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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

eggs & eggplant

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Some husbands give their wives flowers. Or Cadbury Kraft chocolates. Some get robin's egg blue Tiffany boxes enclosing something shiny. I watched old movies when I was little where tuxedoed men gave mink stoles to their wives, who then twirled round and round, diaphanous gowns flaring at their calves as they buried their lipsticked smiles in fur.

Happily for me, my husband gives me photo ops.

Like ornamental chickens with Samuel Beckett hairdos (see Honey on my sidebar). A weather vane named Carl the Cutter. A row of heavy bent sunflowers left for chickadee feeders and corn stalks that radiate the January sun. Gifts that are stealthy and still life-y, such as veggies in September just off the stem resting on the turquoise metal garden chair where I can see them when I pull in the drive. Or gourds and pumpkins lined up on fence posts.

Sunday it was the day's just washed eggs arranged by color on a dish towel showcase. Better than jewels. He said he was really just seeing how many he had of each color.




So what does the wife offer the leaver of egg art? His favorite vegetable that happens to have egg in its name, in a winter-warming soup: roasted eggplant with garlic. Even I who am not the #1 fan of eggplant's texture loved it, because it was pureed and super yums. Why do you suppose they're called eggplant? Sometimes Don's hens lay long eggs shaped this way, poor things. Well, apparently some cultivars of eggplant in the 18th century looked like hen's or goose eggs and were yellow or white. And, who knew? They originated in India, where they are known as brinjal, and that sounds something like the name I think is most beautiful for them: aubergine.


eggplant roasted with mashed roasted garlic mixed with Herbes de Provence

Eggplant-Garlic Soup


Ingredients:
1 cup roasted garlic
1/2 cup Herbes de Provence (available bottled, or dried herbs of your choice)
Drizzle of olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 large eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup minced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 quart of vegetable (or chicken) stock (I added more stock to leftover soup the next day and liked the thinner consistency better)
1 cup coconut milk (or heavy dairy cream)
Cayenne pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the garlic, herbs and drizzle of olive oil together. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Split the eggplant in half, lengthwise and smear the garlic mixture over the top of each eggplant half. Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast the eggplant for 30 minutes or until the eggplant is tender.

Remove from the oven and cool. Using a spoon, remove the flesh of the eggplant and discard the skin. Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the roasted eggplant and garlic and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Using a hand-held blender (I don't have one, so I just put it in a regular blender), puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk or cream and continue to simmer for 3 minutes. Season the soup with the salt and the cayenne.


Modified from a recipe found here.
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77 comments:

João said...

Beringela it's the portuguese word for it...
Nice warm food, beautiful photos, beautiful feeling.

Sidney said...

What a big difference in color... I wonder how I always get eggs exactly of the same color in the store...

CottageGirl said...

Those eggs are quite the photo op! Such variations in color! The soup looks divine!

*jean* said...

o a man that gives gifts like that is worth 500 tiffany boxes & stoles!! i happen to have one of those as well, an agate from boy scout camp (it was enough that he took our son to camp!), a gnarly root he found in the woods, a walking stick (this is my favorite!) brought back from the "man" fishing trip to the UP! and the first thing he ever cooked for me was an eggplant! we are lucky indeed, dear ruth, lucky indeed....

the eggs are beautiful! and the soup sounds divine! i shall add it to my weekend list!

bad penny said...

I say Aubergine ( you can buy paint that colour! ) but when I lived in Antigua it was eggplant and a friend did a lovely eggplant parmegiano dish.

Here I have courgettes but you have zuccini - what ever they are called I'll be growing them in my veggie patch !

Eggs I have too but no blue ones yet - that hen simply won't lay !

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ohhh you are making me miss my ol' chickies so bad... I recognize that picture as if it was stolen from my own memory... shape, colors, towel... I love it!!

thanks Ruth and Don... till the day those lovable birds live with me again...

Brenda said...

You are living my dream. I would love these things more than furs, chocolates or jewelry. I also love the quote on your sidebar by Rob Brezsny. I am new to your blog, and had not heard of him, but looked him up and see that he is an astrologer and author.

Don said...

I am such a romantic. Now, if I can just watch "those" movies with you...

ps, that soup was VERY good

ellen abbott said...

The eggs are wonderful! And I like eggplant too.

How many chickens do y'all have? How many days do those eggs represent?

VioletSky said...

Oh you are right on top of the news. I don't think I will ever say I crave a 'Kraft' chocolate!!
And I like to say 'aubergine'; one of my favourite words. My accent wall in my dining room is 'aubergine'.

And Don's eggs on a teatowel reminds me of how I used to eat my Smarties - all laid out in colour coded rows to see how many of each colour were int he box.

word verification is : mates.

Shari Sunday said...

I love eggplant parmagian and even make a nice one with slices roasted in the oven with seasoned bread crumbs and a little olive oil. Then, of course, I cover it with pasta sauce and cheese. I like it even better at Gino's, my neighborhood Italian restaurant. I don't have it very often. My husband hates garlic. Sometimes, I chose Gino's anyway on a special occasion and then I order eggplant parmesian and GARLIC bread! And red wine. (I'm thinking I haven't been to Gino's for a long time.) Wish you could meet me there for lunch. Our warm weather has come back. P.S. Your eggs are lovely.

Kim said...

Your post is pure loveliness!!!

Bella Rum said...

The eggs are beautiful and the eggplant soup sounds good. I love roasted garlic and eggplant. I completely understand a man who gives unusual gifts to his wife. Some men seem to know what we really need.

shicat said...

Hi Ruth, They say diamonds are a girls best friend,but I would take gourds on a fence post any day!Amazing the number of eggs you have,and so colorful. Martha would be jealous! Ha!
I can never get enough soup and this looks like a great recipe. I will try it this weekend and let you know how we like it. Is cream as good as coconut milk,maybe less sweet? Which way do you like it? Of course anything with garlic I love.
Hey, off the subject, but if you get Sundance channel on your TV, there is a show called Man Shops World, that I think you may like(tues. 7:30)
This fellow shops for the store Anthropologie, and, lucky him, gets to shop all over the world for quirky,funky, new or antique objects for the store. It's a pretty interesting show,and i think you like antiques.Let me know what you think:)
Have a peaceful and fun week.

lovely you said...

Don is soooo dreamy. Would you mind if I had a little crush on him? Cause I maybe already do;)

Vagabonde said...

Your recipe sounds delicious and I shall try it. When I was growing up in France we ate a lot of eggplant in various ways. My father taught my mother to make many eggplant dishes, such as stuffed eggplants with rice, pine nuts and meat (called patlican dolmasi in Turkey) or stuffed with lamb, green pepper and onion (and called carne yarek in Armenian.) I usually make a stew with lamb, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) onions, eggplants and other vegetable. It is hearty and good with crusty French bread. I have also cooked the little Asian eggplants in some Chinese dishes and they were quite tasty, have you tried these small eggplants, they are lighter in color ?

caroldiane said...

A cup of roasted garlic?! Oh my goodness, that sounds amazing... not sure what my digestive system will think, but I am willing to give it a whirl! Thank you, once again, for your lovely blog and the opportunities of your photos!

freefalling said...

Whose eggs do you like the best??

We have a poet in Australia called Bruce Dawe.
He was a lecturer at the University I attended.
He used to eat sandwiches at lunch that consisted of bread, butter and sliced garlic.
M-mmmmm(???)

shoreacres said...

I had such cabin fever from not being able to work I went into Houston and saw their current exhibit: Peter Carl Fabergé’s rarest designs, including a tiara that was agift from Russian Czar Alexander I to Empress Josephine after she was divorced from Napoleon.

There were some bejeweled and gilded eggs included in the exhibit, of course. Esthetically, I truly would choose the produce of Don's hens over the Fabergé. Of course, I'm also practical enough to know that one of those gilded eggs could buy me a whole flock of hens and a farm for them to live on, so if I got the chance I'd go for the gold.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy these!

Susan said...

Lovely, lovely eggs! Don is such a Renaissance man, or at least the parts that you let us see! ;)

I love eggplant and have tried growing it to no avail. We just don't have enough sun on our garden. By the time it gets ripe, the skin is so tough, it's inedible! I do love a good eggplant parmesan, and make it the way Shari Sunday does. It's much less greasy that way, as eggplant absorbs a LOT of oil when it's fried. Hmmm, I think I must go to the grocery for some eggplant!

That soup sounds really good!

Renee said...

God I love food.

The eggs are so beautiful. The colours.

xoxo

Patricia said...

Ruth, what a wonderful gift and good for you for finding the beauty in it all! Thank you for the delicious recipe. Can't wait to try it out.

Oliag said...

Those eggs are as beautiful as gems...As for synchronicity, my cousin just dropped off two dozen fresh eggs but alas, no blue ones this time...so what I'm looking for are some good recipes using up lots of eggs!

I have always loved eggplant...I think it is more the creamy texture rather than the taste...and I think I am going to start calling it aubergine all the time from now on....

Sandy said...

Those are gorgeous eggs and that eggplant looks delicious. I'll have to show Mike the recipe, he might like to try this.

ds said...

I "heart" eggplant! The soup sounds divine, but I'm now hungry for ratatouille!
As for those beautiful eggs, courtesy of your wonderful husband and his gorgeous, wacky chickens: they should re-name that particular color. It ain't robins egg blue, it's chicken egg blue!! (and it is the color of boxes from Tiffany--not that I have experience of those--would it be bad for marketing to point that out? ;) )

♥ Kathy said...

Oh I bet that soup is delicious Ruth! I think the eggs are actually very pretty too :)

dutchbaby said...

Beautiful still life. If I ever make it to your neck of the woods, the first thing I would want is to see the eggs on your farm. And if I'm really lucky, maybe I would get to taste one too.

My husband never met an eggplant he didn't like. I'm that way about tomatoes but eggplant was an acquired taste for me. This soup sounds divine! Of course any recipe is divine if it has coconut milk in it!

Arti said...

Funny... your eggs look like you're playing a game of 'GO', those Japanese 'chess pieces'.

Peter said...

I always wondered why in Sweden all eggs are white whereas in France they all brown (same taste). It’s obviously purely genetic, but it seems that egg colours also follow some kind of fashion, involving the choice of hens I suppose. ... so, the egg fashion is not the same in Sweden as in France. I like very much you multi-colour solution!

Claudia said...

You are a blessed couple. Those pics are lovely (the display looks better than jewels indeed!) and the eggplant garlic soup sounds just the thing to be had on a cold January evening. Delicious.

I found your subtle reference to the Cadbury/Kraft deal amusing. I guess everyone here was hoping it might be Hershey buying Cadbury. Lets hope for the best for everyone envolved (the whole huge city of Birmingham revolves around Cadbury).

Ruth said...

Thank you, João, I'm glad.

Beringela is also a beautiful word, wow.

Jeanie said...

Jewelry I have. Mink I don't need. Photo ops, on the other hand, are the ultimate gift! And you made the best of them! The recipe looks great!

Nancy said...

I loved this post. Your jewels were perfect in so many ways. I also liked how the veggies await you on a the blue metal chair. You see the grace in every day life, and that is truly a gift. One that you already have.

Ruth said...

Sidney, egg color is determined by the chicken species. If you get eggs from a store, they're probably from one kind of chicken.

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, I asked Don where the blue-ish eggs went! He said he thinks those girls are laying them around the barn. :|

Ruth said...

Jean, synchronicity. :)

A walking stick, he thought of you while he was on a man trip and brought you a walking stick. That is the kind of gift a man should bring home to his woman.

Ruth said...

Bad Penny, our blue ones are hidden around the barn, Don says.

Yes, I have a dress suit I bought in Paris that is aubergine. I keep it, even though its style has passed. I can't part with it.

Ruth said...

I know you miss your chickies, Gwen. I wonder why you don't have them? I think Max took over the coop, if I recall.

Ruth said...

Brenda, I actually feel like I'm living a dream, one that I never had. It is Don's dream to work a hobby farm (or real one, truth be told), and I didn't know it would bring me so much satisfaction too.

I'm glad you found Rob Brezsny. I enjoy his freewillastrology, but just the way he thinks and how he views the world is the one role model I have in my head whenever I hear news that drives me to distraction.

Ruth said...

Don, you mean the movies with furs and tuxedos? Nah, they aren't all that romantic, just spectacles.

Ruth said...

Ellen, I asked the farmer, he says he has 45 chickens. The eggs on the towel in these photos comprise about a day and a half's worth. The hens lay about 22 a day.

Ruth said...

Violetski, ha, Mate! I was hoping you'd come along and comment about that, YOU, in particular. It's so not right. The company of plastic cheese. I hope they at least maintain the Cadbury brand.

I didn't do that with my Smarties, but I did make myself take time to eat candy, unlike some who stuff the whole kit and caboodle in their mouths at once.

VioletSky said...

;)

rauf said...

Baingan in Urdu, brinjals here Ruth, If you ask for an egg plant the veg.vendor may take your picture. What ? Egg plant ?
He'll tell his wife that eggs are plucked out of trees in America.

never knew they originated in India, at the table i say oh ! no further comments, i eat without a word, not my favourite. Please look for 'Baingan ka Bhurta' on the net, Don would love it. Then you have stuffed brinjals, and no biryani is complete without brinjal chutney, sister makes without much oil. i push the brinjals aside and take the gravy Ruth.

rauf said...

oh deeah ! its here, so many of them

http://www.indianfoodforever.com/vegetables/baigan-bharta.html

Ruth said...

Shari, wouldn't it be fun to meet there for lunch and I'd make you request all the garlic-infused food on the menu. I would have to make a different menu for my husband and me every day if he hated garlic. It would be a lot of work, but it would be worth it. If I were stranded on a desert island, I hope garlic would be there. I might not survive otherwise.

Your eggplant parmagiana recipe sounds yummy. I tried a pasta dish with slices of fried eggplant recently at a restaurant, and I want to replicate it. Soooo good. Maybe I'll learn to like this vegetable yet.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Kim, can you smell the soup?

Ruth said...

Bella, Don is very thoughtful, not only about what I need, but about what makes me happy.

Claudia said...

I believe the word brinjals in India might have come directly from the Portuguese beringelas. The way etymology reflects history is fascinating.

Ruth said...

Hi Cathy, thank you. I have only made the soup once, with coconut milk, but I'm guessing cream would be delicious and probably less sweet, yes. Please tell me if you make it and how you liked it.

Oh I love that Anthropologie store, and I have always thought it would be great fun to be a buyer for a store like that. Imagine! I missed it this week, I wonder if it will run again?

Ruth said...

No, Lovely, I don't mind. You are in a very large and distinguished group, believe me. Everyone who knows him is in love with him and he's their favorite person. (My sister calls him "the king of the world." Shh, he'd be embarrassed if he knew I told you that.)

Ruth said...

Oh, Vagabonde, patlican dolmasi. Yum. And we loved musakka in the little lokantı down the street, ohhh. They do eat a lot of eggplant - patlican - in Turkey.

I haven't tried the small eggplants, but I've been meaning too after seeing them on TV cooking shows. Also the long thin ones - called pingtung I think.

Ruth said...

Heh, Caroldiane, when it's roasted, it is pretty mild. Thank you for your kind visit, and if you try the soup, please tell me how you liked it.

Ruth said...

Letty, sweetie, we like how the olive green eggs look the best. But our unsophisticated palate doesn't notice difference in flavor (though my colleague at work says she does; she is a professor).

Wow, sliced garlic sandwiches. Even I don't know about that.

Ruth said...

Linda, beautifully rendered!

Ruth said...

Susie, that Don. I try not to get an inferiority complex, really. But it's all good. I get to live with him and reap the benefits of his renaissanceness.

Yeah, eggplant absorbs absorbs absorbs. It's a good trick to back it first, I'm glad you and Shari told me.

Let me know if you try this soup!

Ruth said...

Me too, Renee, I live to eat.

love

Ruth said...

Patricia, let me know if you try it, and what you think.

Ruth said...

Oliag, I start thinking of Bed & Breakfasts and all those egg casseroles they put out on the buffet.

Eggplant is actually pretty bland, so you make a good point. But there is just something about it that when it's well prepared, it's very good. It's an excellent source of potassium and manganese.

Ruth said...

Sandy, it's easy and pretty quick, something I like in a recipe if possible.

Ruth said...

DS, I have never eaten ratatouille. How sad. It sounds wonderful though, I looked up a recipe.

I don't think it would hurt marketing to call them chicken egg blue, considering the mad market for all things chickens these days. My goodness! Calendars, books, blogs, towels, dishes. Don didn't know he was part of a trend.

Ruth said...

Thank you, ♥ Kathy.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, if you ever make it to Michigan, we will give you the guest room and you may eat as many eggs as you like, after touring the coop first. Or maybe you should tour the coop after, says me.

Jeanie said...

Good Saturday Morning! There is a blog award waiting for you at The Marmelade Gypsy!

Ruth said...

I know, Arti, even though I don't know the game of GO, but they reminded me of Chinese checkers, or an abacus.

photowannabe said...

I simply love the egg offerings. I didn't realize there were so many colors to eggs. Who needs to dye them for Easter?
The soup sounds delicious. I couldn't tell my hubby it was eggplant. He wouldn't touch it.
Thanks for your comments on Haiti. I have found out that several of the people we know are doing ok and the compound we stayed at will be used to house 200 displaced people.

Ruth said...

Bonjour, Peter. France seems to have some good earthy rules about food processes. Brown eggs came into fashion here when the uproar over the huge egg factory conditions came to light.

The thing we notice about farm raised eggs is the color of the yolk - bright orange - something we don't see in store bought eggs. Apparently the more fresh greens hens eat, including grass, the oranger the yolks.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Claudia. I have some vegetable broth cooking on the woodstove while I write this. I do love winter food.

I was sad when I first heard about Cadbury being sold, yes first to Hershey. It just isn't right all this multinational ownership. Such a brand as Cadbury needs to be British. I hope Kraft maintains the brand.

Ruth said...

Hi, Jeanie! Thank you. And thank you for the award!

I hope you're resting. And when you get back to 100% let's plan that lunch.

Ruth said...

That's very kind, Nancy. Thank you.

Ruth said...

rauf, I read the recipe and it sounds delicious!

What you said about the veggie vendors in India reminds me of a story in Tijuana, Mexico. I went into a store to buy vanilla, which is very inexpensive in Mexico, and Mexican vanilla is very flavorful and Mexico is where vanilla originated apparently. Well I went in and asked for "vah·nil·la." The men behind the counter looked at me like I was stupid (which I was). They play-acted like they didn't know what vah·nil·la was and then finally said Ohhhh bay·nee·yah!

I felt like an idiot.

Ruth said...

Claudia, how exciting, look what I found at http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/brinjal:

Etymology

From Portuguese brinjela, ultimately from Sanskrit भण्टाकी (bhaṇṭākī), “‘aubergine’”). Sanskrit word is likely of Dravidian origin, from the source that also ultimately gave English aubergine.


You are MARVELOUS. :)

Ruth said...

Sue, that's a good point. Don says his Ameracauna and Aracauna hens lay blue eggs, and they are called "Easter eggers." They're from South America, Chile I think.

I'm sure you have been on pins and needles waiting to hear about your friends in Haiti. Your photos are just so wonderful. Little by little they will rise up from the ashes.

gemma said...

Hi Ruth
The eggs are beautiful! What a great composition. MMMM divine eggplant soup and the color aubergine....
glad we are neighbors.

Ruth said...

Hi there, Neighbor Gemma, so sweet of you to pop over and admire the colorful eggs. Can you smell the soup? Come on inside and eat some.

Ginnie said...

Don the romantic. HA! I love it. It doesn't get more romantic than this...eggs washed, sorted by color, and ready for the cook's hand. You two work like hand in glove. I love it. :)

Ruth said...

Boots, I'm smiling.

He's really just a big boy, don't you think?