Food for the Soul

While I had every intention of getting into the sewing room yesterday, the entire day was spent on my feet in the kitchen. Sometimes I have an idea of the things to do while I'm cooking things up, figuring I'll choose a few and save the rest for the next day. Sometimes I end up choosing all of it. Yesterday was one of those days when I kept telling myself, I'll just do this one more thing, and then...

So what was up for yesterday's kitchen extravaganza? Well, for one thing, we got a pile of tomatillos in our CSA share this week. Also, we received a little bag of fresh cilantro. Mike absolutely loves Enchiladas Suizas, and I'll just add that I like it too. Here are some I cooked up a while back from this recipe:

So I figured I'd roast those tomatillos for the sauce and get that out of the way. That will be for tonight's dinner. Once they're roasted and pureed, there's usually a little extra that can be frozen and saved for another time. While those were roasting, I roasted the eggplant from last week's CSA share. The plan was to try a new sandwich recipe made from roasted eggplant and pickled beets. I know it sounds weird, but just you wait and see. (I'll say more about that later.) So here's how the eggplant looked when it came out of the oven.

When I was in Italy some ten years ago, I learned to love grilled eggplant. (I learned to love a lot of different foods in Italy. The Italians definitely know how to serve up some good food.) Aside from grilled, I haven't had a lot of enthusiasm for it, and so I wasn't overly optimistic that this was going to light my fire. Still, with the CSA veggies, we're sometimes trying to find a way to like things that aren't usually on our list of favorite foods, and this was no exception.

So when the eggplant came out of the oven, I waited a bit for it to cool, and then popped one of the slices into my mouth. Oh. My. Gosh. It was delicious! And it was so simple! The recipe told me to slice it 1/2-inch thick, then rub oil on both sides. I just used my olive oil cooking spray and sprayed it down. Then I salted it generously, gave it a sprinkle of pepper and a sprinkle of smoked paprika, and then roasted it at 400°F for 40 minutes. When Mike came home, I snuck a slice into his mouth, and he liked it too. (Actually, he knew it was eggplant, and being a good sport, he agreed to try it anyway.) We could eat it just like this! And we could like it too! Amazing! So anyway...those sat around the rest of the afternoon, and occasionally, I ate another slice. I was practicing being a pillar of restraint by not eating all of it because I still needed it for my sandwiches. But just in case, I made some egg salad...you know, in case it was awful. And at the same time, I made a cucumber salad because...you know...cucumbers. There are lots of cucumbers right now.

Okay, so the tally so far: 
roasted tomatillos, pureed;
roasted eggplant slices;
emergency back-up dinner of egg salad;
cucumber salad. 

And while all of that was cooking up, I made some green pepper jelly. Like I said, I'm not a great fan of green bell peppers (although the other colors are just fine). Four had piled up in the crisper and there were two jalapenos in our CSA share this week...exactly what I needed for this jelly. And it is tasty. It's the first time I've used these little 4-oz. jars. Cute, huh?

Just a few seeds from the jalapenos were left in the jelly. We like a little more heat. Next time, I'll leave the seeds from a whole jalapeno and go from there.

Finally, there was more Walla Walla Sweet Onion Relish because the onions were piling up again.

And, phew...I was tired by that time. With all that standing and walking around the kitchen, you'd think it would have been easy to get my 10k steps. Not. I needed to go out for a walk after that. On my way past the catio, I saw Smitty napping in his house.

Keep it down out there! Can't a guy get any sleep around here? Oh yes, and get off my lawn!

(He's watched Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino about a million times. He loves that car.)

So finally, Mike got home, and I could put the sandwich recipe to the test. I saw it in Bon Appetit, and it looked delicious. It's made with the roasted eggplant slices, lots of fresh herbs, pickled beets, feta, olives, capers...need I go on? A lot of weird stuff to put in a dish together, but look at this picture from Bon Appetit. 

It looked good to me, and I had the eggplant, and homemade pickled beets. What the heck, I thought. And let me tell you, it was delicious! Really, really good. The flavors married into quite a taste sensation. You can find the recipe right here if you'd like to try this yourself. If we people lukewarm on eggplant liked it, I'm betting you will too. It definitely made our tastebuds stand up and say Whoopee!

Okay. So was that enough food for you? It was for me. I was tired at the end of the day. Nevertheless, I'm up for another day of cooking, although most of it was done yesterday. It's a pretty sure bet I'm going to find my way into the sewing room today anyway. The next block for Bee-utiful is out now, and another will be released today. I need to trace out Block 16. This one is "Bee Sunny". It shouldn't take long to stitch.

Okay...so the kitchen awaits. On today's agenda: stuffed pasta shells, cookies, enchiladas suizas. Today shouldn't take so long. Yesterday pretty much covered it.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

Shannon Meyer said...

I never knew I liked eggplant as we never had it growing up, but I've used it in baked eggplant parm and hubby and I LOVE it:) We are getting better and better at trying and usually liking all sorts of veggies.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The sandwich looks great, but I am one that doesnt like to mix a lot of things. Eggplant parm is about as far as I go.

gpc said...

I used to bread those eggplant slices with a parmesan crumb mix and fry them crispy. My little grandson cried when they were gone. I should make them again. I wonder if he would even taste them now? I used to live near where they filmed Gran Torino and knew a Hmong woman who had a (very) small part in the film. Smitty does an excellent impersonation.

liniecat said...

On the strength of that recommendation and picture I'm off to buy an egg plant!
Am crackered - oober hot again here - IN THE UK!!
Was up till 3.45am first catching a huge wolf spider that Harvey cat alerted me to - then unnerved because wasnt sure Id sprayed it enough to actually kill it - IT WAS HUGE!
So I sat outside in the dark, meteor spotting and saw a bundle of streaks of light, fair rounded my night off perfectly!
Of course now midday I'm flagging lol
Found the spider body - can sleep easier tonight now lol

Lyndsey said...

I love roasted egg plant and that sandwich looks soooo tasty. I'm going to try it. It looks a sure fire hit.

quiltzyx said...

I will admit that the sandwich looks very tasty, but not an eggplant fan. It's one of those things that I didn't like as a kid. I tried it again more recently and still didn't like it. Oh well, more for you! What I've been craving lately is Artichokes! Maybe they'll have some at the store today. Enchiladas Suiza - oh YUM!!! Have some for me too!

Brown Family said...

I have never learned to like egg plant. But your sandwich looks good. So does your canning!

Kate said...

The roasted egg plant looks great and the sandwich looks even better.