I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Warm Mediterranean Salad and Whole Roasted Eggplant

Happy New Year! How did you spend your holiday? I think I'm still (mentally) recovering from mine--which I spent working. It's always a crazy night for us at the restaurant. I passed most of the night fighting through the crowds dancing in the middle of the dining room and trying to be heard over the blasting DJ music, trying to keep my trays of drinks from crashing to the ground and trying to keep my patience. Definitely was not 100% successful, but I made it through.

But that is over now and we are onto a new year! I have high hopes and lots of good feelings about the year to come.

One thing I definitely have been trying to be better at lately, and hope to continue through 2012, is to eat more vegetables. I'm really wanting to be better about healthy eating habits, especially after seeing some of my family members struggling with heart issues this past year. As healthy as I generally am with my running and lack of fast food in my diet, I know I can do better.

For anyone with similar New Year's Resolutions, this salad is a delicious addition to your menu. It is a warm salad, so is also wonderful for the cold winter months, with small sausage "meatballs" in a tomato based sauce over top of a bed of fresh spinach leaves. I like to serve this salad with a whole roasted eggplant on the side--once roasted it creates a smoky, creamy spread perfect when served with crusty bread.

Warm Mediterranean Salad

4 lamb merguez sausages
1/2 TB olive oil
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 c. pitted kalamata olives
1 cucumber, chopped
1 TB lemon juice
Spinach leaves
goat and sheep's milk feta

Cut open the end of each sausage casing. Push out the sausage meat and form into small 1" balls. 
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage meatballs to the pan and cook until browned on the outside and cooked through. 
Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Then stir in the artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and cucumber and cook until heated through, another minute or two. Then stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
Place a good portion of spinach leaves in a bowl. The top off with the sausage mixture and toss together. Sprinkle with the feta on top and serve.

Whole Roasted Eggplant
1 large eggplant
Extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
coarse sea salt
red chili flakes
sliced French bread

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
Poke the eggplant all over with a fork or sharp knife and then place onto a baking sheet. Place the eggplant into the oven and roast for about 1 hour (or until the eggplant skin is slightly wrinkled and the whole eggplant is soft).
Cut the eggplant in half. Drizzle with fresh squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and red chili flakes.
Spread the insides of the eggplant on top of sliced French bread to serve.

1 comment:

That Girl said...

When I was a server I always ended up working new year's eve. I have to say that's something I don't miss!