What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Eggplant and Lamb

Maybe it is the possibility of spring that has me on a tear cooking new things. We had lamb ravioli with mint, yogurt and garlic. It was very different.

On the American Iron Chef on the food channel, they had an eggplant competition. It looked so good, it inspired me to cook eggplant. I started with an Armenian eggplant jam (a lot of these are from Joanne Weir's From Tapas to Meze.). It was a great condiment and one that I will start playing with. It is also something that looks great to can so when I am getting an abundance of eggplant from the garden, it is something to use it up for eating in the off season. I don't know why I never thought of canning eggplant. We eat Baba Ganoush when eggplant is in season and you can buy that in jars so now I have made the connection and I'll have more to can.

While shopping at Harris Teeter (not even Whole Foods), I came across the Thai eggplants I had seen them use on the eggplant Iron Chef. So I made a chicken curry with eggplant. It was really very easy, since I already had some ready-made Thai red curry paste. I took a can of coconut milk and added the red curry paste and chicken thighs. You could use any part of a chicken, including breast skinned, boned and diced. I used thighs because they are tender and juicy and cheap! I cooked the chicken in the cocnut curry a good while, maybe 45 minutes or an hour. I added the small green eggplants in the last 10 minutes and finished it with a lime, juiced and coriander chopped.
Now here is what we thought. We were not impressed with the eggplant. For being so small, they were full of seeds, way more than the big eggplants and they were a bit herbacious as well. Everything else was wonderful. We served it on Jasmine rice and we would definitely make it again. On the other had, I would replace the Thai eggplant with Asian ones.

We also tried Turkish Spiced Lamb "Pizza" from the Weir book. Great with added crushed pepper.

In the meantime, we'll go back to pruning. And when we get a spare minute or two, we'll plant the seeds for the summer garden. We have most of them, but I still need to order a few heirloom tomatoes. The grape seeds are coming up in the new seedling growing area fast and furious, way faster with the heat, light and watering controls. Hopefully, it is home to the perfect seedless muscadine, if it is not already in the vineyard. You'll be the first to know!

Try the best eggplant recipe in the world: the recipe is in on our website!
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