Monthly Archives: March 2005

A Last Minute Achievement – Paper Chef 4

UPDATE: Next morning – cutlets still good (I in fact made two eggplants’ worth) and have sent one off in a sandwich with the sauce and some spinach leaves for my lovely partner. I can now just taste the chocolate and in fact I really like these – they do need the sauce though – without it the cutlets on their own are awfully strong and a little bitter. Eggplant has a tendency to be a little biter and the unsweetened chocolate and cayenne just add to that. But with the sauce they are really, really good!

On the other hand, now that I have had a chance to see all the competition, I know that I am very much behind in the creativity stakes. Chocolate truffles with eggplant! Three kinds of dessert with eggplant. Crab and eggplant! Jump on over to The Domestic Goddess to see all the results – after you’ve read the rest of my posting! [END UPDATE]

I did it! I thought I wouldn’t manage it – and technically I haven’t since it is 9PM as I type – but I do have a completed and cooked recipe for Chilli-Chocolate Eggplant with a pomegranate-onion Sauce.

Chilli-Chocolate Eggplant Cutlet copyright 2005 Owen Linderholm

The recipe is not complex – it is basically a cocoa and chilli rub for slices of eggplant that are then breaded and fried and served with a sauce made from sliced onions, pomegranate juice and a touch of sugar. My lovely spouse has just assured me that it is quite good with the sauce – apparently it adds a lot of depth and brings out the eggplant flavor.

I do think this would probably be at least as good unbreaded and grilled instead – maybe we’ll try that in a month or two…

Chilli-Chocolate Eggplant Cutlets with Pomegranate-Onion Sauce

One large eggplant, sliced lengthways into long slices about a quarter of an inch thick,
Four tablespoons good, cocoa powder
One quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper
One half teaspoon cajun spice blend
One lemon
Olive oil
Breadcrumbs
One large red Onion
Two cups pomegranate juice
One tablespoon sugar
One egg
One half cup milk

Mix the cocoa, cayenne and cajun spice together in a bowl and then rub the mixture carefully into every exposed part of the eggplant flesh. Then wash your hands – cayenne is nasty if it gets in your eyes.
Put all the eggplant in a bowl and squeeze the lemon over it. Let sit for at least an hour.

Dice up the onion and lightly sautee it in a little olive oil until soft, then add the pomegranate juice and sugar and set on very low heat to reduce until the liquid is almost all gone.

Beat the egg and milk together. Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and put it on low heat. Dip the eggplant in the egg mixture, then coat with breadcrumbs and fry slowly until deep brown on both sides. Serve with the reduced sauce.

Shame, the crabcake and the Paper Chef

For a long time there was a trend in book titles (and movie titles) toward titles that went something like, “XYZ and the ABC.” An example might be “Sex and the Single Woman,” or “Albert and the Strange Sound in the Night.” So that’s what this posting is going to be like. I promise that at some point we will indeed tie shame, the crabcake and the Paper Chef together. But first, a reminder.

The Paper Chef event for this month is being hosted at The Domestic Goddess. It starts tomorrow, Friday, March 4th, so get over there now! (and then come back and keep reading the rest of this to find out my shame and all about the little crabcake and the olive…
Crabcake copyright 2005 Owen Linderholm

OK, back to the sordid tale. I now reveal my secret shame – the reason I fall so far behind in posting – and the pathetic way that I try to remember what I was doing more than a month ago. The secret is that I take pictures. Then they remind me that I made something and they sometimes (if I remembered to set it) have an associated date. And that is how I reconstruct what I did on a certain evening back in the dark days of January.

So what is the oldest, darkest, most moldering thing that I haven’t written about in the longest time? That’s right – it is a crabcake. Although it as a sprightly, lively crabcake at the time. You can see that above…

On the other hand, I now have absolutely no recollection of what made this a special crabcake, worthy of preserving for posterity. It looks like it had nice big, meaty chunks of crab. I actually remember eating it. It was a tasty crabcake. But nothing else springs to mind.

So I’ll give you my philosophy on crabs and crabcakes. First, nothing – absolutely nothing – beats a nice fresh crab, steamed with something a little salty and a little sour to accompany it, then cracked open and eaten hot. But when the crab gets cold and if there are leftovers (unlikely but possible) then there is only one thing to do. Spend the rest of the evening cracking the crab and extracting the meat. Next day, remove it from the fridge and make crabcakes cooked very hot, very fast in a skillet. The crabcake must have as little as possible in it other than crab. But you need something to aid binding. I use any and all of the following in judicious amounts: egg, olive oil, garlic, scallions, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, pepper, chilli, paprika, hot sauce, salt, breadcrumbs (when I have more mouths to feed than crab to put in them).

We have dealt with shame, crabcakes and now we return to the Paper Chef. Go to The Domestic Goddess and get the scoop!

Paper Chef Ingredients Update

We have an expanded ingredients list…

The current ingredient list is now:

anchovies, smoked paprika, chorizo, goat cheese, stale bread, yeast, tamarind, eggplant, lamb, chipotle en adobo, olive oil, cucumber, potato skins, chocolate, mustard, sherry vinegar, ground coriander, star anise and chestnut paste. You may not nominate last month’s ingredients: flour, oranges, creme fraiche and cinnamon. Any new nominations must be made by the end of Thursday (PST) and will be added to the list. Then three ingredients will be selected at random. A fourth ingredient will be picked out by our host and you will have from noon PST on Friday March 4th until noon PST on Monday March 7th to make something using the four ingredients and any others you like and then post about it on your blog.Put all the rest here