Spicy Aubergine with Chicken and Spinach


Hot diggity!  This was really the best spicy aubergine I’ve made!  The “hot diggity” is an expression I learned from my mother; country Texas backwoods  but not deplorable 😀 Anyway, I don’t know if it was the superior quality of the Japanese aubergine or the new twist with ground chicken instead of lamb or veal, but I loved this.  But then again, the recipe wasn’t exactly the same (it never is), because my foot was kind of on the accelerator with the garlic and ginger.  I also used Vietnamese chili garlic paste instead of sambal oelek because I felt like it.  I also felt like adding the spinach which goes with everything 😉


The aubergine looked as if they were painted a dark shade of lilac.  My husband says that “he’s hearing” that they are starting to paint less than appealing fresh vegetables in Bangladesh before displaying for sale.  Sounds bizarre but I know that when I was there, they used to paint the eye and gum areas of old fish to sell as fresh.  Bangladeshis are clever, the Nigerians of South Asia 🙂


At this point in the preparation, I just ate some directly from the skillet because it looked good.


And of course I took another taste after adding the spinach.  Irresistible!


Spicy Aubergine with Chicken and Spinach

2 tbsp Vietnamese chili garlic paste

2 tbsp tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp Chinese Shao Shing cooking wine

1 tbsp sugar

7 tbsp peanut oil

2-3 narrow, Japanese aubergine, vertically quartered and cut into chaos chunks

1 lb ground chicken

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 big ( 1 inch – 2 inch) piece fresh ginger, minced

5 oz fresh baby spinach (about 2 large handfuls)

Slice scallions

Mix the chili paste, soy sauce, vinegar, cooking wine and sugar together in a small bowl, then set aside.

Divide the peanut oil into 3 small bowls of 3 tbsp, 2 tbsp, 2tbsp.

Heat 3 tbsp of peanut oil in a wok or large skillet and add half the aubergine, cooking until lightly browned.  Remove and set aside.  Add 2 tbsp of peanut oil to the skillet and the other half of the aubergine, cooking until lightly browned.  Remove and set aside.

Add the last 2 tbsp of peanut oil to the skillet along with the chicken, garlic and ginger. Cook until all the pink has disappeared from the chicken.  Return the cooked aubergine to the skillet and stir in the chili mixture.  Cover and simmer for about 6 minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook until the spinach is just wilted.

Serve sprinkled with sliced scallions.









Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Pan Roasted Cumin Butter Corn on the Cob


When I was growing up, corn on the cob was always a big hit in our family for both adults and children.  Roasted ears, slathered with butter was a treat that rivaled cake.  Maybe only for me 🙂


I’ve been looking at the corn since the season began and thinking about the good old days when all of the corn in the U.S. was not GMO; like none of it.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy any, knowing that the effects of genetically modified products on the human body are either unknown or disregarded for the sake of profit.  Anyway, I decided to buy some GMO corn on the cob because I wanted to roast some with cumin butter.  I used to grill corn over charcoal, brushed with cumin butter often back in the day, and nostalgia overcame my fear of fear itself.  Also I convinced myself that the fact that I was only eating it this one time, could not cause a build up of toxins or the creeping bejesus in my body.


Corn on the cob is so not a French thing.  In fact, in most of Europe corn was considered animal feed and was not the variety of sweet corn we eat in the U.S., but an unsweetened field corn.  I remember an Irish friend back in the 70s who was disgusted by our love of a food that he considered only good enough for pig slops or cattle fodder.  Talk about disgust, think of the look on M. Parret’s face if he saw this President butter on the counter. Maybe it’s not “la creme de la creme” but at least it smells and tastes like butter.

It’s funny because our son used to adore field corn.  In Niger/Mali vendors would go door to door with a coffee can filled with hot charcoal  and a basket of field corn, offering to roast as much as you wanted.  The ear was pushed down vertically into the charcoal and rotated until it was cooked and blackened.  Although he now denies this (we have the pictures), he was constantly on the look out for the “corn lady.”


Aren’t these little bowls precious!  I have a plain glass set of this size in France that I use to combine measured spices or to hold chopped aromatics.  I used the green one to hold the mixed cumin butter.


The cumin butter is brushed on all sides of the corn and then simply placed on the grill or in a dry skillet, turning frequently until properly grilled and lightly browned.  If using a skillet, after the browning, add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the pan, cover and steam for 5 minutes.  If grilling, put the top down for 3-5 minutes after browning.


And for the carnivorous, let there be an abundance of steak and onions; enough for today and the morrow’s sandwiches!


Pan Roasted Cumin Butter Corn on the Cob

1/3 cup butter

3/4 tsp powdered cumin

5-6 ears of corn, shucked, washed and dried

2-3 tbsp water

Mix the butter and cumin together, then brush onto all sides of the ears.  Heat a dry skillet at medium high, add the corn and turn frequently until browned in an attractive manner.

Add the water to the pan, cover and steam for 5 minutes.  Serve with extra cumin butter on the side.




Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Devil’s Workshop


I just read that card playing “is used by Satan to seduce people into other activities.” Prostitution?  Drugs?  Grabbing intimate body parts?

I guess I’m on the road to Hell today because I’m going to play cards with a group of fun, if hell-bent, ladies.  Might as well enjoy the ride 😀


Posted in American, Appetizer, Cooking, Food and Wine, Hors d'oeuvres | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Honey Mustard Chicken with Asparagus


Usually when I do a honey mustard flavored meat/fish dish, I use the mixture as a marinade before grilling or oven roasting.  This time I had some young asparagus and wondered if I could substitute a honey mustard sauce drizzled on top, instead of my old stand by of lemon sauce.  Home alone, I thought I’d take the risk.

The sauce is easy to make and, lightly sweetened, was fabulous with the asparagus.  I poured some over the baked chicken too.  Perfection!


Honey Mustard Sauce

1/4 cup honey

3 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Mix the ingredients together and warm before serving

Pan Roasted Asparagus with Honey Mustard Sauce

2 tbsp butter

1 lb fresh, young asparagus, tough ends cut off


Heat the butter in a skillet, add the asparagus and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add about 1/3 cup of water, bring to a boil, cover and steam for about 5 minutes, drain and drizzle with warm honey mustard sauce before serving

Baked Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce

4-6 chicken thighs, skin on

Salt and pepper

Smoked paprika


1 tbsp butter

Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper and paprika.  Dredge the chicken in flour and set aside.  Melt the butter in a roasting pan, then add the chicken, skin side down, and roast at 425 F for 25 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and continue to roast for another 20 minutes.  Serve with warm honey mustard sauce.





Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tuna Helper


I remember when Hamburger Helper first hit the shelves in the supermarkets.  My mom thought it was a cool idea; easy for her and filling.  She also thought Tuna Helper was pretty good because she regularly made tuna casseroles.  After a while we thought she used these boxes a little too much and we mildly whined for the “normal” food she made so well.  I say mildly whined because we didn’t want to be backhanded from the table and miss a meal, whatever it was.  She got over this fad after a few months, I think out of boredom.


Aburaage are Japanese fried bean curd pockets that come in a can.  You open the can with a can opener (I suggest opening the bottom because the top has a lip on it that makes it hard to get the pockets out without ripping them.), drain away the liquid and stuff them with sushi rice and other things which changes them into Inarizushi.  They are delicious and I thought I would bring some to share at the card party this Tuesday.  I thought that I had two cans of aburaage in the pantry, so I made a large amount of tuna salad to stuff between two layers of rice in the pockets.  Unfortunately, I only had one can and that left me with quite a lot of unused tuna salad.  So I made Rosemary’s Crazy Tuna Helper with orecchiette pasta boiled in two cans of chicken broth, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, leftover tuna salad and about 3-4 cups of baby spinach stirred in.  Living the life.


This is my new blue and white plate I found at an antique store 😀


Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Rognons d’Agneau aux Champignons


I’ve found a trusted source for lamb kidneys!  My friend Laura McPherson recommended White Oak Pastures, a family owned farm with an online store, for a boneless pork loin roast I wanted for Thanksgiving.  While browsing the store’s products, I found some lamb kidneys and thought, why not?  Disappointingly, their products came frozen; I thought  they would come fresh, packed in ice.


No chef, I was at first horrified by the grayish color I saw through the thawed transparent package.  After un-enthusiastically opening the package, I realized that the gray was membrane and that I had never bought kidneys that were not cleaned and cut up into attractive slices by a butcher!  Well, bless my heart 😀  My mother made kidneys all the time but apparently I only popped in for the eating part.


Lovely.  Of course I had to clean out the little white bits but it wasn’t too bad.  I cut the slices into bite sized pieces and added whatever I thought I’d like, including mushrooms.


This was excellent and I have another package in the freezer!  I wonder if the company has calf’s liver?

Lamb Kidneys with Mushrooms

2 tbs butter

6-8 lamb kidneys, membrane removed, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces

1 tbsp butter

2 shallots, thinly sliced vertically

1/2 bell pepper, diced small

1 tbsp butter

1 1/2 cup whole fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup Chinese cooking wine

Salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a large skillet on high until hot and bubbly.  Add the kidneys and quickly saute on high until cooked medium rare.  Remove the kidneys from the skillet, set aside and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.  Add a tablespoon of butter, the shallots, bell pepper and saute until the onion is soft.

Add another tablespoon of butter and the mushrooms.  Saute the mushrooms until they begin to release their water, then add the wine and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the cooked kidneys and heat for 1-2 minutes.  Serve over rice.








Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Mac N Cheese


I was invited to a cards and appetizer party on Tuesday but, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of an appetizer that I wanted to make.  I honestly wasn’t being a contrarian, I just didn’t want to make any of the appetizers that came to mind.


So I decide to make my mac n cheese casserole.  Even though it’s certainly not an appetizer, I thought I would be forgiven, and I was 🙂  The casserole is made with 3 kinds of cheeses, sour cream with a crispy top of cracker crumbs and a soft, moist interior.  It’s good and easy!


In the meantime, I’m busy wracking my brain for an appetizer I want to make for the next party 🙂


Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, side dish | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments