EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE

Thunderstorms couldn’t keep me away from my kitchenette. In fact, it was the opposite. You see, rainy weather lures me to my cooking range. And, that’s what it did this evening. Originally, I was planning on Chinese delivery; however, my culinary mind sent me searching for supplies (well, food).

The first thing that caught my eyes were my vine-ripe tomatoes. Those super-red and over-ripened fruits/veggies were begging to be rescued. So, I did. I rinsed same and retrieved for my other ingredients:

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE

Eggplant parmesan was on my mind. However, I didn’t have the cheese of the hour. Moreover, there was no fresh basil. I did not allow that to damper my dish at hand. Decided to improvise and made my style, Eggplant with Feta cheese. Bought the cheese on sale for sometime; maybe a couple of months and stored the reserve in the freezer.

First, I made a home-made tomato sauce with my vine-ripe tomatoes. I softened finely chopped onions in olive oil. Then, chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, thyme, dried basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, squeeze of honey and a splash of red-wine vinegar were added. I allowed these ingredients to simmer on low heat while I attended to my purple boy.

HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE FOR GRILLED EGGPLANT
HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE FOR GRILLED EGGPLANT

Grabbed my chopping board and went to ‘town’ with my big purple boy (eggplant).

SLICED EGGPLANT FOR GRILLING
SLICED EGGPLANT FOR GRILLING

Slices were seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper. I fleetingly thought about placing them in an egg wash, sprinkle bread crumbs and pan-frying. But, decided to employ the use of my grill pan. This move (grilling) saved me quite a few calories from pan-frying.

GRILLED EGGPLANT ALONG WITH HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE AND FETA CHEESE
GRILLED EGGPLANT ALONG WITH HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE AND FETA CHEESE

I was ready for action. Grilled eggplant slices were plated and fresh home-made tomato sauce was spooned on each slice with a sprinkle of the briny feta cheese. Didn’t have fresh basil in-house. I didn’t allow that to rain on my ‘parade’. Instead, I used thinly sliced kale I had on had.

FINISHED EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE DISH
FINISHED EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE DISH

I was super-happy. I served a few slices with a few roasted spicy jerk wings and sweet potatoes.

EGGPLANT/FETA CHEESE ALONG WITH ROASTED JERK WINGS AND SWEET POTATOES
EGGPLANT/FETA CHEESE ALONG WITH ROASTED JERK WINGS AND SWEET POTATOES

 

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VINE-RIPE TOMATOES AND TARRAGON SALAD

The marketplace is still loaded with one of summer’s favorites, vine ripe tomatoes. As a result, I took advantage of the influx by purchasing a few. Based on studies, tomatoes are best stored outside the refrigerator at room temperature so as allow all the flavors to mature.  Thus, I practice same and use these sweet and juicy specimens in my dishes.

One way that I like to use them is to make a refreshing tomato salad. However, I took it up to a notch by adding the distinctive taste of the bitter/sweet tarragon. Brought home a bunch a few days ago and so far, I’ve used it in fish and chicken dishes. I was very satisfied with the results.

Tarragon is also excellent with tomatoes. Thus, I didn’t hesitate to pair the two. I roughly chopped tomatoes and added a pinch of salt and black pepper, splash of red wine vinegar, drizzle of olive oil, a touch of honey and of course, finely chopped tarragon. This herb brought my tomatoes to another beautiful level. I was over the moon.

IT WAS A SEAFOOD KIND OF A MEAL #PAPRIKA AND CITRUS SHRIMP

I had a rather long day. And although it would have been just perfect to order delivery or eat out, I decided on neither. I just wanted to return to my nest and unwind. That meant unwinding with a sip of cocktail. Had a little left-over pinot noir on hand. And I put on a little soft rock and went to work in my kitchenette. It’s amazing what a few cloves of garlic,  vine-ripe tomatoes and citrus can do to you.

GARLIC, VINE-RIPE TOMATOES AND LIMES
GARLIC, VINE-RIPE TOMATOES AND LIMES

It was a simple, quick yet delicious and hearty meal. In less than thirty seconds I was able to whip up a grilled paprika and citrus shrimp over a bed of linguine pasta. I made sure to season shrimp with a sprinkle of salt, black pepper, paprika and crushed garlic. After removing garlic, shrimp was drizzled with olive oil and placed on grill pan for approximately two minutes on each side. Shrimp was then removed from burner and a combination of  freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice was added.

Whole wheat linguine pasta was cooked al dente style. I made sure to season pasta water generously as that was the ideal time to flavor pasta. Pasta was drained and a little water was reserved for an addition so to stretch the sauce. It was important that I had a firm pasta in order that I could finish the cooking process in the sauce.

In a hot skillet, under low to medium heat, olive oil was drizzled and roughly chopped onions were sautéed. Then chopped vine-ripe tomatoes were added along with crushed garlic. In order to expel the all the flavors and juices, a sprinkle of salt and black pepper were added along with a squeeze of lemon and lime.  Also, fresh thyme was added. Pasta along with reserve water were then tossed in and all ingredients were folded for a perfect finish.

Paprika and citrus shrimp was served over linguine pasta along with a garnish of fresh lemon/lime slices and parsley. Guys, I was super-happy as I puckered up to my citrusy dish. Now, if I could only find something to watch other than the re-runs.