Tasty Tuesday, November 17

Tasty Tuesday November 17

This eggplant recipe is a meal, just add a nice salad on the side with some garlic bread. And it can be easily reduced to be a meal for two. When I do that, I only use one eggplant but go ahead and use the same amount of the other ingredients and just heap them high when I stuff them.
Depending on its sources paprika can be sweet, spicy or smoky. Generic paprika, by this I mean one that is simply labeled “paprika” whatever the brand, is usually the sweet kind. Spanish paprika is more likely to be spicy than Hungarian. Smoked paprika is a little darker red because it has been, you guessed it, smoked to give it a deeper, richer smoky flavor. They are all made from the same pepper that is harvested, dried and then ground up. So you see, it’s more than red dust to garnish deviled eggs and stuff.
And as always, buy or at least store your herbs and spices in glass jars. The plastic ones let the volatile oils that give the flavor escape unless you use them up fast. I never get rid of a glass spice jar, they can be washed and reused many times. And bulk herbs are so cheap to buy at Central Market.

Creamed Eggplant in Eggplant Shells

2 large eggplants
Olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp flour
1 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried marjoram (oregano can be substituted here)
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (fresh really does make a difference, I consider dried parsley to just be pretty green confetti to be sprinkled on for looks only)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Paprika, as garnish

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, cut off stem end. Scoop center from eggplant with serrated spoon, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick shells, coarsely chop it.
Place eggplant shells, cut sides up, in in greased baking dish, brushing lightly with olive oil. Place eggplant pulp in greased baking dish, brushing lightly with olive oil. Bake both pans, uncovered at 400 degrees until shells are lightly softened and eggplant pulp is tender 10 to 15 minutes.
Coat large skillet lightly with olive oil, heat over medium heat. Sauté onion, mushroom, bell pepper and garlic until tender. Add lemon juice. Mix in flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Stir milk, Worchestershire sauce and herbs into saucepan, heat to boiling. Boil, stirring, until thickened. Stir in eggplant pulp, season with salt and pepper.
Spoon eggplant mixture into shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan and Paprika. Reduce oven to 375 degrees and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Tasty Tuesday, November 25

Ok, ok, I know it’s a day late, this is Wednesday but I got tied up yesterday evening waiting in line for my next new phone.
Today, in honor of the holidays is pecan pie! This is my hubby’s Aunt Murnice’s recipe and it’s the best I have ever had.
The pecan tree is the state tree of Texas and is a native here, many trees have been planted in yards and parks and the smart scavenger can harvest their own crop of pecans. BUT…make sure that you have permission to pick up pecans if they fall on someone’s yard or sidewalk. My current supply comes from someone I work with who gathered them in her yard in return for a pie.

Pecan pie
1 frozen pie shell (yes, I cheat here, never having learned the art of pie dough)

1/2 cup sugar*
1 cup dark Karo
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/4 cup pecan halves
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, remove frozen pie crust from package, let defrost. Thoroughly prick bottom and sides with a fork. Place on baking sheet and bake on middle oven rack for 10-12 minutes until light brown. Cool completely and pour filling into crust.
Reduce temperature to 375 degrees, pour in filling and bake 40 to 50 minutes until set or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

*I use unrefined sugar for a deeper flavor.

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