Slow Cooker Eggplant Korma
First off, not planning to go on any breaks from blogging anytime soon. However I am thinking about changing the blog titles in order to make DancingVeggies slightly easier to navigate. Currently I pick song lyrics that are bouncing around in my head, sometimes they relate to the recipe I’m featuring and sometimes they are nothing more than an ear worm. However it’s been two years (!!!) and now that I have almost 200 (!!!) recipes I want to make sure people can easily see what I’m cooking and when. This line of thought also motivated the changes to the Recipe page, adding categories and updating links. The issue with making the change as I see it relate more to existing entries, do I go back and change them so that everything “fits” or do I leave those as they are as a way of remembering where I started. What do you think? What can I do to make DancingVeggies more accessible?
Now that the business is out-of-the-way, today’s recipe is perfect for that summer garden that is going crazy. I also worked with it a bit to make it slow cooker friendly, since a hot stove top is never a welcome thing this late in July in Virginia. I have been told that as written this recipe is rather spicy, to cut back on the heat leave out the pepper or use half.
I don’t think I have repeated the vegetables from one korma to another, aside from the eggplant. Carrots, peppers, squash, tomatoes, and peas have all been tossed in this dish at one point or another and I don’t know if I have a true favorite. Generally I try to include one crunchy vegetable and one meaty item in order to give the dish dimension.
Random Recipes: My Cookbooks
Welcome back to the July installment of Random Recipes. This month the challenge was something different, instead of random recipes from a cookbook the focus in on the cookbooks instead. My kitchen is a two bum galley kitchen deal, tho one bum and two tails is more likely, so cookbooks are kept on a bakers rack in the dining room. I use to have three times the numbers but decided the time had come to donate those that just weren’t being used. Most of the ones cleared out were meat themed books from the short time period where I ate meat. In removing those I was able to finally get all my books on one shelf and no stacks. I tend to flag recipes that I’m working with, and once I find what works for me I copy it into the short spiral notebook on the right side of the shelf. There is no order to the books, they get pulled out and put back in all sorts of orders. This summer Plenty and Vegetables from an Italian Garden are the cookbook stars with lots of great seasonal recipes that fit perfectly with my garden.
I also have three “special” cookbooks that don’t get much use, but my collection wouldn’t be complete without them. These are the two Star Wars cookbooks and Joe’s family cookbook (tall spiral binder to the right of center) that was published one year as a present. I love the idea of a family cookbook and hopefully if another one is made one of my recipes will find a way in. My cookbooks might not be glamorous and I’m certainly missing some of the more well know cookbooks, but the ones I do have are well loved and that’s what really matters. To see more cookbooks check out Dom’s Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes.
My tomatoes are looking amazing! I can’t believe that after three years of failure I finally have a garden that is producing delicious and nutritious food. My zucchini are still lack luster, but my tomatoes and eggplant are more than making up for them. I have a feeling those canning tips I got last week will be very useful very shortly. So far I am able to keep up, but based on what I’m seeing on the vines that won’t be the case much longer. One thing I will say about all these tomatoes is that I’m getting plenty of opportunities to test out some new sauces. This one is rather basic, but it’s one of those that can easily be adapted to fit all tastes. I normally do my meat sauce with tofurkey Italian sausage, but seitan or a meat substitute crumble would work just as well.
I like to top mine with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some more fresh basil, fresh ricotta and ground pepper would also work depending on individual tastes! This sauce also freezes very well, so sometimes I’ll make a large batch in the slow cooker for the future. After browning the meat, just too everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6hrs (triple batch).
Fried Green Tomatoes
I love cooking challenges, being forced to work outside of my comfort zone and experiment with new to me ingredients and techniques. There is nothing like pushing yourself and discovering something new and exciting and different. A few months ago Joe introduced me to a rather addicting website that hosts a variety of cooking themed forums. Among them is one called /52weeksoffood in which a different theme is picked every week, ranging from specific ingredient to cooking technique to ethnicity to everything in between. The week the theme was color, something I’m familiar with after last year’s International Incident Party. I asked Joe to pick a color for me which resulted in a me coming up with a green themed meal. Instantly I knew I want to do Fried (or baked) Green Tomatoes in an attempt to take care of some of the tomatoes in my garden while trying something new. I rarely ever fry food, but there are a few things that I do enjoy better friend than baked. Which is why I asked for, and luckily received, a gorgeous stove top fryer as a wedding present. This one can be used as a large saute pan while the basket doubles as a steamer, so it can be used on not-as-bad for me foods as well. So I set the oil to heat while I went out to the garden to collect some fresh tomatoes. Since I’m growing a variety of black tomatoes, they are closer to red than your typical green tomatoes but are the same ripeness wise. In order to add more green to things I decided to grab some basil as well in the hope of making a basil aoili. While the aoli didn’t work as well as I planned, the tomatoes were perfection.
I wound up serving them sandwich style on some leftover Basil Foccacia bread along with fresh basil and some melted mozzeralla cheese, almost a fried tomato caprese sandwich in you will.
Basil Focaccia Bread Machine Style
A second SRC recipe! This time featuring a Blog from the amazing Group B. Danielle is the brains behind Mostly Food and Crafts, a blog that features all sorts of delicious recipes and cute crafts. I realized at a young age that crafting was not for me and am in awe of anyone who does pocess the crafting gene. However I still checked out a few of them, just couldn’t resist the temptation! Since I had a quick turnaround with this post I tore myself away from her craft list and started investigating recipes. Oh my are there some good ones! From curry rice to banana nutella bread to her recipe for Baked Potenta with mozzerella and basil…so many delicious options for such a small amount of time. After eliminating a few options due to time constraints, I decided I needed a new fresh bread recipe that was different than anything I had tried before. After all, part of the reason behind SRC is trying out things we wouldn’t normally go for. With that in mind I decided that her Rosemary Focaccia was just right, even if I did have to turn the oven on.
In doing this I also found out that the standard dough setting on my machine is twice as long as the pizza dough setting, which resulted in a slight delay. I did have to switch out the rosemary for half fresh basil, half dried rosemary. I added the rosemary to the dough while I kept the basil as a topping with the olive oil, pepper, and salt. I kept the same overall measurement (split), same cooking time, and experienced the same amazing results! This bread was that something extra my dinner plans needed, I just didn’t know it! The smell it gave my entire house was an added bonus, and just one more reason why I need to make this on a regular basis.
Thanks Danielle for such a great recipe, I can’t wait to try more!
Brown Butter Blueberry Tart
The heat wave seems to be back, so time to start avoiding the kitchen again. However before the second round of craziness began I was able to clean out the rest of the blueberries I purchased from the market last week. I had reserved these with the intention of making a tart, and that’s exactly what happened for once. A long time ago I had made a brown butter tart, but it didn’t work out as well as I planned. This time I decided to add way less sugar and left out the vanilla to insure that the nuttiness of the brown butter shined through. Perfection!
For this recipe I used a standard butter crust that I had great success with in the past, although I was tempted to try a brown butter crust.
In garden news, I was finally able to harvest my first yellow squash! I also have two little black beauty eggplants growing, along with three Japanese eggplants, and more tomatoes/peppers than I care to count. I’m starting to research canning methods and right now I’m looking at the slow cooker method. If anyone has any suggestions, tips, or words of caution please leave them for me! This is totally new to me so I’m slightly nervous.
Brown Butter (Star Wars) Pancakes
This week has been more than a little insane, but thankfully it’s all in the past and I can start to breathe a little bit easier. With all of the insanity I haven’t spent nearly as much time in the kitchen as normal but luckily found some time over the weekend to work on my pancake technique. I’ve never been a big breakfast person, something about eating soon after waking doesn’t sit right with my stomach. However I am a huge fan of pancakes, and really REALLY want to break in some new toys. Joe and I got a ton of Star Wars cooking supplies when we got married and while the cookie cutters have gotten multiple uses, the pancake molds had gone back to the cabinet after being washed. I decided that the time had come for me to give them a whirl, and that such an occasion called for more than just my standard Joy of Cooking adapted pancake recipe. So I went to the internet and started searching around for ideas. In the end I decided to stick with my normal recipe with one twist: brown butter!
I loved the nuttiness added by the brown butter, it gave them the right amount of something different without being too overpowering. The chocolate chips were an indulgent treat and while I didn’t quite master the proper placement of chips to create eyes, they still tasted amazing which is all that really matters.