Well, this is awkward. The last post I left you with involved a late-autumn frolic through the orchard and some apples. And now there’s somehow a solid layer of snow on the ground.
Hm. Funny how that happens.
If it’s any consolation, you haven’t missed much in the kitchen department – I haven’t been cooking a whole lot these days and even when I have, the results have been nothing to cry home about. And with Taste MTL happening earlier in the month, I was busy stuffing my gob here and here for my work with The Main, plus here because I was told it was fantastic (which it was).
Then health stuff made the last couple of weeks feel icky and prompted a lot of early nights, boiled artichoke dinners and zero computer screens after 7pm. It hasn’t exactly been girl-gone-wild around here.
With that unpleasantness out of the way (and with a bit more time on my hands), I’ve been catching up on winter recipe collecting, fattening up my Pinterest board and bookmarking my Ottolenghi and Bernard Clayton cookbooks, all of which has gotten me really jazzed about cooking through the colder months. There’s also the fact that there are ONLY 24 MORE SLEEPS ‘TIL CHRISTMAS, which means I’ve started to daydream about truffles, caramels, shortbreads, fig tarts, ginger cookies, pannetone, paneforte, torrone, clementines, pomegranates, almonds, chestnuts, lemons, persimmons, cinnamon, rosemary, sage, thyme, bourbon…and all the other usual suspects that I’m keen to share with friends and family and you!
While that stuff is in the works, I’d like to leave you with a recipe I made the other day that hit all the right (wintery) buttons. It’s essentially a caramelized, aromatic eggplant filled with pearly Israeli couscous, tangy yogurt and crunchy almonds. You’ll see that the recipe calls for sumac. If you haven’t already used this in your cooking, I highly encourage you to get your hands on some (barter or beg if you have to). Used mostly in Middle Eastern cuisine, it’s a fine, burgundy-coloured spice that has a lemony kick – good for sprinkling over salads, pilafs, roasted potatoes and grilled meats.
Thanks for checking in. See you here again soon, lovelies.
Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Israeli Couscous – serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side
(adapted from Souvlaki for the Soul)
– 2 baby (Italian) eggplants, cut into 1cm slices
– ½ tsp turmeric
– ½ tsp ground coriander
– ½ tsp ground cumin
– ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
– ½ cup cooked Israeli couscous
– a handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
– a handful chopped coriander (cilantro)
– ¼ cup slivered (or chopped) almonds, skin-on (or not)
– olive oil
– lemon juice
– salt and pepper
– Greek yogurt to serve
– sumac for garnish (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Combine the ground turmeric, coriander, cinnamon and cumin in a bowl.
Drizzle the eggplants with some olive oil and and rub each with some of the spice mixture. Cook in the oven till eggplants have softened (approx 30-35 mins).
Combine the cooked couscous, herbs and almonds along with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir to combine.
Spoon the couscous mixture into each eggplant piece, adding a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of sumac to each. Serve straight away.