Fresh Aprons.

So we all know it is the little things in life that make life worth living. I bought a new apron today. I am fairly certain it improved my overall satisfaction with life and my ability to keep on keeping on. Stopped at a farmers market for local Swiss chard, baby new potatoes, fresh corn and a giant Ribeye steak and that definitely helps improve my outlook on life as well.

Here is a quick weeknight recipe to help y’all push through to Saturday.

Buttered Ribeye
        with All the Garden Veg

1 bone in Ribeye steak
Salt and Pepper
Canola or cooking oil

4 small potatoes
1 small onion, peeled and diced
10 or so cherry tomatoes
1 ear of corn, broken into 4 pieces
2 cups cleaned swiss chard leaves
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Salt and pepper

To serve:
Sour cream
Pickled mustard seeds or grainy mustard
Fresh dill if you have it
More butter

Turn on the oven to 400*F.

Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Turn to high heat. Once they boil toss in the diced onion and the corn. Let cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain. Line a 9×12″ casserole dish with parchment paper.  Toss all the cooked veggies into it and add the tomatoes and chard. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with butter.

Throw the casserole into the oven. Place a heavy bottomed oven proof frying pan on high heat. Rub the steak with oil and season with salt and pepper. Once the fry pan is good and properly hot add the steak. Leave it to sear for several minutes and find yourself a glass of wine. Flip it. Drink a few sips. Toss the pan into the oven. Set a timer for 6 minutes and relax. Once the steak is cooked to your preference remove it from the oven. The veggies are ready once they start looking a little charred around their edges.

Just before serving butter the steak. Liberally. Dab some mustard on it. Throw some dill in with your veggies. Serve everything with sour cream.

I would say that’s supper in about 45 minutes total. Only minimal attention is required. I played My Little Ponies with the kiddo while preparing it. Suppose you could do the same if you are into it … or have a 6 year old girl.

Folks often ask me for weeknight meal suggestions. I tend to cook what is in my fridge. Go heavy on the vegetables and add a little protein. Meals are pretty easy to make if you have a fridge full of goodness to draw from. And herbs. Lots and lots of herbs.

Happy Wednesday.

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eggplant fabulous eggplant!

 oh. my. eggplant.

Oh eggplant! I buy eggplant fairly often, but never really have a plan about how to prepare it. Usually it ends up as some variation on Ratatouille or Eggplant Parmigiana. I switched it up this time and tried something new. And WOW! Make this as soon as you can! It’s delicious!

Plan on serving a nice medium bodied red wine with this and some crusty bread. Divine!

braised beef with eggplant

1 eggplant

1/4 cup flour (ish)

1″ thick rib eye, marinated overnight 
          stew beef would be fine also, but obviously not as good

2 medium-sized onions, medium dice 

1 carrot, medium dice

1 can diced tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid)

4 Tbsp tomato sauce (or paste or purée)

1/2 cup prepared demi glace (or 2 tsp gravy browning and one bouillon cube)

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 zucchini, large dice

1/4 cup red wine

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Oil for frying

Peel the eggplant and cut it into 3/4″ cubes. Put it into a bowl with the flour and season well with salt and pepper. Toss it to coat then fry it with plenty of cooking oil over high heat. It may be best to do this is two batches. Don’t crowd the pan. You should leave it for several minutes before jiggling the pan to get a good color and crispness on the eggplant. Fry until golden. Remove to the bowl of a 4 quart crockpot.

While the eggplant is frying, cube up the steak into 1.5cm pieces. Toss the meat with flour and salt and pepper and fry it once you are finished with the eggplant. If you are using rib eye and happen to have the bone on it, PLEASE put the bone in the crockpot. It will add body and flavor. Once the meat is well browned place it in the crock with the eggplant.

Pour out any excess oil from your frying pan and put it back on high heat. Add the onions and the cubed carrot to the pan and toss it all around. Let the vegetables cook for several minutes then add the wine. De-glaze the pan (scrape off all the little crusty flavor filled bits that are stuck to the bottom of it) and let the wine reduce by about half. Add the reserved tomato liquid and let it reduce by about half again. Add all that to the crock along with the diced tomatoes, herbs, and another good splash of wine. Add the zucchini and vinegar. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the top and give a bit of a stir.

Turn this to high heat and let it bubble away for about 4 hours. Serve it over cooked pasta (I used fusilli, but orecchiette or shells would be ideal)

Enjoy!