Eggplant Mozzaella Tower

imageI never knew what to do with eggplant. Even the name sounded weird to me. “EGG”plant? Is it supposed to taste like eggs? is it going to be the texture of eggs? just yuck! Little did I know, when I went on a Caribbean cruise the chef made this dish that just made your taste buds sing! When I asked the server what was in the dish he told me eggplant. I was in total disbelief. This heavenly piece of art before me was EGGPLANT!?! After that I was hooked, I had to have that recipe. Now I am sharing it with you.

What you will need:

  1. Marinara sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped bail
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Eggplants
  • 2-3 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumb
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tomatoes sliced 1/2 in thick
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For marinara, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm oil and sauté onion for 4 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and sauté, stirring continually. Do not brown. Add tomatoes and herbs and season with salt and pepper. cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. set aside.

season eggplant slices with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. next dip each slice in egg, then in the bread crumbs. set aside

*culinary note*

Most eggplants produce a bitter-tasting alkaloid. A method for removing this unwanted flavor is to sprinkle the slices with salt and let them rest in a colander for 1 hour. Afterwards, rinse the slices under cold water, gently squeezing out the moisture. Pressing on the slices also collapses the eggplant’s air pockets, reducing the absorption of oil during frying.

In a large skillet heat vegetable oil over high heat until very hot.Sauté eggplant one slice at a time until golden brown.

Place each cooked slice on a baking sheet. top each with a tomato slice and sprinkle with mozzarella. bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and cheese is melted.

In a small saucepan, simmer vinegar until its reduced by about 2/3 and reaches syrup consistency. set aside to cool.

To serve, stack three eggplant/tomato slices on each plate. garnish with basil. spoon marinara around eggplant tower and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Serves 6

Week One of Fall Shares

And we begin!  Yup, no rest for the weary.  Fall shares are a ten week share consisting of great fall crops like pumpkins, winter squash, hearty greens, turnips, leeks, persimmons, apples, peanuts, pistachios and other robust crops.  This is our favorite!  Maybe because the temperatures are cooler and crops are a little more of a “for sure” thing, or we feel like cooking, or maybe it’s just the wonderful fall harvests!  Whatever it is, we love it!

Our first week we will have butternut squash, micro greens, beets, tomatoes, green onions, red onions, eggplant, okra, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and sweet peppers.  Don’t forget to mark your calender, and bring a basket for pick up on September 3rd!

Week Twelve of Summer Shares

Twelve weeks has sadly come to an end today of our summer shares.  Thanks to everyone for picking up on time, returning baskets and boxes and just being great share holders!

Our last basket for summer shares has plenty of tomatoes to make a great batch of salsa.  Along with hot peppers, jalapenos, bell pepper, plenty of garlic, cipollini onions (these are small onions), grapes, small loose head of lettuce, herb, cucumber, squash and other mix of veggies.  Almonds once again, and be sure to get the hull off asap, due to the humidity!

For those that are signed up for our fall shares, we begin next week, September 3rd.

Thanks again everyone!

A Mid-Summer Nights Roast

imageEvery year I always plant at least one cherry tomato variety and it seems like every year that plant decides to try and take over the entire tomato patch and produces what seems like thousands of little tomatoes. finding things to do with all those little beauties is another story. they go awesome with just about any salad, homemade hummus, goat cheese, steamed green beans, even just on their own…. so many options, how do you choose? One of my favorite ways to eat cherry tomatoes is to roast them with a little basalmic vinegar, brown sugar, and a mix of herbs. talk about happiness on your tastebuds. and they are really good with any of the foods mentioned above. Try it and let me know what your favorite way is.

What you will need:

  • 2 pints of cherry, grape, or other small tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced and roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 small sprig rosemary, cut in half,
  • OR 2 tablespoons of mixed chopped garden herbs, such oregano, thyme, and basil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If the tomatoes are large, slice them in half. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the  tomatoes with the onion, (if using). Sprinkle the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar over the tomato and onion mixture. Season with a generous pinch of salt and scatter the herbs on top.

Bake for 10 minutes and stir the tomatoes with a heat-proof spatula, mixing any stray pools of vinegar and tomato juice back together as much as possible. The juice of tomatoes will help deglaze the baking sheet. Bits of vinegar will stick to the spatula; that’s fine (when it cools, it turns into a handy “vinegar candy” snack for the cook). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

continue to bake, stir every 10 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to wrinkle but are still very juicy, 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size, variety, and ripeness of the tomatoes.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven and transfer to a bowl to cool. scraping the baking sheet well, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate for up to 1 week

Week Eleven of Summer Shares

Beetles, beetles, beetles!  Boy we have had a battle with the beetles this year and I am afraid they have won.  Of course they take the best and tastiest fruit on the tree or vine. This week will be the last of the peaches and grapes till October.

Ok, while we think we know how to count…We seemed to have an extra box this week…somehow, so if anyone is interested in some extra produce we’ll let it go for $18.

In today’s shares we have O’Henry peaches.  These are a firm and full red peach.  Also a mix of grapes.  Garlic, onion, greens, basil, a sprig of stevia, bell peppers, eggplant, green beans, cherry tomatoes and other mixed veggies.

Stevia is a sweet herb that can be used in smoothies and to sweeten things.  It doesn’t take much to make a sweet flavor…A leaf or two is sometimes enough.  If you don’t use it all, dry it and save it for later.  You will find the stevia in with your basil.

Next week is our last week for summer shares and moving right into fall shares.  Time flew by!  We will have almonds once again next week, and hopefully pears.  Looks like the beefsteak tomatoes will coming on for out last share, as we are now starting to say goodbye the majority of the heirloom tomatoes.

If anyone still has any baskets, don’t forget to return them next week.

Week Ten of Summer Shares

We are recruiting you!  Yes, you don’t have a choice.. This week we have a little work for you, but it will be worth it.  You will find raw form almonds in your share that need to be hulled!  That means you will need to remove the outter shell to keep them from molding and then lay them out to dry and the sooner the better.  It is easier to remove the inner shell when done at this stage, but can wait.  They aren’t in the your box, so be sure to grab a bag!

almonds

Almonds in raw form, from hull to shell to shelled

Also, in your shares today are: Eggplant, walla walla onion, tomatillos, tomatoes, green beans, white and yellow peaches, grapes, peppers, pea shoots, summer squash, cucumbers, and a few other miscellaneous items.

Two weeks to go and fall shares start up September 3rd ~

Green bean in brown butter

My husband is such a trooper. He is my official taste taster for all the recipes I post on here. And he said this is one of the best yet. Hopefully you all agree when you try it.

What you will need

  • About a pound of fresh green beans
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small onion
  • Fresh ground pepper

Cut the tips off the green beans (they don’t tast very good) and slice the onion in half then in strips. Steam green beans for about 3-5 or until they turn bright green, add onion slices to green beans and steam until beans are tender. While beans and onion are steaming, put the butter in a sauté pan. Cook on medium heat until butter does not foam anymore. ( be careful not to burn the butter) add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Carefully pour butter mixture on to green bean mixture and stir to coat. Add a little fresh ground pepper and Serve hot.

Grilled Cheese n’ Kale

image

Grilled Cheese are a classic childhood favorite. You just cant go wrong with any version of this food. Plus adding kale helps ensure that you stay full longer, thanks to all the extra fiber that helps slow digestion and nutrient uptake.

What you will need:
4 tablespoons honey mustard
8 thin slices whole wheat bread
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups torn kale leaves

Spread 1 tablespoon of honey mustard on 4 slices of bread, then sprinkle on the cheese, add the torn kale leaves, and assemble the sandwiches with the remaining 4 slices. Butter each side of the sandwich and transfer to a warmed skillet. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. Flip sandwich and repeat cook time. Continue to cook until cheese is melted. Transfer sandwiches to a cutting board and cut in half or quarters. Serve immediately.

Week Nine of Summer Shares

Ok, so it’s been a buzzing week here! So short and sweet it is today…Peaches (white & Elberta), grapes, green onions, kale, cucumbers, Sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers, summer squash, beans, basil, mint, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes and various other veggies this week.  Plenty of extra microgreens and eggs this week as well.

Only three weeks to go.  Next week we will have green beans and in more abundance.  Hoping to harvest the first of winter squash as well.  Almonds in raw form.  These will have two shells.  While they will keep a long time in there inner (brown) shell, the husk (outer) should be removed.

Home made butter and dinner rolls

image I love rainy days, (they bring out the in cook in me). There is nothing better than the smell of baking bread on a day where its cool and overcast. So to start you will need to make your butter.

  • Whipping cream
  • a pint mason jar with lid
  • a strong arm

you can measure out the cream if you want to or be spontaneous and guess. Note; (1 cup of cream makes about 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup butter milk) I filled my mason jar about 1/2 full, put the lid on, and shook it for about 10 minutes roughly. shake until the butter and butter milk separate. For the first 5 minutes or so it will just be like shaking a jar of milk, then it will get hard to shake because it now has turned to whipped cream, keep shaking and all of a sudden it will get sloshy sounding again. this is your butter forming into a ball with the buttermilk being left over. save the buttermilk for baking. gently rinse your butter under cold water to rinse the rest of the butter milk out. This will help your butter keep longer and keep it from turning rancid fast. store in the fridge for up to  5 days. (you can add salt or other flavoring to your butter after you rinse it.( ex: garlic, cinnamon, honey, ect.)

 

Dinner Rollsimage

  • 3 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 cup of tepid buttermilk (use the byproduct from your butter)
  • 1/4 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 -5 cups flour, plus extra as needed
  • canola oil for greasing

In a glass measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast and pinch of sugar of the warm water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Beat on medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the yeast mixture and another cup of flour, and beat for another minute. Beat in remaining flour, 1/2 cup of flour at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl sides. Switch to the dough hook. Knead the dough on low speed, adding flour 1 Tbsp at a time if the dough sticks, until a very soft dough forms, about 1 minute. The dough should be softer than typical bread dough, yet smooth and springy.

Transfer the dough to a deep oiled bowl and turn the dough once to coat it with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Grease two 8 inch round cake pans. turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. divide the dough in half and roll each half between your palms into a 18 inch rope. Cut each rope in to eighteen 1 inch pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and place the balls, sides just touching, in the prepared pans.  Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until puffy, 30-45 minutes.

preheat oven 375 degrees. Bake the rolls until light golden brown. 18-23 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pans or transfer to a rack. serve warm.

side note: I made another small batch of butter to eat with my rolls, but this one I added a pinch of salt too. also these rolls are really good with a peach raspberry jam.