The Feastie Blog

Feastie Friday: 21 International Recipes to Use Up Eggplant

Eggplant is EVERYWHERE. It's literally exploding out from everyone's gardens, piling up on tables at farmers markets, and stacked in your local grocery store. It's in season, it's inexpensive, and it's ridiculously delicious. But maybe you're in an eggplant rut - one can only eat so much eggplant parmesan (although one can eat quite a bit of it). We've rounded up 21 eggplant recipes from around the globe (pun intended), everything from pizza and curry to moussaka and stir fry, to keep things interesting. Enjoy the rest of your summer and the abundant summer produce and get adventurous with one (or more) of these recipes! 

1. Braniya | Lamb and Eggplant Tajine from MarocMama
Braniya {Lamb and Eggplant Tajine} for #SundaySupper from MarocMama
Photo from MarocMama

 

Blueberry and Rainier Cherry Galette

Have you ever had Rainier cherries? They're amazing - I get so excited when they start showing up on the shelves at our local store. They're perfectly sweet, plump, firm little cherries - I prefer them over the bing variety any day. But I'll go back to the beginning - this blueberry and Rainier cherry galette was a happy accident. I was craving sour cherry pie - sour cherry anything, to be honest - and it turns out I'd missed the sour cherries. :( Sad face. I go away for ONE WEEK and POOF! They're gone. I learned from the farmer at the farmers market that you really need to be an insider here to get your hands on sour cherries - like there's a waiting list. No joke. You have to put your name on a call list to be notified when the cherries will be ready to pick, and then when the big day comes, you show up and wait your turn to have at the cherry trees. Yep - you pick them yourself. Last year the cherries were gone after ONE WEEKEND. I feel like I'm trying to get on a list to get backstage at a Rolling Stones concert, when really, I just want a sour cherry pie. Is that too much to ask? So now back to the Rainier cherries - these were a consolation prize. I saw them at the store, they were ridiculously expensive, and I bought them anyway. They were so good - they're special, and while I love snacking on them, I wanted to make something special with them. Something to rival a sour cherry pie (as if that's even possible). So I came up with this blueberry and Rainier cherry galette, and I can say this with enthusiasm -this is hands-down the best thing I've eaten all summer. The best part? It's so easy! It's way easier than a pie - and since it cools off relatively quickly after coming out of the oven, that means it's ready to consume that much faster. I may or may not have burned my tongue on this. The only drawback to this recipe - over the course of 2 days I ate half of this galette. That is the equivalent of HALF A STICK OF BUTTER. So wrong. But you know what? I don't care, and I'll do it again - in fact I've already done it again, as I've made this multiple times now. The filling is flexible - just make sure you use really fresh, ripe, beautiful fruit and you're good to go. 

Feastie Friday: 15 Jam Recipes That Will Rock Your PB&J

Sure it's easy to buy a jar of jam at the store - but once you try homemade jam, you'll never want to buy another jar of the conventional store stuff again. And if you think that homemade jam requires picking your own berries and slaving for hours over the stove, think again. These recipes are easy, straight-forward, and don't require special ingredients. Use whatever fruit you've got in your fridge! Not a fan of the sweet stuff? Try some homemade jalapeno jelly! Okay maybe not all of these jams are great candidates for a PB&J sandwich, but imagine some great bread topped with cheese and tomato jam - or some hot pepper jelly slathered over cream cheese on a cracker. Or even BACON JAM. We're not kidding. Good stuff. We've rounded up 15 jam recipes that will rock your PB&J, as well as just about anything else you can slather the jam onto. So do a fridge raid and put let those overripe peaches fulfill their full peach destiny - in a jar of homemade jam!

1. Homemade Kaya Coconut Jam from Indochine Kitchen
Homemade Kaya Coconut Jam from Indochine Kitchen
Photo from Indochine Kitchen

 

Mushroom Quesadillas {Lightened Up}

Have you ever attempted to thread button mushrooms onto a skewer? No bueno. As in, they just tear in half and are pretty much impossible to skewer. We had made veggie skewers to go alongside our cedar plank salmon, and although the mushrooms were supposed to be included, it just wasn't in the cards. So I found myself with a box full of button mushrooms, and decided they needed to fulfill their mushroom destiny in some other, non-skewered way. I had some low carb tortillas on hand, as well as some low-fat shredded cheese, so thought some quesadillas were in order! Who doesn't love quesadillas?! I found these mushrooms quesadillas from Closet Cooking that I'd bookmarked, and thought I'd give them a try. FANTASTIC! I wasn't sure if these button mushrooms were going to have much flavor, but with the onion and fresh thyme they had an amazing, meaty flavor. Made with low fat cheese, low carb tortillas, and olive oil spray, these totally hit the spot when you're craving something cheesy and gooey without breaking the calorie/fat bank. 

Feastie Friday: 11 Fun Twists on Birthday Cake

Imagine if you could have birthday cake, but without the cake! Wait - hear us out. Sure birthday cake is pretty much perfect in its original form - layers of buttery cake and creamy, sugary frosting (with candles on top, of course) - but what if you could drink your birthday cake? Birthday cake cocktails are a REAL THING. Birthday cake fudge, ice cream, cookies - even popcorn. It may not be socially acceptable to bake yourself a birthday cake every week, but can anyone fault you for enjoying a handful of birthday cake popcorn or a scoop of birthday cake ice cream when the mood hits? We've rounded up 11 recipes that feature a fun twist on birthday cake - and we wholeheartedly encourage you to enjoy them today and any other darn day you feel the need for a birthday cake fix. 

1. Birthday Cake Martini from Freutcake
Cocktail Friday Birthday Cake Martini from Freutcake
Photo from Freutcake

 

Steamed Tilapia Packets with Veggies

This is the dinner of the summer. Summer 2013 - this is what you want to eat - steamed tilapia packets with veggies. Talk about healthy - how does steamed fish covered in fresh vegetables, herbs, lemon juice, and salty kalamata olives sound?! This is one of those dinners that you'll make over and over (and over) again. It's savory and just a little bit salty, but so light and healthy and fresh - you'll feel good eating this. We always have frozen fish in the house - usually salmon and tilapia - so this is a no-brainer. Even better - you can make this with whatever fresh veggies you have around. Summer squash was looking especially wonderful at the farmers market this week, so that went into the packet, along with some Jersey tomatoes, green beans, and salty olives (the olives really make this, don't leave them out). The result is light, flaky, tender fish and crisp, tender, fresh veggies with basically no effort whatsoever. And if you're not super stoked about turning on the oven, just toss the packets on the grill!  

Feastie Friday: 26 Things You Didn't Know You Could Make With Avocados

If someone asked us to name, off the top of our heads, as many dishes we can think of that can be made with avocado, we'd probably say, "Uh - guacamole?" and leave it at that. Avocados are one of those superfoods that just so happen to be outrageously delicious as well as incredibly healthy. And they're a no-brainer on things like sandwiches, burgers, wraps, and salads. But if you find yourself with a bag of avocados and a lack of inspiration, get excited - there are some unbelievably creative food bloggers out there who have gone to town with avocados and come up with some awesome recipes. We've rounded up 26 of our favorites - 26 things you didn't know you could make with avocados. Avocado margaritas? Ice cream? Avocado pancakes? Yep. Get out of your avocado rut and try some of these avocado treats. 

1. Skinny Avocado Margaritas from Heather's Dish
Skinny Avocado Margaritas from Heather's Dish
Photo from Heather's Dish

 

My Favorite Guacamole

Guacamole is probably one of the tastiest, simplest, most basic dips you can have in your repertoire - and luckily it's a huge crowd pleaser and tastes abso-freakin-lutely delicious. I've been in restaurants where the server literally busted out the guacamole ingredients in front of me and proceeded to make it at the table - it was so good I wanted to lick the bowl. While I'm not suggesting that this recipe, my favorite recipe for guacamole, will make your jaw drop or blow your mind, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will want to lick the bowl. That has to count for something. I call this my quick and dirty guacamole - it's quick, it's easy, it doesn't have any fancy ingredients or rely on any fancy cooking methods. It's just good stuff. I always eyeball this recipe and taste it as I go along, and I encourage you to do the same - getting just the right amount of heat/spice is important, and you have to taste as you go if you want to achieve that perfect level of spiciness. And of course you'll need a bag of Xochitl tortilla chips to dip into this - yes, I'm specifying Xochitl. These are the best bagged tortilla chips I've EVER HAD and that is not an exaggeration. Once you've tried these chips, you just can't go back to the old brands. Trust me - get a bag, get some avocados, and make some quick and dirty guacamole. 

Feastie Friday: 23 Ways to Use Up Zucchini

Are you swimming in zucchini right now? If you're lucky enough to have a home garden, you're probably knee-deep in zucchini by now; if you don't have the luxury of growing your own zucchini, chances are you've still got a mound of it lying in wait in your fridge. It's in season, it's plentiful, it's inexpensive, it's incredibly healthy, and it's so versatile - what's not to love? Zucchini is great in savory and sweet dishes - it's great on the grill, in a frying pan, in the oven, raw in a salad - it's kind of the renaissance (wo)man of the vegetable world (yes, we know it's actually a fruit, but we're lumping it in with the veggies this week). But if you're zucchinied-out, or you've over-zucchinied, or you just need a way to use up your zucchini before it goes bad - we're here for you. We've rounded up 23 ways for you to use up zucchini and get out of any zucchini-rut you may be in. Because you can only make so many loaves of zucchini bread - try one of these fun new recipes.

1. Zucchini Bread Pancakes from Naturally Ella
Zucchini Bread Pancakes from Naturally Ella
Photo from Naturally Ella

 

Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar plank salmon - it sounds kinda fancy. I've had it in restaurants and thought it was amazing - the salmon gets all smoky and stays moist and rare and everything just kind of comes together in the flavor department. I'm not sure why, but until this past weekend, I'd been too intimidated to try making it myself at home. Last summer we got our first real grill - so technically we've had the ability to make cedar plank salmon for well over a year - but I'd dismissed it as "too fancy" or "too complicated". My friend Emily sent me a few planks in the mail last year (along with some of her amazing homemade jams - they are literally addictive), but they've just sat in my pantry until now. So what changed all of this? Necessity. Last weekend we invited friends over to grill, and I decided I wanted to make salmon - but didn't know what on earth I should do with it. I wasn't in the mood for kebabs, I didn't want to cook it on foil, I don't have one of those nifty fish baskets - what do I do with this amazingly fresh, beautiful sockeye salmon? I asked the fishmonger at the store for a suggestion - and he nodded towards the cedar plans on the counter. "Try one of these planks - really easy and the fish turns out great." I asked him exactly HOW the process worked, and he literally said, "Soak the plank. Put it on the grill. Put the salmon on the plank. Close the grill. Cook it." At that point, how could I not try it? He made it sound so easy! So I did just that - followed his instructions exactly - and was rewarded with the tastiest salmon I've ever had. Our guests and The Mr. and I literally devoured it - I could have eaten two servings. And now I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I've avoided this whole "grill it on a plank" situation for so long - because it really is that easy, and it really is worth it. 

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Will blog for food.
The Founder of Feastie.