Summertime, and the Cookin' is Easy

There’s nothing like going grocery shopping in your own back yard.

Trying to come up with something I could make for dinner that would work with what I had in the garden and in the kitchen or freezer, I found this recipe for Smothered Eggplant with Shrimp.

Shrimp and Eggplant

I did make a few slight changes – I used olive oil instead of butter, and three small Japanese eggplants instead of one medium eggplant. My shrimp were already cooked (and frozen), so I just defrosted them and added them at the very end to warm through.

Oh, and I didn’t bother peeling the tomato or the eggplant because I was lazy. I also threw in some fresh thyme, just because I thought it would be tasty.

I realized as I was cooking it that it really needed to be served over something to soak up all of the juice. A box of Near East Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts came to my rescue, since I certainly didn’t have time to cook rice. The flavor of the couscous couldn’t have been more perfect with the shrimp and eggplant dish.

My husband took a bite and said “Mmmmmmmmmmmm”. He also said that he thought the flavors blended really well – you couldn’t really identify any specific ingredient, they just all merged together into a whole new flavor. This was particularly unusual for him since he watched me put both garlic and green onions into it, and he’s very sensitive to their taste (especially raw onion in anything). Normally he thinks they overpower the flavor of whatever they’re in, and you might as well just be eating the garlic and/or onions, since you can’t taste anything else. But in this case, he thought it was exactly as it should be – enhancing the flavor of the food without being identifiable. I’ll definitely be making more of this when I harvest more eggplant.

We fought over the leftovers the next day. But since I had plenty of other things to serve, we didn’t mind sharing and just getting a little bit of it. Especially when I also had beautiful Caprese salads, made with freshly picked, still-warm-from-the-sun tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.

Caprese salad

Speaking of tomatoes, when I went out to pick them, I found this (click for bigger):

Slashed Tomato Slashed Tomato 2

What the heck? What would have done this kind of damage to a tomato? It was one that was fairly close to the ground. It doesn’t look like insect damage, or even bird pecks. Freddie Kruger? Is that you?

Oh, and just to make you weep… I picked enough blackberries for another cobbler (the first time I’ve ever had enough of  a harvest to make two desserts!).  This is a recipe I’ve used before, which is one of my very most favorite cobbler recipes: Blackberry Cobbler II. I only have one size cast-iron skillet (9″), and fortunately it’s the perfect size for this recipe. If you don’t have a skillet of this size, I’d suggest a 9″ round deep-dish (2″) pie pan, or an 8 x 8 x 2″ square baking pan.*  If you use a 9″ square pan, you might want to make more batter.

Blackberry Cobbler

* Did you know those are equivalent? It’s surprising how many people think a 9″ square pan is the “same size” as a 9″ round pan. Here’s a handy-dandy baking pan size chart.

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11 Responses to Summertime, and the Cookin' is Easy

  1. Cher says:

    I’m thinking a kitty did that to your tomato. LOL

    You ave t be an excellent cook because everything is making my mouth water!

  2. Anne says:

    Raccoons? They have some pretty strong claws.

    That cobbler looks great – I’ll have to see if the farmer’s market has some fruit tomorrow… maybe peaches?

  3. Amy says:

    You are making me very jealous, if for no better reason than our unseasonably cool summer has stunted tomato growth. Mine are still little green tennis balls.

    That eggplant dish looks tasty.

  4. margene says:

    My guess is a squirrel! He knows good taste when he, um….tastes it.

  5. Cayenne says:

    I’ve heard of all those animals eating tomatoes. Dogs too. We had rats eating ours. The nastiest mold grew on them afterward. Ewww!

  6. Nora says:

    You’re killing me. Seriously. I’m so hungry…

  7. Katheirne says:

    I’d guess raccoon. Are there oppossums here? It could be a dog or cat, but that just seems a little weird. And dogs probably don’t wander into your fully fenced yard a lot. Is that a large tomato? I can’t tell how large the marks are, overall.

    Is it possible at all that you cut into the tomato yourself with some sort of tool, inadvertently?

    I am having weird troubles with my tomatoes, too, but nothing nearly as exotic and imagination-inducing as yours.

  8. Cookie says:

    Cobbler! /ahem Sorry.

    I think you had a little animal visitor who wanted a snack. Isn’t nature fun? o.0

  9. Norma says:

    Holy CRAP. I just finished breakfast, but now I’m hungry anyway. Delish!

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