Posted in Recipes

Lebanese Eggplant with Beef, Squash, Pine Nuts & Tomatoes

As I said in my previous post, my harvest of tomatoes and eggplant this summer was disappointing.

Two plants produced two eggplants.

One summer my garden produced so many eggplants Susan and I had it almost every night. We had some many in fact, I thought of setting up a small farm stand at the end of our driveway; “Two Eggplants $1.” At one point toward the end of the summer, Susan said, “Enough eggplants!”

I found this recipe at The Lemon Bowl. I made a few changes/additions. Please note.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants (Just what I had!)
  • 1 squash, seeded and sliced thin (My addition. It’s summer. Why not? I had it in my vegetable basket!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 pound ground sirloin or lamb (I used sirloin.)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 8 ounces chicken stock (I used my homemade stock.)
  • 32 ounces crushed tomatoes (I used a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes.)

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the broiler and line a pan with tin foil.
  • Cut the eggplant into 2 in. rounds and lay flat on the lined broiler pan. (NOTE: I grilled the eggplant.)
  • Measure the olive oil into a small bowl and brush it evenly on both sides of the eggplant rounds.
  • Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Broil eggplant 5 minutes per side, until browned, and place in a glass casserole dish. Reduce oven heat to 350.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan, toast pine nuts over low heat until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Do not walk away!
  • While this is happening, heat a large pan to medium-high and spray with non-stick spray.
  • Brown beef with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice 5-7 minutes using a wooden spoon. Add onions and squash and continue cooking for additional 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent.
  • Add chicken broth and deglaze the pan using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up brown bits.
  • Add in tomatoes and toasted pine nuts then remove from heat.
  • Carefully pour the meat/tomato mixture over the eggplant rounds and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Serve with plain yogurt, fresh parsley and extra pine nuts.

 

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Posted in Inspiration

The Last Day of Summer

Today, Sunday, September 22, is the last day of summer. I am not sorry to say goodbye to summer. Oh, there were many great times. The time Susan, Freddy and I went to Art in the Orchard.

And a trip to Lost Acres Vineyard and Lost Acres Orchard last week for the town’s annual Farm Day. Afterwards (We really made a day of it!) we stopped at Black Rabbit Farm for a beer and food for dinner.

Susan and Freddy at Lost Acres Vineyard.

The field at Black Rabbit Farm. We let Freddy off leash and he had such a blast running around as we enjoyed out beer.

The garden looked beautiful throughout the summer, especially the zinnias, but my tomato and eggplant harvest was a great disappointment.

Early in the summer the clematis plants on the arbor brought great beauty and joy to us.

One of my favorite butterfly photos (It is so hard to choose a favorite! I photographed them every day—even today!) is this one from July:

A highlight, for me, was practicing yoga every morning near the arbor.

Of course, Freddy brings us great joy every day. He’s such a good boy!

One day when I was playing catch with Freddy with a small black ball and it rolled through the garden. It took me a long time to find it and as I was looking for it I found a butterfly I had never seen before, a Black and Blue Swallowtail, I believe. I wondered, for a brief second or two, if the black ball had magically turned into a butterfly.

Susan made many delicious deserts, like this Berry Cake:

Some of my food favorites from the summer include Cucumber Gazpacho, Tomato Soup, Grilled Scallops with White Beans and Spinach, and Shrimp and Rice:

I was thankful to be asked to photograph a mom, Bana, and her baby, Rosey, every month for 12 months.

Here is a photo from July that I just love because it illustrates the beauty Susan and I have created in our home. Plus, it shows two of my favorite photos.

Probably the highlight of our summer was winning the Western Mass News / Big Y Backyard BBQ. Susan had been trying and trying and trying to win and one Friday night we got a phone call from a reporter and he said “Susan, you just won the Backyard BBQ.” We invited 20+ plus people over—neighbors and friends. We had such a wonderful time and the people from Big Y and Western Mass News were awesome! Big Y supplied the food and did the cooking!

And now I give thanks for the times Susan and I spend in our backyard enjoying a glass of wine or cocktail before dinner.

There were a number of family get-togethers, too. A visit from our son and his girlfriend, a BBQ at our niece and nephews house (I always enjoy the opportunity to photograph their daughter, Lauren), and our grandson’s 4th birthday party!

I would be remiss not to say something about Susan. My wife. My best friend. My guide. My inspiration. Every day I give thanks that she is in my life. She is an amazing person.

 

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

Posted in Flowers

I’m A Little Teapot

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Posted in Recipes

Crustless Quiche

I hardly ever make a crust for my quiche. Why bother? And crustless means less calories for those like me who are working to lose weight!

You can add almost anything to this quiche: onion, bacon, sausage, spinach, peppers. In this quiche I added leek, mushrooms, and tomato.

Preheat oven to 350F

Ingredients

  • 5-6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup half & half (or milk or heavy cream–if you prefer a more custardy quiche add more), room temperature
  • 1 leek, washed, halved down the middle and sliced thin
  • 1 zucchini, halved down the middle and sliced thin
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • pinch of nutmeg or allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Grease a 10″ pie plate.

Sauté leek, mushrooms and zucchini and set aside to cool.

Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add half & half, salt and pepper, and nutmeg, and beat thoroughly. Then add your vegetable and cheeses.  Mix well. Pour the mixture into your prepared pie plate.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35–45 minutes. Maybe 50 minutes if your prefer a crusty top!

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.