Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

Jill’s favorite food is eggplant. At least it was last time I checked. Combining her love for eggplant with her childhood stories of watching David the Gnome while eating tomato soup, I ventured to make this recipe. I also had the good fortune of being given some fresh eggplant my parents grew.

This recipe begins with ingredients shown below:

Eggplant, Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic, and Chicken Stock
Eggplant, Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic, and Chicken Stock

The two japanese style eggplants from my parents garden were supplemented with an Italian style eggplant from Publix. Olive oil, salt, pepper, cilantro (from my garden) and goat cheese are not shown in the photo.

After slicing the veggies in half, they were all seared in a little olive oil before going into the oven to roast.

Searing the eggplants

After about 25 minutes in a 350 degree (F) oven, the roasted veggies should be caramelized nicely. After making this recipe the first time, I could definitely roast more garlic. Much more garlic.

Roasted Veggies
Roasted Veggies

Before pureeing the vegetables in a food processor, the eggplant pulp should be pulled away from the skin. If your vegetables have roasted enough, this should be easy to do. Blend the roasted vegetables in a food processor with some of the chicken broth until smooth. Pour the puree into a pot over medium heat. At this point, it probably will not look overly appetizing and will resemble baby food like the photo below.

Roasted Vegetable Puree
Roasted Vegetable Puree

As the puree heats up, gradually add more of the chicken stock and stir to incorporate. I ended up using a total of four cups of chicken stock, including the stock used while blending the vegetables. After incorporating the stock, the soup looked like this:

While the soup simmered, I decided to add goat cheese. I lightly browned the goat cheese in a small amount of olive oil, but would probably add unheated goat cheese next time.

Warmed goat cheese
Warmed Goat cheese

To finish things off, I added cilantro from my garden to the soup as a garnish and served.

Soup in bowls
Soup and Goat Cheese Garnished with Cilantro

This recipe was adapted from “Charred Eggplant-Tomato Soup with Cilantro” from Cat Cora’s cookbook Cooking from the Hip.

Pasta with Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Walnuts

I’m always looking for quick, easy meals for dinner.  This is a great dinner that comes together in 20 minutes or less.  The recipe is very customizable.  Swap the arugula for baby spinach or the goat cheese for cubed fresh mozzarella.  Don’t like nuts?  Try adding beans instead.  Want to amp up the veggies?  Add a diced red bell pepper or increase the amount of greens.  One of the best parts of this recipe: the leftovers are perfect for a cold lunch salad the next day.

Pasta with Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Walnuts

3/4 pound pasta (I used rigati)

4 – 6 ounces baby arugula (also called roquette)

1 lemon

4 ounces goat cheese

walnuts (about 1/2 cup)

olive oil

salt (not pictured)

Arugula Pasta_Ingredients

Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente.  Make sure the water is well salted – this is your chance to flavor the pasta.

Arugula Pasta_Pasta

Spread the walnuts on a foil-lined sheet pan (easy cleanup!) and toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 – 7 minutes.  Alternately, you could toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat.  This brings out the flavor of the walnuts.

Arugula Pasta_Walnuts

Put the arugula in a large bowl.  Zest the lemon over the arugula.  Then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the arugula.  Toss the arugula in the lemon zest and juice so it is well coated.

Arugula Pasta_Lemon

When the pasta is finished, add the drained pasta to the arugula.  Top with olive oil and the toasted walnuts.  Toss well.  The arugula should begin to wilt.

Arugula Pasta_Mixing 1Arugula Pasta_OilArugula Pasta_Mixing 2

Crumble the goat cheese over the arugula, pasta, and walnut mixture.  Toss well.

Arugula Pasta_Goat Cheese

Portion into four bowls.  Serve with a glass of chardonnay and enjoy!

Arugula Pasta_Finished

Adapted from Lemony Pasta with Arugula from Everyday Food magazine.