It’s been a wonderful summer weekend! Hot, hot, HOT, and humidity off the scale, but the summer produce is rolling in. Preparing, preserving, and eating it is such a delight.....
Yesterday I did my first brick in preparation for the upcoming tri. A brick is when you cycle and then get off your bike, change shoes really fast, then run. It’s really kind of insane when you think about it, especially in this heat, but I did it and it rocked! I think they should call it a “brawl” instead of a “brick”. Bike, run, then crawl the rest of the day....
I spent most of this morning in the kitchen. I had tons of plum tomatoes that I didn’t really feel like canning, a whole basket of different kinds of peppers, and a couple eggplants that needed to be used. So, I put all the peppers in the dehydrator. There’ll be lots more coming and I already had some in the fridge that I’ll use this week. Some of the hot ones I’ll grind into chili powder after they’re dried. Some I’ll keep whole to use when I cook beans or cabbage. The dried sweet peppers will be wonderful this winter in soups and stews.
I made a wonderful thick pasta sauce with the tomatoes, eggplant, and caramelized onions that we’ll be enjoying all week. Here’s how this worked:
2 medium eggplants, sliced about 1/2” thick
20-25 plum tomatoes, quartered
5-6 (or more) large garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper pepper, cut in half (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions, sliced
2-3 tbs olive oil
2 cups good red wine
1 cup water
2 veggie bullion cubes
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and arrange the eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno in a single layer. This will probably require two baking sheets. Roast the veggies for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook slowly until they are soft and sweet and brown.
When the tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, and pepper are done, dump them into a food processor along with the caramelized onions and process until all the big pieces are gone. This won’t be quite smooth, but won’t be chunky either. Now dump all this into the dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and stir in the wine, water, and bullion cubes. Return to the simmer and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring, occasionally. Serve this over your favorite pasta. The roasted garlic and caramelized onions make this soooooo flavorful. And it’s so good for you to boot!
Just so you know I sometimes make a huge mess of things in the kitchen, I totally screwed up a batch of pita bread I tried to make this morning. I forgot that I was using the oven when I set the dough on a back burner to rise. When I got around to punching it down so I could make the loaves, it was already half baked from sitting on top of the hot oven. I went ahead and baked it like I normally would have, and we’ll eat it, but pita bread it ain’t! It didn’t puff at all and is more like a heavy whole wheat loaf bread. Oh well. Guess I’ll go to the bakery later in the week. Ain’t makin’ any more today!