Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cajun Eggplant Pirogues

Bev over at Beverly's Back Porch made stuffed eggplant a few days ago and it got me thinking. Years ago I attended the New Orleans Jazz Fest and the first day I was there, I bought an eggplant pirogue at the fairground. I never forgot it. When I saw Bev's recipe, I decided to re-create the pirogue I had eaten in NO.

First I made some Cajun seasoning. It's really easy and much cheaper than buying it. Mix 3 tablespoons of oregano, thyme, granulated garlic, granulated onion, salt, pepper, paprika and a bit if cayenne pepper to taste.

Peel your eggplants. Cut them into thirds. Scoop out the flesh until you have about a 1/2 inch shell.

Hole in the boat!!! Hole in the boat!!! Be careful that you don't cut through and make a hole in the boat. You should have pieces that look like small canoes. Pirogues are boats used to navigate the bayous, thus the name for this recipe.

Place some seasoned flour in a dish and some beaten eggs in another.

Dip each eggplant boat in flour, then egg, then flour again and place them in hot oil to fry.

Remove them when they are golden and crisp. Place them on paper towels to drain.

In a heavy pot, saute' about 5 cups total of diced red peppers, green peppers, onions and celery.

Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of seasoning over the veggies as they cook.

Add 5 tablespoons of flour and continue to stir and cook for a few minutes.

Add about 4 cups of seafood stock. Cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the sauce thickens.

Add 4 ounces of cream cheese and 4-5 ounces of cheddar.

Whisk 4 eggs in a bowl and temper them with some of the hot vegetable mixture. Then stir them back into the mix.

Add 1 1/2 cups of panko.

Shell and devein a pound or so of shrimp.

Place them in a few tablespoons of melted butter in a medium hot frying pan. Sprinkle them with a couple tablespoons of the seasoning. Cook them until they turn pink.

Add a can of lump crabmeat. I was out of lump so I used claw meat.

Stir the shrimp and crab into the vegetable mixture.

Stir in a bunch of chopped green onions.

Put some panko in a bowl, add 3 tablespoons of seasoning and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Mound the shrimp/crab mixture on top of each eggplant pirogue. Then sprinkle with some of the breadcrumb mix.

Bake these at 375 for about 30 minutes.

Serve them hot from the oven.

They can also be served at room temperature. These could be cut into small pieces and served as appetizers too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Green Goddess Salad Dressing

My friend Kary at My Farmhouse Kitchen recently mentioned that she had a salad with Green Goddess dressing and that it was very good. I realized that I had never eaten it before. I made it and I don't know what took me so long to discover this wonderful dressing.

It was perfect timing because all of my herbs are overproducing and this is the perfect recipe to use bunches of them. I cut lots of chives, parsley, dill, basil and tarragon.

Add a couple of anchovies and no, you will not taste them in the final product. They only enhance the flavor.

Saute' a small onion and 3 diced garlic cloves until beginning to soften.

Add 1 cup of mayonnaise , 1/2 cup of sour cream and 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar along with the fresh herbs and anchovies to your food processor.

Pulse until it reaches a smooth consistency.

This gives you about 3 cups of dressing.

Depending on the salad, this can be a meal in itself.

I made a salad with a couple different lettuces, red onion, radishes, hard boiled eggs, bacon, tomatoes and cheese.

A couple of spoonfuls of Green Goddess makes this a very special salad.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Sometimes you just need a big old bowl of simple spaghetti. Like when you are starving after not eating all day. Or if you have a horrible migraine and have carb cravings. All of these applied to me yesterday.

I used all of the tomatoes I had on hand, even my oven roasted ones. They work great because they have such an intense tomato flavor.

I sauteed them in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

I diced up about 6 garlic cloves and added them to the tomatoes.

After the tomatoes softened, I added 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes.

This only needs to cook about 20 minutes or so. This is such a simple recipe.

I put a tablespoon of anchovy paste in a small bowl.

Then mixed it with some of the sauce and stirred it into the pot.

Boil spaghetti until al dente in salted water. Save 2-3 cups of pasta water before draining.

I used my submersion blender to get a smooth sauce. You can taste it for seasoning but remember the spaghetti will be salty as will be the pasta water you will be adding to the finished recipe.

Mix the drained spaghetti into the sauce.

Add a bunch of chopped fresh basil and some Parmesan cheese. Stir it all together adding some of the pasta water until all of the pasta is coated and not too thick.

So simple but so satisfying! No fuss, just good stuff!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Am Officially On Halloween Countdown

I am hot and I have a migraine and I am officially counting down to Fall. I need something to get me through this endless summer.

Teddy is recovering nicely from her skin problems. She has allergies and now takes Benadryl.

So, no more biting her paws. She feels so much better.

This is one of my lame little herb gardens. However, I am not seeing many stink bugs so maybe it is working!

The raised beds are coming down too. The remnants look like very large graves. Maybe they will be part of my Halloween decorations!

I am not sure how I will repair the lawn. I am guessing that eventually the mazus will fill in the dirt areas.

Almost time to decorate the potting table for Fall.

Teddy will be happy for the cool weather to return as well.

This is the look I get when she wants to go swimming in the pond. She is asking me to open the gate for her.

I can't wait for the Japanese maples to change color.

The pods have formed on my tree peonies and when they begin to open, I will know that Fall is here.

We have had such unseasonably hot weather that it seems like summer has been here for months.

Sorry to rush some of you but I can't wait for shorter days and cooler weather! My head feels a little better now!