Thursday, August 20, 2009

Away From My Desk

Blood and IronI’m going down to Blacksburg today to stay overnight and visit with the future Baron in his den of licentiousness and riotous living. I’ll leave this entertaining picture for you to contemplate while I’m away.

For those of you who send tips: there won’t be a regular news feed tonight, and I may well not use any of the tips that come in today. By the time I get home tomorrow, the email will be piled up past my eyebrows, and the stuff that’s at the bottom of the stack may never see the light of day again.

So — especially if you collect bulk material to send — you may want to delay your tips until tomorrow or Saturday.

Dymphna will hold the fort while I’m gone. Remember the rules, and especially the new four-comment limit!

I’ve left an eggplant casserole in the fridge for you — I know that’s your favorite.

[Nothing follows]


Henrik R Clausen said...

Nice touch - Bismark was the first to take steps towards the modern welfare state.

Anonymous said...

Uhmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....eggplant caserole. Yummi! And a cold one. Delicious. Can I have a double portion, please?

Czechmade said...

Again Bismarck? A little state of boring Prussia ready to devour all Germans? Against their will?

None of you ever studied Prussia...
A real idol must have a taste of unknown...pragnant with expectations.

Welfare...state...a recipe for a dwarfed happy citizen esp. in a huge state run by a Bismarck.

ɱØяñιηg$ʇðя ©™ said...

Okiedokie, enjoy your stay away then. No big deal. After all, we're not heroinists so a day more or less doesn't matter.

Dymphna said...


I let the last eggplant go bad by mistake. Seems like I never get all the ingredients together at one time, but when I do, here 'tis:

Preheat broiler

Cut large-ish eggplant in half and then slice the halves lengthways, about three or four slices per half.

Slather oil on eggplant pieces, lay on a baking sheet and broil on both sides until lightly golden. Remove to a dish

Cut green, red and yellow peppers into slices and broil those until the skins char a bit. Peel off what skins you can. Put on dish with eggplant.

Cut an onion in rings and pull apart. Slather with olive oil and broil until brown but *not* burned. Stir them around a bit. By the way, while they're broiling, stick in a bulb of garlic with the rings and keep it moving around, too.

Onions go with the eggplant and peppers. Put aside the softened garlic.

Now cut several zucchini in half and treat them like the eggplant: oil and broil till golden.

Last thing in the pan are several halved tomatoes. Oil and broil till they are wilted and bubbling.

Okay, the veggies are ready. Turn off the broiler and put oven on BAKE @ 350F (a medium oven, whatever that is in Celsius).

Mix well several eggs, a 1 cup or so of cream, salt and pepper and some shaved/grated parmesan. Make a paste of the cooked garlic cloves and add to cream and egg mix. Mix it in well.

Herbs: fresh thyme, stripped, and whole basil leaves. Used dried if you have to.

Cheese: fresh mozzarella, sliced or cubed.

In an oiled ceramic dish, not too deep, layer vegetables. Start with tomatoes, and layer anyway you choose, putting in herb leaves and cubes of cheese as you go. The top layer should be the zucchini.

Pour egg/cream mix over all. Sprinkle top generously with grated cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes or so.

Remove from oven and let cool about ten minutes. Then cover with foil and put a heavy weight on the dish (i use a bacon press).

When it is cool enough to refrigerate, do so. Leave the weight on overnight. Serve the next day cold or at room temperature.

Note: if you want meat with this, you could use chicken breast, sliced and interspersed with the vegetables. I would use thin slices of raw chicken, soaked in the cream mixture first. Increases the flavor. In better days, I'd have used prosciutto instead.

Happy August!

Conservative Swede said...

Arrghh, veggies... I cure my scurvy with Gin & Tonic.

I loved the bloody style roast beef recipe you gave me, Dymphna, munch munch...

Have you tried cooking a roast beef at 500 degrees?(Farenheit. Don't know the Celsius). You need at least a 5 pound roast. Once oven is preheated, you put the
roast in and cook the meat for five minutes per pound. Then turn off oven and leave it WITHOUT OPENING OVEN DOOR for 2 hours. Voila-- done medium rare. At
four minutes per pound it's even better. Just don't open the door. When I do finally take it out, I smear garlic butter all over it.

Another good topping is double cream bleu cheese on individual slices. It melts right in

Yummy for a carnivore like me :-)


Dymphna said...

Conservative Swede:

One serving of that casserole has fewer carbs than the tonic water you poured into your gin:

21.5 grams sugar in tonic water

Just get the gin cold and walk it by the tonic water bottle.

Zenster said...

A mild pox upon you both!

First off, a goodly haunch of beef benefits most from what is known as a "dry rub". A scant recipe follows:

Peppercorns in great abundance
More salt than sugar
More onion powder than garlic powder

Slight amounts of:

Corn starch or flour as a binder
Paprika or chile powder
Sage, Oregano or Thyme
Cumin in very small amounts

ALWAYS rest the cut outside of the oven, subsequent to roasting, for at least ten minutes so that the meat readsorbs its juices before being carved. This goes for beef, pork and poultry. It is the most important post-process step there is. So there!

I recommend ordering some Memphis Shake dry rub from Red Hot & Blue's online store. According to their staff, this is a licensed reproduction of the dry rub created by Charlie Vergo of the World Famous Rondezvous BBQ in Memphis, Tennessee. Evidently, both of them market this concoction, so I will leave it up to you as to where your order gets placed.

Note: Pork ribs benefit most from this concoction but you would be hard pressed to find another example to work from.

As to eggplant; Many people are justifiably put off by the alkali tang of this aubergine vegetative globule. There is a relatively easy solution. Salt.

Cut the eggplant into longitudinal slices about 1/4" (8mm) thick and then dredge each slab in non-iodized salt crystals. Layer these in a colander lined with paper towels (with paper towels inserted in between the various layers) and weighted on top with a pot lid plus a bag of beans or rice.

Allow this confabulation to reside in your sink for a few hours while the eggplant slices lose their moisture. When done: Rinse the slices in copious amounts of fresh running water and then use accordingly.

You are likely to notice a distinctly less pungent quality to this ingredient and it will take on far more desirable qualities of the Indian or Parmigiana style recipes you use.

Zenster said...

Dymphna: Just get the gin cold and walk it by the tonic water bottle.

Rather reminiscent of waving the vermouth bottle's cork over a Martini of sufficient dryness so as to make you fart dust.

Conservative Swede said...

Oh Dymphna, I never drink gin & tonic actually. I just tried to sound like a pirate :-)

The reference to this kiddy-sweet alcopop style drink was of course a mistake then... and you punctured it... a real pirate like me drink Bloody Mary of course! And whiskey straight once I had enough of vitamin C.

But the original gin & tonic was not a kiddy drink. Tonic water then meant quinine + water and was extremely bitter. The gin was just added to make the medicine go down. The point of quinine was in preventing malaria. The only thing today's tonic water provides is caries.

Anonymous said...

Now, that sounds wonderful. If one knows how to deal with them, it is actually possible to make some extremely nice dishes out of eggplants.
I once went to Mr. Loiseau's three Michelin star restaurant in Beaune, Cote D'Or, Bourgogne (
One of the finest dishes I got there was his Aubergine Caviar with Tomatoo Coulis.
Basically it is Aubergines, cut in two and baked in the oven - meat side up - with garlic, lemon and generous amounts of high quality olive oil. When completely soft and tender, the meat is scraped out and blended with more oil, salt and pebber. It is served on the plate with just a little juice made from the finest tomatoes.
And bingo!!! You suddenly find yourself in paradise.
Unfortunately, Mr. Loiseau, a gastronomic genious comitted suicide a few years later when rumours said that he was about to lose one of his about passion, huh!
It later became known that his stars had never been in danger.
Anyway, he left us with the inspiration of how to treat vegetables with the respects they deserve. Especially the, to many people tedious, eggplants. :o)

Anonymous said...

And BTW, Dymphna. The life of Mr. Loiseau was also the inspiration of the carachter of 'Auguste Gusteau' from this eggplant-movie:

Those eggplants can really get you right to the top if you know how to treat em right, can't they?