Monday, August 13, 2018

Squash Marinara, Breakfast Pudding (yep!), Plowman's Supper, Food Porn and more!

Winter Squash Marinara
I know, I know, it's August.  But since we can buy winter squash any time of year, we can cook it any time of year.  I got this really long-necked Butternut squash this week and wanted to do something with steaks of that seedless neck.  This recipe will work with any winter squash, of course.  Regardless of type, thin slices broil/grill faster.

We don't often think of squash like this as savory, but the pairing of the somewhat sweet grilled slices of squash with the somewhat tart and tangy marinara is really superior.  I just used a jar of mushroom marinara sauce doctored with chopped mushrooms, onion, bell pepper... the usual suspects.  Try it; you'll like it!

Breakfast Bread Pudding
I described this dish in detail back in my February 18, 2018 post.  Sally needed a Breakfast Potluck dish, and I had both blueberries and the tag end of a loaf of challah bread on hand,  so this recipe came to mind.  Looks fabulous, tastes even better.

Simple "Plowman's Style" Supper
We had a big lunch the other day, so decided to have a lighter supper.  Sally had raved about this Norwegian Brown Cheese called Gjetost which they'd tried last month during their coastal cruise.  I ordered a 4 oz brick -- stuff is NOT cheap, but we'll make it last a long time.  Gjetost is a soft, somewhat caramel-flavored goat cheese made by boiling together whey, and cream or milk.  Perfect as part of a dessert course, especially with a somewhat tart fruit like apples or citrus.
Anyway, I made a Plowman's Supper for the two of us  -- a cheese plate, a fruit plate and bread plate that we could nibble on. 

The cheese plate had the Gjetost, some nice sharp white cheddar, and a sundried tomato-basil flavored cheese that I get from Aldi.  What goes with cheese?  Apples. 

So the fruit plate had slices of Fuji (top) and Crips Pink Lady (bottom).  

The real crunch came from the  fresh batch of Knekkebrød (crispbread) like the ones I made in my July 23rd post, served hot from the oven.  

For dessert we had mango turtles from our Co-Op box.

Eggplant Zucchini Casserole
This is a Blue Zones recipe that I had to tweak.  The result isn't really like Eggplant Parmesan, but has some of the features of that strata.

1-1/2 lb Eggplant, sliced 1/4" thin
2-3 medium Zucchini, sliced 1/4"thin
Salt to taste
1 Sweet Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh Basil, julienned
1+ Tbsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Lay the sliced eggplant and zucchini on paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle with salt as desired.

Saute the onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic and make a sauce by adding a cup or so of water.

In a 9x9 baking dish lay down a bit of sauce, and then begin layering eggplant, sauce, Parmesan and zucchini.  End with sauce and then a dusting of Parmesan on top.  Bake in a pre-heated 400F oven for 45 minutes until everything is bubbly and lightly browned.  

The zucchini and eggplant surprisingly retain a decent amount of 'tooth'.   

Excellent as a main dish, served with crusty bread and/or a simple salad.

Ahumado Pollo Verde
That's Spanish for Smoked Chicken in Green Sauce.  Sally and some girlfriends went out for a "girl's dinner", and left me to my own devices.  I stopped at my local megamart, and in the Deli hot section I found a smoked half chicken for a good price.  A couple aisles over I picked up a can of diced green chilies and a can of salsa verde (red tomatillo-based salsa, not red tomato-based.  The aisle beyond that had a bag of salt-free tortilla chips.  

Shred out the chicken.  Lay down a bed of heated tortilla chips.  Pile on the chicken.  Spread the green chilies all around and top with the salsa verde.  Heat everything together in the microwave, and dive in!  Almost, but not quite nachos...


Food Porn
I'll never be as good a food photographer as my old Italian friend Luciano Furia, but I just had to share this photo of a bowl of sliced papaya...

Monday, August 6, 2018

Marinated Squash, Asparagus/Spinch/Garbanzo Salad, Bean-Broccoli Soup and more...

Marinated Winter Squash
I got this one from the Lidia Bastianich show Lidia's Kitchen on PBS the other day.  She serves the dish at room temperature, but you can warm the dish a bit as well; we did.

1 Butternut or other winter squash cut into 1/2" thin slices
1 cup Apple Cider or White Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
6 cloves Garlic, peeled & sliced
1 Tbsp EVOO
Vegetable Oil for Frying
Fresh Basil leaves for garnish

For the marinade
Combine vinegar, sugar and 1/4 tsp of salt in a sauce pan.  Simmer on high heat until reduced by half.  Drop in the garlic, remove from heat, and cool.  Stir in the EVOO.

For the squash
Slice the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.  Then cut into half-rounds 1/2" thick (or slightly less) and peel.

Fry the squash in veggie oil for 3-4 minutes per side until forkable, crispy and caramelized. Drain on paper towels.  Dust with a bit of salt while the squash are hot and vulnerable.

Layer squash  into a serving bowl, adding basil leaves and a splash of marinade to each layer.  Cover and let marinate at least 3 hours to overnight before serving.

Asparagus, Spinach & Garbanzo Salad
I found the thinnest asparagus I've ever seen at Aldi's the other day.  The big stems weren't more than 3/16" diameter!!  This salad seemed like the perfect thing to do with the 'gus!

1 lb fresh Asparagus -- thinner is better, but any will do.
1 can Garbanzos, drained, rinsed and dried
3-4 handsful of fresh Spinach
2" length of 2" diameter Daikon
1 Red Bell Pepper
2 Shallots, although onion and garlic would work too
Italian Seasoning to taste
Ground Coriander to taste
White Pepper to taste
2 Lemons, juiced

Preheat the oven to 425F

Cut the asparagus into 1" or shorter pieces, toss it with some EVOO in a bowl.  Then spread the pieces on a non-stick baking sheet.

In the same oil bowl, toss the garbanzos with a bit more EVOO.  Spread them on a second baking sheet.

When the oven comes to temp, put the asparagus and garbanzos in and set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes.

Slice the daikon into thick matchsticks (3/16").  Slice the red pepper into thin strips.  Slice the shallots thin.   Reserve all the veg.

Chop the spinach into 1/2" ribbons, then wilt it with some water in the microwave or a skillet.  Spread to cool.  Reserve.

When the asparagus and garbanzos are done, spread them out on paper towels to drain and cool.

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients together to combine.  Add the spices and toss again.
Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing as a simple dressing.  You could also make a simple lemon vinaigrette, but squeezing lemon quarters in simpler.

White Bean Broccoli Soup
This was one of those "I've got this and I've got that, I wonder what they'd be like together" sort of things.

1 lb dry White Beans
2 large stalks Broccoli
White Pepper
Kombu seaweed
Optional -- a couple shots of Lizano, the Costa Rican "ketchup" found on every restaurant table

Cook the beans according to package directions, with about 3 sq. inches of Kombu snipped into pieces in the water, and a Tablespoon of thyme.  The kombu basically dissolves as the beans cook.  Both seem to help reduce the gas effects of eating beans.

Meanwhile chop up the broccoli florets and steam them.  Reserve some tiny florets for garnish.

When the beans are done, put about half of them and half the steamed broccoli in your food processor and take it for a whirrrrr.  Add water as necessary to get the puree process going.

Put the puree in with the whole beans & broccoli, and add the other spices to taste.

We discovered by accent while eating leftovers, that, of all things,  a shot of Lizano sauce in the soup really kicks thing up a notch or to!!!  I wouldn't add it to the pot, but serve the Lizano alongside the soup.
Well, the soup was certainly tasty enough.  But MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF BEANO ON HAND. It didn't bother me much at all, but someone had a lot of gas...

Mum's Birthday

Sally's Mum turned XX (never ask a woman her age), so for Sunday Brunch I made a 9 Gem Korma style curry with brown rice, and a Mango Upside Down Spice Cake with a side of  Mango FroYo.

Nine Gem Korma
"Nine Gems" refers to "nine ingredients".  In this case, cubed Rutabaga, Purple Potato, Yam, diced Onion, Almonds, Raisins, Red Bell Pepper, Yellow Bell Pepper, and Yellow Tomato.  The ingredients are braised together with broth, yoghurt, or water and spices.

For this dish, the spice I used was the classic Garam Masala -- a slightly sweet, medium hot blend of coriander, cumin, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Other additions can include turmeric, fennel seed,  ginger, mustard seed, tamarind and star anise.  You can make your own, but it's easiest just to buy it at your megamart or an Indian Grocery.  I used about 2 Tbsp in this whole dish.  You can use more, if you like, of course.
Korma is a curry with a relatively thick sauce.  So once the 9 Gems are cooked, you can thicken the sauce with additional yogurt, a bit of flour, or just cook it down a bit like I did.  My sauce was a bit thin, but we were hungry!

Mango UpsideDown Spice Cake w/Mango FroYo
You've read my description of Mango Upside Down cake recently for Sally's birthday.  Also my recipe for making Mango FroYo.

This time I made a larger cake and I used Spice Cake mix rather than Gingerbread.  The Spice Cake mix is still head and shoulders better than pretty much anything, but not as rich as Gingerbread cake.
The cake turned out better this time.  I think for Sally's cake I had too much of the sugar syrup...

Monday, July 30, 2018

Yam "Toast", Stuffed Buttercup, Rutabaga Fries, Veggie Sandwich

Yam Toast
Yam, or Sweet Potato Toast is all the rage these days on social media.  Sally wanted something 'lite vegan' for dinner Sunday night, so this was a good chance to experiment.  She's doing about a month long 'totally plant-based diet' to see how it affects her ability to lose weight while staying healthy.  So no dairy, no cheese, no yogurt, no eggs, no fish even.

First of all "Yam Toast" is not "toast" even if you char it in the toaster -- it's not dry and crunchy.  Tasty, it's true, but not toast, in my cookbook.   The advantage of using the toaster, here is SW Florida is not having to heat up the oven (and thus the kitchen) and straining the AC in summertime 90F plus temps.

The six slices you see came from 1 large-ish yam about 8" long and 2-3" diameter.  I used a serrated knife to slice a flat.  Then set the flat down, and sliced 1/4" thick slices.

Stand the slices in your toaster -- I got 2 slices per slot.  Crank the dial all the way to max.  Trust me on this...  Now toast, and toast again, and again -- as needed.  It will take 3-4 or more toast cycles (depending on your toaster's max heat) to start charring.  After each cycle flip the slices end for end, so the whole thing gets cook.

During the toasting cycles, assemble your toppings.  Both sweet and savory toppings can be good.  The six we tried all worked really well, although the honey-blueberry could have used large fresh berries rather than small thawed-frozen berries.  Here are the ones we tried, from the nominally 12 o'clock position around:

Mango Jam, the Indian recipe with a bit of black pepper in it
Basil Pesto
Cashew Butter
Avocado slices
Branston Pickle -- a tangy-sweet English pickled vegetable spread similar to a chutney (which would also be good here).

Other topping could include, chutneys, other jams/jellies/marmalades, "sauercado" -- chopped sauterkraut and avocado spread, slices of daikon/radish cooked or raw, caramelized onions with balsamic, slices of other fruits like pineapple, chopped or sliced pickles, tomato slices & basil leaves, and more

If you're not being vegan or vegetarian, you have a lot more options -- crispy bacon slices, cream cheese, sour cream, feta and/or goat cheeses and more, yogurt, spicy sausage coins, smoked fish spread, or ham & Swiss. 

One yam made Sally a good 'lite' dinner.  I would want two for myself, I suspect.  These would make interesting appetizers, certainly.  I think I would use the oven to 'toast' the yam slices though, otherwise you'd spend a lot of time in front of your toster!

Stuffed Buttercup Squash
Last week I used half of a Butternut Squash and roasted it with apples, this week I'm using the other half of the squash, and stuffing it.

1 cup dry Quinoa
3/4 cup chopped Crimini mushrooms
1/2 a Sweet Onion, chopped
1/2 cup dried Cranberries
3/4 cup frozen chopped cooked Kale
1/2 cup rough chopped Almonds
Salt & Pepper to taste

Start roasting the squash at 400F, cut side down.  It should take about an hour to get the flesh tender.  You can also use the microwave -- it takes a lot less time!

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.

In another larger pot or skillet, saute the onion and mushrooms until the onion is translucent, then add the other ingredients and cook for 15 minutes or so to marry the flavors.  Spice as desired.    Fold the sauted veggies into about 3/4 of the quinoa to make the stuffing.  Reserve the rest of the quinoa for another dish...

When the squash is mostly done, turn it open side up and fill with the stuffing.  

Roast for another 15 minutes, then slice and serve.  You can also do this stage in the microwave, if desired.

Eggplant, Spinach, Tomato & Garbanzo Curry
Something a little different for dinner.

4 large handfuls fresh Spinach, stemmed
1 medium Eggplant, diced 1/2"
2 medium Tomatoes, Chopped
1 sweet Onion, sliced
2-3 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp Honey Mustard with whole mustard seeds
1-2 Tbsp Baingan Bharta Indian spice blend
1 can Garbanzos, drained and rinsed

Saute the eggplant in a mixture of butter and oil, until turning golden.  Remove to a bowl and toss with the honey mustard.

In the same large skillet, saute the onion until translucent and beginning to color. Add the garlic and cook for just  minute.  Now add the tomatoes, the Baingan Bharta, and a cup of water.   Simmer for a few minutes to marry the flavors.  Adjust the spice level as desired.

Last, add the eggplant and spinach, cover and cook just long enough for the eggplant to warm through and the spinach to wilt.  Stir to mix before serving.

Veggie Sandwich
We made our annual trip to Fort Myers Beach Saturday -- on "free beach parking day".  Really sad.  We walked about a mile of beach covered with dead fish from the red tide which has been blooming off the coast for several weeks.  Respiratory issue of coughing and sneezing, not to mention the smell.  Couldn't believe how many tourists were not only on the beach but in the water!  We only stayed about an hour and a half, and came home to each our lunch.

The good thing was the vegetable sandwich I made for Sally that we took to the beach and then brought home.  Check this out -  Basil pesto, slices of avocado, daikon (radish), and yellow tomato.

When we sat down to lunch, it disappeared in moments!

Rutabaga Fries
I made these as a side dish last week, as part of an effort to add more variety to Sally's vegan experiment.  Rutabagas are not turnips, although they taste some what alike and a rutabaga looks like a giant dark turnip.  Rutabagas are also called Swedes in some parts of the US and Great Britain.

Pre-heat the oven to 425F.

Peel off the wax coating and skin with a knife.  Slice into fries.  Toss with a splash of oil and dust with your favorite spices.  Lay out on a non-stick papered baking sheet, and bake for about 30 minutes.  Depending on the size of your fry cut, cooking can take more or less time.  Check every 10 or 15 minutes until you start to get some browning.

I promise to get back to some meaty recipes soon; even if it's just for you and me!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Roasted Buttercup Squash, Knekkebrød and Other Delights

Honey & Balsamic Glazed, Roasted Buttercup Squash and Apples
Long complicated title for a simple and delicious dish!  

Yes, that's Buttercup Squash, completely different than Butternut Squash, although they are both Winter squashes.

1-1/2 lbs Buttercup Squash, peeled and cubed (about half of one medium squash)
2 small or medium Red Apples (I used Honeycrisp), chopped large
Balsamic Vinegar
optional Walnuts

Preheat oven to 400F.

Toss the squash and apples (and walnuts if using) to combine in a 9x9 baking dish.  Drizzle with honey and balsamic.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Toss.  Drizzle again with honey and balsamic.  Roast an additional 15 minutes, until the squash chunks are fork tender.  Serve as a main or side dish.

Knekkebrød -- Norwegian Crispbread
This is what Ryvitatm and Wasatm want to be when they grow up!  Tasty and inexpensive to make.    In spite of the size and shape these are "bread", not "crackers".  Why??  I dunno, and I haven't been able to find out.  Where does a thin flatbread stop and a cracker start?

Anyway, Sally came back from Norway raving about the good crispbread they had been served as a base for snacks or what in England is called a Plowman's lunch --  cheese, fruit, and bread.  So naturally I went searching for recipes to make some of these seedy, crispy treats at home.  You can use any combination or proportion of seeds, but you do want a mixture of small and large seeds.  The ones below are readily available in your local megamart.  Make two sheet pans of crispbreads.

1 cup Rye Flour
1 cup Quick Oats
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup unsalted Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup unsalted Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tbsp Honey
Pinch of Salt
2-1/2 cups Water

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Cover two sheet pans with parchment paper or other nonstick baking paper.

Warm the honey and stir it into the water.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry and seed ingredients.

Slowly add the honey-water and stir/fold things with a baking spoon until a thick, wet dough forms.  The water to be absorbed into the flour, oats, etc. so take your time.

Put half the mixture in the center of each sheet pan, and spread evenly and thinly, spreading out the dough to the edges.  Thin?  You want this to be about 1/8" thin!  I used a wet spatula to spread and smooth the dough, trying for an even thinness.  Trust me, you don't want thicker or you'll break your teeth trying to bite into one!

Place both pans in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes.  Take them out and using a pizza cutter or knife, score the dough into rectangles.  This makes them easier to separate once fully baked.

Return the pans to the over and bake an additional 50 minutes (total of 60 minutes).  At the halfway point switch the pans from top to bottom shelf.

When done, break the breads apart and cool completely on wire racks before storing in tight plastic or tin containers.

They'll stay crisp for a couple weeks, even in Florida's soggy clime.

Chana Dal Dinner
I make Chana Dal fairly frequently.  That's a mixture of lentils, tomato, onion, and I usually add chickpeas, together with Chana Masala, an Indian spice blend specifically for this dish, that I get at the local Indian market.

I cook the lentils (about 2 dry cups) in my rice cooker, with a teaspoon or two of the Chana Masala.  Then I saute a diced white onion a few minutes in a skillet before adding a chopped beefsteak tomato, the lentils and maybe 3/4 cup of canned, cooked chickpeas.  I add more spice to get to the level of flavor and heat that I'm looking for, before serving.

For dinner the other night I added thick slices of roasted butternut squash spiced with Amchur (dried green mango) Powder, for something different.

Tropical Oatmeal
For breakfast the other morning I made Sally something I call Tropical Oatmeal.  A simple bowl of oatmeal taken to a whole new plateau with the addition of a filet of mango!
Can you say yyyyyuuuuummmmmmmmm????  I knew you could.

Quick Dessert
A good meal deserves a good dessert to finish it off.    Yesterday for Lunch with Mum, I made some exceptional Black Bean Rissoles (see recipe, Feb 12, 2018).

So for dessert I made quick but tasty cups of sliced strawberries in syrup, topped with a scoop of my Mango FroYo!  What a sweet conclusion to dinner.... and this post!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tricolor Pasta & Sausage, Mango FroYo, Citrus Shrimp over Baby Kale Salad

Another dish that I ate for several days while Sally was in Norway was this simple but tasty casserole:

Tricolor Pasta & Sausage Casserole
This is a great thing to do with leftover partial jars of pasta sauce.

3/4 lb Italian Sausage
1 Box Tricolor Rotini pasta
1 15 oz bag frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 cup Marinara sauce
1 cup Garlic Alfredo sauce

Fry the sausage until done through, slice into rounds.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Thaw the frozen vegetables.

Combine everything in a large bowl, pour the pasta sauces overall and toss to combine.  Can be eaten cold or warm.

Mango Frozen Yogurt
Another simple but oh, so, tasty delight.  I introduced this to you a year or two back, but with all the mangoes around I thought it would be good to re-run this as another wonderful thing to do with the fruit.

2 cups chopped very ripe Mango
1 cup plain Skyr or Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Lemon or Lime juice
Nutmeg to taste

Place everything in your food processor and take it for a whirrrrr until well blended.  Pour out into a wide/flat container, and freeze for 2-4 hours.    I made a double batch this year -- twice the ingredients listed above.

Then put frozen chunks of the blend in the food processor a second time and spin it up again.  The second puree makes the fro-yo lighter and more airy.  Now spoon the concoction into freezer containers and freeze until ready to eat.
A double batch of the above recipe made close to 8 cups of frozen mango delight.

Tropical Shrimp Salad
My take of a recipe that the local Mega-mart demonstrated.  Serves two.

1 container Baby Kale & Greens mix
1 Mango, firm ripe, not mushy
1 Orange, or 1 Lemon and 1 Lime
1/4 to 1/3 cup shelled Pistachios
1/4 cup Panko
2 Tbsp melted Butter
18-20 Shrimp
1/4 cup commercial BBQ sauce of your choice.  We like Key Lime BBQ sauce
1/4 cup crumbled Goat Cheese

Mix together the BBQ sauce and juice of half the orange.  Use that as a sauce to saute the shrimp.  Cut the other half of the orange into 4 wedges, and peel them.

With a fork, mix the melted butter and Panko to make buttery crumbs.  Chop the pistachios into smaller pieces.

Take the filets off the mango and cut them into turtle shells as shown in the photo.

Lay a bed of the salad mix on each plate.  Place the orange wedges top and bottom, and the mango turtle off center.  Sprinkle the pistachios and panko across the middle.  Then arrange the shrimp around the plate and sprinkle everything with the crumbled cheese.

Pretty darn good as it is (4stars out of 5).  But a squeeze of lemon juice as a 'dressing' would be a good thing.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mango Bread & Jam, (Meat)balls, and Chili Mac

Sally's mango tree this year has been exceptionally fruit-full!  We harvested a couple mangoes the last week of May -- totally unheard of with this tree, which usually starts dropping fruit in mid-July. The fruit have been  bit smaller this year, but just as tasty, and 'way more plentiful.

 I'm attributing the plethora of fruit this year to the "abuse" which hurricane Irma gave the tree back in September.  "They" say that if your mango tree slacks off in production you should literally beat the trunk and branches with a ball bat -- the induced stress makes the tree produce more fruit the following year.  Well, even though the tree was protected between the side of Sally's house and the house next door, the top certainly was radically shaken up during the storm's passage.  

Mango Delights:  Smoothies of various incarnations, upside down cake, pie...  

Mango Bread
I first posted the recipe a couple  years ago, and use it regularly.  This time I've added blueberries instead of raisins.  I also made a batch using a gluten-free flour blend, so we could gift some to our yoga teacher Nicole.

2 cups AP Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mace or Nutmeg
2 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 to 1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Lemon or Lime Juice
1/2+ cup Blueberries
2-1/2 cups chopped mango, with a good amount of juice.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Combine the dry ingredients, then add the wet and stir to combine.  Fold in the fruit.  Pour into loaf pans -- I use the tinfoil mini pans, but any size and kind will do; even cupcake molds.  Leave room for the batter to rise a bit.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick/chopstick comes out clean.  Cool on a rack before slicing.

Mango Jam
I always thought Mango Jam would take a lot more work -- cooking the fruit with liquid or powdered pectin, sterilized jars… the whole bit.   Then I found this Indian recipe for Instant Mango Jam.  

Well, nothing is "instant" except crappy coffee and oatmeal; but this takes less time than you'd think.

1 Mango, chopped
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Spoonful of Jaggery -- crystalized cane sugar or brown sugar

Stir together in  glass bowl.  I used the mango pictured at the top of the page.

Microwave in 2 minute increments.  Between 6 and 8 minutes you should get a jelled but still chunky product perfect for morning toast.
OMG!  This is fabulous!  My first thought was "pepper and mango"??  But I figured the Indian peoples have been messing with mangoes for a thousand years or so, they should know what's what!
This one's a keeper, folks!!!!  My next experiment will be to see how I can scale this up to pint mason jar quantities.

The word meat is in parentheses because there isn't any meat in this (meat)ball recipe!  Sally found this someplace and sent it to me.  I needed a dish to take to our Americana Community Music Association Summer Social last weekend, so I gave the recipe a try.  There are a number of vegetarians/vegans in the group who I knew would appreciate the effort.

These very tasty no-meatballs are made with eggplant.  Don't tell, and folks will have trouble guessing.  Someone thought I'd put Kalamata olives in this batch...  Even the ACMA carnivores liked them -- there were only 2 left out of the 36 I took to the party.

2 cloves garlic
1-1/2 lb Eggplant cubed, skin on
1-1/2 cups Panko
3/4 cup Parmesan (from a jar is OK)
1/2 cup fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh Basil, chopped fine
1 Egg, beaten
1-2 cups Marinara (optional) for serving

Sauté the garlic in a splash of EVOO for  minute, then add the eggplant, salt & pepper (or other spice blend) and 1/4 cup of water.   Cook for 8-10 minutes until just barely tender.  Transfer to a colander, and drain.

Heat the oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with non-stick paper.  

Transfer the eggplant to your food processor, add the other ingredients and pulse to combine.  Don't totally puree things, you want some texture left.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and add more panko as necessary to make the mixture firm enough to form balls that will stay in shape.

Form about thirty 1-1/2" balls and lay them out on the baking sheet.  Bake 35-45 minutes until firm and nicely browned.  Cool on a rack.  Can be served with 'doctored' marinara sauce, or all by themselves.

Chili Mac
I hadn't thought of this dish in more than 50 years.  Then the other day I saw three references to it!  Had to make it to see if it was as good as I remembered.  

Dirt simple, really.  Make a batch of Chili the way you like it.  For this you can even put beans in your chili (which we know is a perversion)!!!

Cook up a batch of macaroni.    Stir the two together (or not).  My first bowl was chili-over-mac, not tossed together.  Serve with or without cheese or other toppings.

Since Sally's still in Norway, I made a big batch to eat on all week!