I love experimenting.
Emily Dickinson does too. See?
Experiment to Me
Experiment to me
Is every one I meet.
If it contain a kernel?
The figure of a nut
Presents upon a tree,
But meat within is requisite,
To squirrels and to me. (Emily Dickinson)*
Haha, witty Emily. You crack me up.
Anyway, taking a cue from the morose poet, I experimented in the kitchen with some simple dinner ideas. If you’re ever in need of some fast, easy dinners, please step into my office. (bonus points if you can guess what movie that’s from) I’ve got three on the front burner just for you.
1. Eggplant Caponata
1 medium eggplant, cut into slices
0.5 red pepper, diced
0.25 cup chopped green olives (capers work too)
2 TBL tomato paste
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
5-6 white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped (minced if you don’t like big garlic chunks)
1. Roast eggplant on a cookie sheet in the oven until tender. I usually have the oven on somewhere near 400 degrees.
2. Let eggplant cool a little and chop into sixths (fourths is too big and eighths are too small, so I went in between).
3. Sautee the onion and garlic in a little oil. Or completely skip this step; I did and it turned out great anyway.
4. Add everything else and let simmer until mushrooms are tender and everything is heated through.
Seriously, don’t pass this recipe up. It’s easy, simple, and tastes amazing. Like amazing. Don’t omit the mushrooms either. They make the dish.
2. Roasted Zucchini with White Beans
1 zucchini, cut into rounds
0.5 cup white beans of your choice (I used butter beans…then ate nearly the rest straight out of the can)
1.5 TBL lemon juice
1 clove roasted garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
1. Toss the zucchini slices in a little olive oil and place on a cookie sheet in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees or until the zucchini looks like this:
2. While you’re at it, if you haven’t already roasted the garlic, you’re welcome to now. Otherwise, remove the zucchini, place in a large bowl, and add the remaining ingredients.
3. Toss and serve.
Really, it can’t get any easier than this. But it tastes delicious.
3. Balsamic and Greens Mashed Potatoes
2 baking potatoes, chopped (mine were really small)
0.5 cup greens of your choice (I find a spring mix or arugula work well, but here I used spinach and parsley)
2 TBL balsamic vinegar
Dash of oil
1. Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and reserve 0.25 cup of cooking water.
2. Smash potatoes against the side of your pot with a wooden spoon for approximately ten minutes while discussing how Glee has gone downhill since the first season.
3. Give up and figure half-smashed potatoes will work just fine. Make a mental note to get a potato masher.
4. Add greens and the dressings.
5. Mix to combine. Make sure the greens are slightly wilted.
This recipe is super delicious. I’m pretty sure it has a high level of umami, despite the fact that none of the ingredients are known umami-makers (that’s not a word).
So see? I experimented and made three simple recipes. Thanks Emily. You’re the best. Just next time, can you title your poems? I think it would make more of an impact. ‘K, thanks.
*Apologies to Emily Dickinson. You weren’t recognized during your lifetime. Perhaps that’s because you seemed to love death so much. Example(s): “If I Should Die,” “Death Sets a Thing Significant,” “I Could Not Stop for Death,” “If I Shouldn’t Be Alive,”…I’m just going to stop there. The list could be miles long.