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Recipes, and Why I am Bad at Them

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Many times for my SSFC posts I have posted pictures of dinners made to use local foods for the food challenge. Since our current challenge to use local foods for one meal is heading into the season of tons of squashes, I have been trying to find ways to use them creatively.

Last week I made two dinners using almost completely local items, with a few additions. One was my eggplant parm, and another a baked chicken dinner.

Eggplant Parm

Baked chicken thighs with Amish egg noodles and roasted veggies

If I needed to document what exactly went into these two dinners, I would be in deep trouble, because when I cook, I don’t measure. When I bake, yes, when I cook, it is just whatever seems to look and taste good, and whatever I have around the kitchen.

These dinners were from Monday and Wednesday last week, mainly using up CSA items before I got my Thursday pick up. The eggplant Parmesan recipe started out from a web search that went into a half dozen places, including Martha Stewart. I think I used parts of hers but improvised because I had no mozzarella in the house.

The eggplants were a mix of Italian and Japanese. Sliced, salted and allowed to drain out moisture. The sauce was made by mixing all my overripe tomatoes with half a jar of Wegmans organic sauce and a squeeze of tomato paste from the tube in my fridge. See what I mean about measuring? I have no idea how much went into that base.

I didn’t have mozzarella so I mixed grated domestic parmesan from Roots with all the Firefly Farm chevre I had left in the fridge and the last of the Bowling Green Feta, grated. Added a little milk to make it creamier.

Dredged the eggplant in beaten egg, Panko bread crumbs and Parm, added a little salt and lots of pepper.

Coated the bottom of the baking dish (a small deep dish) with olive oil, added sauce, eggplant, cheese, sauce, eggplant, cheese, sauce and topped with the last of the Parm. Baked it for over two hours on a slow cook setting on my oven until it was dinner time.

As for the chicken thighs, same sort of thing. Put olive oil, tomatoes, onions, peppers and chicken in a casserole, Covered the chicken in herbs, salt and pepper. Put it all in the oven on slow cook setting for three hours while doing chores around the house.

Served it with Amish egg noodles. The noodles were homemade by a vendor that sells at the Briggs Chaney farmers market. The chicken came from them also. The egg noodles were quickly boiled at the last minute.

Accompanied this SSFC meal with a local wine. We belong to a cellar club at Breaux. This wine is wonderful with chicken and with seafood. I love the blend.

Breaux Wine served with Chicken

Getting back to recipes. We got a huge eggplant this week. Along with lots of lovely tomatoes, garlic, white peppers. This week’s eggplant dish may actually be a stacked version using the tomatoes and mozzarella I bought at Roots.

Veggies inspiring a variation on Eggplant Parm

Who knows what I will cook next? And, if I will remember what I did put in it? That’s the fun of being in a CSA, getting creative with What’s in the Box.


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

4 responses »

  1. Your eggplant parm sounds incredible (I love the mix of cheeses you used)! I’m never good at recipes–if I’m planning on blogging something, I have to make sure to write it down as I go or else it’ll never be accurate. That’s the best part about cooking, right, being able to just play with it?

    • I figure as long as I put together harmonious pairings based on years of substitutions that I can mess around with recipes and not follow them.

      My big problem here is not measuring so I can’t tell someone what I used.

      Still, most of the time it tastes good.

  2. It is the measure of a skilled cook that you can feel comfortable to prepare meals without a recipe! It took me years to get there and I stil like to have a recipe available for “moral” support!

  3. Oh I sit here and laugh, because I cook the same way you do. Both of your meals looks wonderful. So does your version with eggplant, tomatoes and mozzarella.


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