Aubergine with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Steak

I found myself in a bit of a produce pickle the other day.  I went slightly overboard in buying produce forgetting that the kids would be off camping for the weekend.  So I was faced with the task to get rid of the produce in meals so it wouldn’t go bad.

My son loves the zucchini/courgette flans so I thought it would be great to do a zucchini/courgette side as a treat for him.  And I bought an aubergine as the kids requested an Italian meal.

For the zucchini/courgette side I used the spiral cutter again.  So much easier with the softer produce!  Very quick.  🙂

Eggplant oven roasted tomato sauce 1 2014

Set that aside and chop up some aubergine.

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In a skillet melt some butter and sear the steak to brown on both sides then finish off in the oven to the desired doneness.  In the skillet add some avocado oil.  Once heated add the aubergine and saute for a few minutes.  Then add some oven roasted tomatoes and a few cloves of chopped garlic.  Add a bit of white balsamic vinegar.

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While the sauce cooks set up another skillet and heat up some more avocado oil.  Toss in the zucchini/courgette spirals.  Season with sea salt, pepper, and a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar.

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Slice the steak and stop with the aubergine sauce.  Grate fresh parmesan cheese and serve.

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I even liked the zucchini/courgette which is unheard of!  But I noticed my son wasn’t touching the zucchini/courgette.  Apparently the only way he likes it is in the flan.  Sigh.  Fortunately my daughter couldn’t get enough so it didn’t go to waste. Sometimes it is hard to keep up!

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Zucchini/Courgette Flans

In the interest of complete transparency, I need to confess.  I hate zucchini.  Right up there with Brussels sprouts.  However, we are currently growing them in our garden.  We let our kids each pick a veg to grow and my daughter picked zucchini.  Sigh.  And they are huge!  So of course I have been on the look out for recipes.  Something that would make me like zucchini.  I have recently found the blog Manger which is a wonderful blog with amazing pictures and recipes.  I would love to have her photographer.  Whoever it is knows their stuff.  This past weekend she blogged about Bastille day and in among the recipes was one for zucchini flan.  I thought it would be perfect to try.

Now in her recipe she mentioned using two large zucchinis.  I don’t think she had in mind what I harvested.

Zucchini flan 1 2013

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C

In her recipe she said to thinly slice in half rondelles.  This thing was 3″ in diameter in some spots.  For this recipe I used 1/3 of the above zucchini and cut it up in small triangles.  I didn’t have shallots so I used 1/2 an onion from the farmers market.  These were the sweet ones I found and used last week.

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I finely chopped the onion and a clove of garlic.  Use either a large clove or 2 smaller cloves.  I drizzled a bit of olive oil into a skillet and heated that up.

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Saute the zucchini, garlic and onion.  While this is cooking beat 5 eggs in a large bowl.  Her recipe calls for 4 T of corn starch to be mixed into the eggs.  I had about 2 1/2 T so I supplemented with flour and it came out well.  The hardest part was getting rid of the lumps!

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Grate 105g of cheese like a guyere.  I used the Jarlsberg we have on hand.  I grabbed a handful of fresh mint from our garden and chiffonade the leaves.  Mix all this together.  Once the zucchini mixture starts to become lightly brown remove from the heat.

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Add to the egg mixture and mix gently.  Add the remaining ingredients of 2 T of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.

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Use a tin with small muffin wells that are sprayed with oil.  Spoon in the mixture.  This made about 8 flans with the size I had.  Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.

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I had decided to make these when it was much cooler.  The day just got hotter so by the time I needed to make these I didn’t want to cook!  So I thought these would be perfect with a light salad given that the humidity was drifting back up.

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The kids loved these and so did my husband.  The lemon juice and mint added a brightness to the dish.  I would have loved it if it didn’t have zucchini.  My son did ask me if I could make these again for his birthday.  Which is next June so hopefully I don’t forget!  🙂

And then the rains came…

It was a case of be careful of what you wish for.  I wanted rain.  Just enough to fill the rain barrel.  We only have one.  Mother Nature thought we had a 100.

The spring started off wonderfully.  Some days was like an English summer.  We had some rainy days then some wonderful gorgeous spring days.  Then it got dry very quickly.  The plants were doing well but the soil got so dusty!  The wind blew and you got dirt in your eyes.  Ugh.  So I wished for rain.

And it came!  It seems we were on the thunderstorm path with showers and bucketing rain.  When it wasn’t raining it was unbelievably muggy and humid.  Ick.

The benefactor of all this?  Our garden.  It is doing amazing.  So are the weeds but that’s another story.  🙂

I love our peas.  Once they start growing it’s my favourite snack as I walk by.  We’re almost to the point where I can start harvesting and freeze the peas for our risotto.

Garden progress 1 2013

I am debating whether or not to plant broccoli next year.  We don’t eat it much but on the flip side the flowers are so pretty.  Tiny little yellow flowers just pop in the garden of a ton of green.

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I plant kale because you can get a ton out of a very small space.  My husband calls it rabbit food.  🙂  It’s become a little family joke “You’re feeding Daddy rabbit food!” LOL  But he’s a good sport and if I come up with dishes that incorporate it he’ll eat it.  And because so much grows I get to give a nutritious food to the community kitchen.  We plant about a 4 x 2 foot spot and the number of meals we get is huge.

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I’m looking forward to harvesting the leeks.  We usually get 5 foot long leeks and I hope that happens this year.  We do all organic gardening.  Miracle Grow and other chemicals have nothing on us!  I brought one to the community kitchen last year and they looked confused for a couple of minutes when I tried to hand them a 5 foot leek.  Wish I had a camera.  🙂  But it’s a great place right round the corner from our house.  They do such good work and I really hope there comes a time when what we grow might go to waste because no one is hungry.

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Zucchini.  Here’s the thing.  I am a supertaster.  About 25% of the population has some level of this.  What that means is we don’t like mushy food, overcooked veg, or some veg like zucchini, squash, or Brussels sprouts.  These types of veg taste extremely bitter to supertasters.  I keep reading about descriptions of Brussels sprouts being nutty and sweet.  They are one of the most bitter things I’ve ever tasted.  Most veg that I can’t handle cooked I enjoy raw so something in the cooking process really changes things.  Except zucchini.  I can not handle that raw!  But here’s the thing.  I also have to be a good sport.  Each year we ask the kids what they want planted and our daughter chose zucchini.  I don’t want to discourage them in anyway when it comes to gardening or healthy eating so we planted a bunch and I’ve been pinning recipes for when they are ready.  I’m wondering how much cheese is needed to cover the taste!

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I can’t wait for harvest time for the peppers.  We love to make hot pepper jelly.  It is so good on cheddar cheese.  I think we have about 6 varieties and 35 plants total in the raised bed.  We’ll freeze more when it’s time.  They work really well in sauces and chili.

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We went a bit crazy with the tomatoes.  We planted about 50 plants of 4 varieties.  I can not wait for harvest!  I love picking them fresh and eating them as I go by just like the peas.  And oh the sauce we’ll make!  Yum.  We do pick a few and make fried green tomatoes.  Such a treat.

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Last year we did one potato tower and this year we did four.  So far they are doing well and once the pile of dirt dries out a bit I need to add more to the towers.  You only want 1/3 of the greens sticking out so you add as you go.  Of course we’ll have to now figure out a root cellar system because I plan on having a lot of potatoes and I don’t want them going to waste.  But there is nothing like a fresh harvested potato.

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My son has a neat program as school where they give out cabbages to plant in third grade.  He is getting such a kick out of watching it grow.  Can’t wait to see how big it gets.  🙂

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