Friday, September 28, 2012


We all know I am not a fan of eggplant. What we didn't know was that chopping into small pieces, drying it out with salt, browning it in olive oil, and baking it with other vegetables and orzo would make it tolerable, and maybe even (gasp) desirable

Making Smitten Kitchen's baked orzo recipe may have marked a turning point in my kitchen. The eggplant in this dish enhances the texture of the cheese and pasta, adds a pretty shade to the color palette, and hardly tastes anything like itself. I followed the recipe almost exactly, and loved the results. The only alterations I made were laying sliced tomatoes on top instead of dicing them and mixing them in, and substituting whole wheat orzo. Now I won't have to give away every single CSA eggplant we receive. Just most of them.

Chopped onion, garlic, carrot, and celery
Pre-baked mixture
Finished product (two days later, just out of the fridge)

Friday, September 21, 2012

2 for 1

I love a good sale as much as anyone, especially when it's a BOGO (an acronym I learned from my dear friend Shannon). And while I promise to never sell you anything from my blog, I would like to feature two separate culinary experiences to make up for last week's neglect.

The first, which actually happened second, involves late summer tomatoes from my parents' garden, CSA sweet and hot peppers, half an onion, the oven, and one of my favorite kitchen tools. I tossed the vegetables in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roasted them at 450 for about twenty five minutes. When they were sufficiently browned and sizzling, they got a very quick immersion blend treatment, and I added fresh avocado and cilantro. 

There aren't any pictures because it's not pretty to look at, but the resulting salsa-type mixture is a compelling combination of summer and autumn that can be eaten in or on just about anything, including a spoon.

Earlier in the week, we tried 525 At the Berry Burk with a couple friends, and we were all very pleased with our meal. I started with the Four Mushroom Spinach Salad, which had a sufficient amount of mushrooms, fresh spinach and a lemon vinaigrette. The vinaigrette, while effectively tart, was somewhat creamier than I expected, but still satisfying.

Davy and I shared three small plates, and were thrilled with all of them. The seared scallops with sweet pea and lobster risotto may have been my favorite dish of the evening, though the ceviche and duck confit spring rolls were also beautifully prepared.

Our server was both attentive and well-versed in the history of the building and development of the restaurant, which set a very nice tone for the evening. 
My one concern with 525 at The Berry Burk is that it wasn't very crowded, so go see the newly renovated space for yourself sometime soon!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Dessert for Breakfast

My standard, eaten-at-my-desk, weekday breakfast is one of two combinations: whole wheat toast with peanut butter, or yogurt with cereal or granola and (often) Craisins. Or it was, until I discovered this Peach Breakfast Bake via Pinterest yesterday.

It looked easy enough to prepare, healthy enough to pass as the most important meal of the day, and I happened to have a ripe peach at home. Voila! A special Friday breakfast, made ahead of time, and reheated in the office kitchen.

This really does taste enough like luscious fruit cobbler to satisfy an early morning dessert craving (don't judge - it's not chocolate). Peaches may not be in season for much longer, but I'm certain that this would work well with apples or various other types of fruit.

I consumed about a third of the portion shown above, and am already anticipating next Monday at 9 AM to have another round. Well, anticipating may be a strong word, but my new favorite breakfast will certainly take the edge off of any work day morning.

Peach Breakfast Bake (adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie)

(Serves 2-3)
  • 1 1/4 cups sliced peaches
  • 1/4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/8 cup shredded wheat, crushed (I used the Trader Joe's version)
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp applesauce (For a more buttery taste, replace this with an extra tbsp of the margarine)
  • small amount of vegetable oil, if desired
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • yogurt for serving
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the peaches, lemon, cornstarch, cinnamon, 1/2 the salt, and 1/2 the sugar in small oven-proof serving dish. Let the mixture rest for ten minutes. 

Meanwhile, stir the crushed cereal, remaining sugar, remaining salt, and applesauce in a bowl until well-blended. If it seems to be dry, pour in a small amount of vegetable oil. Top the peaches with the cereal mixture, and bake for 20-30 minutes.