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This recipe is one of three featured in a magazine article entitled “3 Ways with Eggplant.” I clipped out the article quite a while back and recently came across it again in my recipe box. When I saw the fairytale eggplant in our first fall CSA box, I decided it was time to try out the Turkish Dip recipe.

I “googled” Turkish Dip and read that this roasted eggplant dip is served everywhere in Turkey. At its most basic it is just eggplant, lemon, olive oil and salt but you can jazz it up with spices or garlic.  It’s traditionally eaten as a cold starter, or ‘meze’ or can be served as a dip or spread at parties.

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WHAT YOU NEED:

1 lb. eggplant

1 clove garlic

½ cup parsley (I used parsley I’d chopped and frozen)

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbl chopped onion (I used red)

2 tsp. olive oil

1 ½ tsp. ground cumin (I reduced to 1 tsp.)

¼ tsp. pepper

WHAT YOU DO:

If using a one pound purple globe eggplant, pierce a few times and roast in baking pan at 350*  for 1 hour, until soft.  Halve, cool, and scrape out pulp.

I had just over 1 pound of fairy tale eggplant, so I cubed them using my chopper. The skin is so thin and soft that there’s no sense in peeling.

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Cubing eggplant for roasting

I tossed the cubed eggplant with a few tsp. of olive oil and roasted for 30 minutes at 350*.

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Roasted eggplant!

Put eggplant pulp in a food processor with all the other ingredients and pulse until chopped.I do believe I over-processed mine! But it was nice and creamy and very spread-able!

Chill in the fridge for a while.

Serve with toasted bread, preferably pita bread.

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Turkish Dip with pita wedges

Note that I reduced cumin to 1 tsp. I’m very glad I did, for it was very spicy and fragrant. Hubby does not like that flavor, so he wasn’t a fan of the dip, but Oldest Daughter and I enjoyed it with our lunch. She and I agreed that this would be tasty spread on a sandwich with some cheese and turkey.

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This Cajun dish is a good fall-back for me when I’ve exhausted all of my eggplant recipes. It freezes well and is enjoyed by everyone in the family. It makes a filling meal when paired with some peas (purple hull, crowder, or limas) and some fresh fruit.

WHAT YOU NEED: DSC00109

1/2 stick margarine

2 large purple eggplants (peeled and cubed)

1 lb. good ground chuck

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup water

1 tsp. each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme

2 cups cooked hot white rice (I used brown; recipe below)

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9 by 11 inch pyrex dish with a non stick spray.

Prep eggplant. I used Fairy Tale Eggplant from the CSA box.

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Chopped Fairy Tale eggplant

Saute’ onion and bell pepper in melted margarine. I used about half of the amount called for; you could also use olive oil.

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When onion and bell pepper are softened, add garlic and stir to prevent burning.

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Garlic joins the mix!

Add meat and brown slightly; then, add seasonings, eggplant, and water.

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Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on medium low heat.

Add rice* and pour into the pyrex dish.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup bread crumbs and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

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Eggplant dressing with beef!

* The original recipe calls for white rice, but it works just as well with brown rice. Since the oven is hot already, I like to bake up two recipes of Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice. After reading reviews, I cut back on the rice to 1 cup and use chicken broth rather than water for deeper flavor. I omit the salt because of the chicken broth.

BAKED BROWN RICE: 1 cup brown rice mixed with 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth mixed in small baking dish. (I spray dish with non-stick spray.) Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375* for one hour. Fluff with fork and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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Boiling chicken broth gets brown rice to cooking!

I used one pan in the recipe; the other pan got divided into 1/2 cup portions, bagged, and frozen for future meals. It’s a snap to zap a bag in the microwave for a quick addition to supper!

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Double the recipe and freeze one for later!

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Fairytale Eggplant

I’ve got several quick ideas for you of what to do with eggplant!

First, those cute fairytale eggplant are perfect for grilling up – quick and easy!

GRILLED FAIRYTALE EGGPLANT

Fairytale eggplant in the amount you would like

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the grill to medium.

2. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush each side with olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. I used an Italian flavored seasoning blend.

3. Grill on each side about 1-1 1/2 minutes. You will note the color change in the flesh from opaque yellowish-white to a more translucent, watery yellow, and in the purple skin to brown. Do not over grill.

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Grilled fairytale eggplant

If I don’t want to cook the eggplant immediately, I blanch and freeze. I can use it later in casseroles such as Eggplant Cheese Casserole.

Stabilize the eggplant by cutting off the top and bottom. Use a sharp knife to slice down, removing the peel.

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Peeling an eggplant!

Cut the eggplant into uniform pieces (I use a vegetable chopper) and blanch in boiling water for 4 minutes.

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Blanch before freezing!

After 4 minutes, shock the eggplant in icy cold water. The rule of thumb is: double the blanching time – so chill eggplant for 8 minutes.

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Shock the blanched eggplant!

Drain well, label and freeze in heavy-duty zip-lok bags.

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Ready to freeze!

I also like to blanch, bread, and freeze thick slices of eggplant to use in eggplant parmesan.

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Thick slices!

I blanch/shock these thick slices as described above, and then set up a breading station.

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seasoned flour, egg wash, panko bread crumbs

I dip the blanched eggplant into the seasoned flour (salt & pepper), then into the egg wash (beaten egg with water) and finally into seasoned panko bread crumbs.

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3 step breading process

I line up the breaded eggplant on a parchment lined cookie sheet that will fit into my freezer. I freeze about an hour to set the breading. Once they are frozen, I stack them into a container and return to the freezer.

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Packing for the freezer!

It’s such a great time-saver to reach into the freezer for these “ready to fry up” eggplant slices. Since they are blanched, they fry up quickly in a little bit of hot oil. If I’m using them in eggplant parmesan, I don’t worry about cooking all the way through; I just want them browned. They will finish cooking when baked in the parmesan. You could also drizzle the frozen slices with olive oil and/or spray with a cooking spray and bake in a hot oven until browned.

It’s easy to throw together eggplant parmesan: in a lightly greased casserole dish, make layers of browned eggplant slices, spaghetti or marinara sauce, and cheese (ricotta/mozzarella/parmesan). Bake until bubbly!

Hope these ideas help you use up those beautiful purple veggies!

 

 

 

 

 

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This recipe was featured in the local paper. It uses several ingredients in our weekly CSA boxes, so naturally I grabbed the scissors and clipped it out! That night, Hubby was grilling brats and zucchini anyway, so I had him grill the eggplant while he was at it.

 

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Colorful ingredients!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 large eggplant, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and diced

3 scallions, sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Balsamic glaze, to serve

Baguette or pita, to serve

WHAT YOU DO:

Heat the grill to medium. Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to brush each eggplant slice on both sides. Sprinkle the slices with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

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Ready for the grill!

Allow the eggplant slices to cool until easily handled; then dice. Mine were in the refrigerator since Hubby had grilled them two nights before. It was great to have this step already done!

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Great smoky flavor!

Mix the crushed garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper,  and set aside. This allows the garlic time to infuse the oil.

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Garlic infused olive oil!

Finely chop all the other ingredients. You don’t want huge pieces of onion or bell pepper. This takes a few minutes, but it sure is a colorful mixture! I made a few substitutions so I could use items I had on hand: red onion for the scallions; cherry tomatoes for whole tomatoes.

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Pretty enough to eat!

In a large bowl, gently mix together the eggplant, tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, scallions, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the garlic olive oil.

Allow to sit for at least 2 hours for best flavor. I set it nearby on a counter and stirred it every 30 minutes or so to allow the garlic oil to penetrate all of the ingredients.

Serve on baguette or pita bread and drizzle with balsamic glaze. (I actually forgot the balsamic glaze but it was delicious without it!) I had some left-over sub rolls in the pantry, so I smeared them with more garlic olive oil and toasted them up.

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Smoky goodness on crusty bread!

 I served this as a side item with our lunch. Everyone agreed it is a delicious way to get in lots of veggies! The grilled eggplant is smoky and adds a wonderful layer of flavor to the crunchy vegetables. Our daughter took the left-overs home and planned to use them in a frittata.

This is a delicious way to use an eggplant!

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These unseasonable and delightful cooler temps are the perfect incentive for meals out on the patio. Our daughter invited us over for supper and backyard games and served pizza topped with the most delicious veggies I’ve ever eaten. When I inquired, she said she followed this recipe.

I’ve roasted vegetables before, but I’ve always used large chunks and served as a side to the entrée. This version calls for smaller pieces roasted until almost charred. They are then used to top pizza or added to sandwiches or hot pasta. This is a great way to use up that lone yellow squash or eggplant you have in the refrigerator. I changed up the recipe and added yellow squash and mushrooms.

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Use whatever veggies you have on hand.

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 yellow squash

1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup chopped mushrooms

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 450°.

Prepare vegetables for roasting. Here you see red bell pepper, green bell pepper, eggplant and yellow squash. Since mushrooms cook so quickly, I held them out until the last 15 minutes of roasting.

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Uniform pieces make for even roasting.

Prepare the oil mixture. I nestled a plastic storage bag into a bowl and added the oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

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A press easily crushes garlic.

Add the chopped veggies to the bag. Gently shake and massage through the bag to coat evenly with the oil mixture. My hands stayed clean,  and I tossed the bag when done.

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Quick and easy clean-up!

Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and spread out vegetables.

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Parchment paper helps in clean-up.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender and slightly charred, stirring halfway through.  (Remember to add the mushrooms if using.)

I recommend that you check often during the last 20 minutes. Mine went from “almost ready” to “Oops! Almost too much!” very quickly!

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Charring the veggies adds a smoky flavor.

Let cool slightly (about 10 minutes). Toss with basil and vinegar. I love balsamic vinegar! Coupled with the fresh basil, it adds a unique depth of flavor.

Use immediately, store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 days, or freeze for later use. I used these for pizza, but I’m anxious to try them tossed with hot pasta and covered with a fresh tomato sauce like this one or Allison’s version here.

I hope you enjoy this version of roasted veggies!

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I’ve made this recipe three times in two weeks. It is delicious and uses up those eggplants exploding in our garden.

Our grandson asked why it’s called an eggplant if it doesn’t have an egg in it. I explained that it’s probably because it is shaped like an egg. I did an internet search and read that Solanum melongena is technically a fruit, but like the tomato, it is referred to as a vegetable. Early varieties of eggplant were smaller and white, resembling eggs, hence the name. (I was right!)

Experimental botanist Thomas Jefferson brought the eggplant to the United States, where it was primarily used as a table ornament until the 20th century. Today, thanks to Asian and Southern European influences, it is finding its way into more and more dishes. It is a good meat substitute, making it attractive to vegetarians. Eggplant actually has a quite bland flavor, but it soaks up flavors of accompanying foods, herbs, and spices like a sponge, much like tofu.

Eggplant spoil fast, so it’s best to use them as quickly as possible. Stored in the crisper of the refrigerator, unwrapped, it can last up to a week or longer. Eggplant cannot be stored in the freezer, unless cooked. Bags of frozen cooked eggplant are handy to have!

This recipe for Eggplant Corn Casserole is from that cookbook I mentioned last week. It worked well to prepare it up until the baking part and then refrigerate overnight. This allowed me to pop it into the oven and bake right before our Sunday lunch, so it was nice and hot and bubbly!

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 medium bell pepper, chopped fine

Garlic, chopped fine

1 can cream style corn

1 egg

1 cup bread crumbs

½ cup grated cheese and more for topping

Salt and pepper

Basic ingredients for this tasty casserole!

Basic ingredients for this tasty casserole!

WHAT YOU DO:

Prepare your eggplant by peeling and cubing. I thought my eggplant were on the small side, so I used two.

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Stabilize the eggplant by cutting off both ends;
then use sharp knife to remove peeling.

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Stack thick slices and cut into cubes.

I read conflicting articles about salting/sweating to remove the bitterness. I was always taught to do this, and that was confirmed by this Good Housekeeping article which states that the eggplant has a naturally occurring enzyme that can leave a bitter aftertaste in some dishes.

One way is to peel, slice thickly, place on paper towels in a single layer, and generously sprinkle with kosher salt. Allow to sit for a minimum of 20 minutes. When ready, blot off the surface liquid and any remaining salt left on the eggplant. The enzymes have been denatured, and the eggplant is now ready to prepare.

Another article said to soak the peeled eggplant in heavily salted water for at least 10 minutes, rinse with cold water, and drain well. Since I was going to par-boil the cubed eggplant, that is the process I used. After soaking in salt water for 10 minutes, I rinsed it well, added fresh water, and boiled until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

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Soak peeled, cubed eggplant in salt water for 10 minutes.

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Boil eggplant until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

While eggplant is boiling, sauté the chopped onion and bell pepper in some olive oil. When it is translucent, turn off the heat, add the chopped garlic and stir quickly to prevent the garlic from burning. I added the garlic to the original recipe. I learned many cooking tips from my Cajun mother-in-law, and the addition of garlic to onion and bell pepper (called The Trinity) is a must for flavorful cooking!

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Cajun cooks refer to this trio as The Trinity.

Add the cream-style corn to the skillet, and then pour the beaten egg onto the corn. The cool corn prevents the egg from cooking in the hot onion mixture. Stir to mix.

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Add the beaten egg to the cool corn rather than the hot onion mixture.

Next add the bread crumbs, cheese, and salt and pepper.

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Bread crumbs work with egg as a binder.
The cheese just adds flavor!

I coated a small rectangular glass baking dish with cooking spray before pouring in the eggplant/corn mixture. Pop it into a 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. It should bubble and begin to thicken up. Top with additional grated cheddar cheese and allow to melt before serving.

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Melted cheddar cheese is the perfect topping!

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Baba Ghanoush

Like I said before, a CSA share is only valuable if we actually eat the food. That’s obvious, of course, but it can be a challenge when you don’t know what to do with the ingredients. Like eggplant?

With our first batch of eggplant, I knew I wanted to make Eggplant Parmesan. Oh, it was good. And so we made it again. But when we got more eggplant the next week, it sat around – because I just couldn’t justify eating that much cheese two weeks in a row. When I picked up the next basket, full of eggplant, I knew it was time to try something new before I let all this eggplant go to waste.

 Baba Ghanoush is a simple but versatile recipe that is perfect for using up those baskets of eggplant. It makes a nice sandwich spread with fresh vegetables and greens (from your CSA basket – try lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers), or a dip for pita chips or toast. You probably have most of the ingredients on hand, except for tahini. Tahini is a paste made from sesa

me seeds that adds a middle eastern flavor to Baba Ghanoush and Hummus. You can find it locally at Kroger or in a pinch, you can substitute a TBSP of sesame oil for the tahini.

Ingredients

  • 5 small eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini  
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 4 tsps dried)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced (or 3 tsps minced)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and place it cut side down on a pan. Roast it at 500 for 25 minutes or until soft. If you’re already grilling other food, you can roast the eggplant on your grill until blackened and soft for more flavor.

Meanwhile, mix together the other ingredients, and set them aside.

 

Let the eggplant cool, then scoop the flesh out of the skins. The skins are edible, but they are too rubbery for the Baba Ganoush – so don’t skip this step! I’ll admit to learning this the hard way.

Mash or puree the eggplant. I use a 4-cup food processor for purees. It is an inexpensive little gadget, without too many attachments, so its quick and easy to use and clean. You can also mash the eggplant with a fork. Stir the eggplant into the other ingredients, and salt to taste.  If it’s bland, it needs more salt.

Try adding 1-2 tsps of cumin, chili powder, or ginger for some variety. We used chili powder in this batch, and made pita sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, olives and red onion. It would also be great with sausage!

Store Baba Ghanoush in the refrigerator for up to a week. Garnish with olive oil and fresh parsley.

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