Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm not here...

...but you can find me at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Turkish-Style Beef + Eggplant Sandwiches

For the second week in a row, we got some beautiful lavender-skinned eggplants in our CSA box. Long and slender, they were just begging to be cooked into something delicious. I also had some ground beef in the freezer, and the two knd of came together in my mind as a nice filling for a weeknight sandwich, sort of loose-meat style.

I roasted the eggplant and browned the meat with a whole mess of garlic and some sliced onions. When the eggplant was tender and browned, I tossed it in with the meat and added a handful of fresh herbs.
I then piled it into a flatbread wrap, and dolloped on a sauce of thickened yogurt spiked with hot pepper flakes and a little lemon juice. It was, in a word, mouthwatering. We loved it and ate every. last. bite.

Turkish-Style Beef + Eggplant Sandwiches
serves 2 with leftovers for lunch

3 Japanese eggplants or 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or dill, or a combination of both
2 teaspoons freh lemon juice
2 flatbread sandwich wraps or pitas, warmed (or any flat, wrappable bread you like)

Yogurt Sauce
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
Chopped dill and/or mint

Preheat oven to 450ยบ. Toss eggplant with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a big pinch of salt; place on a large rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 12 minutes, or until eggplant is browned and soft.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, breaking it apart with the spatula. Toss everything to combine, and cook until beef is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.

Add eggplant to skillet, and toss. Add herbs and lemon juice, and toss to combine. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes, and herbs. Stir to combine.

Spoon filling into bread, dollop with yogurt sauce and serve.

{serve with oven fries for even greater success}

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Change is Gonna Come

Big announcement coming soon...

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

'Mater Love

I found out this weekend I was chosen to participate in Foodbuzz's 24, 24, 24 dinner for the month of August. Here's an explanation of the event from, which is linked to last month's event:

"Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period."

I submitted a menu last week and got picked. Woo! My idea was to have a farewell to tomatoes menu, since (at least in Alabama) summer 'mater season comes to an end in late August. I get $250 from Visa Signature to help me buy the ingredients, too. Fabulous.

Here's the menu...I plan on getting as much as I can from farms and other local sources. I'll keep you updated as I prepare for the meal, which will be a week from this coming Saturday (August 29).
  • Tomato gin or vodka fizz
  • Tomato, cucumber & goat feta napoleons with basil oil
  • Chilled creamy tomato-dill soup
  • Locally raised trout in tomato aqua pazza, topped with fresh tomato relish
  • Candied cherry tomatoes on squares of dark walnut bread spread with honey-sweetened ricotta
  • Matched wines
More to come...

Our Eats This Week

Keeping it pretty quick and easy this week, but I promise to have recipes for the pitas and the Spicy Tomato Shrimp...

- Chipotle–Black Bean cakes (ccokbook re-test), fresh corn on the cob, squash
Tuesday - Middle Eastern–style roasted eggplant and ground beef pitas, oven fries
Wednesday - Spicy Tomato Shrimp, fresh field peas and rice
Thursday - Flatbread (cookbook) and salad

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Color Purple

{This is an edited re-post of one I wrote when this blog was in its infancy. It's appropriate for this time of year, so I wanted to share it again}

The plums in the market right now are so lush, the skin so purple it's almost black. I love the flavor dichotomy of ripe plums — the first bite of skin and fruit is tart, but as you get closer to the pit, the flesh gets sweeter. There are 2,000 varieties of plums, but only about 20 types are generally sold in the U.S., including classic purple ones, red ones, green ones and even red-flecked pluots, which are a cross-breeds of plums and apricots.

I love to cut them into chunks and mix them with cantaloupe, fresh lime juice, mint and a touch of sugar. The combination of the flavors and textures of the different plums made for a lovely mix. The smaller, green ones are tart and firm, while the darker ones are sweet and softer. The melon added another layer of flavor, while the lime and mint added some depth. You could certainly sub out the cantaloupe for honeydew, and add in some peaches, blueberries or any other summery fruit you think would work well. This keeps well in the fridge — it's just as good (if not better) the second day—if it lasts that long.

Plum and Melon Salad
makes about 2 1/2 cups
1 or 2 medium purple plums, pitted and cubed
1 small green plum, pitted and cubed
1 medium red plum, pitted and cubed
1 pluot, pitted and cubed
1/4 t0 1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
Juice of one small lime
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint

Combine everything in a large bowl, toss to coat fruit in juice and sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour. Stir before serving. Keeps up to four days, refrigerated.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Runaround

My week has felt pretty crazy so far, and it's only Tuesday! Of course I determine how well a week is going by the meals I cook and eat...

The past 2 days have been strange. First, Jason hurt his ankle playing basketball early Monday morning, so he's been needing extra help and hasn't been able to do everything he normally is able to. (He is a superman husband, I tell you. He is so helpful when he's not down to 1 good foot.) Anyway, when I came home from work yesterday, I made dinner, and then tested two recipes, did a huge load of all the dirty dishes, then cleaned the kitchen. Even though it was all fun (for the most part), I was on my feet in the kitchen from 5:30 pm until almost 10.

This morning, I woke up 10 minutes after I am supposed to be at work. Lovely. So I scrambled around and rushed out the door. I had deadlines galore at work, scarfed down Subway for lunch, then ran home to take Jason to the doctor for x-rays. (His ankle had gotten more swollen since yesterday, but it's not broken—just sprained, thank goodness.) By the time we got home at almost 6:45, we were famished, so I hastily threw together some veggies and squeezed in one cookbook test. Ran errands after dinner, and am just sitting down with a glass of wine to decompress.

I tell you this to let you know that food hasn't been at the forefront of my mind. But I have been saving pictures of these tacos we had a while ago, because I didn't really have much of a recipe for them. But they're a perfect thing to share during a busy week, because they require little effort for a delicious payoff.

Remove the skin from a rotisserie chicken, then shred the meat. (I shred the white meat and save the dark for other things, but you can mix if you like.) Throw it in a skillet slicked with vegetable oil, and toss around until warm.

In a saucepan, warm up a can of drained black beans. Add some cumin and a grated clove of garlic, if you feel like it. With a potato masher, mash the beans until they're smooth with a few chunks.

Wrap a stack of corn tortillas in a damp paper towel, then pop in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Leave them in the microwave until you're ready for them.

Shred some lettuce. If you're feeling ambitious and tomatoes are in season, dice a tomato and 1/4 of a sweet onion. Add minced cilantro and a glug of olive oil. Season with salt.

Pile everything on the warmed tortillas, and garnish with sour cream, if desired.