Culinary Conversation: Unexpected ingredients spice it upPublished 6:02am Tuesday, April 10, 2012
This column encourages readers’ recipe contributions and requests. Simply phone them to 683-7266 or mail to 527 Philip Rd., Niles, MI 49120.
In reply to the reader requesting some information on eggplant, it is a component of many very popular ethnic dishes, and used quite frequently in French, Greek and Indian cooking.
Some of its popularity probably stems from the fact they can be baked, broiled, fried, roasted or stewed.
They are a fairly good-sized, purplish-black vegetable, and rather elongated in shape. I find that the young, firm ones with the thin skins seem to have a milder flavor.
Eggplant isn’t actually high in nutritional value, but it is filling and low in calories.
I, personally, find them quite tasty when simply diced, dipped in beaten egg and then into cracker crumbs and fried until golden. Another suggestion is to serve them with sauce, such as in this first recipe:
1 small (perhaps a pound) eggplant
Several medium onions, sliced
Approx. 1 tbsp. cold water
1/4 c. butter or Oleo
1/2c. very fine dry bread crumbs
1/2. c. French dressing
1/2 tsp. horseradish
1 tsp. mustard
Approx. 1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. curry powder
Approx. 1/2 tsp. celery seed
Melt two tablespoons of butter in skillet, then saute onions for approximately three to five minutes or until softened. Remove onions. Add remainder of butter, and the eggplant, which has been dipped in one beaten egg diluted in water and then bread crumbs. Carefully brown eggplant on both sides. Add onions again and blend ingredients of sauce, combined with the other beaten egg. Cover and simmer slowly for about 20 minutes, then arrange slices on a hot platter.
Food Facts: In reply to the reader who questioned what, if any, difference there is between scallions and shallots — shallots have bulbs, whereas scallions do not. I personally sense shallots are a tad milder.
Homemaker’s Hint: If you wish to keep your copper-bottomed pans shiny bright, polish them every time you use them. If you run out of copper cleaner, combine a tad of vinegar with a sprinkling of salt to clean them. I would not suggest doing this on a regular basis.
• We are all familiar with chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge, but have you ever tasted molasses fudge?
1 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 c. brown sugar
1.2 c. cream
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, grated
1/4 c. melted butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine sugars, cream, molasses and butter, and bring to boil for just two minutes. Add chocolate and boil for five minutes, until mixture appears to be blended, but before it burns.
Remove from heat, add extract and stir until mixture is creamy before turning into a buttered pan. Chill well before attempting to cut into squares.
Curried Crab Spread
1 c. crabmeat
2 tbsp. onions, finely minced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. parsley, freshly minced
Approx. 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. curry powder
Combine ingredients, then refrigerate at least 15 minutes before serving. Yields 1 cup. Note: Serve with shredded wheat wafers or even melba toast.
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