Stuffed Eggplant

Over the past few years, eggplant have grown exceedingly well in my garden. This is a good thing, given how much Jill and I both like it. Experimenting with new ways to prepare eggplant, I came up with this simple, delicious stuffed eggplant recipe.

The first step in preparing the stuffed eggplant is to roast the eggplant. Slice two eggplant in half lengthwise. Season each of the four halves with salt and pepper. Drizzle the eggplant liberally with olive oil and place them cut side down on a baking sheet. In a 400 degree oven, roast the eggplant for 20-25 minutes, until the flesh of the eggplant have a nice golden brown color. Remove the eggplant from the oven and let them cool.

Roasting Eggplant
Roasted Eggplant

While the eggplant cools, brown a pound of ground beef in a skillet. I used ground beef because I made this while Jill was out of town. I’ll probably make it with ground turkey next time. Stir in a can of diced tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes seasoned with garlic and oregano). Use a spoon to scoop the roasted eggplant flesh out of the eggplant skins, being careful to avoid tearing the eggplant skin. Mix the eggplant flesh into the ground beef. Season the mixture with about two teaspoons of Turkish seasoning (or a blend of salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, and coriander).

Browning beef and stuffing eggplant
Stuffed Eggplant

Crumble a little bit of goat cheese (about an 0.5 oz) into the mixture and stir to help bind the ingredients together. Stuff the eggplant skins with the mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake the stuffed eggplant in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mozzarella melts and bubbles.

Stuffed Eggplant
Stuffed Eggplant

Although this recipe was completely an experiment to begin with, it turned out to be one of my favorite things I’ve prepared in a while. The meal was quick, tasty, and only used a couple of ingredients. The most time consuming part of this dish is waiting for the eggplant to roast, but you can save time by prepping the other ingredients during this time. The Turkish seasonings infuses the ground beef with flavor and complements the eggplant. With several more eggplant currently growing in my garden, I will be making this recipe again and will continue to experiment with new eggplant recipes.

Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Guinness Stew with Dumplings

Being a long-time fan of Jamie Oliver, I was excited when he published an iPad app. The recipe packs for the app being on sale was an added plus. In the Fast Food, Slow-Cooking recipe pack is a recipe for Beef and Guinness Stew with Dumplings. I used Jill leaving town for a long weekend to volunteer at Camp Boggy Creek as an opportunity to make this delicious beef-filled dinner.

Beef stew
A delicious beef-filled dinner seasoned with bay leaves fresh from my garden

Although the recipe calls for Guinness, I decided to give it an American twist by using Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout from Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon. I think Rogue Shakespeare is creamier and more chocolatey than Guinness, so I felt it would provide for a richer stew.

Rogue Shakespeare
I used Rogue Shakespeare instead of Guinness

The part of this recipe that I looked forward to the most (perhaps even more than the beef) was the dumplings. I would usually serve beef stew with either rice or mashed potatoes, but the dumplings provided a nice change. Despite being cooked in the stew, the dumplings were light, delicate, and not at all soggy.

Dumplings
Dumplings

The beef stew cooking filled the house with the most amazing aroma. I was pacing back and forth in the kitchen for two hours, waiting for the stew to finish cooking. If the Yankee Candle Company decided to make candle with the scent of this stew, I would buy it and burn it everyday.

Beef stew with dumplings
Beef stew with dumplings

Although I wanted to give in and pull the stew out early to eat, I am glad I waited the full two hours. The thick, hearty stew had a robust stout flavor with tender hunks of beef, velvety portobello mushrooms, and tender dumplings. To complement dinner, I threw together a quick salad with romaine lettuce from my garden.

Romaine lettuce salad
Romaine lettuce with caesar dressing and parmesan

Although I missed Jill while she was out of town, I am glad I had this comfort food (with several meals worth of leftovers) to keep me full while she was gone.

What Artie Eats When Jill Is Away

Jill and I were both supposed to go to Orlando for a baby shower this weekend, but because of some issues with our roof, I had to stay home. While she was out of town, I took the opportunity to replace the light fixture in the kitchen (which will hopefully help with taking photos for this blog), watch Ninja Master with the Halladay and Heddings families, and eat beef (aside from the occasionally crumble of bacon, Jill doesn’t eat red meat).

Since I still have a variety of lettuces growing in my back yard, I cut and washed just enough fresh lettuce for me.

Lettuce
Lettuce from the garden

I then seasoned some beef that I picked up from New Leaf Market.  To save time, I bought beef cut for fajitas. I seasoned the beef with a little salt and pepper and sautéed it in a non-stick skillet with a little oil (about 1 tsp).

Beef
Beef for fajitas

While cooking the beef, I added a couple of dashes of worcestershire sauce (probably about a tablespoon) and let it reduce down in the skillet with the meat.  When the beef was cooked how I like it (medium), I took it off the heat and let it rest.

Cooking the beef
Cooking the beef

While the meat rested, I cut strawberries in half and added them to the lettuce. I also added thin slices of parmesan cheese. I am a huge fan of the strawberry-parmesan cheese flavor combination.

Salad without meat
Salad before adding the beef

I thought about making a vinaigrette, but remembered that I had bought some roasted garlic salad dressing from Tomatoland.

Salad Dressing
Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

I added the steak and dressed the salad.

Salad with beef
Lunch while Jill is out of town

This was a quick and light lunch that satisfied my desire for beef and left me plenty of time to play Xbox before Jill got home.