September 17, 2012

Eggplant, Roasted Tomato, Polenta Stacks

When this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment arrived, I went straight to the blog of A Couple in the Kitchen. I was jealous you see. 

Oh, how I wish I could be part of "a couple in the kitchen". I wish my wonderful husband cared just a little about cooking, but that is just, not how he rolls. I mean, he REALLY enjoys the eating, and definitely helps with the cleaning, but he is never gonna join me in the cooking. It's just not his deal. With all of his other wonderful MacGuyver traits, I suppose that is okay. I guess I've come to terms with it. 

It's just, when I read the title of my new friends Amy and Chris's blog, I couldn't help but be a little jealous. I wanna be a couple in the kitchen...waaah. I know, I know. You are saying, "get over it Aimee"!

After I looked through Chris and Amy's blog, I came upon Slow Roasted Tomatoes and I knew this was the recipe I wanted to make. We have tomatoes coming out our ears. I canned some, sliced some for sandwiches, eat some right from the bush, gave away some, and even tossed a few rotten ones to the Girls in their coop. (Yes, until recently, they were still trapped in their coop so they didn't eat my hard work.) Roasting some tomatoes and storing them in oil, seemed like a perfect way to prolong our season.

Once I had some roasted lovelies, I had to think what to do with them. I froze several half pints for presents later in the year. Hee hee, I'm getting ready for Christmas already and I love it! I served some with my Roasted Chicken and saved some for Eggplant, Tomato, Polenta Stacks.

This easy vegetarian dinner was a product of what was laying around....lots and lots of Japanese eggplants! My one bush has given us a ton of these purple beauties. This dinner was fabulous!!! Course, if you don't have any eggplant laying around, you could always substitute zucchini for the eggplant or make orzo (small rice shaped pasta) dish also from A Couple in the Kitchen.

Eggplant, Roasted Tomato and Polenta Stacks

1 lg Japanese eggplant (or zucchini can be used)
salt and pepper to taste
3 c water
1 c polenta
1/4 c butter
1/2 tsp salt
olive oil
roasted tomatoes
1/4 c greek yogurt
2 tsp honey
chopped nuts for garnish (I just used an assortment we had from the pantry)

Slice eggplant into thin disks. Lay on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 15 minutes or so.

Bring water to a boil in saucepan, add salt. Slowly add polenta and whisk into water. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted and polenta is thick. Pour into a greased pan or bowl. Set aside.

Rinse eggplant with water and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan or skillet. When hot, carefully put eggplant slices in pan and cook for a 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook another minute until golden brown. Cook in small batches until all the eggplant is done.

Mix honey and yogurt in a small dish.

Slice polenta into squares like you would brownies. Put a slice of polenta on each plate and then stack the eggplant on top. Sprinkle with roasted tomatoes. Add a dollop of yogurt and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Serve.

Roasted Tomatoes

4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade (which is a fancy way of saying slice small strips)
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil for storage
Preheat oven to 200 F. In a large bowl, place the halved tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix well with your hands. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats (you know how I love these). Then line sheets with tomatoes in one layer, place garlic cloves in different areas on the baking sheet. Bake for 2-3 hours, until tomatoes look mostly dry. If storing, place them in canning jars, packing them in well and using a metal knife, get the air bubbles out. Cover completely with olive oil and seal with airtight lid. Store in refrigerator for up to six weeks or freezer for several months.


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