So, yeah, there’s no nice way to cut this – as you get to the later stage of cooking this, this looks like baby poo, and it has about the same consistency, too.  But, if you can get over how it looks, it’s really quite good – I took a fingertip to the spatula after I containered it, and it tasted really good. This is a traditional Persian dish, and a bit of a branch out for me, but it seems like it’ll be pretty filling.

Mizra Ghasemi

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants
  • .33 c vegetable oil
  • 10 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 t tumeric
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped small (I will give you my tips for doing this in the recipe)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 t tomato paste
  • 3 large eggs, beaten

Preheat your oven to 400 (mine was at 375 due to it running hot), put your eggplants on a lined baking sheet, and pierce them with a fork so that they don’t explode (you don’t want that). Roast them for about 40 to 45 minutes, until they look like picture 2.  Let them cool enough to handle, and then peel the skin away (or scoop away the cooked innards), and mash the flesh as best you can. I did this part two days ahead, and just threw it in the fridge, and the result was just fine.  So long as the eggplant is cooked, you should be okay.

Chop up your garlic cloves (recipe recommends 7, I went above and beyond because my love affair with garlic is well documented by now) while you heat your veggie oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add your garlic, and cook until they’re golden brown, and add your tumeric, stirring until the garlic’s coated.  Then, add your mashed eggplant, and cook for about twenty minutes, stirring frequently for the first ten minutes to help it break down, but then stirring only occasionally after the first ten to allow it to cook.

While this is happening, you can peel your tomatoes! And trust me, there’s a way that’s a lot easier than you know.  Get a pot boiling with water, and cut a small x into the bottom of your tomatoes (I forgot to do this, but it still works even if you don’t do it). Stick your tomatoes in the boiling water for one minute, and have a large bowl or pot ready with ice cold water. Take your tomatoes out after one minute and dip them in the ice water; the skins will peel right away. (You can also use this trick to deseed them by cutting them in half after this and squeezing.)  Then take your peeled tomatoes and chop them up small.

After twenty minutes, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir well to combine (see pic 4). Cook for another fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add your beaten eggs at the end of fifteen minutes and stir well, until you get the final picture, which is after about five additional minutes of cooking.  Yes, it looks like baby poo.  It tastes good, I promise.

This soup is one of my fall mainstays, especially when the veggies in it come into season.  That massive eggplant only cost me a buck twenty five at the farmer’s market, and the tomatoes were two bucks, tops. Good veggies + roasting = amazing results, especially in a soup.  I did the spicier riff that Deb recommends at the end of the recipe, and substituted the feta for the goat cheese, and the results are absolutely amazing.

Roasted Eggplant Soup
Lasts 5+ lunches

Ingredients

  • 3 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large eggplant, halved
  • 10 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • enough olive oil to drizzle on all of the above
  • 4 c vegetable stock (get a 32 oz box of stock, there will be enough)
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • one large dash coriander, cumin
  • some red pepper flakes
  • accidentally a bit of spanish paprika
  • 1 onion, halved
  • .25 c heavy whipping cream
  • .75 c (3.5 oz) feta crumbles

Preheat your oven to 400 (375 if it runs hot), and place your eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic on a lined baking sheet, and drizzle olive oil over all, until they’re reasonably covered (see pic one for what I did).  Place in the oven for 20 mins, and then remove your garlic cloves (they’ll burn otherwise) and put the tomatoes and eggplant in for another 25 minutes.  Your tomatoes and eggplant should look like picture 2 by the end of the 45 minutes.  Scoop the eggplant flesh out of the skin, and put in a saucepan with your tomatoes and garlic, and add the vegetable stock, spices, and onion.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and simmer for another 45 minutes, until your onion halves are very tender.

Blend the soup in batches (because trust me, you don’t want hot stock and veggie bits all over your kitchen, that’s happened to me trying to do that) until it’s smooth, and then add it back to the pot.  Add your cream and bring it back to a low simmer before stirring in your feta.

Please note that the spices in this were pure guesswork, and feel free to use your own variations – the original recipe does not include the cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, or the paprika, and doesn’t use the cream and substitutes goat cheese crumbles for feta.  I just like the resulting soup and texture way better this way.  😛

So, a few weeks ago, I went on a bit of a cookbook buying spree.  One of them was Everyday Harumi.  This recipe is towards the end of the book, but from what I can tell so far, it’s very interesting, and will be quite yummy (I already had some of the miso gratin sauce, and that is amaaaaazing).  I substituted tilapia for the halibut, because the latter is expensive, and didn’t use the leeks, because I forgot to get them (whoops, they won’t be listed in the recipe).

Worth every bit of sweat that was induced making it in a non ventilated kitchen on a day when you don’t have AC in your house and there’s a heat advisory.  (PS: It also only has the oven on for 20 minutes, otherwise seriously, don’t do what I just did in the conditions described above.)

Tilapia and Eggplant Miso Gratin

Ingredients

  • 3 T salted butter
  • .5 c flour
  • 1.25 c milk (I used 2%)
  • 1.25 c heavy whipping cream
  • 4 T awase miso (combination of white and red miso, I did 2 T red and 2 T white)
  • 2 T mirin
  • 1.5 T sugar
  • 10 oz tilapia filet (book recommends halibut, but that’s kinda expensive)
  • medium eggplant
  • .25 c olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz mozzarella to top (book recommends grated, I did sliced)

To make the sauce, melt your butter over medium heat in the saucepan.  Add your flour and make a roux (thickening agent), continuously stirring  to combine and make sure it doesn’t burn.  Once combined, gradually add your milk, stirring continuously so it doesn’t become lumpy, and turn your heat to medium high (or slightly higher) to bring it to a slow boil.  Then, add the whipping cream, miso, mirin, and sugar in order, thoroughly mixing, and then set it aside.

Cut your tilapia filet into 2.5ish inch pieces, and score your eggplant with stripes, and then cut into .75 inch diagonal pieces.  Soak the eggplant pieces in water for a few minutes to reduce bitterness, and then pat them dry.  While they soak, preheat your oven to 400 (or 375 if it runs hot.)  Heat your olive oil over medium high heat and fry your eggplant, until tender.  Remove from the skillet and add to your casserole dish, and then add your tilapia and brown it for a few moments, and season with salt and pepper, and add it to the casserole dish as well.

Pour the miso cream sauce over the eggplant and fish, and then put your mozzarella on top.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until your mozzarella is melted.  If you mozzarella is sliced like mine, put it on something to catch it (like a pizza pan) in case it spills over.

And then, enjoy!

NOTE: Chop eggplant up smaller.

So, this was an absolute impulse choice for menu planning, because a) eggplants are starting to come into season at the farmer’s market, and you can get pretty big ones for quite good prices, b) the mozzarella/mint combo sounded good on top of it, and c) I like how baba ganoush sounds when you say it out loud. Be sure it’s not too hot when you’re making this, as it requires the oven above 400 degrees for at least a solid hour.

Baba Ganoush Bowls with Mozzarella, Pomegranate, and Mint
Makes ???, turns out the pomegranate seeds were more garnish than an actual ingredient, and that screwed up the dish

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ¼ t smoked paprika
  • sprinkle of cumin, and ground pepper
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • pomegranate seeds (I used the entire small pomegranate)
  • handful of mint leaves
  • dash sumac

Take your eggplants, and poke it with a fork several times all over the body so that your eggplant doesn’t explode in the oven.  Then, pour your olive oil (one T each) over your eggplants, and rub it in, and put on your baking sheet (or in my case, a pan).  Heat your oven to 450 (or 425, I actually turned mine down to 400 about halfway through), and roast, rotating every 15 minutes or so, for forty-five minutes to an hour.

Let your eggplants cool until they’re cool enough to handle, and then scoop the flesh away from the skin and put it into a blender.  Puree your eggplant flesh until smooth, and then put in a large bowl, and stir in your lemon juice, garlic, salt, paprika, cumin, and pepper.  Add your torn mozzarella and mint, and a dash of sumac.  

To deseed your pomegranate, cut off the top of your pomegranate, and then cut into four sections.  Fill a bowl with cold water and put the four sections into the bowl.  Let them soak a bit, and then slowly peel the pith away, and the seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.  Drain the bowl, and then add your seeds to your baba ganoush.  It’s a bit of work, but if your pomegranate is small enough, you’re good for seeds.  And if not, hey, you have more pomegranate seeds for whatever!

EDIT: Yeah, this was way too many pomegranate seeds, and it turns out I don’t like the seeds that much. Future note: DO NOT USE THE POMEGRANATE SEEDS.