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Herbed mayonnaise, Summer Garden Hoagie, Stir Fried Beef and Eggplant Salad

I made a couple delicious sandwiches last week because I claimed some bread when I visited my mother the weekend before.

Step one: Herbed Mayonnaise
Cut up into itsy bitsy pieces (if using a food processor, I would still cut them up a bit first so you don’t end up with stringy chunks) the leaves of:
Summer Savory

And then if you also want to use more distinct herbs, pick one of the following and label the jar with that one – and be careful with your amount (the others, not so careful):

And then mix with your favorite mayonnaise in a jar and let sit in the fridge for a couple days. Also good as gifts.

Step two: Sandwiches

I really love these steak rolls I claimed from my mother (claimed means that she bought them so my father could make cheesesteaks one night and then they didn’t have any use for the rest of the package).

So one of those. Spread with a teaspoon or less per half of the herbed mayonnaise.

Thinly slice:
1 slightly larger than fist-sized home-grown fresh off the vine already ripened tomato (and cut the slices in half)
1 home-grown salmonella-free sexy serrano pepper also from my mother’s garden
1 super small and cute yellow summer squash from the farmers’ market
1 ounce (well, maybe 2) of Jack cheese made by random amish farmers and sold at the farmers’ market (which is surprisingly tastier than their cheddar)

Step three: Pile only roll. Nom nom nom.


Stir fried beef & eggplant salad

Well, I promised you more salad recipes

Cold bit
spring mix
a few leaves of kale torn up, too.
a small yellow squash, sliced up (why, yes, I thought they were adorable and bought several of them)
serrano pepper (was actually too hot – leave this off)

Hot bit
I had pulled some beef I had sliced thinly for stir fry out of the freezer, so add about 1 oz of that, maybe less.
1 long, thin chinese eggplant, sliced into 2mm thick rounds
stir fried in 1 tsp of oil (mixed olive and sesame oils)
with 1 Tbsp of black pepper sauce
And then I tossed in 3 small apples, quartered and sliced crosswise, but not peeled because their skins weren’t particularly thick.

1 1/2 tsp chinese mustard (which I had thought was supposed to lose potency over time, but it could have knocked me over when I opened the jar)
1 tsp real soy sauce
2 tsp black vinegar
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
juice of half a lime

Aside from being too spicy, this was a very successful salad.

thai spring squash

thai-ish eggplants and summer squashes

So this is a hella modified recipe based on one in Nancie McDermott’s Real Thai: The Best of Thailand’s Regional Cooking

Original recipe:

Moo Paht Peht
Pork Sauteed in Red Curry Paste

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste (recipe also in book)
1/2 lb pork, thinnly sliced into strips about 1 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp water
2 teaspoons sugar
12 green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 cup diced eggplant (1-inch dice)
a handful of graprao leaves of other fresh basil leaves or mint leaves
12 fresh wild lime leaves
9 long, thin sweet red pepper strips

In a wok or medium skillet, heat the oil over low heat until very warm but not hot. Add the curry paste, which should sizzle gently as soon as it meets the oil, and press and stir it into the oil. Cook the curry paste, mashing it into the oil, until it is well blended, fragrant, and shiny, about 3 minutes. Add the meat and stir-fry to brown it and coat it evenly with the curry paste, about 2 minutes.

Add the fish sauce, water sugar, green beans, and eggplant; mix well. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in most of the basil leaves, lime leaves, and red pepper strips, reserving a little for garnish. Transfer to a plate, garnish, and serve warm.

note: omit the wild lime leaves and fresh basil if they are difficult to find

My recipe:

So I started with 1 tsp of olive oil. Into which, I added 2 teaspoons of red curry paste (because this was the third dish I had made from one little can) and an onion, quartered and sliced.

After the onions had started to melt, I added 7 cloves of garlic, coarsely minced, and around 3/4-inch of garlic, finely minced.

Then I added 1/2 cup of concentrated stock (because I thought stock was in the recipe, but I must have been thinking of a different one), 1/2 cup of water, and 2 chinese eggplant (sliced with rolling cut).

When the eggplant started softening, I added 1 yellow squash and 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, and then sliced into half rounds. I also added 2 teaspoons of white sugar I had with lime and grapefuit zest.

Since I was right out of fish sauce, I poured in some worcestershire sauce and some salt. And since I was out of hot basil, I used regular basil, some fennel, and a dash of five spice powder. At the very end, I squeezed half a lime over it all.

Served over rice, it still needed a bit more salt. Other than that, very tasty.

Poached Egg over Tomato and Spinach, Salad with Za’tar salad dressing

I made an amazing breakfast.

The initial plan was to cook down some spinach and tomato and then scramble an egg in it – pretty standard.

And it started out simple enough with about as much fresh spinach by volume as the tomato (so there ended up being a lot more tomato once everything cooked down).

But this was a big, luscious tomato from my mother’s garden, so it released a lot of liquid. So I poured off some of the liquid (into a jar to keep since I could put it in rice or soup or something – and it’d be wasteful otherwise – and don’t judge me because just wait until the depression or the apocalypse hits because then you’ll all want me to be managing your foodstuffs so you won’t get scurvy), and then I poured off some more. And then I realized that it was just willing to cook down into sauce.

I added a bit of 5 spice powder for fun.

So instead of scrambling the egg, I just cracked it in and gave it a lot of channels into the goody and poached it right there, covering the pan occasionally so that the top would steam cook, too.

And I ground some pepper and sprinkled kosher salt on top.

And oh my, it was like pudding – tasty savoury egg, tomato, and spinach pudding. Only sexier.

I have enough spinach to try it again and see if the results are repeatable.


And there was a salad with za’tar

I went home last weekend, and I ended up cleaning out and organizing my mother’s space cabinet. A while back, she had purchased a tiny container of zatar from Penzey’s because it sounded unlike any of the other stuff in her cabinet (we’ve never cooked with sumac much). A few years later, it still hadn’t been used, and it wasn’t sounding like anything my father would enjoy, so it came home with me.

My initial plan was to soak it in lime juice and then taste it and build a salad dressing from there. Luckily, however, I looked it up online before I started, since apparently it has a sour taste that can replace lime/lemon/tamarind in recipes. So once I knew that was how it slotted in, it became easy and I’ll be able to use it regularly.

Cold bits
spring mix
sliced tomato
serrano pepper

Hot bits
roasted zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and bell pepper (rewarmed in the microwave)

3/4 tsp za’tar
1/2 tsp crushed mustard
2 Tbsp white balsamic
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp red wine
3 small scallions, sliced

food list

I have way too much meat in the house

food I have
rapidly aging lettuce (one last meal there, if I pick through it tonight)
2 grapefruit
1 red bell peppers
jalepeno peppers
plums (1 purple/black, 3 green)
2 eggplants
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
bunch of scallions
1 kiwi
yellow onions, 1 purple onion, and shallots

chicken stock
most of 1 breast of chicken
rapidly aging roast beef leftovers
Harry’s roast beef leftovers
Harry’s beef sirloin leftovers
pork leftovers
leftover meatloaf

menu planning
Monday, August 4
dinner: salad – with pickled carrots, ginger, scallions, maybe some zucchini, and some purple onion – using some of the chinese mustard in the dressing
Also prep for lunches: hash using up potatoes, oldest beef roast, the last of the purple onions, and some garlic. Freeze meatloaf into portions, too.

Tuesday, August 5
try to get to Whole Foods to buy more salad greens before Weight Watchers
dinner: Do something with eggplant, yellow squash, and zucchini. Stir Fry? Ratatouille? Or just roast them and use them in salads for a couple weeks? Turn the eggplant into curry and save the squash for later?

Wednesday, August 6
Think about making a soup.
Also think about what to do with the sexy leftover beef that is not hash

What do you mean when you say it’s a squash?

So I am preparing another workshop on Roman cooking, and I’m trying to include more of the vegetable dishes.

But I have a translation problem.
Book III (The Gardener): Section IV Cucurbitas

See – that is the genus name for squash (summer & winter). But I’m pretty sure that squash was native to the western hemisphere.

So what would the Romans have been talking about?


Okay, so I was ashamed to post this without a proper googling, first.

This page explains that what I’m really looking for is called a calabash, and I think I am reading it correctly that the easiest substitution would be a zucchini, right?

ETA: Here is a picture of the calabash split open. I am dubious.


Okay, so when the calabash is less mature and in Italy, it is known as a cucuzza. Here is a good guide on picking and cooking one. Actually, this vegetable (straight, not bulgy, about 1 foot long) is frequently available at my produce truck. SCORE!

Here agrees that the calabash and the cacuzza are the same gourd.


ETA: 9/9/08 : Looks like someone has already done this research