Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Tapenade (Or “That Yummy Stuff”)

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(Becky, the Mama.)

The first time I created and served this recipe for a patio party, guests kept saying, “Oh my goodness, what IS this yummy stuff?” I struggled to describe what is was, because, as is so often the case, I just put whatever sounded good to me into a pan and crossed my fingers. This recipe began with a pan of diced roasted Greek veggies that becomes a colorful, intensely flavored Mediterranean topping for wedges of hot grilled Naan bread, alongside hummus and a lemon-zest ricotta. If I were to be asked to create a “perfect bite” on some sort of home cook’s competition, I’d serve this Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Tapenade on top of, well, just about anything.

This hearty appetizer is perfect with a glass of good wine, either on a hot summer day or a cold winter evening. It is wonderful at just about any temperature but probably best served a room temp which makes it a great no-fuss appetizer for parties. (Also perfect for New Year Celebrations coming up.)

I must confess, I am a little sad when there is not a container of “Yummy Stuff” in the fridge somewhere. It’s become my favorite condiment on top of fresh grilled Naan or Pita,burgers or sandwiches, or as a topping to punch up flavor in everyday spaghetti. If you are vegan, it’s especially nice to keep on hand to add a quick burst of color and flavor to lentils, beans, brown rice or quinoa.

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Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Tapenade

(Or “That Yummy Stuff”)

* Recipe of Roasted Veggies below,cooked, cooled and diced to desired “chunkiness” for spreading
1 T. olive oil
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 ½ t. sugar
Couple of shakes hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco) to taste
1 T. capers or 1 T. finely chopped pepperoncini peppers
5 large green stuffed olives, sliced (may use black olives if you prefer)
1/3 c. chopped dried tomatoes
1 to 2 T. water, if needed
Salt and pepper, if needed

Directions:

In medium to large skillet, heat olive oil. Add diced roasted Garlic Greek Veggies. Add tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, capers or pepperoncinis, sundried tomatoes, and olives. Stir and cook in skillet until sauce is thick, well-blended and hot and some of the “vinegary” smell and taste is cooked out, about 2 minutes.

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Add water if needed, but keep the tempenade thick. Serve warm, room temperature or even cold if you like. It is amazing on grilled Naan or pita bread atop hummus, fabulous as a thick relish-like topping for a Greek-style burger or any sandwich.

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Mediterranean Garlic Roasted Veggies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:

1 eggplant, peeled and diced about 1 inch cubes
1 red pepper, seeded, stemmed and rough chopped in big chunks
3 big cloves garlic (or 4 smaller ones)
1 red onion, peeled and rough chopped in large chunks

3 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Fresh ground sea salt and pepper (light sprinkling over all)

Directions:

On a large baking sheet sprinkle olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Place chopped eggplant, red pepper and red onion on pan. Using clean hands mix the veggies with the oil and vinegar and then give the whole thing a light sprinkling of fresh sea salt and pepper. Put whole garlic cloves somewhere on pan either wrapped in foil or parchment with a little olive oil; or use a small clay garlic roaster.

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Roast veggies for about 20 to 30 minutes or until veggies just begin to get soft and brown-blackish in spots. Smash soft roasted garlic into a paste with flat edge of knife or fork, and toss with veggies.

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The Title: Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Tapenade
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Smoky Baked Goulash

(Becky, the Mama.)

The other night was crazy.

I performed my usual bedtime routines: bath, then walked through the kitchen on the way to the bedroom, put lotion on my feet and legs and got in bed.

Suddenly my feet were on FIRE! Could not imagine why, but I rushed to get a wet cloth and washed them off.  Thankfully, the pain subsided, so I padded back through the kitchen, applied  more lotion, back in bed. Feet on fire!

I trekked back to the  kitchen where I saw that while making the recipe, I somehow spilled Tony’s Cajun Seasoning all over the kitchen floor. So basically, I was putting salt and cayenne pepper on my feet, then rubbing it in with lotion.

I hate it with this happens, don’t you?

So enjoy this recipe for Smoky Baked Goulash, as it is delicious and easy and great for a crowd.  (When your family is tired of turkey, this is a great make-ahead dish to stick in the oven and serve with a simple salad.)   Just make sure to let it melt in your mouth, and not on your feet.

Smoky Baked Goulash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Serves six to eight people

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1/2  lb  sweet Italian turkey sausage

(*Vegans: In place of beef and sausage, use a mixture of crumbled vegan sausage– Field Roast Apple Sage brand recommended; lentils or beans; and chopped Portobello mushrooms to equal about  2 ½ cups)

3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

½ c. BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s brand)

1 t. cumin

1 t. smoked paprika

1 t. Hungarian paprika

½ t. Tony’s Cajun seasoning

Salt & Pepper to Taste

8 oz  Penne Noodles (I used a high fiber Barilla Plus brand)

½ c to 1 c. cheddar cheese

1 red onion, diced

1 chopped sweet red or yellow pepper (or mixture)

½ cup Lite Ranch Dressing

¼ cup sliced olives, green or black

Directions:

Cook noodles according to package directions.  While they are cooking, brown the hamburger and crumbled turkey sausage in a large skillet  (Vegans, use a little olive oil and sauté the mushrooms and vegan sausage, then add beans or lentils.)

Add can of crushed tomatoes, bar-b-que sauce and seasonings to browned meat in skillet  Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate pan sauté onions and pepper in olive oil. (To save time, you can do this when you brown the meat.  But it is prettier to see that layer of color on top of the casserole.)

When noodles are done, lightly oil a large rectangle casserole pan, and place noodles in it, in an even layer.   Gently spoon the meat sauce over the noodles.

Next, spoon sautéed onions and peppers over the sauce.  Then sprinkle cheddar cheese over all, as much as you like.  (We go light on the cheese, but if you love it, go for it! Vegans, omit cheese or use a vegan cheese product.)

Then pour pretty “squiggles” of Ranch Dressing over cheese layer. (Vegans use Vegan Ranch Dressing or make Rachel’s awesome recipe!)

Finally top with olives.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until melts and dish is hot all the way through.

Variations: This is a great recipe for using left-over veggies: corn, diced carrots, mushrooms,  diced squash, beans — it is all good.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Smoky Baked Goulash
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-MW
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook


Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies

“I don’t like asparagus. I don’t like broccoli. I don’t like onions. I don’t like garlic. I don’t like vegetables. Well, I do like corn … and potatoes. I like potatoes.”

This was my husband when we first got married.

I don’t remember cooking much in our first year of marriage. In fact, I have no idea what we ate. I hardly have a single memory in that tiny galley kitchen. Between Jared’s aversion to all things that made food delicious to me and the hideous marbled yellow laminate counter tops with cracks on the corners, I must have felt less than inspired.

When we moved to a new town house with a bright white kitchen near Galveston, I suddenly found myself looking for excuses to be in the kitchen. I started shopping at Farmer’s Markets and reading food blogs and became determined to get Jared to love veggies. Little by little, I found ways to prepare certain vegetables in a way he would eat them. He’ll eat onions if they are caramelized or chopped fine and sauteed in a dish. He’ll eat his peas in a split pea soup. And I can get him to eat almost anything wrapped in a tortilla and dipped in salsa. Thank goodness, because in a crazy turn of events, before we moved out of that town home a year later, we had become full on vegans.

The preparation that finally got Jared raving and begging for veggies was roasting them. If it’s coated with a little evoo and seasoning and crisped up to perfection (to him that includes a few burnt bits on the pan), he’s a happy husband and a happy veggie eater!

This method works wonderfully with asparagus, any root vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower, onions, even chickpeas. Try it with a vegetable you think you don’t like and see if it changes your thoughts on it.

Roasted Vegetables with Roasted Garlic

Roasted vegetables are easy enough to serve up on a weeknight and beautiful enough to serve to guests for a celebration dinner.

Rachel’s
Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies

Ingredients

(Note: The vegetable  list is just a guideline. Use whatever you have in your refrigerator or is on sale at the market. The seasoning ingredients listed are for about 4 cups of vegetables.)

Potatoes, chopped (small, soft-skinned work great, but Idaho & sweet potatoes are wonderful too)

Carrots, chopped

Onions, quartered (leave one end in tact so they don’t get burnt)

Peppers (bell peppers, sweet tri colored peppers, poblanos) (seeded & quartered)

Broccoli (cut into “trees”)

Cauliflower  (cut into “trees”)

Zucchini (chopped into large chunks or long ribbons)

Squash (chopped into large chunks or long ribbons)

2 T (maybe more) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 T. Balsamic Vinegar

2 t. Salt

2 t. Pepper

1 T. Italian Seasoning Blend

A full head of garlic

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Spray large cookie sheet with nonstick spray.

Put all the veggies except the garlic in a large mixing bowl, and drizzle 2 tbs of olive oil over the veggies. Toss until all of the veggies are lightly coated, adding more olive oil if needed. Don’t drench them or you’re veggies won’t get crisp. (The amount of olive oil varies because some veggies soak up more, like cauliflower, and others hardly absorb any, like peppers.)

Add balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and toss again. Pour veggies onto the cookie sheet and spread around. If they are piled on top of each other, use a second pan.

Take the garlic, remove the lose skin, and chop the top of the head off the garlic so the inside of each clove is exposed. Place the bulb on a piece of foil and drizzle the top of the bulb with olive oil. Wrap the foil around the clove. Add the foil wrapped garlic onto the pan of veggies (sitting upright). Check this tutorial out if you need a visual.

Bake the veggies and garlic for approximately 40 minutes. The potatoes and carrots take the longest to cook, so cook until they are soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.

Remove the garlic from the foil and allow to cool for a few minutes. Carefully either squeeze the garlic out (like toothpaste), or use a fork to remove each clove. Toss in with the roasted veggies. The garlic is delicious and really elevates roasted veggies! Your friends will most definitely track you down for the recipe. Trust me.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/24/balsamic-roasted-garlic-veggies