Marinated and Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Almonds & Goat Cheese


DSC_0029

DSC_0031

For those of you following this blog, it should be no surprise to you that goat cheese is my weakness. (Proof: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Goat Cheese, and Cranberries over Barley; Sweet Potato Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Kale; Balsamic Mushroom and Fruit Summer Salad– the list goes on!)

When I stumbled upon this recipe on pinterest, and saw a photo of the warm goat cheese atop a large pile of baked eggplant, I literally had to stop myself from drooling. TMI?

I knew this recipe was going to be good the moment I saw the goat cheese, however what I did not anticipate was the amazing marinade combination that truly knocks this dish out of the park.  Trust me when I say this, sooo good. I think for two days straight the only thing I ate for lunch was an enormous bowl of eggplant, and I loved it.

If you’re looking for something delicious, simple, and incredibly flavorful, look no further. Your whole house will smell amazing, your friends will be begging for the recipe, and you will feel good about what you’re eating- a win, win, win!

Stay tuned for more end-of-summer recipes coming your way, and don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss a thing!

Happy hump day.

Love, a rented kitchen.

DSC_0036

DSC_0035

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled and divided
  • ¼ cup finely chopped scallions

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the eggplant and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a large bowl, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, smoked paprika, and cumin.
  4. Use a dishcloth to dab away any water that has beaded up on the eggplant, and then drizzle with the marinade. Toss until the eggplant is thoroughly and evenly coated, and then stir in the garlic.
  5.  Spread the eggplant out on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 40, stirring every 15 minutes or so, or until very tender and lightly browned.  Watch the eggplant closely after 30 minutes to ensure it does not burn!
  6. Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce (save a dish and use the same marinade bowl used before!). Once cooked, return the eggplant to a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice mixture.
  7. Stir in the parsley leaves, smoked almonds, and most of the goat cheese.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the remaining goat cheese and scallions. Serve warm and enjoy!

DSC_0033

Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 4
  • Source: The Kitchn
  • To make vegan, omit the goat cheese and swap out agave for honey as desired!
  • If you like this recipe, try these other delicious options from ‘a rented kitchen!’ Click the links below for the recipes.

Orange and Garlic Roasted Green Beans

DSC_0002

DSC_0003

My memories of green beans begin in childhood.  My mom would often heat a few cans of green beans on the stove for dinner, maybe sprinkling a little salt to add to the taste.  I am sure for her, as a mother, every vegetable she could get my brother and I to consume was a victory in those early years.  Fortunately for her, as a child I loved those canned green beans. Canned green beans do not have any weird stems, they were easy to chew, and probably had a lot of added salt- what’s not to love as a five year old?

As I have grown up and developed my own habits in the kitchen, canned fruits and vegetables is something I generally try to stay pretty far away from.  I eat canned beans, but that’s about it. Thus, when I moved out of my parents home, I stopped eating green beans from a can, and pretty much forgot about the vegetable all together. That is, until last week.

While produce shopping I noticed that my grocery store had an enormous pile of green beans on sale last week. They looked so fresh and healthy; I immediately got a craving for them!  So that night I threw together this recipe, served them up with my dinner, and was happy all around.  Grateful for the simple things in life.

DSC_0001

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Pounds green beans
  • 3 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • Optional: dash of salt and shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and brush a baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.
  2. Rinse the green beans and remove the stems if desired.
  3. Combine the orange juice, orange zest, and minced garlic in a large Tupperware. Add the green beans, seal, and shake until the green beans are coated in a thin layer of garlic and orange juice.
  4. Spread the green beans out on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping in the middle.
  5. Serve warm with shredded parmesan cheese and a dash of salt. Enjoy!

 DSC_0005

Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • If you like this recipe, check out these other delicious dishes from ‘a rented kitchen’:

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

 DSC_0339

DSC_0330

I know it’s not sweet potato season, which really made me hesitate to share this hummus recipe with you all. However, if you have any left over root veggies in your cupboard from winter, this is the perfect recipe to use them up with! Grab those remaining sweet potatoes, and use this hummus as one last root-veggie hoorah before welcoming in the eggplant and zucchini!

There are numerous perks to this recipe (such as the delicious sweet potato flavor! YUM!).  One of the best perks is that this hummus is perfect for dips as well as a sandwich spread! Not all sandwiches are so easily versatile, but try pairing this hummus with a sesame bun, purple onion slices, grilled tempeh, and spinach leaves.  I promise, you will be in a very happy place.

Another perk to this hummus is that most people are not likely to have tried sweet potato hummus before, so get ready to wow the crowds with this recipe! The yield is 3-4 cups for a reason.

So, for those of you with left over sweet potatoes, get cooking! For those of you without any sweet potatoes, book mark this recipe for the fall. You’ll be so grateful you did.

DSC_0333

DSC_0346

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • One can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Ground sea salt, to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (start with less, season to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.  Wrap the cleansed sweet potatoes in sheets of aluminum foil and bake in the middle of the oven, straight on the rack, for 45 minute to an hour (when you pierce the potatoes they should be soft throughout).
  2. Remove the potatoes from the oven, unwrap them from their foil, and allow to cool. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely mixed. (If you’re sensitive to spice, add the spices last!)
  3. One the sweet potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel the skin off, slice into chunks, and toss into the food processer. Blend well and serve* with vegetables, pita bread, chips, and pretzels!

DSC_0347

Notes

  • Source: Cookie + Katie
  • Yield: 3-4 cups
  • The spices mellow out once refrigerated over night, so if you are worried about the hummus having too much kick, be patient and taste test it again the next day! Chances are good it’ll be just right.
  • Optional garnish: An additional dash of spices (garlic, cayenne pepper) and sesame seeds!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious eats from ‘a rented kitchen!’: Edamame Hummus, Fruit Salsa, and my Thai Peanut Vegetable Dip!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Goat Cheese, and Cranberries over Barley

Due to the fact that I am a college student, cooking in a tiny rented kitchen from the 1920s, I do not have all of the kitchen tools that say, Martha Stewart- or any adult living on their own would have. I am completely fine with this reality because I have most of the necessities one would need for efficient cooking- cutting boards, a few pots and pans. I recently got a potato peeler!

This week was a big week because I decided to invest in my first cast iron skillet! I kept stumbling upon recipes that require skillets, so when I found one at the groccery store it quickly ended up in my cart. And of all the recipes I have been eager to make with a skillet, this recipe takes the cake.

I have only had brussels sprouts a few times in my life. My mom never cooked brussels sprouts growing up, so I am assuming my dad was not a fan of these little green vegetables. After making this recipe however, I don’t know what’s not to like! Mixed with warm goat cheese, sweet cranberries, and natural barley, these brussels are the perfect complimentary flavor- savory, without a bite of bitter. You are going to love this fall-time medley of food. Give it a try! Whip out that old skillet of yours and shake things up a bit. You have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry Barley
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2/3 cup fresh cranberries (or 1/3 cup dried cranberries)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup of dry barley to 3 cups of water in a medium sized saucepot. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the barley is soft and the water is absorbed.
  2. While the barley cooks, preheat your broiler.
  3. Rinse the brussles sprouts and remove the tips, all browning/discolored leaves, and slice in half.
  4. Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet on medium-high heat on the stovetop. Allow it to sit for a few minutes until hot. *
  5. In a medium-sized bowl combine the sprouts, olive oil, and salt. Toss well so that the Brussels sprouts have a fine coating of oil.
  6. Once the skillet is hot, quickly arrange the brussels sprouts so that the center of each sprout- the flat side- is face down. This method of roasting allows for the heat to get trapped in the layers of the sprout and steams them. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7.  Add the cranberries to the pan and place the entire pan in the oven. Use oven mitts! The pan will be very hot.
  8. Broil the Brussels sprouts and cranberries for about three minutes. The tops should be lightly browned and the bottoms caramelized.
  9. Combine the warm barley, sprouts, cranberries, goat cheese, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Mix well to evenly distribute the syrup and vinegar.
  10. Season with salt as desired, serve, and enjoy!

Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: Serves two.
  • Optional: add toasted almonds to this dish!
  • A quick and easy test to determine whether your skillet is hot enough: Sprinkle a few drops of water on the skillet while heating it up. If the water quickly sizzles away, your skillet is hot enough!
  • If you don’t have/ don’t like Goat cheese, try Gorgonzola! Vegan, omit the cheese!
  • Use a cast iron skillet for the oven! Non-stick skillets are not designed to be used in the high temperatures of the oven- they can emit toxins at the extreme temperatures.
  • If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container.  This recipe will keep for a few days and can easily be microwaved for later meals!
  • Source: Cookie + Kaite
  • Other dishes you might like!: Terriyaki Tofu and Pineapple Bake; Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes, Mint, and Goat Cheese; Sweet Potato Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Kale

Crispy Black Bean Fritters with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce

Some days I just do not want to cook dinner. The day has been long, and full, and exhausting, and eating a heaping bowl of cereal for dinner sounds like the perfect surrender. In the past this has been my occasional habit, however just last week I watched a TED talk by Jamie Oliver that discussed the importance of cooking that reinforced and inspired my love for cooking that much more.

Oliver argued that more and more of my young adult generation does not know how to cook a well-balanced meal, let alone operate efficiently in a kitchen. Cooking is a skill that must be taught, practiced, and nurtured.  Without that guidance and example, the art of cooking may gradually turn into an understanding of microwaveable meals and eating out. The bottom line is, we eat healthier when we know how to cook. We eat out less, consuming accurate proportion sizes. We depend less on heavily processed microwaveable foods, have the liberty to enjoy fresh produce, and can enjoy flavor from herbs instead of sugar and/or salt alone.

Reflecting on this message made me so grateful for the people in my life who taught me what I already know about cooking, and for those of you reading this post that provide me with inspiration to keep learning. I am nowhere near an expert at cooking, but I do love trying new recipes and sharing my favorites! Thank you for continuing to come back and visit my site. I hope you enjoy these delicious crispy black bean fritters! With a creamy cilantro dipping sauce, you will be so glad you decided to cook tonight. Enjoy!

Fritter Ingredients:

  • 3 cups black bean, cooked
  • 1 large yellow pepper, remove seed, chop into small pieces
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil (for frying)

Cilantro Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • ½ small green chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Dash of lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the fritter ingredients apart from the olive oil, and mix well. If the mixture looks too moist in your opinion, or as if it will be difficult to make clumps out of the bean mixture- add either more flour or bread crumbs as you desire.
  2. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.*
  4. Once the skillet is hot, use a Tablespoon to scoop clumps of the bean mixture and fry for about three minutes, or until golden and crispy. Once crispy on one side, flip the fritter and fry for an additional three minutes.
  5. Place cooked fritters on a paper towel to absorb any extra olive oil.
  6. Serve warm with cilantro dipping sauce on the side.
  7. To make the Cilantro dipping sauce: place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Season with sea salt and black pepper as desired and keep refrigerated after use.

Notes and Tips!:

  • I used a non-stick skillet and did not feel the need to use too much olive oil, which is why I suggested 1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil. The original recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons, so play it by ear and use however much you need.
  • This recipe makes a lot of dipping sauce! If you are preparing this recipe for a party, you may want that much dipping sauce, however you could probably get away with half that amount of sauce normally.
  • Adapted from: Mia’s Dominion
  • If you like this recipe, check out my Southwestern Egg Rolls and Spiced Black Bean, Corn, and Avocado Quesdaillas!