We’ve been getting eggplant pretty regularly in our CSA and I’ve been stumped with coming up with new ideas for cooking with it (that are appealing to me, anyway). Today, our dinner looked very much like bar food… fries with a variety of dips. Only, it was actually pretty healthy and we didn’t feel totally gross after, as I often do when eating lots of fried food.
Eggplant and Zucchini Fries:
(you could do this with one or both vegetables)
1 eggplant, cut into strips
1 zucchini (or 2 tiny ones), cut into strips
Extra virgin olive oil
additional seasonings of your choice (we used Penzey’s 4/S Special Seasoned Sea Salt)
Salt eggplant strips and place in colander over bowl for 10-15 minutes to get some of the liquid out. Rinse very well (otherwise you will end up with way salty eggplant). Place eggplant and zucchini strips in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.
In a shallow dish, stir together bread crumbs and additional seasonings. Coat strips and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 400* for 20-25 minutes.
The vegetables themselves don’t get very crunchy, but more like sweet and nutty from the roasting. The breadcrumbs add a nice crunch, though.
Okra Oven Fries
seasoned salt (we used 4/S again)
Toss whole okra in oil and rub on seasoned salt. Bake on parchment lined baking sheets in oven at 400* for 20 minutes. (We just threw ours right on there with the eggplant and zucchini.)
I made two dips to go along with our “fries.” (We dipped in some Dinosaur Barbecue sauce as well.)
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (I’m a fan of Trader Joe’s brand)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons grated onion or shallot
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
Sriracha Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
Sriracha sauce to taste (about 1/2 – 1 tsp.)
2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
For both dips, mix all ingredients in bowl until well combined. Chill if you have time, or serve right away.
This dinner was super fun to eat. We just piled all the “fries” onto a platter, used sandwich sized plates and dipped straight into the bowls at the dinner table. Both of the dips were really yummy and would work well with crudite, chips or crackers.
Last month, two of my college roommates invited me up to NYC “for a weekend of spa pampering, Lilah gazing, yummy food eating fun” to celebrate my “pending nuptials.” (Lilah would be the 5 month old daughter of one of these lovely ladies.) Of course, I said yes.
The weekend was perfect. I took the train up this past Friday afternoon, and other than a one hour delay before we even got on the train, it was smooth sailing. (Smooth training?) I took a cab up to my friend Lara’s place, dropped off my bag, and took the bus over to the same yummy Italian restaurant I went to for my birthday. We were soon met by our friend Jill, her hubby and their baby girl. Dinner was a real treat, as we so rarely eat pasta at home. Dinner was over at 10:30 and we called it a night, because Lara and I had a Central Park run planned for the morning.
Saturday morning, we woke up a little after 7 and headed out for a run through the park at 8. I had a 4 mile training run on my schedule, and Lara had a 10 miler planned as part of her NYC marathon training, so I decided to give 5 miles a go and run half of it with her. We ended up finishing the 5 miles (actually, 5.2) in 55 minutes, and then I headed home to shower while she ran 5 more. We were starving by the time we headed over to Jill’s for a lovely brunch.
We lounged around for a while before getting ready to head out to the spa for a lovely, relaxing afternoon of massages, manis and pedis. After that spa visit, I knew I definitely needed to schedule a massage for the week of the wedding. It’s amazing how much better I felt after that… so relaxed and recharged. It’s almost a week later and I still feel much calmer.
We came back to Jill’s for cupcakes and champagne (pretty much my favorite way to celebrate anything), and were joined by our other college roommate, Sara, for the evening. The four of us went to the Thai restaurant Sea in the meatpacking district, which was apparently bachelorette party central. There was at least one other bachelorette group at the restaurant and we saw several others (including someone with paparazzi, although we didn’t get to see who) while we ate outside. The meatpacking district was totally NOT our scene, but we all love the other Sea in Brooklyn and this one was more convenient. After dinner, we wandered out of that neighborhood to find a quiet bar for one more drink.
The next morning, we went to brunch at Taboon in Hell’s Kitchen. We started off with some amazing hummus, and we all ordered these delicious flatbread things that came topped with over easy eggs and your choice of toppings. (We all chose haloumi cheese, because how often do you see that out? Never.)
After brunch, we wandered around the upper west side for a bit before I had to catch my train home. No delays on the train… in fact, I got into Union Station a little bit early. Adam came to pick me up and we went out to grab some takeout from a local Mediterranean place. I even came home to a sparkling clean apartment… he’s a keeper.
It was such a fantastic and relaxing weekend… exactly what I needed.