Eggplant Puree and Errata, from Joe

Joe, here, posting.  You'll find more pics in this update.  Think of the words I'm saving you.  This is built upon a bunch of pics that I have crowding my iPhone.  Sort of purgative that way -- more for later, I say.  Lots of double entendre.

Eggplant.  Ugh.  REALLY honey?  Do we have to have eggplant tonight?  Such were my thoughts last week (I dare not SAY what I thought, of course.)  No, my dinner came to me, as above, nefariously disguised in a resplendant mixture of garlic, dried tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, thyme, and basil.  And it was wow good.

For those afraid of eggplant, fear no more.  I would eat this in a boat, I would eat this with a goat.  I would eat this in a house, I would eat this with a mouse.  I would eat green eggplant and pasta, I would eat it Stacy I am.  I will only ever eat eggplant this way, I think.  Is there any other way, I ask?  Better than my mother's eggplant parmesan, any day and twice on Tuesday.

Stacy stirring the pot.  Really, that's my job.  And I'm usually quite good at it.

Hey - hold it - what's Joe doing out of his cage?? He's learning some escape tricks from Choxie and/or Max! Hope you enjoy this post... it may be his last... well, nothing to be done about it now - I can at least post the eggplant recipe... I kinda love the recipe as written, so I'm only going to change a word or 2... if you give credit, it's not plagiarism, right???

Pasta with Let-My-Eggplant-Go-Free! Puree

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a starter

1 pound eggplant, cut into ½ inch slices
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
2 sprigs thyme or oregano, chopped
1 cup stock or water
2 tablespoons dried tomatoes, minced
6 leaves basil, chiffonaded
Salt and pepper
1 pound spaghetti or linguini

Lightly salt the slices of eggplant, stack them back together and let it sit for about 20 minutes. This will season it and water will drip out, allegedly removing the bitterness, if it’s there.

Put the olive oil in a wide, heavy saucepan, add the garlic cloves, and set over low heat. You’re just trying to get them friendly with one another, so don’t worry if nothing happens for a while.

Dry off the eggplant, cut it into chunks. When you start hearing the garlic sizzle a little and can smell it, drop in your eggplant and stir to coat it all with oil. Turn up the heat a little bit to medium high and add your thyme or oregano and stir. When the eggplant is turning translucent and softening, add the liquid, let it come to a boil, and turn it back down to medium-low. Let it bubble for a bit and cover it, leaving a crack for steam to escape. Stir once in a while so that the bottom doesn’t stick.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil, salt it, and cook your pasta.

Check on your eggplant. Is the liquid mostly absorbed or reduced? It should be after about 20 minutes or so. Does it look good and mashable? Great. Mash it up with a spoon, and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Drain your perfect al dente pasta and toss with the eggplant puree. Stir in your minced tomatoes and basil and gild the lily with some more oil (maybe - this was too oily for Joe).

and back to Joe's musings...

But then I remember another night, sometime after homemade ravioli and before we got ALL of those peaches.  Night of the Wonton ensued.  We've never made them before.  We generally don't fry a lot, you see.  But we had these wonton wrappers in the fridge for, like, forever.  Combine that with some leftover crabmeat filling from the ravioli, and walla (yeah, I know it's voila), crab wontons.

Stacy made up a little dippin' action with lite soy, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.  Stacy loves ginger garlic paste.  I love Stacy.  I love her sauce.  Good dippin'.

So, the oil was hot, the night was young, and somehow we had inherited 25 pounds of peaches.  What to do, what to do.  The Night of the Peach Wonton followed, like one of those creature double-features pre-adolescents relish on Saturday afternoon.  Foodies will love this mix.

The filling was peaches, goat cheese, cottage cheese, and basil and was enshrouded by a chili oil- and basalmic vinegar reduction-covered wonton.  Mmmmmmm.  These were out-of-the-ballpark wow.  Stacy posted details of this on the peaches post a few days ago.

At another time we had some melons.  But not just any melons.  Stacy's divine melons:  pancetta and melon drizzled with sriracha and balsalmic vinegar reduction.  Light and fruity, texturally pleasing, with some slight salt and fire to add some shazam.

The peach theme continued with marshmallows.  Stacy will post the details on this but it starts out like our prior post on homemade marshmallows.  These made my mouth unstoppably happy.

Light, fluffy, bits of peachy goodness.  Mmmmmm.  You will LOVE this.

Now these babies, below, are my new favourite appetizers:  grilled pancetta basil peaches.  Sweet, succulent, savory, Stacy, all the way.  Mmmmmmmm.  I'll call them Joe's Peaches, though.  Happiness is just a thing called Joe's Peaches.

Lots more pics to come, and recipes to follow.  Food is fun, or should be.  I loathe eating to eat.  Get out there and eat to enjoy!


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