When I cook for myself, I get pretty lazy. I don’t care what it looks like, or how good it is. I’m the only one who has to look at it and eat it. As long as it gets the job done.
Today was no exception, but it actually turned out really yummy! I had to make a note of this.
For the grains, I used about half a bag of Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend. It’s a really good grain to keep in the pantry for a quick base for a meal. It has Israeli Style cous cous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. Super hearty and a healthy alternative to rice or pasta.
I made it according to the directions. They call for a tablespoon of butter to be added to the water, but I used slightly less. Don’t skimp too much on the butter though, it really does make a difference in the flavor.
With butter in the grains, I lightly sauteed my chopped up summer squash (fresh from the White Plains farmers market) in a light drizzle of olive oil. It was what I had left in the bottle. I also threw a touch of salt in the pan as well as a good couple of turns of the pepper grinder. I let that cook a couple of minutes, then I threw in my leftovers from last night.
Last night, I roasted up a mix of purple potatoes (cut into small pieces), small onion (cut into chunks), and a small striped eggplant (also all from the farmers market). I tossed everything in olive oil, kosher salt and lots of french thyme. It took about 45 minutes to finish. I had leftovers, so I tossed some of that in with the squash to warm it up.
Once the veggie mix was done, a little salt and more thyme was added. The grains were done and into a large mixing bowl it went. I added the veggie mix and I lightly squeezed some juice out of half a lemon I had left over from spaghetti night (FYI: if you make your own quick sauce…freshly grated lemon zest is an amazing addition). I also crumbled up the rest of a block of feta cheese I had sitting in my fridge. Toss it all together, and voila! Dinner!
It was really good. Everything melded together nicely, and the thyme gave it ample flavor, and the small pat of butter really flavored the grains well, and the small bites of feta kept it all from being too bland. The eggplant was my favorite part. The eggplant was buttery, and really took on the flavor of the olive oil. Until recently, I was not a fan of eggplant due to my experience with how my mother prepared it while I was growing up. The chinese like to cook everything to death, and eggplant was no exception. It always came out limp and slimey, and not only looked unappetizing, but tasted unappetizing as well (My mom is a great cook, so it wasn’t her cooking, I’ve seen others prepare it this way too). After so many years, I am glad I gave it another try. Roasting it is so far my favorite way to prepare it.
It was quick, simple, healthy and hearty. There were enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow, which is always sweet!
I’ll have to try it again sometime. Maybe I’ll try it with rosemary!
PS. Dessert was an apple I picked when I went apple picking last weekend. Paired with a nice dollop of Nutella. Yum!