsamic vinegar salt
The Topping the rest of the eggplant, diced * 10 baby portobello mushrooms, minced 1 yellow summer squash, minced *** 3 cloves of garlic, minced *
1 cup of brown Basmati rice, cooked
Marinate eggplant steaks in balsamic vinegar for at least 2 or 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 425.
Put "steaks" on a baking sheet and baste with more balsamic (the leftovers from the marinating process).
Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning a couple of times and basting with more balsamic until eggplant is lightly browned and soft.
Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of water in a small skillet. Add the topping ingredients, and season with salt and any remaining balsamic from the marinade. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Drain any excess liquid if necessary.
Place a bed of basmati rice on a plate and lay down the steaks side by side. Top with the veggie mixture and enjoy!
We had this with ciabatta bread chunks (the bread came from the farmer's market) and herbed olive oil to dip the bread in.
Nothing special here, but definitely tasty. All I did for the herbed olive oil was mix in some dried basil, thyme, oregano (regular, not Mexican), garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.
It was the perfect complement to the meal! Yum!
In other cooking news, my kitchen is officially "out of order" for a little while.
Last night, I was making a stuffed poblano pepper recipe I created (they were awesome, I'll be posting about them soon!). Well, the peppers were getting close to being done, and I had the (electric) oven door open to keep an eye on them. Suddenly, part of the lower element got really red and incredibly bright. Then it started sparking. It looked like a welder's torch! We got out the fire extinguisher and turned off the oven. But yet the element kept burning, sparking, and melting. The super hot area just kept moving along the element. It was loud, bright, and I must admit, a little nerve wracking. I mean, the oven was OFF! We decided to wait a few minutes, thinking it would cool down as the oven cooled, but no, it just kept going. Brett eventually had to go turn the breaker off! We think it would have continued until it melted the entire element and likely caught something on fire. So needless to say, our oven/stove is out of commission.
Brett will be calling "maintenance" this morning (I use the ""s because our maintenance is awful, horrible really, I have a hard time calling them "maintenance", more like "we'll rig something up and then never come back and actually fix it"), so hopefully we won't be without a stove/oven for too long. We rarely cook anything in the microwave, and neither of us are fans of processed foods too much, so it looks like some of our local restaurants may be getting some business from us over the next day or so (or however long it takes them to actually getting around to fixing it).
In other, less exciting, news, I created a J's Recommended Reads page yesterday (located below the "J's Currently Reading" element on the sidebar) that includes the most influential, informative, or entertaining books that I have read (now of course, this is just my humble opinion). I included links to either the books website, a wikipedia entry describing the book, or a book review. No links to Amazon or anything, I am no sales person. Not to mention, I recommend checking with your local library or getting together with some folks to do a book swap as opposed to purchasing the books. And if you are going to purchase these or any other books, please consider doing so at a local book store rather than Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc.
And finally, it is not too late to sign up to participate in the Unplug Yourself initiative. Feel free to sign up for as little or much as you would like, whatever works for you is what you should "commit" to. This is one of many opportunities to join in with likeminded folks and get on the path to sustainability. Doing these initiatives together gives us all a support network, and a wealth of information and tips based on others' experiences. We do hope you all will consider getting involved.