I have been meaning to make this for months now. Since I first had it in my Chilean cooking class back in December, I have wanted to try making it at home. And then I kept not doing it. But this week I finally got around to it. Pastel de Choclo is basically a Chilean shepherd’s pie, with a sweet corn topping rather than mashed potatoes. And it is freaking delicious.
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, chopped
2-3 teaspoons paprika (adjust to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin (adjust to taste)
1 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons rasins
2-3 ounces crumbled feta
Saute the onion and garlic for a couple minutes in some olive oil, then add the eggplant, paprika and cumin. Saute, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is soft and cooked, 10 minutes or so. Add the sugar, and then taste and adjust the spices as you see fit. Set aside while you make the topping.
3 ears of corn, kernels removed and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
2-3 tsp sugar
Chopped fresh basil or dried basil
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the corn, and basil, and sugar and then slowly add in the milk, stirring frequently. Once all the milk is added, cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens (aka corn and milk sorta combine into a mush). It’ll take awhile – at least 10 minutes. Stir consistently so the bottom doesn’t burn.
In a medium, greased casserole dish, place the eggplant mixture. The add a layer of feta and raisins. Then spoon the corn mush so it forms an even top layer. Sprinkle the top with sugar, and bake at 400 until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm.
So. Freaking. Good. I was worried since I wasn’t really involved in making it that it wouldn’t taste the way I remember, but it turned out awesome. I upped the spices a little to counteract the sweet corn, but it works so well with the feta. I can’t wait to make this again. My only issue with it was that I ate a little too much of it each time I had it. Oh well, there are worst things than a recipe being too good to keep to smallish portions. Naturally, I served this with Chilean wine – a really solid Sauvignon blanc. Song of the Week: PMJ’s version of Dancing in the Dark. Confession time: I hate Bruce Springsteen. I sporadically try again, but it’s like “nope.” However, Postmodern Jukebox is awesome and so I’m completely obsessed with their 50s version of it this week.
I ended up doing a ton of cooking over the weekend, many of which were of the “let’s play with food” variety. There were breakfast burritos, mashed potato/spinach fritters, baked fritter dough, a roasted eggplant tower and cupcakes. Like I said, there was a lot of cooking. However, I kept forgetting to take pictures of all of the things I made. So this blog post will be on the eggplant tower thingy because it is the only one I remembered to take a picture of.
1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
2 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup tomato sauce
pine nuts for garnish.
Step one is to roast the eggplant. Slice it fairly thinly and brush with olive oil. When I say brush I literally mean take a pastry brush and use that to coat both sides of the eggplant with olive oil. Eggplant are little oil sponges, if you toss them like normal veggies it gets absorbed and you end up using a ton of oil. Sprinkle on a little salt and roast the eggplant at 400 until they are tender all the way through and shrunken, about 30 minutes you should probably flip them after 15 minutes so both sides are cooked properly). Once the eggplant is cooked, set it aside and let it cool.
Get two ramekins, and place about a tablespoon of sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of eggplant, and then some goat cheese crumbles. Then more eggplant and then more goat cheese – don’t worry about gaps, or the fact they aren’t perfect. I did about 4 layers. Once you placed the last eggplant layer, cover with another tablespoon or so of tomato sauce. Garnish with pine nuts and bake in the oven at 350 until the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbling, about 20 minutes.
I was super proud of myself for how well this turned out. The melted cheese mixed somewhat with the sauce which tasted awesome, and nothing really overpowered anything else, and wasn’t swimming in sauce. It was just tasty. And only requires a few ingredients! Not really a weekday recipe, but a good one to impress someone your making dinner for without actually having to do a lot of work. I had this with a glass of white wine (a Chilean sauvignon blanc) and some roasted asparagus. Song of the Week: Shambala by Three Dog Night, as sung by Rockapella. I had a long discussion (with much viewing of YouTube videos) with a friend about the differences between newer pop-a capella, old school stuff, and more choral/classical a capella a couple days ago. He was not overly impressed by Pentatonix, but we both appreciate the more old school stuff, so I’m going with Rockapella today.
Over the weekend, I took and impromptu trip to CA to visit my family, and in the process, I made dinner for my mom one night I was there. Since she has many many more cookbooks than I do, it seemed a perfect opportunity to find something for new recipe day. And since she swears by the Greens cookbooks (as does everyone in my family) I decided to make something from one of those. Since it was still effectively summer back in NorCal, I decided to make late-summer Provencal Tartlets. Ok, this recipe does take awhile to cook (about 2 episodes of Star Trek) and it looks like a ton of ingredients, but its pretty straight-forward to do.
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
several tablespoons cold water
Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until there are no significant sized lumps. If compressed, the dough should almost be able to stick together. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. The dough should be soft and pliable, but cohesive and not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
1/2 smallish eggplant, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 a red onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic
1-2 pinches dried thyme
1 pinch dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/2-3/4 cups fontina cheese
Dice all the veggies and stick them in a bowl. Toss with the garlic, olive oil, and dried herbs. Roast at 400 for about 10-15 minutes. The diced veggies means it goes pretty quickly. Stick back in a bowl. Roll out the dough and cut it into circles large enough to fit a cupcake pan. Then line the cupcake pan with the little dough circles. Toss the now-cooked and slightly cooler veggies with the parsley, tomatoes, and cheeses. Fill the tartlets, and then bake for maybe 30 minutes at 375 (until they are golden and the cheese is bubbly. Cool slightly and serve!
Oh man these were good. Lots of veggies to be sure, but since its not a ton of any of them, it can basically be an “odds and ends” sort of filling for the tartlet. I mean, these are all pretty common summer veggies to have, and the only things I bought specifically for the recipe was the fontina cheese (fontina works amazing with eggplant as a general rule). I had this with at California Sauvignon Blanc which I thought was a good pairing. Sav. blancs are good with most summer veggie recipes, and I drink CA wines when I’m in the state as a general rule. Song of the Week: Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. Another catchy pop song I rather like. My mom said it was her new favorite song this weekend, and since I enjoy it too, I figured it would be perfect for this week.
I am convinced that every culture from the Mediterranean Basin through to the Pacific Ocean has some version of an eggplant-tomato dish. The French have ratatouille, the Sicilians caponata, the Persians have mirza ghasemi, and the Indians have baingan bharta. And I love all of them. So, when I found the Majorca equivalent, the tumbet, I assumed I’d like it, even if I’d never heard of a tumbet before. The Vegetarian Times website is a very nifty resource and I recommend checking it out. It is where I found this week’s recipe: Potato and Eggplant Tumbet.
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large eggplant, chopped
1-2 yellow potatoes, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1-2 tablespoons pasta sauce
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Heat the olive oil in a large pot, and saute the onions and red peppers for 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add all the other ingredients expect the filo dough, and a little under 1 cup of water. Cover the pot and let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once that has finished cooking, pre-heat the oven to 350 and pour the veggies into a baking pan – trying to prevent as much of the liquid from getting in there as possible. Take a few sheets of filo dough. Brush each sheet, or part of a sheet, with butter. Then crumple it into a ball-ish form and place it on top of the veggies. Since you crumple, it’s cool if the sheets are imperfect. Keep doing that until the whole dish is covered. If you are me and think pine nuts clearly go with everything, add a handful of pine nuts and scatter across the top of the dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes, and serve warm.
Result: Really good. A little too much liquid though, and that causes issues with the filo topping. I suspect there will be some reheating problems on that end too. But a solid, filling recipe that is healthy. Also, if you have the opportunity to add the pine nuts – do so. Pine nuts make everything better in my opinion. I had this with prosecco, for the completely logical reason that I had mimosas with brunch today, and so it was already open. I think I’d like this with a red though. Also, if you use olive oil instead of butter, this recipe is totally vegan. Song of the week: Star Trek fanvids. I couldn’t decide between the amazing “Closer” video and “Tik Tok” which I also love. If you are a fan, like me “Last Friday Night” is pretty good too.
Hmmm, something looks a bit different with Sunshine Kitchen, you might be saying to yourself. Yes – I finally bought a domain name for this blog! I initially wanted to see if I was going to stick with this whole blogging thing, and then I just never bothered to get around to it. But here we are! Yay! So this week I decided to do another Persian/Iranian dish, which is called a kuku. It’s basically their version of a frittata. I looked at a number of recipes, and ended up making a stove-cooked mishmash of this recipe and this one.
1/2 medium eggplant, chopped into wide matchsticks
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 eggs (I did 2 eggs and 1 egg white)
1/4 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Saute the onions until soft, then add the eggplant pieces until they are soft too. While the eggplant and onion are cooking, beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the garlic, turmeric, ginger, parsley and a dash of salt. When the onions and eggplant are done, pour the egg mixture over them. Cover the frying pan and cook at medium heat until the edges are done. Flip and cook the other side until done, which will only be a few minutes. If you can actually flip in in one fell swoop, color me impressed. I, however, cut it in in half and flipped each one. Serve and eat warm.
So good. The first bite was like, hmmm, but after a couple more bites it was mmmmmm! Every time I try a new Persian recipe my reaction is always why don’t I cook Persian dishes more often? This will be made again. And there are a billion variations, and I like the spice/herb combos in Persian food a lot so more versions will be made and posted as well. Song of the week: I am the Walrus, by the Beatles. Total honestly, when I saw the name of the zucchini version was kuku kadoo, my first thought was koo koo kachoo from this song’s refrain. So, it clearly needed to be featured this week. It’s also a great song and trippy in the best possible way.