Thursday, March 09, 2006

A little brief relaxation and I'll be breaking free

Okay, I am kind of drunk blogging tonight. Well, not totally drunk, but, you know, tipsy. I mistakenly drank some wine on an empty stomach. Well, not 100% mistakenly, but I frequently misjudge my tolerance (doesn't take much). To be honest, I had to type my password three times before I got in. And if I escape this entry unscathed by spelling or grammatical error? It's only because the backspace key is so nice and fat, it's impossible to miss.

And just so you know, I am listening to the Frank Sinatra Greatest Love Songs CD. In case you want to listen along.

(Why do I have a feeling I'll regret surfing the web under the influence? Judge if you will. Otherwise, let's have a toast to one of the rare moments of irresponsibility in my life.)

Here! This is a very smart quote:

"To get away from one's working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one's self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change."
Sociologist Charles Horton Cooley

We're going "away" this weekend. Only so far as Dupont Circle, but still- away. Just for the weekend. We'll stay in a hotel where we don't have to make the bed or wash the towels, and go to a good Italian place for dinner Saturday night where the cooking and dishes will be done for us, and maybe wander over to the zoo to see Tai Shan for a while. Have Sunday brunch. Then head home and let Alex guilt us with his big liquid chocolate eyes, then smother him with kisses and pats to make up for it. I can't wait.

And in the meantime, here is a recipe I promised to post, and a bonus:

Eggplant-Tomato Casserole
Vegetarian Times magazine, March 2006

Ingredients:
1 T. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and cut into thin slices
(I went a little crazy with Mammy, so I ended up chopping versus slicing)
2 medium red bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed (I omitted this since I typically dislike fennel)
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 medium-sized eggplant, timmed and diced (about 5 cups)
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Warm 1 T. oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, 8-10 minutes, or until onions are golden. Stir in garlic, fennel and oregano, and cook 1 minute. Transfer to bowl.

Heat remaining oil in Dutch oven over med. heat. Add eggplant and cook, stirring often, or until lightly browned. Stir in tomatoes and onion-pepper mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover casserole and bake 50 minutes. Top with feta and mint, and serve.


BONUS RECIPE!! (Rated by Liz: 10,000 stars!)

The best bruschetta I've had outside of Italy:

Cannellini Bean & Rosemary Bruschetta

1 cup cannellini beans
1 can diced tomatoes
3 T. olive oil, plus some for drizzling
2 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed (I use 2), plus one clove peeled and cut in half
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary (fresh is highly recommended!)
salt and black pepper
8 slices Italian-style bread, such as ciabatta (you can use a baguette, even, slice diagonally)
Fresh basil

Heat oil in saute pan, add canned and sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and rosemary. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften.

Add the tomato mixture to the cannellini beans in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well. Keep warm.

When ready to serve, rub both sides of bread slices with the cut sides of the garlic clove, then toast lightly (if you're like me, you'll get bored with watching them toast and let them burn occasionally). After toasted, spoon the cannellini bean mixture on top of the toast. Top with fresh chopped basil and drizzle extra olive oil on top. Use extra basil leaves to garnish serving platter, if you like a pretty plate. :)

I made this bruschetta the other night and it smelled so good that we couldn't even wait to sit down. We ate it standing at the counter, dropping bits and murmuring "Ohhh.... mmmm..."

Try this at home!
(will edit tomorrow morning to add a pic of the bruschetta. Tonight? Cannot figure out picture loading thingy... sorry)

3/10/06:

And here it is:


Also, the original recipe I adapted this from called for fresh tomatoes, but I think the canned ones have better flavor (especially in March). Does anyone else think so? It also called for soaking dried canellini beans instead of using canned, but my feeling about that is... why? Is there a strong case for using dried beans versus canned??

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15 Comments:

Blogger Bearette24 said...

wow! a double header! thank you...d will be jealous that you are meeting tae shan ;) (since he's obsessed with pandas)...

10:26 PM  
Blogger His suzy said...

Your post tonight made me think of a quote I have here.

"I like champagne because it always tastes as though my foot's asleep." Art Buchwald

I don't even like champagne, but I kept the quote just because it's funny. lol

10:56 PM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

So is drunk blogging called "drogging"?!

The bruschetta looks divine - I love all the bright colours.

9:33 AM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

I love the feel of crisp hotel sheets and I love getting clean sheets each day; definitely one of my fave parts of going away!

9:36 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

V- maybe it's called "blunking"? :)

9:41 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Suzy- I like that quote. :)

I'm listening to 'The Tender Bar' (JR Moehringer) on CD... he was talking about drinking scotch and how after the first glass he could feel the scotch in his toes, in his fingers, in his eyelashes...

I don't think I've ever had scotch.

10:11 AM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

Hmmm...blunking sounds more exciting than drogging. On second thoughts drogging is a bit too close to drudgery!

10:28 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

i'm with you. no need for dried beans, and i like canned tomatoes better. i also usually dislike fennel, except when my mom uses it.

D is a scotch fan, and also likes drambuie (scotch with honey).

11:25 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I know that one concern about canned beans is the extra sodium, but you can always rinse them well before using...

12:13 PM  
Blogger His suzy said...

How often does one get to read comments about dried beans and scotch in one sitting? I love it. lol

12:18 PM  
Blogger New Mezger said...

LOVE THE POST! You're so silly!! Thanks so much for the recipes...Should we trust them, as they were typed under the influence? :-)

Have a wonderful get-away! Tell the zoo animals, "hello" for me.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

NM- I went back and checked them this morning. :)

There is a mistake in the ingredients list for the casserole. I told you to use a medium-sized eggplant that is "timmed and diced." I meant "trimmed and diced."

Maybe I will coin the word "tim" as a verb meaning "to remove the skin of an eggplant".

12:31 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

hee. there is always a call for new verbs. i rinse the beans, too.

i find that diced, canned Muir Garden tomatoes taste quite awesome.

:))))

4:03 PM  
Anonymous melissa said...

hey that looks good. nice picture. :)

10:08 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Hi Melissa- it is good. You should try it!

9:42 AM  

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