Tag Archives: Eggplant

Eggplant Parm + NEWS!

Alright… I said I’d spill the beans a little more about my big blogging news, and I’m here to do just that! Plus give you a superb recipe for one of my favorite comfort foods, the lovely Eggplant Parm(esan). More on that later. For now, my news!

Drumroll please….

I AM STARTING A BRAND-NEW FOOD BLOG!!!! It will be live on Tuesday, and I am so, so beyond excited to show it to you! It’s been in the works for a long time now. First just in my head, then shopping around for website developers (yes, I used a real professional this time instead of just pretending I know anything about WordPress themes!), and my developer and I finally have this thing in almost working order!

My reasons? First of all, I feel like the name of this blog, Texan New Yorker is now only half true. Thanks to Matt’s job, I keep moving away from NYC! Yes, we moved again this summer… And since he works in such an incestuous industry where the companies keep buying and eating each other, another move at some point wouldn’t be terribly shocking. On the purely pragmatic side, I’m feeling that tying the name of my blog to geography is no longer an accurate move.

Secondly, when I started Texan New Yorker, I was sooooo green and naïve on the blogging scene. I’ve made rookie mistakes, missteps of all kinds, and I took it in a direction I’m no longer happy with. I feel like it’s become somewhat inauthentic and not resembling my own voice as I’d like. I was a newbie, and felt somewhat tentative to speak my own mind and truth for fear of offending others and being ostracized. I’ve been overly concerned about SEO, which is often a deterrent to making food one’s own way, and feeling like I can’t, say, blog something non-Thanksgiving-y in the middle of November. Which is silly and needs to stop. So it will, come Tuesday November 7th!

I’m so thrilled with how the new site is turning out, and I so hope you all will join me in this next adventure! I promise it will be incredibly delicious recipes and much more interesting chat. I’ll write even more about it on Tuesday.

For now, Eggplant Parmesan, a beautiful comfort food dish I only learned to like in adulthood. We just didn’t have much eggplant growing up so it kind of freaked me out at first, and since it is oh noes vegetarian, for a while I just plain refused to try it. Loser. You know when I first bit the bullet and sampled it? At the Olive Garden. I’m not particularly proud of that, but there you have it.

This homemade version is of course far superior to what I had at the Garden, which probably isn’t saying much, but fear not, it’s totally delicious by much higher standards as well. We loved it. I bet you will too. Enjoy!

Source: very slightly adapted from Crazy Good Italian by Mike Isabella

Ingredients:
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup plus 3 cups grated parmesan
2 tbs dried oregano
2 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
2 medium eggplants
2 cups olive oil (can use canola or vegetable oil if your olive oil is really expensive)
3 whole garlic cloves
1 (32 oz.) jar good quality marinara (I used Rao’s Homemade)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I did not use fresh, I wanted less water for better melting)
10 basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced, plus extra torn for garnish

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Set up a breading station in three separate shallow bowls or pie plates: place the flour in the first, the eggs in the second, and in the third combine the panko, ¼ cup parmesan, oregano, salt, and chile flakes.
Slice off ½ an inch from the top and bottom of the eggplants and discard. Use a peeler to remove the skin if it bothers you (it does not bother me so I skipped this step). Slice the eggplants into ¾-inch-thick rounds.
Dredge each slice of eggplant in flour, then eggs, then panko mixture.
Heat the olive oil and garlic cloves in a large saute pan over medium heat. Let the garlic get golden brown while the oil heats up. Once the oil is ready to fry the eggplant, remove the garlic and discard. It was just there to flavor the oil.
Increase the heat to medium-high, test it for readiness with a pinch of panko mixture. Once it is ready, fry the breaded eggplant slices for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Cool on a paper-towel lined plate or cooling rack. Do this in batches. You don’t want to cool the oil temperature too much and prevent the eggplant from browning and crisping up.
Now to assembly: ladle ¾ cup marinara into an 8×8-inch square baking dish. Layer the eggplant, more marinara, mozzarella, parmesan, and basil. Repeat until you have three layers of eggplant. Top with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and place the baking dish on a baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes, removing the foil after 25 minutes. The sauce and cheese should be bubbling. Let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with torn basil.

Tortellini Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes, and Eggplant

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Happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day!!! Always a fun day for me. This month I was assigned…. Feast on the Cheap!

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Feast on the Cheap is a wonderful food blog actually run by two people: “a mother-daughter duo starring a professional caterer and a fledgling foodie.” Mary Anne is the mom and her daughter is Mariel. Both have impressive and distinguished careers, Mary Anne as a nurse and a professional caterer, and Mariel as a professional writer for a number of well-known publications. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through their blog this month!

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I have been jonesing for eggplant lately, so I went through their recipe index specifically hoping to find something eggplant, and I scored big with this pasta salad. Mary Anne created this recipe, and made the brilliant decision to use tortellini for the pasta, which is just beyond delicious. The eggplant is sweated and roasted, so there is no trace of bitterness – just flavor. This salad comes together and just sings. So much flavor, and such terrific textures from the roasted veggies and the chewy, cheesy tortellini.

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As I write this, I’m growing impatient for tomorrow at noon to roll around, simply so I can eat the leftovers for lunch! And I *just* ate dinner, y’all – not even hungry. That’s how good this is.

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I highly urge you to try it very soon, while eggplant and fresh tomatoes are looking lovely for their season. I also highly urge you to check out Feast on the Cheap! It’s definitely going in my reader. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Strawberry Mascarpone Sherbet, Blueberry Crumble, Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting}
{Two Years Ago: Classic Barbecue Chicken}

Source: slightly adapted from Feast on the Cheap

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant (about ½ lb.) cut into ½ inch dice, peeled if desired
Kosher salt, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
3 medium tomatoes, (about ¾ lb.) cored, seeded, and cut into ½ inch dice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
½ cup fresh basil, roughly torn
1 lb. cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Directions:
“Sweat” the diced eggplant: spread the eggplant on a cookie rack lined with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and allow to stand for 20 minutes. Blot dry with fresh paper towels. Transfer to a cookie sheet and toss with about 2 tsp of olive oil. Spread evenly into a single layer and sprinkle lightly with the dried oregano, as much or as little as you prefer. Cover with aluminum foil.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place the foil covered eggplant in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside, after you remove the aluminum foil.
While the eggplant is roasting, preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then saute the shallot until soft. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the brown sugar, crushed pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Saute another 5-10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and have rendered their juices. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Add the cooked tortellini to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Now add all the veggies to the pasta: the eggplant, the tomato mixture, and the roasted peppers. Add the basil and the cheese and toss thoroughly and gently to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Eggplant and White Bean Meatballs + A Cookbook Giveaway!!!

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Thanks to a snafu with my local post office and a generous Amazon customer service agent, I wound up with two copies of The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman. So I’m giving away my extra copy to one of my lucky readers! The giveaway will run all week, until Friday, July 18, 2014 at 5 pm Eastern, and each day that I blog until Friday, I’ll be featuring a recipe from this wonderful book!

First up we have these amazing vegan meatballs. When I say these were amazing, I’m not joking. At all. For full disclosure, I’ll freely admit I was a little wary of these. I’d never before had meatballs that didn’t contain meat or at least poultry or fish. So there was a touch of trepidation at how they would taste, whether I’d screwed them up, etc, etc.

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I needn’t have worried one bit. They were so insane. Matt ate seconds the night I served them, and we argued over who was to get the last container of leftovers. They are that good.

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Whether you are vegan or not, or occasionally vegan, or whatever: try these meatballs – I guarantee you’ll make them again and again. And like any kind of meatballs, they are flexible. I served them simply, just in a bowl with some marinara (someone might have been too lazy to make pasta that night), but they would be so delicious over pasta or in a meatball sub.

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And stay tuned for three more VB6 Cookbook recipes! You can enter to win a copy of this lovely book in the rafflecopter below.

Source: The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
1 lb. eggplant, unpeeled, cut into cubes no larger than 1 inch
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
1 cup cooked or canned white beans
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup breadcrumbs
Pinch of crushed red chile flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Use 1 tbs olive oil to grease a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
Add 1 tbs olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces shrivel a bit and are tender and beginning to color, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl of a food processor.
Add the remaining 1 tbs olive oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Return to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the beans (also rinse them if using canned). Add the beans and parsley to the food processor bowl with the eggplant and pulse until well combined and chopped, but not completely pureed.
Transfer the eggplant mixture to a large bowl and add the onion and garlic mixture, along with the bread crumbs, chile flakes, and oregano. Mix to combine well.
Make sure your hands are clean and get them wet. Roll the mixture into meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter. You’ll wind up with between 12 and 16 meatballs. You will likely need to rewet your hands between each meatball or every other meatball.
As you form them, place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Bake undisturbed until they are firm and well browned, 20 to 30 minutes (start checking after 20 minutes, though you may need longer).
Meanwhile, warm the marinara sauce; and this is when you would cook pasta or toast hoagie rolls if desired.
Serve the meatballs with the marinara in a bowl, or in whatever other fashion you desire.

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Eggplant Parmesan Soup #SundaySupper

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Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week was One Pot Meals. A fantastic theme, of course; who likes doing dishes? We all need some one pot meals in our repertoire, meals we can bust out on those grumpy days where you know that calling for take-out will be guilt-inducing, but you really don’t want to cook an elaborate meal. This recipe is PERFECT for those days.

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So, no false advertising here – this is eggplant parmesan in a soup bowl. I’m serious, it’s soup, but it tastes exactly like eggplant parmesan! And since I’m a huge eggplant parm fiend, this soup delighted my little soul.

eggplant parmesan soup

Like I mentioned, I love, love, love a well-executed eggplant parmesan. But let’s be honest, eggplant parm is the complete opposite of a one pot meal. More like a use-almost-every-dang-pan-in-your-kitchen meal, right? It’s kind of a production to pull off. But with this soup, you get all those beloved flavors in an easy to make and easy to clean up soup. Perfect!

Eggplant Parmesan Soup

The only recipe note I have is to add the vinegar slowly and titrate up if desired. I added the entire amount called for, and while that tang is a lovely addition to the soup, I found it a tad strong and wished I had backed off a little. And be sure to check out the rest of the Sunday Supper crew! As per usual, I’ve linked to their amazing recipes as well. Enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan Soup

Source: Flour, Too by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 large eggplants, chopped (no need to peel)
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups white sandwich bread, cubed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese
Up to 2 tbs red wine vinegar (I’d start with half of that, taste, and then add more if needed)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
Set a large soup pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, add the onions and garlic. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until the onions just start to soften. If they brown a little, back off the heat a tad. Add the eggplant and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the eggplants break down and start to become mushy.
Add the tomatoes. Fill the now-empty tomato can with water and add that to the soup. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Add the bread cubes and stir for 1 minute, or until the bread breaks down in the soup. Stir in the basil and parmesan, turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
Using your immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Alternately, you can do this in batches in your regular blender. Bring the pureed soup back up to a simmer. Season with the vinegar, salt and pepper. If the soup seems too thick, thin with a little water.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately.

Check out the rest of the fabulous #SundaySupper team!

“Take the chill off” Chilis, Soups, and Starters

“Put meat on your bones” Stews

“Make room for seconds” Main Dishes

“Can’t say no” Desserts

Baba Ghanoush

Like most people, I absolutely adore appetizers and I would subsist on them to the near exclusivity of everything else if I could. Alas, most are not so easy on the waistline. They tend to be carb-heavy and cheese-heavy, and many are best if deep-fried. And as a group, they tend to be light on the inclusion of nutrient dense vegetables. So I don’t make them nearly as often as I’d like. Which makes me feel kind of sad.

It was a great pleasure, then, to discover baba ghanoush several years ago. I feel no guilt for making a dinner out of this dish, as it’s mainly just pureed, grilled, spiced eggplant. Baba ghanoush is Middle Eastern (Lebanese, actually) in origin, so it should surprise no one who reads this blog that I hadn’t heard of it until moving to New York. I’ve taken quite a shine to Middle Eastern cuisine in recent years. I have to credit it with expanding my palate quite a bit. You can expect to see more Middle Eastern dishes here in the coming months.

Baba means “daddy” in Lebanese and ghanoush means “coquettish” or “pampered”. So there you have it: a pampered daddy, which is likely a (sort of) polite reference to a sultan of a royal harem, which means this dish may have originated in a harem. But, no one really knows for sure, and it’s delicious and healthy no matter where it comes from. And, even if it was born in those unsavory circumstances, it’s not like it’s the only beloved dish or ingredient to have some rather dark originations. Graham crackers, anyone?


The basic components of baba ghanoush are smoky eggplant, garlic and tahini (sesame paste). Beyond that, it usually includes lemon, various spices, and maybe some onion. Pita chips are what I’ve always used as a dipping vessel. This recipe is made spicy with harissa, but you can always omit it if you please.

Source: Global Kitchen, by Jeffrey Saad

Ingredients:
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp caraway seed
4 Japanese or baby eggplants
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
2 tbs chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp tahini
1 tbs harissa
Pita chips

Directions:
In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the cumin and caraway seeds until you smell them, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Grind them to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder.
Turn on your grill to high heat. Once hot, place the eggplants on the grill and rotate occasionally until they are blackened. Let cool.
While the eggplants are grilling, in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once it is hot, add the garlic and mint and cook for 30 seconds, just until you can smell the garlic. Remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor.
Peel the eggplants and discard the stems and skins. Put the flesh (you should have about 2 cups) in the food processor with the garlic and mint. Add salt, tahini, harissa, and ground spices. Depending on how you like your dip, either pulse-chop until combined but still chunky, or puree until completely smooth. I like mine very smooth, but either way is fine. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor bowl to make sure everything is evenly combined, regardless of your desired texture.
Put the dip in a serving bowl and garnish with an extra small drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita chips alongside. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It’s best eaten at room temperature.