Small Batch Meyer Lemon Marmalade

meyer lemon marmaladeI usually make monster batches of preserves.  I like preserving by the bushel when fruits are in peak season.  During the winter, I usually end up going down to San Francisco once or twice and getting some citrus fruit from the farmers down there who are coming over from the central valley.  I haven’t made it down there this winter, though, and a girl needs lemon marmalade, so when I was in Whole Foods the other day (I can’t believe I’m saying that; I never shop at Whole Foods and I think the stores are super pretentious, but I was trying to kill time in Santa Rosa, so I kind of just ended up there) I ended up buying six precious little meyer lemons. Apart from feeling like a loser for buying fruit at the grocery store, this little batch of marmalade was quite a success.  It only takes a few minutes to slice up six lemons for marmalade (the last time I made lemon marmalade I did fifty pounds of lemonswhich took hours and hours).  The cooking time is also really short, which is nice.  Also, I’d forgotten just how lovely a kitchen smells when it’s filled with the aroma of fresh lemons.  The most important part: a piece of toast with butter and marmalade is one of the best things in the universe. IMG_5064MEYER LEMON MARMALADE Makes: almost 4 half pint jars Cook Time: 1 1/2 hrs. Ingredients:

  • 6 meyer lemons
  • 3 c. water
  • 3 c. sugar

The first step is to wash and slice the lemons for marmalade.  If you’ve never done this before, check out this set of instructions from Hitchhiking to Heaven for an explanation.  (It seems redundant to take another set of pictures of virtually the exact same thing).   Save the seeds and wrap them in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie the top closed with string. Next, measure the prepared lemons.  The six lemons I had came out to almost exactly 3 cups of prepared sliced lemons.   The ratio of lemons to water to sugar should be 1:1:1, so adjust the rest of the recipe accordingly. Combine the lemons and water in a large, nonreactive pot.  Add the cheesecloth bag with the seeds and bring the mixture to a low simmer to cook the lemons.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until the peels are tender.  Using a pair of tongs, remove the cheesecloth and give it a squeeze to release the juice that’s inside (it’s homemade pectin, which will help the marmalade set). Discard the seed bag. At this point, prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids. Add the sugar to the pot and stir to combine.  Turn the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the marmalade reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.  If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use the frozen plate method.  The marmalade will come up to a full, rolling boil and you’ll see that the liquid will start to thicken and runs off a spoon in sheets instead of a thin stream (click here for a picture).  At this point, you can put a teaspoon of the liquid on a plate that’s been in the freezer.  Put the plate back in the freezer and wait for a minute. Pull it back out and run your finger through the liquid. If it wrinkles, it’s done.  If it’s still thin and syrupy, it needs to cook for another few minutes). Ladle the hot marmalade into hot, clean jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe rims clean and attach lids.  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary.  lemon slices

Quince Slices in White Wine Syrup

Last month, I came to grips with the fact that I really just don’t like quince.  I think they taste like eating roses, and not in a good way.  The problem is that I still have two bushels of quince sitting in the pantry looking a little worse for wear and I really hate wasting food. I’m going to need to do a couple projects to use them all up, but this is attempt #1 at creating something we might enjoy.  (That last project I did was membrillo, and I thought it was foul). quince slices in white wine syrupMy original inspiration was this recipe for roasted pears and quince in white wine with tangerine zest which looked like it would be lovely adapted into a shelf-stable canned recipe. I ended up making quince slices white wine syrup infused with rosemary and tangerine zest that I’m hoping to use for some savory applications instead of just dessert. I feel like I might love them with some moroccan-spiced roast chicken and homemade flatbread or in a tagine with slow cooked lamb.  I’m going to let the jars sit for a week or two for the flavors to come together and then give it a try. peeling quinceQUINCE SLICES IN WHITE WINE SYRUP

Makes: 4 quart jars

Cook Time: awhile. peeling quince is kind of a pain.

Ingredients:

  • 8 lbs. quince
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 4 c. water
  • 4 c. dry white wine
  • 4 c. sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 tangerine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Prepare the quince:
Rinse them under running water to remove the grey fuzz on the outside, then peel off the skin.  Remove the core and cut into 1/2″ thick wedges. As you’re working, put the wedges into a large, nonreactive pot with water to cover them (about 12 cups.) and 2 tbs. of lemon juice to prevent the fruit from browning. Once all of the fruit is cut into wedges, put the pot on the stove and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

While the quince are poaching, fill the boiling water canner and bring to a boil and prepare 4 quart jars and lids.

When the quince are fully cooked, drain them in a colander* and set aside for a minute.  Put the pot back on the stove and add the ingredients for the syrup: water, wine, sugar, tangerine zest and juice, lemon juice and a sprig of rosemary. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Transfer the cooked quince slices from the colander back into the pot with the syrup and simmer everything for a few more minutes.  Ladle the quince slices and syrup into hot, clean jars leaving 1/2″ headspace. Remove air bubbles with a chopstick or plastic spatula and adjust headspace. Wipe rims, attach lids and process for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude if necessary.

*You can save the cores, peels and poaching liquid to make quince pectin stock if you want.

canning quinceP.S. See that little green spatula? My mother in law gave it to me for Christmas. At the time, it seemed like a random little stocking stuffer, but I’m obsessed with it and have been using it for everything.  It’s perfect for removing air bubbles from jars!

P.P.S. You may notice in the top picture that I actually totally failed on removing the air bubbles from one of the jars and the headspace isn’t right at all. We’ll be using that jar first since it won’t have the shelf life that the others will.

Gobi Mutter Masala (Kind of, I think), aka. Cauliflower Curry

I think that maybe this would maybe be called gobi mutter masala? That’s what I was googling when I was originally looking at recipes for cauliflower curry.  But then I changed the recipe a whole bunch, so maybe it’s just some weird americanized cauliflower curry.  Really, I have no idea.  Either way, this curry is delicious and a really wonderful way to use up cauliflower if you happen to have some lying around.cauliflower curryA few notes:

I used a pretty substantial amount of heavy cream and some butter in this recipe, but it could easily be made vegan by switching to a neutral flavored oil and coconut milk.  The amount of heavy cream can also be tweaked; I used an amount that made it taste super rich and creamy and good, but if you’re trying to go a little bit lighter (since it’s January and all), you could just add another cup of plain yogurt instead of the heavy cream.  It won’t be quite as luxurious, but it will still taste good.  For a lighter vegan version, I would use plain almond milk.

GOBI MUTTER MASALA

Serves: 4-6, depending on portion sizes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbs. ground cumin
  • 2 tbs. paprika
  • 1 tbs. turmeric
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (remove the seeds if you want to keep the dish on the mild side)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 quart crushed tomatoes
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 c. plain yogurt
  • 1  c. heavy cream
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 c. frozen peas
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Heat the butter on medium heat in a large pot. Add the dry spices (fenugreek, coriander, cumin, paprika and tumeric) and saute them in the butter for a minute or two. Then, add the garlic, ginger, jalapeno and onion and saute for another few minutes until the onions start to turn translucent. (Add more butter or a little water if the onion/spice mixture gets too dry and starts to stick).
Add the quart of crushed tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, yogurt and heavy cream and turn the heat to a low simmer.  Cook for ten minutes and then puree with an immersion blender (or whatever you use to puree things in your kitchen).
Add the cauliflower and peas to the tomato sauce, cover the pot, and then simmer for another 20 minutes or so to cook the cauliflower.  Taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice as necessary.  At this point the curry is ready to serve, but you can also simmer it on low for a bit longer if you have the time.  (The flavors tend to improve if it sits on the stove for awhile. )
Serve over rice topped with chopped fresh cilantro.

Cranberry Chia Smoothie and a Clean Slate

I’m kind of obsessed with New Year’s Resolutions, this year especially. Let me just say, I am relieved to be done with 2013.  It was really a mess. You know how life tends to go in cycles, with ups and downs, and it’s not always sunshine and flowers?  I thought about that often last year. It’s over though, thank god!

I know not everyone bothers with making resolutions and that they’re kind of made to be broken eventually, but I find it very clarifying to have a clean slate and the opportunity to kind of step back and evaluate what I would like to have happen for that year. I write ridiculously long lists of dreams, plans and ideas, knowing full well that I’m not going to do all of them at all, but usually I end up doing some of them, which is great.  I guess they’re not really “resolutions” in the traditional sense.  Intentions is probably a better word.  Past examples that worked out really well include: “start my own jam business” and “I think we should get 200 chickens.”cranberriesOne of the things I am focusing on right now, at least for the beginning of this year, is to take better care of myself. Meaning, if I’m trying to get my life really on track for where I want to be going, working every moment of every day and drinking 9,000 cups of coffee to get through it is a horrible way to make it happen.  Very little will end up getting accomplished, except being really exhausted and crazy.  It’s funny, because I totally know that already, but sometimes we just need learn things the really hard way, right? (Although… I might say that the thing about learning things the hard way is that the lesson is so painful that I personally will absolutely not be forgetting it any time in the near future). _MG_3970So. For the last few days I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast.  Some resolutions might be difficult to keep, but I think this one is pretty easy.  “Eat a real breakfast with things in it that are actually good for you.”  I’ll sheepishly admit that it’s pretty simple, not exactly rocket science, and I’ve known it for a long time, yet I decided to have coffee for breakfast for most of last year.smoothieHere’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

CRANBERRY CHIA SMOOTHIE

Makes: about 1 quart jar

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. almond milk
  • 2 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1 c. cranberries
  • 2 big kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 tangerine, peeled
  • optional: 1 tbs. honey or maple syrup

Combine the chia seeds and almond milk and let the seeds soak for atleast 30 minutes. (I do this step the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning).  Once the seeds are soaked, combine the almond milk/chia mixture with the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Holiday DIY: Gold Leaf Pine Cones

So, I got this idea off of pinterest. I was looking at holiday craft projects and realized that I had been limiting my universe to glitter in the past, and that GOLD LEAF is amazing and I should put it on everything.  I mean, how could you not?gold leaf pine cone centerpieceTechnically, when you’re using gold or silver leaf, you’re supposed to use a special adhesive that is made by the same brand as the gold leaf, but I didn’t have any so I just used Mod Podge.  I bet you could use Elmer’s glue if you wanted and it wouldn’t matter.

Materials:

  • a few pine cones
  • gold leaf (FYI: not real gold leaf, that would cost a million dollars. Fake gold leaf is made of other metals and is much cheaper, about $10 for a big pack. You only need a few sheets for this project, depending on how many pine cones you do)
  • craft glue or gold leaf sizing
  • spray varnish or gold leaf sealer spray

The method is simple:

Paint the outer tips of the pine cones with a thin layer of glue.  Gently place the sheet of gold leaf over the pine cone and it will stick to the glue.  You may have to use a dry paint brush to gently ease the gold leaf onto all of the glued spots.  pine cones step 1Now, wait for the paint to dry.  Use the dry paint brush to brush away all of the excess gold leaf. Take the pine cones outside and spray them with varnish or gold leaf sealer.  You’re supposed to use the gold leaf sealer, but I already had a can of spray varnish for oil paintings which worked just fine. pine cones step 2Once they’re dry, bring them inside and use them for whatever decorating needs you might have.  I originally saw them used as garlands, but I decided that we needed a centerpiece instead, so I put them in a pottery bowl with some fir branches.  gold leaf pine cones DIYI think the finished product looks cute and festive, right? (But really just an excuse to bring more metallics into your life.)

Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Quince Preserves That Can Go With Turkey But Also Just Toast

So, I was gonna post this last week but my internet connection hasn’t been cooperating.  I am very thankful that it is working again.  I am also thankful to be sitting on couch being generally lazy, watching the Macy’s Parade and cuddling with my dogs while pumpkin pie bakes in the oven.   I’m so, so thankful that my husband and I can stay at home all day and not do any work and eat lots of turkey and watch football.  It’s basically the best thing ever.   cranberry preservesThis cranberry-quince-orange preserve is going to be on our table in a few hours.   I actually love cranberries and think they shouldn’t just be for the holiday season, so I actually like it as an every day winter preserve on whole grain toast.   It would be a fantastic part of a holiday cheese plate with some chevre and prosciutto.quinceCRANBERRY QUINCE PRESERVES

This recipe is inspired and adapted from the Hungry Tigress’ recipe for Holiday Preserves.  I actually had planned to follow her recipe exactly, but then I realized that I didn’t have any candied ginger but that I did have some nice looking navel oranges.

Cook Time: 2 hrs, but barely any of it is active cooking time

Makes: 9 half pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 5 c. sugar
  • 5 c. water
  • 1 1/2 lbs. quince, cored and diced*
  • 2 1/4 lbs. fresh cranberries (3 of the 12 oz. bags that are commonly sold in grocery stores. I wish we had a local source for cranberries, but we really just don’t.)
  • 2 c. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbs. orange zest

In a large, nonreactive pot, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil.  Add the diced quince and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, until the quince have turned from a pale yellow to a rosy color and the sugar water has thickened into more of a syrup.

Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids while the quince simmers in the sugar water.

Add the cranberries, orange juice and zest and cook on high, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Cook until the preserves set, which will happen fairly quickly.  (Click here for more info if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

Ladle the hot jam into the prepared jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as needed.

*I left the skins on my quinces, but most recipes call to peel them. They really don’t bother me, though.cranberry preserves spoon

Happy Thanksgiving!

Potato-Leek Pancakes with Pear Sauce

On nights that I’m just cooking for myself, I have huge problems motivating to cook anything remotely resembling a coherent dinner. Lots of times I just make scrambled eggs. Sometimes I make popcorn.  These potato pancakes are my attempt at cooking a meal that’s a little more like real food, but still is cheap (really cheap) and lightning fast to throw together.  potato pancakesYou probably already know how to make potato pancakes, but sometimes I write stuff here more to remind people that it’s a good idea.  Instead of having them with the traditional applesauce accompaniment, I used bartlett pear sauce that I made earlier this fall and it was totally delicious.  My friend Jen from Salt Hollow Flower Farm turned me on to canning pear sauce instead of applesauce, and I have to agree, it really is divine.  (I used this pear sauce recipe here.)

POTATO LEEK PANCAKES

Makes: 4 medium pancakes or 8 small pancakes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. of shredded potato, tightly packed (about 2 large potatoes)
  • 1/4 c. thinly sliced leeks
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs. wheat flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbs. safflower or other neutral flavored oil
  • for serving: pear sauce, sour cream and sliced scallions

Combine the potato, leeks, egg and flour in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix together everything thoroughly. Heat the oil in a frying pan on high heat. Form the potato mixture into patties and set them in the pan. Cook for about three minutes, then flip them with a spatula to cook the other side for a few minutes.  The pancakes are done with each side is a nice shade of golden brown.  Serve immediately, topped with sour cream, pear sauce, and scallions.

Queensland Blue Pumpkin Butter

I’m not always a fan of using the freezer for food preservation.  Maybe one day, if I have a chest freezer and some more space, but for now there’s just not enough room to really make much use of it.  Right now I use it for meat and fish, frozen bags of cooked greens, a few jars of pie filling and this pumpkin butter.

Pumpkin butter is epic.

Pumpkin butter deserves as much space in the freezer as it needs.  It is totally worth it.  If you’ve made pumpkin butter before, I’m probably preaching to the choir, but if you haven’t ….  you need to go get a pumpkin.  It’s like pumpkin pie in a jar.  I usually use it instead of plain pumpkin puree to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin lattes that are about a million times better than anything from Starbucks. (Did you know that most “pumpkin spice lattes” are just lattes with nutmeg and cinnamon? There’s really no pumpkin involved in most of them.  Try something like this instead.)queensland blue pumpkinMaking this made me really think about how ridiculous it is to measure out  specific amounts of ingredients for recipes since no two vegetables taste exactly the same.  With the wide range of varieties available from seed catalogues and at farmers markets, it makes so much more sense to learn the general method for a recipe, taste it as you go and adjust accordingly.   Last fall, I made pumpkin butter with sugar pie pumpkins and it took about four times as long to reduce down to the correct thickness and had a stringy, mushy texture that needed a lot of pureeing and reducing.   Not only did this year’s batch cook much faster since the flesh of this variety is very firm and dry, but the pumpkins also had so much flavor on their own that I really didn’t need to do much of anything to get the rich, luscious pumpkin taste that the finished product should have.

My favorite winter squash varieties have very firm, dry flesh that is dark yellow or orange, very flavorful and great for both savory and sweet recipes.  Buttercup, kabocha, jarradhale, and queensland blue are my current standbys, but if you look at winter squash section of the Baker Creek Seed catalogue, you’ll see there are about another ninety varieties and by no means have I tried them all. pumpkin butterHere’s the deal:  this is an easy recipe because it’s just going in the freezer.  You might find some pumpkin butter recipes in older cookbooks that say it’s safe for water bath canning, but it’s a lies.  I guess the USDA used to say it was okay but changed their minds.  The current guidelines say that pumpkin butter isn’t safe for water bath canning OR pressure canning.   (Did you really catch that if you’re skimming this?)

PUMPKIN BUTTER IS NEVER SAFE FOR CANNING. NOT IN A WATER BATH AND NOT IN A PRESSURE CANNER EITHER.

As much as I love to question authority, I’m not a scientist so I’m just going to follow the rules.  Marisa from Food In Jars has a thorough explanation over on her website here.  If you don’t have a freezer and are desperate for something that can go in a jar, SB Canning has a recipe for faux pumpkin butter that’s safe for water bath canning.

Step 1: Roast a pumpkin

To do this, poke a couple holes in it with a knife or a toothpick.  Put it on a cookie sheet. Put it in the oven at 350 degrees.  (You’ll know it’s cooked when a knife slides into the flesh easily – OR- if you press on the skin with your finger and it feels soft and gives to pressure – OR – you see little bubbles of caramelized sugar coming out of those holes you poked earlier.  Or all of those things. Maybe that’s obvious, but at my first kitchen job, it took me about three months to get the hang of properly baking potatoes.  Just so they were cooked through, like a normal baked potato, and not raw in the middle. Don’t make fun of me, it’s true.)

Step 2:

Wait for the pumpkin to cool off.  Then cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and set them aside for other projects.  The cooked flesh should come apart from the skin pretty easily at this point.  Put the flesh into a large, nonreactive pot and discard the skin.

Step 3:

Add the seasonings, puree, and cook on low heat until the mixture has thickened.  This variety of pumpkin is going to make a puree that’s already quite thick, so it won’t take all that long, about 45 minutes. Since this flesh is so dry, I found that it worked well to use a cup or two of apple juice as part of the sweetener.  It enhances the flavor and adds enough liquid to make it possible to puree everything with an immersion blender.

Ingredients to add:

  • apple or pear juice
  • brown sugar, honey or molasses
  • white sugar to taste
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, fresh, powdered or candied ginger, cardamom, whatever you want really…

I added apple juice, molasses, white sugar and some cinnamon and cooked the puree for another hour on very low heat, stirring it more often as it got really thick.   It ended up tasting perfect, just like eating pumpkin pie.  If you’re unsure about the seasonings, just add a little at a time and keep tasting it.  I added more white sugar than I originally thought I’d need, but if you just keep adding a little and tasting it eventually the flavors will lock in just right and really sing.  At this point, you should step away and stop messing with it or the everything can get muddled and weird.

Step 4:

Transfer the pumpkin butter to tupperware or jars and store in the freezer. Remember to leave about 3/4″ headspace on your jars and not to screw the lids down too tight or they’ll crack as they freeze solid.  pumpkin pieDON’T FORGET: Now that you have pumpkin butter made, you can whip up a pumpkin pie in about three minutes. The instructions are in this post from last year. 

Wild Grape Jelly

This month was really stressful.  We had a bunch of stuff going on that’s not really worth going into. The only reason I bring it up is to say how it really is so nice when life is being overly complicated and then you find an absolutely gigantic patch of wild grapes that have set the most beautiful, luscious, deep purple  clusters of fruit, and then you can be like:

HEY! Instead of stressing out about all this other stuff, I’m gonna spend the afternoon picking grapes and making jelly. If I wanna blow off the everything that I’m supposed to be doing and make jelly instead then DAMMIT I’m going to because I’m a grown woman and who can stop me SO THERE.

Anyway.

I still can’t believe that these grapes are wild.  Most of the ones I’ve seen in the past wouldn’t really set fruit in bunches; it would just be a few random grapes here and there on the vines.  wild grapeswild grape jellyThe main difference between wild and cultivated grapes are the size of the seeds. Wild grapes’ skins slip off the same way concord grape skins do, but the seed inside is huge and there’s not much to the fruit. The flavor is intense, though, and perfect for making jelly.  The color of the finished preserve is gorgeous and the taste is dark, tart and wonderful.  (Actually, it really reminds me of the tiny, tart wild blackberries that grow in the exact same area earlier in the summer.) grape jelly

Wild grapes have lots of pectin on their own and are a good candidate for a no-added pectin jelly.  The set on those jellies really is nicer than jellies with added commercial pectin, but you really need to add a lot of sugar to make the no pectin  batches gel.  I prefer adding low-sugar commercial pectin to the grape juice so that I can use less sugar and have a shorter cooking time (which often preserves the flavor of the fresh fruit a little better).  I made some wild blackberry-plum jelly earlier this year without any added commercial pectin, and it’s good, but it’s just so sweet.

WILD GRAPE JELLY, adapted from the Sure-Gel low sugar pectin insert that comes in the box

Makes: 6 half pint jars

Cook Time: 1 hr. plus overnight

STEP ONE:

First, make the grape juice.  Wash the grapes and remove them from the stems.  Put them in a large, nonreactive pot and add just enough water to cover them.  Simmer the grapes for about half an hour.  Once they start softening up, mash them with a potato masher to release their juice. After 30-45 minutes, pour them into a jelly bag to drain overnight. (Or, use cheesecloth.  or a clean pillowcase. I like this description of using a pillowcase instead of a proper jelly bag. I just slip mine over the top of a pot and tie off the excess fabric underneath the pot, if that makes any sense.)

I had 16 cups of grapes and cooked them in 8 cups of water, which ended up yielding about 5 cups of juice.

STEP TWO: making the jelly

Ingredients:

  • 5 c. prepared wild grape juice
  • 3 cups plus 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 box of sure-gel low sugar pectin

Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids.

Whisk together the pectin with 1/4 c. of sugar.  In a large, nonreactive pot, whisk together the grape juice and the pectin/sugar mixture.  Cook on high heat until the grape juice comes to a full, rolling boil.  Stir in the rest of the sugar and bring the jelly back to a full boil.  Boil hard for 1 minute.

Ladle hot jelly into prepared jars leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe rims and attach lids, then process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary. tattler lidsThis happens to be the first time I’ve tried out tattler lids… and I love them.  They’re BPA free and reusable, which is great.  Throwing away all those metal lids always seems like a bummer, and really, I haven’t seen any pinterest projects for repurposing them that actually look like anything work making.

Check out the Tattler website for more information. 

Roasted Eggplant Sandwiches with Tomato Jam and Tzatziki

I almost like this sandwich better than BLTs with fresh tomatoes from the garden. (Almost). Last winter I found myself craving one often, wishing it were eggplant season.  Wishing it were eggplant season.  Who even does that?

You really need to try this, though.  If you have still have eggplant hanging out in the garden or your CSA box, you should make this. roasted eggplant sandwichThese ingredients don’t really have to be a sandwich.  I like putting them in wraps too, and they’re also nice as part of a middle-eastern-mediterranean-ish salad plate with some olives, tabouleh or falafels.

The important parts of this combination are:

1. roasted or grilled eggplant

2. tomato jam: you can’t skip it. I tried earlier in the summer and it wasn’t the same at all.  My recipe is here but there are lots of others floating around the internet. 

3. tzatziki sauce -or- crumbled goat or feta cheese

4. some baby salad greens and fresh herbs (a few mint leaves are by far the best, but parsley or basil will work too)

Once you have all of these things, just combine them into a sandwich or whatever makes you happy.  I added some sliced red onions and tomatoes this time, but you don’t have to. roasted eggplant plateROASTED EGGPLANT

Ingredients:

  • eggplant
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice the eggplant into rounds and place them on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle them liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast them in the oven until they’re nicely golden brown and cooked through.  You may need to flip the slices midway through cooking, but it kind of depends how thick you want to make them.

TZATZIKI

Cook Time: a couple minutes

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1  c. plain yogurt
  • 1 c. chopped cucumber
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 oz.  soft chevre or feta cheese
  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processer. Puree just until everything is chunky, not completely smooth.  Taste it and season accordingly with salt and pepper.