Eggplant Delight.

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A simple, pureed dish of grilled eggplant, fried lightly with an egg, sprinkled with coriander and lime juice. It’s simple, easy, and delicious on toast or as a side with rice.

I used these interesting round, green asian eggplants that have a very mild flavor, but are also full of small round seeds, which add another textural component to the dish.

3 medium asian eggplants or 1 large Mediterranean eggplant (about one pound). If you use a Mediterranean eggplant, it will need to be salted and soaked to remove bitterness). This recipe comes from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid .

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Eggplant Delight 

1 large egg

1.5 Tbs shallot or peanut oil

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1 dried red chile, broken

1 small shallot, minced

3/4 tsp. salt, to taste.

2 Tbs. chopped coriander

1 lime, wedged

While it may be tempting to skip the lime and cilantro, please don’t. They really make the dish!  Prick the eggplants with a fork, and place them in an oven-safe dish, roasted at 450 until the skins collapse and the eggplants are very soft. Slice the eggplants open and scoop the flesh into a bowl, then smash well with a pastry cutter or fork. Stir in the egg into the mixture well, until the yoke completely separates.

Heat the oil in a wok, then add the oil, and stir in the numeric. Add the chili and shallot and cook, stirring constantly, for about 15 seconds. Add the eggplant mixture and continue to stir, scraping the sides and bottom of the wok, and keeping the eggplant mixture soft and smooth, for about 1 minutes. Add the salt, stir, taste, and add more salt of necessary. Turn the eggplant into a shallow bowl, top with cilantro and a healthy squeeze of lime juice.

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Easy Weekend Breakfasts – leeks and eggs

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Some weekends it seems to blustery to go outside, and you just want to cuddle, watch movies, listen to NPR and have breakfast in. This is one of my “special” breakfasts. It doesn’t take long, but long enough that I want to save it for a weekend occasion. No real recipe – just sauteed leeks and garlic, farm, fresh eggs in a soft scramble, and topped with a yogurt sauce and lemon zest. A buttermilk biscuit on the side (rescued from the Thanksgiving freezer leftovers). Some arugula, dressed lightly in lemon juice and olive oil. Everything sprinkled with a large-grain, high quality sea salt. A mug of coffee. This American Life. My honey, and no plans. Perfect.

Shakshuka

This weekend was full of delicious recipes from my new cookbook love, Plenty. Pictures above is Shakshuka, a dish of caramelized peppers (I substituted greens for yellows) and Spanish onions, burst tomatoes, herbs and saffron, finally cooked in individual skillets with a fresh egg. The recipe called for two eggs per serving, but I stuck with one for a late light lunch. I had questioned the sugar initially, but it gave the onions a deep mellow flavor and more depth to the entire dish.

I saved the remaining peppers/onion/tomatoes and had them, with another egg (this time runnier), over a double toasted whole wheat English muffin and butter, for a savory breakfast. The entire time I kept thinking “I can’t believe I get to eat such wonderful food.”

Spinach Chop

What happens if you take all of the ingredients in your favorite spinach salad, wilt the spinach, add harissa and chopped almonds? The delicious version of the “Spinach Chop” in Simply Natural Everyday. Some browned garlic, a healthy dollop of spicy harissa, and wilted spinach, plus chopped eggs, lemon zest and almonds. I used the tamari roasted almonds from Trader Joes and added just a pinch of salt. Perfect.

soft boiled eggs, greens

I love eggs for breakfast, and with my plentiful CSA, I’m always trying to remind myself to eat more vegetables with all of my meals, including breakfast. This simple Saturday morning breakfast, eaten slowly at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee while procrastinating on much-needed yard work, is made of my favorite things -fresh greens, delicious, farm eggs, salt, butter. I soft boiled the eggs, while quick-braising some lacinto kale in a pat of butter and one crushed garlic clove. When the greens were almost ready (and the eggs resting in their pan of hot water) I tossed in some of my last sungold tomatoes of the year. All together with a generous sprinkle of sea salt, and a lovely breakfast was made.

Eggs for Dinner

Eggs for dinner
Eggs for dinner

Sometimes, after a long day, I just can’t bring myself to cook a real meal. That doesn’t mean I can’t still have a quick, delicious, balanced dinner full of seasonal produce. Eggs are my go-to for easy dinner nights and I never seem to tire of them, especially if they are fresh and local. On this particular night I toasted half of a Metropolitan millet muffin (just a tad sweet) and smeared it with butter and topped it with a local egg fried with just a few slices of hot pepper. In the last few minutes of frying, I threw in a big handful of miniature heirloom tomatoes, until just a few burst. Sea salt. Steamed green beans on the side. Perfect.

Barn Burners (and bites) at Farmicia

Barn Burner, Manhattan
Barn Burner, Manhattan

When I found out that Farmacia, a great local restaurant that focuses on seasonal, locally sourced food, had added a 1/2 off drink menu to both their happy hour and their brunch, I made my way over quick. Farmacia makes a great bloody mary, called the “Barn Burner” as well as some exciting mixed drinks using herb and fruit syrups and other unique cocktail  inventions, including one of my favorites, “the garbanzo” with pear vodka and just a hint of lime and pineapple.

Trio of spreads with baguette
Trio of spreads with baguette

I’m serious about my bloody marys, but I’m also serious about my food. The happy hour bar menu offers an extensive vegetarian-friendly list of snack and sandwiches, all in suprisingly large portions. I shared the trio of spreads with sliced Metropolitan baguette. The white bean spread was bland and gluey, but the olive tapendade, filled with chunks of sundried tomato, was plenty flavorful, and the artichoke pesto was suprisingly complex and almost had a tuna texture. I should have stopped there, but I also orded the grilled goat cheese on sourdough sandwich. Unfortunately, the kitchen was running slow and I had to take it to go. 30 minutes later in the dark movie theater the sandwich was cold and greasy, but under such sad circumstances, I don’t think it’s fair to judge it!

Hacienda Eggs
Hacienda Eggs

Always ready to try some place new, I think I shocked all my brunch companions by agreeing to return to Farmicia just a few days later. It was the barn burner, I’m telling you (they make it just as spicy as I want and with a huge meaty green olive) and the fact that they offer brunch of Saturdays and a happy hour from 11-3 – you can’t get much more civilized! I ordered the Hacienda Eggs,two fried eggs, crispy tortilla, re-fried black beans, salsa, and sprinkle of queso fresco. I asked for the avocado salsa instead of sour cream, and our incredibly friendlyl and accomadating waiter said “no problem.” Drinks flowed, everyone loved their food, we had a lusciously large round back booth, and it was one of the best brunches I’ve had this year.