Caviar d'aubergines (Eggplant Caviar)

* 1/2 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (1/2 cup)

* 3/4 tsp. salt

Location Info

Map

The Good Life Cafe

3544 Grand Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

* 1 1/2 pounds eggplants

* 4 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil

* 2/3 cup minced onion

* 4 large garlic cloves, minced

* 4 tsp. red wine vinegar

* Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a strainer above a mixing bowl, sprinkle the tomatoes with 1/4 tsp. salt; let drain for 20 minutes. Split each eggplant in half lengthwise. Drizzle one tsp. of oil over the cut tops. Place in a baking dish with 1/2 cup water and bake for 45 minutes or until tender. Turn them over after 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Set aside to cool. With a teaspoon, scoop out the flesh of the eggplants. In a food processor, puree the eggplant, the drained tomatoes, onion, garlic, remaining oil, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper for one minute. Taste and correct seasoning.

SO LONG, COLD FEBRUARY: This Saturday marks the last Family Day on the Minnesota Zephyr. Meet the train's conductor and engineer, spend 45 mintues zooming through the beautiful winter scenery provided by the St. Croix River Valley, and enjoy a special box lunch. Boarding begins at 11:30, with a noon departure. Tickets are $12.95 each; call 430-3000 for reservations. These are also among the last days to try out Dixie's (695 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 222-7345) February menu. How could they axe the red snapper a la pomme de terre (that's pan-fried red snapper fillet with a dijon mustard/hash brown crust served with roasted red pepper sauce), the crawfish étoufée, the catfish po boy, and the crawfish bisque from the menu? Make haste before you miss out. That sage advice also applies to the Twin City Grill (Mall of America), featuring regional barbecue and blues from now through Friday, Feb. 21. Call 854-0200 for reservations.

HOW MANY SAMPLES MAKE A MEAL? With a nod toward their growing commitment to organic foods, Byerly's (all Twin Cities locations) is holding in-store demonstrations with sampling of some of the organic products available throughout the stores this Friday and Saturday. Yum. Speaking of samples, I've been snacking in Williams-Sonoma while passing through the skyway lately; I never do buy those non-stick pans or fancy bread mixes, and this has left me feeling guilty. Buying a cookbook is the remedy; now I can make for my own self the things that they set out in 1/2 inch cubes. From the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library: Vegetarian by Joanne Weir comes this recipe for Corn-and-Jalapeño Pancakes:

* 2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 3 ears or frozen)

* 5 fresh jalapeño chili peppers, seeded and minced

* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

* 1 red bell pepper, seeded, and finely diced

* 6 green (spring) onions, whites plus 2 inches of the tender green tops, thinly sliced

* 2 eggs

* 1 1/4 all-purpose flour

* 1/2 cup cornmeal

* 1 tsp. baking powder

* 1 tsp. salt, plus salt to taste

* 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

* 1 1/2 cups milk

* freshly gound pepper

Fill a saucepan three-fourths full with water, salt it lightly, and bring to a boil. Add the corn kernels and cook for one minute. Drain, place in a large bowl, and let cool. Add the chili peppers, garlic, bell pepper, and green onions, mix well and set aside. In a food processor, combine the eggs, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and lime juice to form a smooth batter. Add to the corn mixture and stir to mix. Season to taste with more salt, if needed, and pepper. Let stand until room temperature, about 30 minutes, and then fry them up! Serve with sour cream and salsa. Serves six.

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