Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tomato Eggplant Pie

A few days ago, the new Penzeys Spices Fall 2009 catalog arrived in the mailbox. Why we get so excited over the arrival of the new Penzeys catalog is a bit of a mystery -- every catalog has the same spices and maybe a new blend or two. I think it's the recipes. This time the one that really caught our eyes was Tomato Eggplant Pie. We decided that this would be our Sunday dinner. Here are some of the ingredients:

This recipe calls for Penzeys Tuscan Sunset, a blend of basil, oregano, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper, and anise. We have so many spices in the pantry that we didn't really need another jar of a blend. Since we already have almost all of the above mentioned ones, we decided to make our own Tuscan Sunset blend. We omitted the garlic, used cayenne pepper for the red bell pepper, and left out the anise since that was the one we did not have in the pantry. We mixed 1/4 teaspoon of each in a small bowl.

SP sliced, salted, and drained the eggplant before brushing the slices with olive oil and baking them at 350 for 10 minutes. He sliced two tomatoes, blotted the excess juice, brushed the slices with olive oil, and baked them for 10 minutes.

Time to make the pie! Here, we took a shortcut. We had a Pillsbury pie crust in the freezer, so instead of making one from scratch, we used the frozen one. We let it sit out while the eggplant and tomatoes baked. Making the pie is simply a matter of layering the eggplant, parmesan cheese, and tomatoes. We sprinkled some of the Tuscan Sunset blend on top. Next, we beat together 3 eggs and 1/4 cup milk and poured the mixture into the pie pan. We sprinkled more Tuscan Sunset blend on top along with some black pepper and a bit more cheese.

The pie baked at 350 for 40 minutes. It smelled so good while it was baking! We let it cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and eating.

This was so tasty! The eggplant and tomatoes had a nice roasted, soft texture but weren't mushy, they didn't make the pie too watery, and the blend of Tuscan Sunset herbs was quite tasty, especially the fennel seeds which really added an extra nice taste to the dish. Next time, we think we will grind the fennel seeds in the spice grinder so that the fennel is more evenly distributed throughout the pie.

Also next time, we would add a side salad to complete the meal. This dish is not especially filling. There's not as many eggs/milk as in some quiche/frittata, and there's not a lot of cheese, nor is there a meat like bacon or ham. After we ate half the pie, we each had a small piece of the maple oatmeal bread to fill the last corner of our tummies.

Along with some homemade chocolate chip cookies and the end of our coffee from GA, I am having a little froggy treat tonight. SP bought me some gummi frogs!!!! I like frogs. I like gummi frogs. They're cute and tasty!

We also made more lemon simple syrup for me today. SP likes to sweeten his iced tea with Sweet'N Low. I like regular sugar, but it doesn't always dissolve in cold tea, so we started making simple syrup. Then one day on Food Network I saw Giada make a lemon simple syrup for limoncello ice on her TV show and I thought, hey, that's what I need for my iced tea! No more squeezing in wedges of lemon! We use the juice and zest of one lemon, add enough water to the lemon juice to make 1 cup total liquid, and combine the liquid and zest with 1 cup sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. After the sugar is dissolved, we let the liquid cool and then strain it into a squeeze bottle. We strain it because I prefer my simple syrup without all the lemon zest and lemon bits still in it! Yum! A squirt of this in iced tea is wonderful!

A tasty weekend comes to an end...

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