Our April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients!
List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), CauliflowerList 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers
List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas
You may look at those three lists and say "how do those things even go together?!" I know I did at first. And then I sat down and really thought about it. I thought that maybe I could make something out of Maple Syrup and Eggplant. So I did a little research and found a recipe for Maple Grilled Eggplant that, surprise!, included balsamic vinegar AND said it would go well with goat cheese. Well, that sounded pretty good to me, so I printed it out and set it aside. Then all of a sudden, I was going home to Iowa for Easter vacation and the 14th was looming! Luckily we made this for dinner last night, so I was able to skate in at the deadline. Also, I hope that excuses the blurry photos. I was trying to get photos done quick & they aren't the best. Deal. ;)
We had a soft herbed flatbread (the recipe to which I will probably post later, it was pretty darn good!), and steamed broccoli flavored with lemon juice and garlic to go along with this meal, as well as a good bottle of wine. I was very surprised with the flavor combination of this dish, it worked out really well. It was looking a little cloudy around here yesterday afternoon, so instead of grilling, we broiled the eggplant, but it worked well anyway.
Maple Grilled (or Broiled) Eggplant
adapted from a recipe of Chef George Schenk
1 Large Eggplant
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
crumbled goat cheese to taste (optional)
1. Slice the eggplant lengthwise ¼ to ½ inch thick. Do not peel the eggplant. (The original recipe says to discard the side slices, but I kept them and cooked them along with the rest)
2. Lay the slices on a wire rack and sprinkle with salt. After about a half hour, when the salt has drawn out the water, wipe the slices with a clean kitchen towel.
3. Whisk together oil, vinegar, maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Either preheat grill to medium heat and grill eggplant, or preheat broiler to low (put eggplant on a foil lined baking sheet.) Turn and brush eggplant with vinaigrette frequently. Grill or broil until golden brown. Sprinkle with goat cheese as desired.