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Souper Sunday

Imagine my delight just now when I searched and found that I have not used “Souper Sunday” as a headline.  I don’t like to repeat headlines.  I know I predicted a Wrist to Forehead Sunday, but I think Sunday Supper post might be nice.  I guess technically it was lunch, but you know how I love alliteration.

I had planned to make soup earlier in the week.  I had a big piece of beef in the freezer (I don’t remember what the cut was; it was on sale and it looked good).  I thought I would cook it in the crock pot on Saturday, then make soup with the leftovers on Sunday.  I find it is a good idea for me to plan menus for the weekend, to lessen the temptation to send out for pizza or Chinese food.  I confess that it only lessens the temptation.  That little devil on my shoulder will whisper, “That meat will be perfectly good to cook on Monday!”  However, this weekend, the devil was silent and I crock potted the beef.

I put Worcestershire sauce garlic powder, minced onions, Salt-Free Essential Spice Blend (from the So Sweet Candy Cafe in Utica, NY), and a small can of mushrooms in the crock pot with the meat, plus a little water.  It cooked for maybe nine hours.  Yum!  Steven nicely put the leftovers away.

I started the soup around 12:30 today.  As usual, I crushed up some garlic and set the timer for 15 minutes so it could “breathe” (I put breathe in quotations, because garlic does not have lungs).  I chopped up an onion and put it in a pot.  Ooh, here’s where I changed things up:  I did NOT cook it in olive or canola oil as per my usual method.  I used red wine.  Yes, I cooked with wine and I actually put it in the food!  You see, I impulsively purchased a cheap bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon the other day at Ilion Wine and Spirits.

“If it’s not good to drink, I can always cook with it,”  I said, quoting a bit of wisdom given me by another wine aficionado.  Turns out it wasn’t so good to drink.

After things had cooked for some time, I added a can of diced tomatoes.  Then I chopped up a small eggplant I had purchased specifically for the soup.  I love eggplant.  This was when I realized I had picked too small of a pot.  Damn! I put everything in a bigger pot.  After letting the eggplant cook for a while, I put in the leftover drippings and chopped up the leftover beef.  Stirring everything up, I added parsley, more Salt-Free Essential and a little cumin.

It was quite a tasty soup, and there was a goodly amount left over.  Steven put it in the freezer, for future consumption.  Now how could I have a Wrist to Forehead Sunday after such a delicious meal?


Semi-Fancy Eggplant

I purposely cooked a semi-fancy supper last night so I could have a blog post today. Then I thought I had probably written a post about that recipe (if you can call how I cook a recipe) before (full disclosure: I’m too lazy to check). Then I thought maybe I would find different things to say about it. I do tend to do these things differently every time, depending on circumstances.

Circumstances this time were that fresh cilantro was on sale at Hannaford, and it looked pretty good. I picked up some eggplant, too, because I like eggplant roasted with cilantro. Then I grabbed some Roma tomatoes, because there would certainly be enough cilantro to also make a batch of salsa, maybe even for the pending dinner meeting of Ilion Little Theatre Club.

I hesitated long and hard over the mushrooms (good to roast with eggplant). I did not like the way the pre-washed, pre-sliced ones looked. The unsliced ones looked extremely dirty. I do hate washing mushrooms (point and laugh if you must). I finally found a package I could live with.

I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees. I’ve done eggplant at 350, but it seems to me that 350 is baking and 400 is roasting. I think I read that somewhere. I peeled and pressed a goodly amount of garlic (no worries about vampires at my house) and set the time for 15 minutes.

I pulled the blender out of the cupboard and poured in the rest of my olive oil then supplemented that with some canola oil. I pulled a bunch of cilantro leaves off the stems and threw them in. No point in chopping them when the blender would do it for me.

Plenty of time while the garlic breathed (or whatever it does) to chop up the eggplant. I had not gotten such a large one as I sometimes do. They say the smaller ones have better flavor (no, I don’t know who “they” is). I always pick whichever looks good at the time.

I had it in my head that I had to wash the mushrooms. Me and my middle-aged memory. Imagine my delight when I realized I had so purchased a pre-washed pre-sliced package.

Eventually I put the garlic in the blender, blended, poured some of the resulting mixture over the eggplant, stirred, poured that into a glass baking dish (previously sprayed with no-stick; I left that part out), and put it in the oven. I set the timer for 20 minutes and thought I could type in yesterday’s blog post.

No luck. The computer was acting up. Now what to do? Oh, all right, I could start on the salsa, which, if it turned out well I would bring to Thursday’s dinner meeting. My actual salsa method I will save for a future blog post (waste not, want not, I sometimes say).

Regarding the roasted vegetables, I stirred the eggplant after 20 minutes then set the timer for a further 15. When the eggplant was looking pretty good I put on water for farfalle, sometimes called bow-tie pasta, I believe. Normally I have roasted vegetables over angel hair, but sometimes I like to mix things up a bit.

The farfalle was to cook for 12 to 14 minutes, so when I put that on, I added the mushrooms (tossed with the oil-garlic-cilantro mix) to the eggplant. I tossed the cooked pasta with a little of the oil mixture as well.

Steven had bread and butter with his pasta and vegetables. I put grated cheese on mine.

Roasted eggplant is one of my favorite meals. I’ll probably write another post about it the next time I fix it. Dire warning or preview of coming attractions? You decide.