In an effort to keep this blog from being dominated by cooking, this is a three-part post, full of bossiness. If you follow all of my instructions, your life will be transformed. Seriously, it will be.
1. Peel your eggplant!
I heard this instruction on Food and Wine (a local radio cooking show). To be honest, that show is so often pretentious and ridiculous, I almost wrote it off. As in, the chef said (in a of course everyone knows this voice), “Oh of course, never put eggplant skin in ratatouille.” But then, a few weeks ago, I made ratatouille and decided, why not try it? So I used a vegetable peeler to take off the skin before chopping up the eggplant (super easy) and it was the best ratatouille. I’d ever made. Then last week, I made this super delicious barley salad with roasted eggplant. Again, I peeled the eggplant before chopping and the roasted eggplant was so amazingly delicious, I had to stop myself from eating all of it before dinner.
As it turns out, it’s not that I don’t like eggplant. It’s that I don’t like eggplant skin. That’s why I love melitzanosalata so much. Repeat after me: I promise to always peel my eggplant before cooking it.
2. Make this salad before watermelons go out of season!
Laura’s Watermelon Salad
(modeled after an amazingly delicious one eaten at Blue Hill Tavern several years ago)
crumbled goat cheese
thinly sliced red onion
caramelized walnuts (I sprinkle mine with salt while stirring – I have to make twice as many as we need so that there’s enough left for dinner.) 🙂
Arrange on a plate or in individual bowls and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Make sure you have all parts in each bite. Wish that watermelons are in season year-round. Dream of next summer’s watermelon.
(I use a method similar to this one to caramelize my walnuts except that I don’t bother with butter – just sugar, walnuts, and salt.)
3. Cook these recipes! Here’s a bit of a roundup of recipes we’ve been enjoyed over the past few weeks (in case you need an idea for what to cook for dinner tonight). (Clearly, I like Smitten Kitchen.)
- Cold peanut noodles with chicken (I made it with only the peanut dressing, not the dipping sauce, and it was still so good.)
- Baked orzo with eggplant and mozzarella (a full recipe probably serves closer to six if you’re serving it with any side dishes and it reheats well in the oven.)
- Veggie Burrito Bake
- Mediterranean Eggplant And Barley Salad (add garbanzo beans for a main dish)
- Ratatouille (I used the Simply in Season recipe, which I found posted here. I don’t think it’s the best ratatouille out there but it’s relatively fast and good. We ate it over polenta a couple weeks ago and that was yummy. Cook your eggplant first, take it out of the pan, and then cook the zucchini and peppers over higher heat. Mix it all together at the end.)
- Spatchcock Chicken (this is delicious roasted in the oven also)
- Brownies (I made some with dark chocolate cocoa powder last weekend -YUM.)
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars (leave out the strawberries, double the rhubarb, increase the sugar a smidge and you have an amazing rhubarb bar.)
Go forth and consume delicious food, NOW! 🙂