Eggplant -Roasted With Pomegranate

I was excited to snip some lemon thyme for my favorite grilled eggplant. File this under EASY RECIPE . Make it once and you will be hooked for life!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (adjust as needed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (fresh) lemon thyme plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • Maldon Sea Salt & pepper
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tsp. za’ater

Sauce

  • 9 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic
  • a pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise
  • Place diagonal incisions (diamond shape) on the cut side of the eggplant ( do not pierce the skin)
  • Brush eggplants with oil until absorbed by the flesh – I added more oil.
  • sprinkle with fresh lemon thyme, salt and pepper
  • Roast for 35-40 minutes until nicely browned
  • While the eggplant is roasting, remove pomegranate seeds and prepare the buttermilk sauce
  • Refrigerate sauce until eggplant has completely roasted
  • Top eggplant with sauce, sprinkle pomegranate seeds and za-atar on top with a drizzle of oil
  • Garnish with lemon thyme

Spice Of Life

We need to roast more veggies! A high-heat cooking method that brings out the best flavors in vegetables. Also, bland vegetables like eggplant and zucchini are vessels for spices to make something delicious.

Maldon Sea Salt

Maldon Salt is an English sea-salt. It comes in large, thin, uneven, crunchy salt flakes that have a very clean, pure salt taste. I buy it at my local grocery store.
If they don’t have it, get your grocer to order it. Just ask!
The Za’atar shrub is common to the middle east and Turkey. ( It looks like oregano. ) You can grow your own plant if you can get the seeds or starter plant.

Home Made Za’atar … Jamie Oliver’s Food TV

Za’atar is one of the few spices you can eat with a spoon. Full of Nutrition.

You can buy Maldon salt flakes and za’atar online. Jamie Oliver provides the recipe for make your own za’atar blend . A healthy concoction that tastes amazing! The secret ingredient for this middle eastern recipe. It’s delicious! The day I made this recipe, I didn’t have buttermilk or milk. I did have Greek yogurt and another tangy plain yogurt I use in recipes. Today, it’s a substitute for buttermilk. You can make your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of regular milk. The za’atar and lemon thyme makes such a difference. I can not say enough about how really fantastic it tastes. It’s one of those recipes you will make again and again.

Canal House Lentils #Plant Based Salad

It was hard to find the origin of Canal House lentils. I was told New Orleans. But, I found no evidence to support this claim. If you know, please share in the comments. More importantly, this recipe hails Le Puy lentils, a unique member of the lentil family.


Le Puy Lentils

FRENCH Le Puy LENTILS are about one-third the size of regular lentils and have a slight peppery taste. They are grown in mineral rich volcanic ash in a French town called Le Puy (PWEE)-en-Velay in the Haute Loire region of Auvergne, France. Aromatics are sautéed and then simmered with French Le Puy lentils for 20 to 25 minutes. It is an easy side dish, redolent of a Provencal feast. Authentic Le Puy lentils have an A.O.C. (appellation d’origine contrôlée) seal of approval. In fact in 1996, Le Puy green lentil was the first vegetable to obtain an A.O.C. designation.

French Green Lentil – Verte du Puy

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium leek white and pale green parts, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup of green lentils ( preferably French Le Puy Lentils)
  • 2 tbsp. reduced salt soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Take a saucepan and heat oil on a medium heat.
  2. Add the leek and cook for a minute/ then add chopped garlic and tomato paste, stir and watch as paste darkens in about 4 minutes.
  3. Add lentils and ½ cup water. Boil it on high and then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 45-55 minutes, with occasional stirring.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside covered for 10 minutes.
  5. Then, stir in soy sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Optional: Serve with diced scallions, red pepper and/or cilantro, parsley and finely chopped kale.

Serving Suggestions

Warm Salad Today ……Cold Salad Tomorrow. You Can Serve It Either Way

Quality & Assurance of Origin -AOC

Certification

Le Puy lentils: The first vegetable to acquire the AOC ( Appellation d’Origine Côntrolée ) certification in France. It assures the buyer that this item originated in the geographical region of Le Puy in France. AOC supports the authenticity of wines, cheese or in this case Le Puy lentils.

  • 💜 Tiny slate-gray/green lentils grown in France
  • 💜 They make a delicious side dish
  • 💜 The hold their shape after cooking
  • 💜 BUY French Le Puy Lentils. online
  • A.O.C. mark of quality and assurance of origin

LENTILS in general are loaded with protein, iron and zinc, not to mention fibre, folate, and potassium. They’re also rich in prebiotics that are brilliant at feeding your friendly flora. A must have every day of the week!


Tacos Tonight!

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE and so are tacos. SPICY! AYE-E-E-E !!!!I This Taco Recipe gets you to Flavor Town. Colonel Sanders is not the only one with a secret recipe….My special spices will make you come back for more! I am sharing my secret taco recipe here at Simply Splendid Food with you. Friends have said it’s the best tacos they have E-V-E-R had! Would you agree?

Tacos and a frosty cold mug of beer is a Taco Marriage.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lb ground meat
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork or veal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, about one sprig
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 10 pods cardamon
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder + more if needed, after mixing all ingredients
  • Pinch of salt (pink or sea salt with added iodine) and pepper to taste.
    • good salt makes a difference. Irish salt is one of the best tasting salt.
  • 1 – 2 medium cooking onion -diced
  • 3 garlic cloves -minced
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 10 medium flour tortillas
This is the Black Granite Mortar and Pestle I use today: heavy duty. My first Marble M&P is very good too!

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Grind and mix your spices together (except salt and pepper) using a mortar and pestle
  • Heat onions and rosemary in oil until translucent.
  • Add your spices. Mix for 10 seconds longer. Add fresh garlic.
  • Add ground meat and blend in the onions and spices until meat is brown.
  • Add salt and pepper after meat has been browned.
  • Take a nose test and smell your mixture. If you need more chili powder add more. I added about 1/2 tsp ground chili flakes.
  • OPTIONAL: Add heat: Red pepper flakes ( a sprinkle ) or fresh Mexican green chili. You can add diced, raw jalapeño peppers in the mix in the end (with or without seeds). The seeds are the heat. No additional cooking.
  • TIP: Place tortilla/taco in toaster to warm up. Hint: Gently fold over the tortilla and insert into a toaster slot.
  • SUBSTITUTE: For a hearty wrap use burrito wraps or lettuce wrap.

Toppings

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese: shredded or diced
  • Optional: Add home made refried bean paste to the base of a tortilla [ or burrito – I use both wraps]
  • EXTRA ZIP: add diced jalapeño or banana peppers. You choose your heat!
SOFT TACO: Take Charge Of Your Life …61 Calories At A Time
HARD TACO: Toasty Crunch YUM-M_M_M !
Burrito Wrap and Lettuce Wrap Works!

SERVING TIPS

This recipe can be refrigerated 3-4 days for another meal -> a fast, healthy lunch or dinner. To serve again pop your tacos in the toaster. Heat up a portion of meat in the microwave oven. Assemble your taco as you like it. I still had about 1/3 cup of taco mix after a few more meals. I added my mix as a topping to a four cheese pizza I purchased ‘on sale’ at the grocery store. I also added sliced kumato tomatoes. Ready in 12 minutes! YUM-M-M!

Make as much spicy seasoning as you want. You know what’s in it and no preservatives! A time saver for tacos for another day!

Home Made Tacos

I found a great site today for homemade tacos. Click here . When you ‘Download” the recipe, Terrie includes a page on Tips For Success. What I learned the hard way!” This is wonderful! I have ordered my Masa Harina online and will enjoy turning another new page in my culinary journey.

Measure Of A Good Chef

How do you measure a good chef?  A good chef like Paul Prudhomme ( 1940-2015) is constantly tasting at various stages of preparation.  Paul is one of my favorite chefs of all time. A consummate chef.  When asked to write down his recipes, Paul had to make an educated guess to conform to classical measurements (since he never measured anything). Paul called it ” Best guess” and, “When you taste it, that’s when you know if you have to add a little more of this or that.”  I can hear him now.

At K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans, Paul was not always in the kitchen after his popularity soared and demanding TV appearances were eating up his time. I am happy to say, I did have a meal when Paul was cooking up some spicy Louisiana dish in his restaurant. What luck!  S-o-o-o good! There is truly a difference!

Before food network (1993), I watched an episode of the magic man himself. Paul, made a peach pie. I taped it on my VHS player. But alas, I no longer have it. As the adage goes – the memory is still alive. He was so entertaining; listening to Paul talk about food with his soft, New Orleans accent. Today, when I make peach pie, I always think of Paul Prudhomme for a brief moment!

Seasoned Pie Dough /Crust

My Recommendation: The BEST Pie Crust: Half butter and half shortening. (They always win at the county fair!)

CHEFS ~ Measure ‘To Taste’

Measure To Taste.

Blackened Redfish Debut 1980

After 3 failed restaurants, Paul went to Denver and managed a restaurant that stayed afloat. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, Paul came back home to New Orleans. One of the first things Paul did was joined the Commander’s Palace as a lunch chef and became their head chef the following week! Soon after, Paul introduced his spicy Cajun cooking. It started when Paul’s Cajun popcorn turned up on their menu! Paul left Commander’s Palace to pursue his dreams once more and opened K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen with his signature dish ~ Blackened Red Fish. After opening, to a packed restaurant, the lineups began on the 2nd week. The magic man put New Orleans cuisine on the culinary map and became a household name. You may have guessed that there was a shortage of red fish..in the area for a short while. Unbelievable! Paul truly brought spice to America for the first time..in a big way! Now, we cant live without turmeric, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Some time later, Paul packaged his signature spice blend. You can still buy his signature spices online – or make it yourself. (see recipe below)

Blackened Seasoning Spice – by Paul Prudhomme

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (or less) cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Mix together and add cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp at a time. REMEMBER: After you measure out the spices, etc., taste and adjust accordingly. [Taste on a piece of buttered bread]. Store in a tightly lidded jar in a cool, dark cupboard.

TIP: My friend made this and said it was okay. Remember: Everything has to be fresh: even garlic and onion powder. I would maybe add smoked paprika. I would use red pepper flakes instead of cayenne pepper. ( I do not live near a cayenne pepper farm–like Paul P. did in Louisiana. It’s not the same. Also, dry your own thyme and oregano leaves before grinding. Grow your own herbs. Store all spices in a glass jar with a tight lid and a dark cupboard. Or, just buy Paul’s spice blend!

Fresh Is Best

Buy peppercorns, course salt, even onion flakes to grind. Fresh spices are the best choice. Some herbs like dill or parsley will keep longer in the freezer (stored in ice cube trays).

Paul Prudhomme outside of K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen

Chef Paul Prudhomme had already built his reputation as the executive chef at Commander’s Palace . After he left Commander’s Palace, Kay and Paul Prudhomme opened K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen on Chartres Street in 1979, and soon drew local popularity followed by national acclaim as the Spiciest Chef in Louisiana!

Kay Pruhomme
Portrait of Paul Prudhomme and Kay hanging inside K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition predicts that 85% of the country’s independent restaurants will close by 2021 due to financial strains caused by COVID-19.

K-Paul’s is one of the many beloved restaurants around the country to recently announce its closure due to COVID-19. This weekend, New York City diner Odessa announced it would be closing after 26 years in the East Village, citing a significant loss of business over the past few months. Other high-profile closures have included McCrady’s in Charleston, Gotham Bar & Grill in New York City, and Blackbird in Chicago, among thousands of other restaurants that haven’t made the news.

K-Paul Closes Its Doors May 2020

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen closed in May due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will not reopen, says chef Paul Miller and Brenda Prudhomme ( a niece of Paul Prudhomme). Latest bulletin: the building is now up for sale.

Chef Paul Prudhomme and his then wife Kay Hinrichs Prudhomme opened K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen on Chartres Street in 1979, a landmark in culinary history. A bygone era that will be missed!

Butternut Squash: Roasted with Spicy Chick Peas

A HEALTHY DISH ! The complimentary spices and roasted veggies burst with flavour!

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 5 garlic cloves (1 finely grated, 4 chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed, patted dry
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder/paste or vadouvan
  • 2 radishes, trimmed, very thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup parsley, mint, and/or cilantro leaves8
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional)
Roasted WHOLE Butternut Squash

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roast squash directly on oven rack until a paring knife poked through skin easily slides through flesh, 50–65 minutes. Let squash cool until you can handle. Trim ends, halve lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Tear or cut squash into large pieces; discard skin (it will come off easily as you tear).
  2. Meanwhile, mix yogurt, grated garlic, and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook chickpeas, shaking skillet often, until starting to brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add onion and chopped garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in vadouvan (curry powder) and cook, stirring, until chickpeas and onion are coated and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe out skillet.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium-high. Cook squash pieces, cut side down, undisturbed, until browned and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Turn pieces over, remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon chickpea mixture over squash, then dollop reserved lemon-garlic yogurt around.
  5. Optional: Toss radishes, herbs, and pomegranate seeds, with remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl; drizzle with a splash of oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over squash and chickpeas. Finish with a grind or two of pepper.
Roasted Spiced Chick Peas
(Optional) Pomegranate and Pistachio Nuts …you will be glad you added the pomegranate!
LEMON GARLIC YOGURT TOPPING: Can Be Served On The Side ( No Pomegranate here).

VARIATIONS

Add greens, kale ships, collard greens, swiss chard, etc. Cranberries are a good ubstitute for pomegranate. Add leftover quinoa or feta cheese cubes. Serve as a veggie tacos. ‘Squash’ Burgers (see below). Lightly mash squash to biuld your burger. If you have more people at the table, add spinach to the mix to extend your dish

VEGGIE BURGER: Curry / Squash/ Chick Peas/ Pomegranate/ Cilantro/ Parsley

GOOD EATS:

FOODIES ARE # 1!!!