Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eggplant Mushroom Stacks

Eggplant is one vegetable I never tasted until well into adulthood. But since discovering it I appreciate its versatility. And fortunately my family has adventurous taste buds and will try just about anything. 

These are easy to put together, add character to a plate, and have a mellow, warm taste that fit today's snowy weather. I think the parsley, or another fresh herb, is indispensable to the dish, adding a fresh element to the mellow flavors. My husband might disagree a little, but he doesn't complain.

Eggplant Mushroom Stacks

1 medium eggplant, washed, ends trimmed, and cut into 1/2-3/4 inch slices
olive oil
salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups thickly sliced mushrooms
2 Tablespoons butter
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons white wine or chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush olive oil on both sides of the eggplant slices. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper. Bake eggplant for 10 - 15 minutes on one side, then flip over and continue baking another 10 - 15 minutes until very tender. 

While the eggplant bakes, melt the butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. Heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Let them cook without stirring for 1-2 minutes so that they brown a bit. Add the green onions, stir and continue sautéing until the mushrooms have released their liquid. 

Push the mushrooms to one side of the pan and add the white wine or chicken broth and mustard. Whisk vigorously, combining the wine and mustard, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the skillet. Then stir the mushrooms into the liquid and cook over high heat until most of the liquid is evaporated.

When the eggplant is baked, pile the mushrooms onto each slice. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for about 5 minutes. Place on a serving platter and toss parsley over.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thyme Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

After Christmas feasting followed by New Year's feasting, yesterday felt like a good day to have something homey for dinner. These pork chops were tender and moist and tasted so good with the bok choy. Thyme is my favorite winter herb. I think it has a warm earthy flavor that suits rainy, windy weather.

This is a fast recipe - easily done in less than 30 minutes. I served it alongside roasted sweet potato wedges and garlicky green beans with tomatoes. Lots of vegetables - just what I love.

I cooked this recipe in one pan, keeping the greens hot until the chops were done. Two frying pans could also be used, but then you have two pans to wash. 

Thyme Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

3 thick boneless pork chops
dried thyme, salt and pepper
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, slivered
3 baby bok choy, sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard (peppercorn would be delicious)
2 Tablespoons cream (optional)

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Add slivered onions and sauté until tender crisp. Add the sliced bok choy and continue sautéing until onions are tender and bok choy is tender crisp - between 5 and 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a serving platter and keep warm.

Add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil to skillet. Heat to medium. Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with dried thyme, salt and pepper. Place in skillet, cook until done, turning once, about 10 minutes. Place chops on top of onions and bok choy. Keep warm.

Deglaze the skillet with white wine, stirring up all the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the mustard and add the chicken broth. Reduce the liquid by about one half. Whisk in cream, if desired. Pour sauce over chops.