Roasted Eggplant Soup



It’s the end of the year, time to clean up. Clean out the fridge and my posting draft folder.

A little while back, I couldn’t help but over hear an online friend of mine, Nicole from Pinch My Salt, describe her clean out the fridge soup. Some envy and a few Twitter notes back and forth, left me with the great suggestion of a Roasted Eggplant Soup.

I’m always attracted to the idea of eggplant. In all it’s shiny, aubergine goodness, who can resist? Destined for a luscious eggplant parm that never was, this once glimmering purple veg, began to droop. What might have been a baba ghanoush evolved into a fantastic, hearty and new rendition of my own clean out the fridge soup

ROASTED EGGPLANT SOUP

1 Large Eggplant
1 Onion, peeled and quartered
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Dried Rosemary, crushed
4 cups  Vegetable stock
2 Tomatoes, peeled and diced (or one 15oz can will do in a pinch)

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Trim the ends of the eggplant, and quarter it lengthwise.
Place eggplant, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Drizzle over olive oil.
Roast until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and scrape eggplant from their skins.
Add eggplant and the other vegetables into a large saucepan.
Cover vegetables with the stock and bring rolling simmer until everything is very tender.
Purée soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
Add diced tomatoes and reheat to a simmer.
Quickly blend again leaving a few lumps, to be rustic, if desired
Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Bicerin



Or should I aptly rename it: An Introduction to My New Best Friend Michelle.
Michelle hosts the blog Sugar and Spice and sent me the most wonderful package.

You see, there’s this lovely event that takes place amongst some bloggers, so nicely organized by Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness. “Blogging By Mail” matches bloggers from around the globe to send a little something about where they’re from, their common culinary ingredients and their most favourite things. As my package was en route to Amrita in Singapore, Michelle was busy travelling from home to home town to jam pack the parcel she was preparing for lucky, little ol’ me.

Inside there were stuffed olives, beautiful fabric for me use in pictures, gouda, fruit snacks, ginger chews, note cards, Jordan Almonds and the cutest Heinz ketchup bottle, that I’ve always wanted but never had the courage to steal while on vacation in the States.:)

…And the chocolate, chocolate chocolate! As I pulled the items from what seemed to be my bottomless box of complete generosity, I found bars, sauce, biscotti, chocolate pretzels and it perfect breakfast match, coffee!!

As I drank my freshly ground Joe, I flipped through The Chocolate Deck, which Michelle also included!
It’s a deck of chocolate recipes so fantastically photographed by William Meppem and written by a former editor of Gourmet, Lori Longbotham. I was truly inspired by some of the recipes. Some for their beauty, others for their simplicity. Like this one; Bicerin.

Bicerin is described to have been a cafe favourite in Turin, Italy during the nineteenth century. Still enjoyed, it looked good and sounded better, plus with the help of Michelle, I had pretty much all the best ingredients to give my inspiration a go.

BICERIN
(as Adapted From Lori Longbotham)

2 Cups Plain Soy Milk
2 Cups Strongly Brewed, Hot Coffee
3 Ounces Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons Sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Orange Flower Water, optional
or
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier, optional

Over a medium heat, warm the soy milk to a low simmer and remove just before it begins to boil.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof pitcher, pour the hot coffee over the chopped chocolate and sugar, whisking until smooth.
Whisk the milk and Grand Marnier or orange blossom water, if using.
Taste and adjust sweetness, adding more if necessary.

Serves 4 – 6

Roasted Garlic Paperadelle


1/2 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Semolina Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Head Roasted Garlic*, squeezed to remove the skins
1/3 Cup HOT Water

* To roast garlic, preheat the oven to 350ºF and cut off the top of the bulb to reveal the attached cloves.
Placed in aluminum foil, drizzle the top of the garlic with olive oil to cover but not saturate.
Wrap the foil tightly and place into the oven.
Roast the garlic for about 30 minutes or until soft, caramelized and fragrant.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flours and salt; mix to combine.
With the motor running at a medium to low speed, add the olive oil then the roasted garlic through the feeder tube.
Drizzle 1/4 Cup of the water to begin. As the dough begins to form and appear crumbly, slowly add small amounts of the remaining water, as you may not need it all.
When the dough comes together in a full ball, turn off the food processor and remove the dough to a slightly floured board to knead.
Knead the dough until it is stretchy but not sticky, about 2 minutes.
Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or while you prepare your sauce.
Cut the dough into 3 – 4 workable pieces, which ever size you are most comfortable handling, and set all but one aside in a covered bowl.
Either using a pasta maker or by hand, with a rolling pin, roll the dough to about a 1/8″ thickness, then cut into 1 1/2″ wide strips.
Lightly dust with semolina to separate and loosen the noodles, if necessary, as you finish rolling and cutting the remainder of the dough.Fresh pasta takes only a fraction of the time dried pasta needs. Drop the freshly cut pasta into a large pot of rapidly boiling water and cook for 3 – 4 minutes for al denté.

Marina Di Chioggia Gnocchi


Upon returning from vacation I couldn’t help but notice one of my pumpkins from my collection. The skin of my Marina Di Chioggia had turned much darker than its original green and although I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about pumpkins and their various shades green, I do know that my prized Marina Di Chioggia is one of the most delectable of all the gourd breeds.

From the coasts near Venice, love is in the air for the pumpkin aptly nicknamed “Deliziosa”. The hard, green shell of this heirloom pumpkin may be a pain to peel, or even get into for that matter, but it’s sweet, subtle flavour and silky flesh certainly make it worth it. To claim victory over the tough to surrender peel, just make one cut around to get in and clean out the seeds, then simply roast the pumpkin in a short depth of water for about 90 minutes at 350ºF.

Of all the heirlooms gathered from the patch this season, the glorious Marina Di Chioggia is perfect for just about any recipe. It’s sweet yet delicate and can hold it’s own beautifully in pies, pasta and of course, gnocchi.

Perpetually intimidated by making gnocchi, with or without eggs, I found that this pumpkin is a great addition to the delightful dumplings. Typically worried about them being gummy and dense or at worst, falling apart in the cooking water, I found nothing of the sort. The dough was quite soft, so depending on the extent of draining you do, climate you live in and any other moisture factors, you may have to adjust the amount of flour to create a workable dough.

…And with a terrific yield, everyone can look forward to a few great pumpkin recipes to add to autumn and holiday collection.


Continue reading Marina Di Chioggia Gnocchi