Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Improv in the kitchen: "yes, sometimes"

I am generally not comfortable going off-recipe in the kitchen. Given my limited kitchen knowledge, I will usually go out and buy the exact ingredients rather than substitute with similar things I have handy, or I'll say no thanks to that recipe and look for another one.

As you may have read, my CSA membership has been encouraging me to be more adventurous with my meals and I've been broadening my horizons. A friend recommended I try this recipe to address the abundance of beets and carrots in my fridge. Some minor adjustments I made were to use cedron (aka beebrush or lemon verbena) instead of parsley because, as I said with chamomile, what the hell else was I supposed to do with it? I also used olive oil instead of "walnut oil" because no.

as if
But the substitution I made that had the largest effect on the outcome was to use a regular knife instead of a mandoline. When I read "Using a mandoline," there was a laugh-out-loud moment, and instead I sliced as thinly as I could, which was not very thin. The resulting salad is a real fork-breaker:

I think a mandoline is a neat thing to own, so I might buy one. I certainly will not be making this dish again until I do.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Neither an egg nor a plant, discuss

Eggplant is something new that's come into my house thanks to the CSA. There were five of them, purple as can be. Here are the two that remain:

A nightshade is neither a night nor a shade.
I brought one to a neighborly courtyard cookout over the weekend, sliced it, brushed it with a mixture of oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, and placed it on the grill on a sheet of foil. This turned out well.

Tonight I assigned myself the "simple" task of making eggplant parmigiana. Nota bene: not all recipes at are simple. This one started with slicing the eggplants and laying them out on a rack for two hours so they can "release moisture." I literally laughed out loud in my apartment by myself, eyed a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese on a nearby shelf, checked with a friend that this was bullshit, and then continued with the recipe.

My eggplants were small, and I didn't have any mozzarella (::gasp::), so I didn't do the layering-in-a-casserole-dish step. I just dumped them and the sauce on some fettuccine and called it dinner. The eggplant slices were burnt beyond all recognition, but I knew they were eggplant (once) and that's all that matters.

Very excited to make pesto out of all the leftover basil. That's a thing I do now. Thank you, CSA!