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Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm home!

I had a good time with Dad and Charlotte in Mexico but am so, so glad to be home sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my kitchen, and sitting at my sewing machine.  I haven't done much crafting but I sure have done a lot of cooking since I got home!  I promised a couple recipes to people so here they are:

Roasted, Stuffed Eggplant (This turned out great and was a hit with the whole family; the kids devoured their portions!)  I found this recipe on our CSA's recipe website but thought it would be easier if I put it here too. They do have some fabulous recipes on their site so you should check it out.  I highly recommend the chocolate chip zucchini bread!

2 Eggplants (16 oz each)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 1/2 t dried oregano (or 3 t fresh)
1/2 C tomato sauce
1/2 C (2 oz) grated parmesan cheese
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Pierce eggplants in 2 or 3 places and place on baking sheet. Roast, 20 minutes, turning once or twice until tender. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4" to 1/2" shell. Chop pulp and let drain. 

Meanwhile, heat 1 t of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes. Add garlic and beef and cook for 5 minutes, or until beef is no longer pink. Still in eggplant pulp, oregano, and tomato sauce. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of cheese, salt and pepper. 

Place eggplant shells on baking sheet. Evenly divide beef mixture among the shells. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top. 

I served grilled okra with this meal.  Just take your fresh okra (emphasis on fresh; no bruises or soft spots), brush with butter, sprinkle with salt and grill on high for 3 minutes on each side.  The okra come out really tasty and not at all mushy or slimy.  

Here's my 'tart' that I baked in a shallow cake pan!
So, that meal was last night and I was just so excited to be cooking that I decided to be adventuresome tonight as well.  I made a cherry tomato tart, roasted acorn squash, and I honey roasted some peanuts.  The tart recipe idea I got from my friend Carrie (she's my inspiration for a lot of my ideas!) and she actually got the recipe here.  The acorn squash was cut in half, roasted meat side down on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Then, I took it out, brushed on a little butter and sprinkled a little brown sugar.  I put them meat side up and put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes or so.  If you have one of those fancy butane torches, I think it would be super fun (did I just type super fun?) to crystalize the sugar on the top of these at the end of the cooking time.  Alas, I do not have one of the fancy butane torches, nor do I need one, so mine weren't crystalized.  They were still very good.
The peanuts were certainly an experiment.  I wanted to just roast them and then eat them but roasting them with the shells on seems to be hit or miss.  Most of mine didn't get done enough inside (so they were mushy) but were too brown on the outside.  So, I shelled all of them and then loosely followed this recipe.  Now, they're the right texture and they taste yummy too!

As soon as I get my camera back from my Dad, I'll post a few Mexico pictures!  I'm going to miss my camera for the next two weeks and I image that you all will suffer as well.  All I'll have are pictures from my iPhone (which was found by TSA at the Cincinnati airport, thank goodness!).  

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