Tag Archives: eggplant

roasted red pepper, eggplant & feta salad

3 Aug

On special occasions, I like to blow a small fortune on cheeses for a fabulous spread… who doesn’t? For everyday cheese eating, I love venturing for a slice of fresh feta from the Mediterranean grocery near my house. Unlike the plastic container of crumbles you normally get, this feta is sold by the pound — delicately sliced to order from a giant brick soaking in brine. It’s perfectly creamy, mild, and not too tart…. perfect to nibble or toss into a salad.

Speaking of cheese, Monday night marked the Bachelorette season finale and we couldn’t have been more excited for “the most dramatic rose ceremony ever.”

The gals and I got together to scream obscenities at the TV and enjoy an equally colorful spread of bites — a leafy salad studded with ripe peaches, point reyes blue cheese and homemade candied walnuts, a DIY platter of grilled bread, steak, onions, fennel and homegrown (!) yellow squash, plus an eggplant and roasted red pepper salad made with my favorite fresh feta. We were bored by the bachelorette’s predictable choice of Latin lover, Roberto, but not disappointed by our fab feast!

Roasted Red Pepper, Eggplant and Feta Salad
adapted from Small Bites

* 2 red peppers, quartered, seeds and stems removed
* 3-4 small eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
* 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 small red onion, sliced into half moons
* 6 oz feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 tsp cumin seeds
* small bunch of mint lives, roughly torn

* 1 small garlic clove, crushed
* juice of 1 lemon
* 3 tsp pomegranate molasses
* 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1 tsp each salt and pepper

Preheat the broiler to high. Place the peppers skin side up on a nonstick baking sheet. Place under the broiler, cook until blackened, then transfer to plastic bag, seal, and allow to steam 5 minutes. When cooled, peel off the skins and discard.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan, set aside.

Brush the eggplant with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook under broiler until crispy on both sides.

To make the dressing, place all of the ingredients in a jar and share to combine.

Arrange the eggplant and pepper, sprinkle with onions, feta and cumin seeds. Spoon on the dressing and garnish with mint. Serves 4 as a salad course.

mangia! mangia!

29 Jun

I remember when Food Network first came on the air in the early 90’s. We used to love watching this terrible show called How To Boil Water hosted by a comedian who just happened to be a single bachelor who needed to be taught literally how to boil a pot of water. His sidekick was a tight-wad female chef instructor completely incapable of understanding humor. There was a sick pleasure we’d derive from watching the poor guy cock up things as simple as spaghetti with jarred tomato sauce.

On the other side of the spectrum, we learned the historic context and proper French technique for hollandaise from the intrepid David Rosengarten and his TV show, Taste. Long before Bravo existed, Rosengarten was rocking a stark all-white, green screened set — he was clearly ahead of his time in all aspects. Rosengarten was my first exposure to someone who was unabashedly obsessed with food and the study of it. “Life is a matter of taste,” Rosengarten would declare at the end of each episode.

Though Taste is long gone (not sure why Food Network doesn’t bring back the reruns, or hello, can we get this on Netflix?), Rosengarten has forged on in his gastronomic odyssey with the revival of the Rosengarten Report, a subscription only culinary e-zine (!!!?!!) that costs $60/year for 12 online issues. While I am intrigued to read “The Growing Phenomenon of Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil: Why It’s Much Better When It’s Young, and Where to Find the Very Best New Oils of Harvest 2009,” I’d rather save my 60-bucks for actually purchasing good olive oil.

In my reminiscing about Taste, I came across the above video made recently by Rosengarten. In it, he takes us on a journey to formulate the perfect old-school Italian red sauce (his secret: a roasted, then fried eggplant blended into the classic tomato/garlic mix).

I made my own variation with some leftover fresh tomato sauce, and it was every bit as delicious as he says. Watch the video for the recipe!