Tabbouleh – or The Sudden Parsley Harvest!

October 17th:  the word on the street was a Killing Frost.  It happened that night; when I woke on the 18th the thermometer read 28 degrees F.

So, among other things that I picked or brought indoors that day was a load of parsley.  The curly leafed stuff that has loads of nice parsley flavor even though this herb ends up being used in most recipes as a garnish (and might often be un-eaten).

My parsley was prolific… and it came only from one single plant.  I didn’t even pick all of it, though I collected most.  And I’d used some (yes, as garnish, but I ate it) in previous weeks.

So… keep in mind this is one of the few recipes I’ll make at home for this blog or otherwise that contains gluten.  I’ll experiment elsewhen with options other than Bulgar wheat, as I know a good portion of my readership cannot eat gluten.  (I may experiment with buckwheat groats, quinoa, broken rice, and possibly cauliflower.)  

Tabbouleh, recipe, Bulgar wheat, parsley, mint, mid-east, middle eastern

Tabbouleh, a serving for dinner.

Since this is the end here for locally grown heirloom tomatoes, I used those instead of supermarket roma tomatoes, but the roma tomatoes will be less “wet” and are often preferred.

Prep Time: About 10 minutes, done while Bulgar is soaking.
“Cook” Time: Bulgar in hot water, 35-45 minutes.
Rest Time: Allow flavors to marry or at least get friendly, for at least an hour.
Serves: 4-6, depending on use.
Cuisine:  Middle Eastern
Leftovers:  Yes! 

Tabbouleh

  • 1/2 cup Bulgar wheat
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 medium tomato (or 2 small roma tomatoes), diced. Remove the ends, of course.
  • 1/2-2/3 cup chopped parsley, removing larger stems.  Pack this down in the measuring cup, and 2/3 cup is preferred.
  • 1/8 cup chopped mint, more or less.
  • 2 scallions, chopped. Chop the white part at 1/8th inch, but let the greens go longer.
  • Juice of one lime (sub half or so of a lemon if desired)
  • 2.5 – 3 tablespoonsful of good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional:  Half an English cucumber, diced. 
  • Freshly ground pepper, and sea salt (or pink Himalayan salt) to taste.  

Heat up the water, pour it over the bulger wheat in a large bowl.  Mix until all is wet, then cover and leave on the counter for 35-45 minutes.

During this time, chop up the rest of the ingredients.

Check to be sure the water has been absorbed by the Bulgar wheat, then drop in all the rest of the ingredients.  Start with 1/4 teaspoon salt, you can add more later when you know how all these ingredients work together.  Stir.

Refrigerate (covered) for at least an hour.  You can make a day ahead, and still have leftovers for a few days after.  If needed, at this point add more salt or pepper.

Tabbouleh, recipe, Bulgar wheat, parsley, mint, mid-east, middle eastern

Harvesting parsley, rosemary, tulsi/holy basil. Mostly, it appears, parsley!

Some of the extra parsley can (and will be) frozen. The plan here is to attempt this by putting it in freezer bags, no blanching.


Health benefits of parsley  (Petroselinum crispum):  

This veggie is high in Vitamin K, as well as in calcium.   A very nutritious source of minerals and other goodies, especially when treated as a vegetable (as in, say, tabbouleh or perhaps even a smoothie), instead of just a herb or garnish.  It is native to the Mediterranean world, and in temperate climates grows as a biannual, flowering and going to seed in its second year.


Having fun linking this post to:

Fiesta Friday, whose hosts this week are:  Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Mila @ Milkandbun

What’s for Dinner, Sunday Link Up!

Blurred Living Link Up

Homestead Blog Hop

Full Plate Thursday

 

 

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Posted in Cooking, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Dining Out: J Ramen House, Brookfield, CT

I visited here twice; the first time I didn’t have the ramen, and since the venue is named Ramen House, I wanted to return when I wanted to eat ramen.  It was much too hot that  day to have a large bowl of hot ramen soup!

Dining out, j ramen, brookfield CT, Japanese

This is a mostly-Japanese cuisine restaurant, but one will note that there is no sushi or sashimi  on the menu.  There’s no hibachi tables with the juggling chefs, either.  Instead, plan to enjoy foods not on the typical Japanese menu (at least here in the US).  Well, they do serve miso soup, gyoza and shumai.  While I do love sushi and sashimi, it is good to see that Japanese restaurants are popping up serving other aspects of their varied cuisine.

First Visit:    This was only the second week of the restaurant’s operation.  One of the chefs used to work at a good sushi establishment in New Milford, and he recognized me.

Appetizer:  Pork soup dumplings.

Main:  Crispy roast duck salad.

Second Visit:    It’s nearly October at the time of this visit, and enough chill to the air that I really really want to eat a good representative sample of the dish the restaurant is named for.

Appetizer:  Mushroom tempura.

Main:  Tonkotsu  ramen soup.

Pork Soup Dumplings

dining out, J Ramen, Brookfield CT, soup dumplings

Pork soup dumplings.

This is my second experience with soup dumplings, my first was at the landmark Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao  down in Flushing, Queens, New York.  No, soup dumplings aren’t a Japanese thing, but if these chefs want to add in a Chinese taste here and there, I’m fine with that.  And no, these dumplings do not begin to measure up to the Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao dumplings… but I hadn’t expected that they would!

For where this restaurant is located, no where near a hub of residents of Japanese or Chinese immigrants, these were definitely good.  I thought the dough a bit too thick and solid, and not as delicate as at Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao, but one does need to note, the dough needs to be thick enough for the soup to remain inside the dumpling upon cooking!  I might have wanted the seasonings inside kicked up just a smidge… but I found this appetizer satisfactory, especially considering this is not actually a Chinese establishment.  They’ve done well with this item.  (I’m planning on making this myself down the road… I hope others will be kind to my effort…)   In short, yes, I’d order again.

Crispy Roast Duck Salad

dining out, Brookfield CT, Japanese, duck salad

Love this salad!

I was very pleased with this main dish.  A warm serving of sliced roasted duck was served over greens, strawberry, mango, red onion and cucumber, garnished with cilantro.  It was very very refreshing for a hot summer’s day.  I think it would be great at any time of the year.  The dressing was light, which worked well for this dish.  I’m sure if I’d remembered to ask, I could have had that served on the side.

I liked the touch of mango (just right!), and wish there’d been more than one strawberry, but that’s minor.  The cilantro garnish was a good idea, and as it was on a sprig, easily removed for those who genetically perceive it to taste like soap.

Sometimes Asian duck can be served very fatty — but this was not.  I ended up quite satisfied.  It was a cool and refreshing salad for a nasty day!

Mushroom Tempura

J Ramen, Brookfield CT, dining out, Japanese

Mushroom tempura (shiitake) and dipping sauce.

Six shiitake mushroom caps, in tempura coating, to be dipped into a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.  The mushrooms were excellent, and the tempura coating not too heavy, but just right for the items this was coating.  The dipping sauce had the right amount of spicy heat for this appetizer.  Without the dipping sauce, the mushroom/tempura would have needed more flavor.  While I am not a fan of sweet, the sweet in this case worked well in conjunction with the tempura’d mushrooms.  This particular appetizer is vegan, but there are not a lot of vegetarian or vegan items on the menu here.

Tonkotsu Ramen Soup

pork ramen soup, dining out, miso, Japanese, ramen, Brookfield CT

A lovely pork-based ramen soup.

The base of this particular ramen soup is a rich pork broth married with miso.  Layered into this, is the ramen noodles, some meaty cha-su pork belly, bean sprouts, black fungus, scallion, corn, and two boiled egg halves cooked to halfway between soft and hard.  I found this satisfying and tasty.  The ramen noodles do not remotely resemble those I remember from the supermarket packs back in the 80’s when I’d be buying those.  (A good thing.)

Other ramen soups are based on duck, chicken, or beef broth.  Most do not have the miso.   There’s a mushroom one I nearly got (four types of mushroom plus leek, in a chicken broth base) but I decided to go for one more defining of ramen, with the pork.  Plus, I really wanted those shiitake tempura!   (I wasn’t going to do mushrooms for both items ordered.)

The restaurant is located on the site of the old landmark for the area, Lavelle’s Wagon Wheel, an Italian eatery which had been a fixture for years.  Eventually, it became a Mexican place (I never tried that one), then Layla’s Bakery, which served baked goods (of course), breakfasts and lunches.  They especially had a mean cole slaw with the barest bit of mayo.  Unfortunately due to reasons not revolving around the restaurant itself, they had to reduce hours to weekends (I’d been set to review it, but that stopped me…), and not long after, they closed.

The ramen house people have done extensive interior renovations, relocating the rather dysfunctional cramped restrooms of the old place(s) to a more functional end of the building, and making the entire inside seating area larger and airier.  Unfortunately, they removed the old iconic “wagon wheel”, but yep, I could see it would not fit with their theme!


J Ramen House
316 Federal Road
Brookfield, CT 06804

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unlaid Chicken Eggs: In Chicken Soup

Back on September 30th, we dispatched the meat birds.  I ended up helping with de-feathering and gutting ducks at a neighbor’s, followed by them (there were five of us working on one aspect or another of the birds) coming over to help me with seven meat birds, six of whom were roosters and who let us know that.  (I do miss their crowing.  I miss their presence.  Six roosters and one hen… not a sustainable ratio, even remotely.)

Chicken soup, unlaid eggs, recipe, eyerlekh, unborn eggs, soup, Jewish

Chicken soup with yolks, still simmering.

Jesse drew the hen to clean, and discovered an unlaid whole egg with shell and all, and a bundle of unlaid egg yolks held together by membranes, within her.  He was eager for me not to toss these treats out with the entrails, and I’d actually heard of this; that people do eat them.  So… Yes, I did save and eat them two days later for lunch.  This  below is that meal.

I’ll be kind and post the pics of the unborn eggs at the end.

(I’ve also heard that people cook and eat rooster wattles and combs – I do believe in eating as much of what an animal gives you as possible, considering these gifts that one should not waste, but in this case… perhaps next time.  It just felt… too personal… to do.)

I was startled that this hen was far enough along that she was about to lay her first egg.  Small, fully formed, and beautiful.  It may even have been fertilized – the roosters learning about rooster-hood and all, even though I don’t think all of them were yet mature.  (Only two of them were noticeably active, if you know what I mean.)

For those who have not seen earlier discussions, these birds were a combo of red broilers (possibly red freedom rangers?) and black broilers (these grew and matured faster, and apparently have  some Australorpe in their background, which may account for the friendliness of the bird I rescued).  I wanted to steer clear of Cornish Cross (your typical supermarket bird) due to their heart and leg issues — they’re bred for such big breasts that their legs may break, and their cardiac system can’t typically take the stress much after 8 weeks of age.  Indeed, bred to be the true factory bird, although some homesteaders do indeed raise Cornish Cross and free-range them.  Those have a better feed to meat conversion ratio, but since I’m not planning on selling these birds and so am not gearing up for volume, I go with what I want to go with.  (Plus, anything that gives me a better dark to white meat ratio is certainly not to be sniffed at.)

broilers-3 roos--

Yes, these are roosters, and not the hen.

Anyhow, back to the unlaid eggs:  Searching for the Golden Egg is a site that provides interesting information about eyerlekh, a Jewish old-country traditional treat.  Unborn, unlaid eggs.

According to that post, they can be cured by salting and sugaring, and held for a long period of time (important in the days of no refrigeration), or they can be poached into a broth.

While I was surfing electronically, I discovered that these eggs are consumed in curries in India, and eaten in stews in Japan.  I am certain many other cultures don’t waste these yolks, either.

I opted to make a soup, more or less a Jewish chicken soup, and poach the eggs in that soup.  To this end, I used two chicken backs and one neck.  I don’t expect you to have the exact same ingredients, but do use a home-made chicken stock if at possible.  (If you actually have access to these sorts of unlaid eggs, the homemade stock is probably second-nature to you…)

Chicken soup, unlaid eggs, recipe, eyerlekh, unborn eggs, soup, Jewish

The unborn egg that was ready to be laid. Probably would have been laid later that day. If the hen had been laying before this, it was while she was out free-ranging and I’ll never find them (nor want to, at this point…)  I didn’t add this egg to the soup, but I could have.  EDIT:  She did lay an egg prior.  I simply didn’t discover it until it was too late to consider as food… (Compost, alas.)

This soup stock was made from the above chicken parts, and included sufficient water for two servings (when completed), a coarsely chopped onion, a stalk of diced celery, a half cup or so of white wine, two teaspoons of allspice, 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seed, salt and pepper to taste.  You can add herbs as you feel inspired, of course.  Carrots would be colorful.  Total volume when finished simmering (after about 3.5 hours, and having periodically to readjust liquids with additional water): about 1.75 cups.  At the end, remove bones and save any meat for the soup.

Times below assume you already have your homemade chicken stock.

Prep Time:  If you already have the stock – 5-10 minutes.  (To make the stock, allow up to four hours all together.)  
Cook Time:  Heat up the broth to a good simmer, but less than a boil.  Each range will vary.  Poaching the eggs:  4 minutes.
Rest Time:  None.
Serves: 2

Cuisine:  Jewish-inspired.
Leftovers:  Possible, but not tested.

Poached Unlaid Chicken Egg (Eyerlekh) Chicken Soup

  • Homemade chicken soup containing bits of chicken, onion and celery; seasoned with wine, herbs and spices as discussed above.  In a pinch, you can use boxed low sodium chicken broth, but that’s in a pinch.  About 1.75 – 2  cups total with ingredients.
  • 1 set of unlaid chicken egg yolks.  Failing this, use 4 chicken yolks from laid eggs.
  • Fresh parsley sprigs (garnish).

Bring the soup to a simmer, and taste for seasonings.

Add the unlaid yolks, and poach for about 4 minutes, keeping the liquid at a very gentle simmer, not breaking the yolks.

Serve, and add parsley for garnish.

Chicken soup, unlaid eggs, recipe, eyerlekh, unborn eggs, soup, Jewish

The large egg to the left is an egg of  typical “large” size, already in my fridge from a local farmer. The little one to the top was unlaid, but ready. The batch of yolks were slowly developing, to be laid approximately one day at a time. Or maybe every other day.

Chicken soup, unlaid eggs, recipe, eyerlekh, unborn eggs, soup, Jewish

Close up. Bright yolks, a product of a great diet. (A little orange-r than they were, due to lighting, but they were orange…)

Chicken soup, unlaid eggs, recipe, eyerlekh, unborn eggs, soup, Jewish

The yolks are light and delicious, and at four minutes of poaching, they’ve gone solid but creamy. Some sources say they taste sweeter than laid yolks, but I didn’t do a taste comparison.


This recipe is timidly wandering over to Fiesta Friday , hosted by
Liz @ spadesspatulasandspoons.com and Deb @ Pantry Portfolio – where I don’t suspect it will be made by many, but who knows? However, there are always popular and good recipe notions to be had there!

And it more boldly goes where no eggs have gone before (ahem, sorry for the Star Trek overlay…) over to the Homestead Blog Hop, where other good things are quite apt to be found!

And, we’re over here at the What’s For Dinner, Sunday Link Up.  Because I don’t want to waste potential food items that came up and thus grew up and lived good lives, and who  never saw that cramped  supermarket life.

What happens here, is I don’t think I ever want to eat a supermarket chicken again.  As a guest  in someone’s home out of politeness, but otherwise, not.

 

Posted in Cooking, Poultry, Soups & Stews | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Rendering Pork Leaf Lard

I asked for the leaf lard from the recent pork share I participated in.  And, oh, why not, I’ll take the fat back too!

I ended up with one package of leaf lard, which was about one pound, and four packages of fat back, nearly twice the weight each.  What I would ever do with close to  8 pounds of fat back is open to question — until I suddenly hit upon the answer.

Leaf lard, rendering, pork fat, recipe

The whole leaf lard, being chopped up.

Suet (from beef or lamb) is used as a base for bird feed blocks.  Okay, when the bears go into hibernation, I’ll be feeding any winter birds around here.  The source will simply be from a pig, not an ungulate.  I certainly don’t want to eat 8 plus pounds of pork fat!  Or deep fry in all that!  So, I’ll just render the majority of this stuff into the porcine version of bird suet!

My chickens might even appreciate a little of the stuff, especially in the winter, when grubs are harder to come by.  (Yes, chickens are omnivores.)

Leaf lard, rendering, pork fat, recipe

Undergoing the process of rendering, under low heat.

Leaf lard is the fat that surrounds the kidneys and environs.  It is prized by chefs and, yes, bakers.  It imparts no taste but improves the texture of many types of baked goods.  (Just be sure to tell any vegetarians, vegans, Orthodox Jews and Muslims who might be partaking that the goods in question contain pork…)  It has a relatively high melting point, and a high smoke point.  Fat back does have some of the taste of pork, and is deemed of lesser quality than leaf lard.  But, it does have its uses in cooking, but I just don’t want anywhere so much!!

Leaf lard, rendering, pork fat, recipe

After rendering, and cooling in the fridge.

Prep Time:  However long it takes you to chop the lard and into what size. 
Cook Time:  Depends on how much lard, and the size you chopped it to.  Plan on up to a couple hours.
Rest Time:  Cool enough to place in fridge.  
Serves: It depends!  What will you do with it???
Cuisine:  General European.
Leftovers:  Of course!  Will last for a month in the fridge.  

Rendering Leaf Lard

  • 1 pound, more or less, of leaf lard.  
  • About a quarter cup of water. 

Chop up the leaf lard.  I chopped mine by hand to 1/4 inch bits.  The smaller  you chop it, the faster it will render.  Some people throw it through a meat grinder (I don’t yet own one).  Some people plaster it through a food processor, which, frankly, I didn’t want to think about cleaning afterwards.

Put in a good pot, on the range, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer.

The water is necessary to keep the fat from burning before it starts to melt.  The water does need to boil off.  Otherwise the rendered lard will not last as long, and will lack the proper useful texture.  (Or so I understand, but I am copacetic with the principle.)

Stir periodically.  I left the lid off the pot until the end process.

This is not the most pleasant aroma on the planet, so you may want to vent your kitchen accordingly.  I didn’t mind it that much.  Cruciferous veggies have a stronger smell, and I don’t mind that much, either.  (TBH, the only food aromas I truly dislike are hazelnut and asafetida.  I have not yet had the privilege of sniffing durian.)

At any rate, after an hour and a half of a low simmer, drain off your rendered fat through a narrow-gapped sieve, and collect the liquids for later.  Smash down the harder pieces with the back of a serving spoon or similar implement, straining the liquids into your chosen vessel.

Allow this liquefied fat to cool, and store it in your fridge.   You can aliquot portions, and freeze parts if you desire.


At any rate, any lard or animal fat you obtain like this can be rendered down in a similar process.  Time may also vary by the type of fat, but I have yet to experiment with that.  Just plan to be around and in your kitchen during the process.  I do consider this homesteading activity to be part and parcel of “waste not, want not”.  Down the road (I really don’t eat grains often, so I won’t guarantee when) I will make some pastry product using this leaf lard.

The fat that doesn’t render down can be fried to crispy edible fat-crisps.  Frankly, I didn’t find this portion all that interesting, and I am afraid, after sampling to check, I discarded that.  YMMV.

If you decide to render down leaf lard, fat back, or suet… please do go with locally pastured sources as fat does tend to retain, unintentionally or not,  “additives” of uncertain and unwanted origin.

Hmm, in the Recipe Index, should I file this under “Condiments”?  Hmm, I think I will.


 

Hop on over to the Homesteading Blog Hop!!!  View this week’s posts!

And, have a Fiesta at Fiesta Friday!!!  With this week’s hosts:
Liz @ spadesspatulasandspoons.com and Deb @ Pantry Portfolio

 

Posted in Cooking, Meats | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Vegetarian Eggplant, Apple and Onion Casserole with Ras al Hanout

Casserole.  A word redolent of the ’50s and ’60s with maybe a glimpse into the ’70s.

Dated.  Casseroles are dated.  Just like wood-stained kitchen cabinetry, and appliances that aren’t stainless steel.  (As in my kitchen!)

vegetarian, vegan, ras al hanout, eggplant, recipe, Moroccan, apple, onion, Paleo, Whole 30

Eggplant with ras al hanout, Moroccan style, but in my apparently “Happy Place” – which so far, it is!

Proud to own a “dated” kitchen in my new home! — go check out Houzz/GardenWeb if you want to know more about being dated!

BTW, if you look at their Kitchen Forum, people posting there DO have very practical ideas for actual and extremely practical kitchen design, which I happily drew upon when designing this new kitchen, and I highly commend them for that.  I also enjoy their Cooking Forum for some great recipes and discussions.  It’s just the décor / decorator people I sometimes have issues with — “dated” is a word flung about all-too-frequently!  Um, dated is using washboards in suburbia, or anywhere where you have an alternative. Style is what you prefer… )

You can skip my diatribe on American “comfort food” by bypassing the next two or three paragraphs  You may have wanted to skip the last paragraph or two, maybe??  

I don’t know about you, I usually loved the casserole dishes Mom came up with when I was a kid.  Usually, they depended on leftovers, but not always.  Some of them were planned, like the dish I am creating to post today.  I liked them far better than those alleged staples of “comfort food” such as traditional meatloaf made with breadcrumbs, or mac and cheese (which when we had it, turned out to be on nights when the parents were going out so they didn’t have to eat it… since they were going out, they always made it from the Kraft box, with a little extra cheddar added — nothing especially comforting about that, especially since both my parents  were such good cooks to begin with!).

[Just to note, I’ve upped my ante on meatloaf here and here – a result of a LOAD of ground beef from a CSA beef share, and wanting to do something DIFFERENT with that meat (at that time I was almost entirely Paleo; I am about 80-85% eating Paleo today; I honor Paleo for teaching me meatloaf can actually TASTE good if you sub the silly breadcrumbs out for some great veggies…); and I discovered having real live veggies in a skillet mac and cheese — along with a good mix of complementary cheeses — while obviously NOT Paleo, ups the ante on mac and cheese, as per here.  Oh, my brother made a spectacular lobster mac and cheese with onions and bell peppers, but lobster isn’t going to be a frequent occurrence…]  

But the casseroles were almost always intensely fun.  Mom did come up with a few standards (notably the post-Thanksgiving turkey casserole, composed of the meat, dressing, sweet potatoes/white potatoes, perhaps some broccoli or whatever other green vegetable had gone with the meal, with a layer of melty cheese on top); but they’d often be dependent on what was leftover hanging out in the fridge, and dressed with herbs and spices at educated whim.

vegetarian, vegan, ras al hanout, eggplant, recipe, Moroccan, apple, onion, Paleo, Whole 30

I ended up deciding that last eggplant in the back should be reserved for another meal.  The remaining three equaled a pound, and are in this dish.

Here we go, though, with some of that ras al hanout I made in September… I just love the versatility of this seasoning!  Eggplant dishes are often eaten in Morocco (don’t know about the apple, but it wanted to hop in…)

For the eggplant, I used the thin-skinned Asian varieties, because I didn’t want to have to bother removing the skin on the tougher European ones.  If you only have access to the European ones, either cut the skin off, or if you are fine eating it, go for it.  It should be rich in fiber!

vegetarian, vegan, ras al hanout, eggplant, recipe, Moroccan, apple, onion, Paleo, Whole 30

Before the cheese and before going in the oven after being mashed up, and apple with seasonings added.

By the way, there are two grades of avocado oil out there.  I buy the big bottles from Costco or BJ’s, and they are rated for high temperature cooking.  The other (very pricy) type is for salad dressings or other cold-use applications.  Coconut oil is also good, and would work in this dish, but I find for many dishes, that coconut oil may impart too much a flavor.  (You could use leaf lard; I have a lard rendering recipe upcoming, but I wanted this dish to be vegetarian.)

This casserole (if without the optional cheese) is vegan, Paleo and Whole 30 compliant.  I still always will love a great casserole!

vegetarian, vegan, ras al hanout, eggplant, recipe, Moroccan, apple, onion, Paleo, Whole 30

A serving on the large bright over-blue Goodwill plate I picked up a few years ago. Not sure it was the best plate to pick up for food blogging, but for 50 cents it adds (possibly shocking) color to any menu item not particularly intrinsically colorful!

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  about 50 minutes + 30 minutes.
Rest Time:  cool this enough to eat without burning yourself.
Serves: 2 as a main; probably 4 as a side.
Cuisine:  Moroccan-inspired.
Leftovers:  Yuppers.

Eggplant, Apple and Onion Casserole with Ras al Hanout

  • 1 pound / 0.5 kg of eggplant, sliced into approximately quarter inch rounds.  If you use Asian eggplants you won’t need to peel them.   If you like the peels on European ones,  carry on without peeling.
  • 1/2 medium-large onion, further halved and sliced thin.
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • About 1 tablespoon cooking (avocado) oil.  
  • 1 apple, cored and coarsely diced.  I leave the peel on.
  • 1 tablespoon ras al hanout, home-made or store-bought.
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed.
  • Sea salt and ground pepper to taste.  
  • Optional:  a hot chili pepper, de-seeded and finely diced.  My home-made ras al hanout was spicy enough that today I left out this option.  Taste and see what you need to do!
  • Optional:  Shaved Asiago cheese.  I’d recommend this over the faux parmesean I ended up using , because apparently I’d already consumed my Asiago. Don’t always do as I do, but you could consider doing as I say… ?  Or leave the cheese off entirely!

Pre-heat your oven to 450 F / 230 C.

Prepare the eggplant and onion, place in a pan for the oven.  Coat the eggplant with lemon juice, to slow down browning (and it does add a bit of flavor).  Add the cooking oil and mix with your hands to coat for roasting.

Cover with foil pressing the foil down so that the eggplant steams inside the pan while cooking.

Roast for 45-55 minutes – this will depend on how thick your layers of food in the pan are.   You want the eggplant soft.  Remove, reset oven temperature to 350 F / 175 C.

Allow the eggplant/onion to cool a little.

Coarsely mash with a potato masher.  (With the onion in there, you won’t get a smooth texture anyways.)

Prep the apple and the crushed garlic.

Add these ingredients, along with all seasonings, to the casserole, mix, and, using the back of a serving spoon, lay it flat against the pan you are planning to serve the casserole in.

If you want cheese on top, now is the time to add that.

Bake for 25-35 minutes,  uncovered.  (You can always prep everything up to this step in advance.  Store in fridge prior to this last step, if you do decide to break the process up.   You may need to bake for up to the 35 minutes in such a case.

vegetarian, vegan, ras al hanout, eggplant, recipe, Moroccan, apple, onion, Paleo, Whole 30

Getting a pretty prep shot for Pinterest. Which for some reason selects for Portrait angles and for logos. Well, okay!

An excellent early lunch here today!!!

Linking to  Fiesta Friday, a good resource for excellent foods.  Your co-hosts this week at that venue are:  Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Debanita @ Canvassed Recipes, who are helping serve up delicious meals!

Linking to What’s For Dinner, Sunday Link Up! for even more wondrous foods!

AND, starting up over at Full Plate Thursday, for another batch of great eats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Commentary, Cooking, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Breakfast BLT (with Egg)

What makes something become a breakfast BLT?

You serve it at breakfast…  Duh?

BLT, breakfast, egg, recipe

A fine breakfast with a BLT and E (egg).

I decided to call this a breakfast BLT because I had it for breakfast, and because I added an egg to it.

I don’t typically buy loaves of bread, but there was this real nice mini-loaf sitting around, that I’d just gotten from Claire’s Corner Copia, the restaurant back in New Haven, CT, that I reviewed this past week.

I DO love a good BLT, though.  Just not enough to purchase a whole loaf of bread for, to make and eat once every other month or something.

BLT, breakfast, egg, recipe

Everything shown but the bacon… which is there, too.

My ingredients, yours may well vary to some degree:

The small mini-loaf of bread from Claire’s.
A slice of bacon from a Connecticut farm share I just participated in.
A couple cherry tomatoes from an honor-system roadside stand.  (Yep, I was honorable.)
Butternut lettuce, hydroponically grown, from a regular supermarket.  
An egg from a local farmer.
Ground Rainbow peppercorns from Trader Joe’s.

I can’t wait to grow my own produce!!!

At any rate, use whatever quantities of the ingredients suit the size of the slices of your bread.  Note, that the sandwich will hold together much better on larger slices!  (Definitely needed to eat this over a plate!)

Below, I’m assembling the layers of the BLT…

BLT, breakfast, egg, recipeBLT, breakfast, egg, recipe

BLT, breakfast, egg, recipeBLT, breakfast, egg, recipe

BLT, breakfast, egg, recipe

(and then, add the top slice of bread….)

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes.
Cook Time: 10 minutes.
Rest Time:  None.
Cuisine:  American breakfast fare. 
Serves:  One.
Leftovers: Doesn’t lend itself to that.

The Breakfast BLT (or BLET? – Bacon, Lettuce, Egg and Tomato) Sandwich

Per Person:  

  • Two slices of bread.  
  • 1 or 2 slices of bacon.
  • Leaf lettuce, a leaf or three depending on leaf size and bread coverage.
  • Tomato – one small tomato, or 1-2 cherry tomatoes, or 2-3 grape tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick.  
  • 1 medium sized egg.  
  • Ground pepper to taste.
  • Optional:  Mayo, but not recommended if using the below preparation.

Prep the salad part – the lettuce and tomato.

Start frying the bacon, and when just enough fat is released, add the slices of bread off to the side, to fry in the fat.  (This is why I did not use the mayo in this rendition.)

When you’ve flipped the bacon (and the bread) at least once, add the egg, reducing skillet temperature to medium low.  In this case you will want the yolk cooked solidly enough that it won’t ooze when you cut or bite into it.  You can pop the yolk before flipping, or deal with it after flipping.

When the bread has become toast, and is browned sufficiently on both sides, remove, pat on a paper towel, and prepare to assemble.  It will have soaked in some bacon fat, which is why I don’t recommend adding additional fat sources in the nature of mayo.

You can use the ground pepper on the egg as you cook it.

My order of assemblage may not match your choice of ordering.  Since my slices were small, I separated off a layer of egg white and added the balance of the egg as an upper layer.

Put this all together, and serve with a steaming pot of tea or coffee.  Any leftovers (for instance, I only used half a slice of bacon on my tiny sandwich), serve on the side.

BLT, breakfast, egg, recipe

Breakfast BLT, mini-version. Or, a BLET, should you rather!

Let’s hear it for Fiesta Friday, once again!!!  Your co-hosts this week there are:  Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Debanita @ Canvassed Recipes, who are helping serve up delicious foods!

And we are also over at the What’s for Dinner, Sunday Supper Blog Hop… another batch of delicious foods!

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking | 4 Comments

Lamb Broth Soup with Brussels Sprouts

Remember the Leg of Lamb Mechoui?   There was so much luscious leftover au jus from that, that I saved it in a bowl, placed it in the refrigerator, and easily skimmed off the small layer of fat the next morning.

I obtained about 2 cups worth of nicely gelatinized au jus, that I decided to make it into a soup.  Looking through the fridge, I found I had Brussels sprouts that would do nicely with it.

Lamb soup, brussels sprouts, recipe, broth

Leftover broth, Brussels sprouts, onion, celery, and a bit of cooking oil.

I don’t really care for the sprouts just being boiled, but they do wonderfully roasted, and then put into a liquid base (such as a soup).  This would mean I wouldn’t have to cook the broth very long, either.

Onions are a staple in this house, so I also roasted some onion with the Brussels sprouts.  Since the juices still had a ras al hanout atmosphere to them, I didn’t focus much on additional seasonings.

Lamb soup, brussels sprouts, recipe, broth

The Brussels & onion has been chopped. I roasted both of these with a little avocado oil, then only used half of what I roasted in the soup, as I feared the whole batch could reasonably be “overkill”. (The leftovers will end up in an omelet on a future day.)

If one desires, one can also add bits of leftover lamb into this soup – I ended up finding other uses for those, so this broth stood on its own with the vegetables.  One could also add slivers of red or orange bell pepper for a colorful atmosphere, possibly using less of the other veggies if you do so.

Lamb soup, brussels sprouts, recipe, broth

Simmer, simmer!

Because of the gelatin, and the local-farm-raised-pastured properties, and the cruciferous Brussels, this is a very nutritious soup, and would be warming on a cold autumnal day.  Which here in New England, are coming…

Note:  I thought I was going to use twice as much Brussels sprouts and onions than I actually added, after roasting, to the soup.  So the photos aren’t adjusted, but my recipe has been adjusted.  (The extra veggies got eaten later…)

Lamb soup, brussels sprouts, recipe, broth

A portion of the soup. As usual, I prefer Chinese soup spoons to Western ones.  Go ahead and add fresh parsley as a garnish when done – I shoulda!

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook Time:  20 to roast the veggies, about 10 for the soup.
Rest Time:  Nada.
Serves:  2, but have a salad or something as a side.
Leftovers:  Yes, but will be less-crispy upon re-heating.

Lamb Broth Soup with Brussels Sprouts

  • About 2 cups of lamb broth (or pork, or chicken, or goat, or beef) – but use homemade broth with inherent gelatin.  Left from a roast, which doesn’t have to be the recipe I used… is wonderful since you won’t have to add extra seasonings, and you should have a nutritious gelatin based broth.  The supermarket varieties don’t have the flavor or nutrition levels for this recipe.
  • 80 grams of trimmed and chopped Brussels sprouts.   The thicker base of these, chop finer than the leafy ends.
  • About 1/6th of a medium-large onion, sliced.
  • 1 teaspoon of avocado oil.  (Check to be sure YOUR avocado oil is for high heat cooking, I source mine from BJ’s or Costco.)  Or some other high heat healthy cooking oil.  If your broth isn’t very seasoned, bacon fat could be an option.
  • 1 celery stalk, diced.

Roast the prepared Brussels sprouts and onion and cooking oil (mix together first) in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.

When that is almost ready, heat up the broth and celery together, on high, on the cooktop in a suitable pan.

Pull out the sprouts and onion from the oven.

When the gelatin of the soup has liquified, and is warm, add the sprouts and onion to the soup.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer.

Cook for about 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat, and serve — you can garnish with fresh parsley after you ladle this out.


Shared with the wonderful folk at Fiesta Friday, this time hosted by Catherine @ Kunstkitchen’s Blog and Becky @ Bubbly Bee, so pop on over and visit.

And shared with the equally wonderful folk at the Homestead Blog Hop.

And, yes, over at the equally fine folk at the What’s For Dinner, Sunday Link Up locale!
Lamb soup, brussels sprouts, recipe, broth

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Posted in Cooking, Meats, Soups & Stews | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments