Jambalaya, Japanese Roasted Eggplant, and “Jalapeño” Salsa
I am way overdue for a post over here, I know. I was a bad blogger for the first week with my double dose of vegetables – I was so excited about eating the Indian eggplant and green beans that I neglected to photograph them. I was a wonderful vegan dinner, though. Didn’t miss the animal products one bit.
The same thing happened with the jambalaya, in which I used two of the hated bell peppers, a couple of those fabulous red onions, and some lingering carrots. Not a traditional Cajun trinity, but tasty nonetheless. A handful of tomatoes added richness, along with some spicy kielbasa from a nearby Polish charcuterie. (Funny story: I went in there and asked for kielbasa. The woman pointed me to a table laid with no less than a dozen different kinds of sausage. Apparently, kielbasa is Polish for sausage. Fortunately, she went on to describe what they were like, and when she got to the spicy one, I stopped her. It was just what I was looking for, and cheap, too. I’ll definitely be getting more.) Anyhow, I forgot to photograph the jambalaya as well, but when we reheated the leftovers, the perfectly cylindrical shape made me laugh, so I snapped a picture of it.
I had a great plan one night to make big dinner salads with hard-boiled eggs, tuna, and tomatoes. They were a disaster. How can a salad be a disaster? Well, first, the can of tuna I was picturing on my shelf turned out to be a can of dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). I decided to use them anyway. And then the eggs came out more soft-boiled than hard. They tasted good, but didn’t look so appetizing on the plate. So that time I made a conscious decision not to document my dinner, even though I ate it and enjoyed it.
The rest of the eggs went quickly – that will happen when you’re called upon to make three batches of brownies in one weekend.
A green finger chili played the role of the jalapeño in my salsa, which Nick and I devoured completely the day I made it. I’d forgotten how great fresh salsa can be, and how simple it is to make – a few tomatoes, a little onion, some garlic, salt, and hot pepper.
With the remaining eggplants, I had it in my head to give them the miso treatment, but I got curious about traditional Japanese preparations for eggplant. Trawling the internet landed me on Just Hungry, a delicious Japanese cooking blog, where I proceeded to surf around for an hour or so, learning the finer points of how to cook noodles, where to get Japanese ingredients in Paris, and yes, how the Japanese cook eggplant. I was drawn to the recipe for nasu no miso dengaku, as it was similar to what I had been originally planning, and helped me settle the internal debate about whether to roast the eggplant with the miso or to add it later (answer: later). So I cut the eggplant into large cubes and roasted it in sunflower and sesame oils along with a roughly chopped red onion and a couple of crushed pili pili peppers. While it roasted, I mixed up the dengaku sauce, a thick miso-based sweet-salty concoction, making it a little saucier than the recipe indicates, because I wanted it to coat the udon noodles I was serving with the eggplant as well. Let me tell you, it was delicious – Nick and I ate the equivalent of two whole (smallish) eggplants in one sitting!
With the second bag of green beans (and another much-maligned green bell pepper), I whipped up a Mexican-inspired dish so tasty that I had to write about it the very next day. If you haven’t seen it already, and even if you have, my recipe for Raja Green Beans is easy and flavorful, and I really think you should make it ASAP.
And that’s it for the summer! I’ll see you back here in September!
Originally published on Seasonal Market Menus.