Delicious Eggplant Recipes and More

Plus Yummy Eggplant Recipes

Delicious Eggplant Recipes and More

By Jean Smith, Michigan — Locally sourced, homegrown, all-natural, organic … these are a just a few of the keywords that we as foodies and locavores look for when we are trying to source “real” food. We make every effort to know the farmer/producer and build that relationship with them. It’s important to me and I know it’s important to you. It’s a full circle — seed to dirt, seedling to plant, blossom to fruit, harvest to market, producer to consumer, and so goes the cycle of the production of food.

What to Eat and When?

While reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the author does a superb job in giving us the details on what’s in season and when. If you are a regular at the farmer’s markets, you probably have a fair amount of knowledge in this area, but for those of you who are just getting your feet wet in this wonderful world of “real food,” I say, “Welcome!”

Freezing Peppers is Easy

Wash your peppers in cold water and remove any debris and bad spots along with stems. Cut your peppers in half and remove stem end and all seeds; either dice or cut into strips. I do some of both — diced are great for putting into chilies, gumbos and on pizza, and the strips are perfect for stir fry or fajitas.

Place on a cookie sheet and place in your freezer until close to frozen; use a metal turner to pop the peppers loose and place them in freezer containers. I like to use one-gallon ice cream buckets. I also place a piece of wax paper or foil wrap over the top before I put the lid on, this helps prevent freezer burn. Downsize your container as you use your peppers.

You can use this same method with raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries and any other item that doesn’t need blanching or steaming.

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Cran-Grape Jelly

Prepare lids and jars

Measure out exactly 7 cups of sugar in separate bowl; set aside

Prepare liquid as follows:

You will need exactly 5 cups of liquid — at least 4 cups of grape and the remaining from the liquid used to cook down the cranberries. You can add more grape juice to make the five cups if you don’t get enough from the cranberries.

Place 1-1/2 cups frozen whole cranberries in a 2-quart saucepan with about 2 cups of water. Add frozen cranberries; bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for five minutes. Drain liquid and reserve. Place cranberries in a bowl and mash. Add cranberry juice to grape juice until you have exactly 5 cups of liquid.

Measure exact amount of prepared fruit juice into a 6- to 8-quart saucepot. Stir in 1 package of fruit pectin powder (I use Sure-Jel). Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to prevent foaming.

Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.

Stir in sugar quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.

Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within ¼-inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Place lid and ring on tightly. Place jars on an elevated rack in water bath canner and cover with hot water, covering jars by at least 2 inches. Process jelly for 5 minutes—adjust processing time according to your altitude. Remove jars and place upright on a towel or cooling rack to cool completely.

Let stand on counter for 24 hours and put on your shelves. If any jars didn’t seal, place in refrigerator and use first.

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Roasted Eggplant Dip

• 1 head garlic
• 1 large eggplant, cut half lengthwise
• 1 small onion, sliced thinly
• 1 large tomato, cored, sliced in half
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
• 1 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Dash of pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut the top off the head of garlic to expose a bit of the cloves. Wrap loosely in foil, bake until soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place eggplant halves on the prepared baking sheet, cut side down. Roast for 10 minutes. Add onion slices and tomato halves to the sheet and roast until all the veggies are soft, 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Squeeze the head of garlic, releasing the soft pulp, into a medium bowl. Mash with the back of a spoon. Slip skins from the eggplant and tomatoes; coarsely chop. Finely chop the onion. Add chopped veggies to the garlic pulp and stir in the lemon juice, mint, oil, salt, and pepper.

Serve with sliced raw veggies, crackers, or pita bread/chips.

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Veggie Stuffed Eggplant

• 1 medium eggplant
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 cup each; mushrooms, chopped zucchini, and sweet pepper—red, green, and yellow mixed
• 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
• 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ, optional
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
• Dash crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise; remove pulp, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell. Cube pulp; set shells & pulp aside.

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté onion and garlic until onion is tender. Add the veggies and eggplant pulp; sauté for 4–6 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender. Stir in the tomatoes, wheat germ, parsley, thyme, and seasonings. Cook for 1 minute.

Divide mixture evenly between the eggplant shells; sprinkle with the cheese. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes or until shells are tender.

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