I was reminded of the post I wrote a few weeks ago, and my desire for fresh eggs, with the sound of our neighbors' chickens outside, and the brown blur speeding by the windows as a little hen raced back to the nest she had made beside our house in a little box filled with hay. They've got surprising speed those little chickens; I would never have placed a chicken on the same level of agility as my dog for example, given their tiny legs underneath such a comparatively large and rounded body.
As dad worked outside (it sounded like he chopped wood all afternoon, but we never really checked) he noticed a small indent in the hay shed. And amidst the pieces of straw bent round as if part of a large bird's nest, he noticed a perfectly oval egg in the centre, lightly spotted brown and still warm when he held it.
Our neighbors didn't seem to mind that we had been given an egg by one of their chickens, so after showing them our treasure we brought it inside to replace the depleted stock of store bought eggs from all of my baking. Instead, our neighbors laughed, and the chickens continued to have free range of both their yard and ours.
My luck didn't stop there.
As the morning rose, I sat by the windows and watched the chickens scurry past the fence and onto our driveway. Picking their way through the shrubs and trees, they explored the expanse of grass and hills that makes up our lawn. One little brown chicken scampered through the ferns and low trees, pausing beneath the branches for a few moments, hidden, and then returning to the open lawn.
I wish the little chickens would still give us their deliciously golden eggs, but sadly, I think they've been trained to lay only in the neighbours yard as of that weekend, since I haven't found anymore eggs, depositing checking quite regularly. I have still loved the taste of freshly poached eggs in the morning, or on particular week nights when breakfast for dinner sounds perfect, mum and I have a plate of poached eggs over cooked tomatoes and mushrooms.
When I found out that it was National Egg Benedict Day last Tuesday, I couldn't help but yearn for poach my eggs for lunch when I came home from school early, and drizzle a little bit of honey mustard dressing over top them with avocado, fried onions and tomatoes. Sure, it wasn't exactly an eggs Benny, but I really didn't want to stand over a stove top stirring the buttery Hollandaise sauce, and this version of mum's made a long day seem suddenly insignificant, a delicious plate of good food to brighten my mood. There really wasn't anything more comforting in the drizzling rain, and I was refueled moments after.
If there's one thing I've learnt being gluten free, if it isn't that I absolutely adore avocados, and will eat them with almost anything, it's that getting creative with ingredients, especially a wild array of vegetables and homemade sauces, is the best thing when in a pinch. Sometimes the best meals come from the food tossed together in a large saucepan and served with a tomato and basil sauce. Or when there's no gluten free bread? Eggs are wonderful baked in an avocado, topped with salsa or honey mustard dressing (it's my new favourite!) or quickly fry some rounds of sweet potato for a fancy-style beans on toast (or tuna melt). Anything made gluten free is jazzed up anyway, and even more so in flavour, and I've got proof (well, from mum and dad) who both exclaimed an undying enthusiasm with the plate of aubergine fries I served for dinner.
"This is our new thing! Mum exclaimed, and dipped another fry into the honey which had drizzled down to the bottom of the bowl.
I served a simple dinner of fries and salad, but as I said before, spruced up and gluten free. Both plates had the combination of sweet and savoury flavours, and from what I could tell, went very well with an entire bottle of red wine. I don't usually post two recipes, but since everything went so well together, with room for dessert (to come later), I'll post them both.
Eggplant Fries with Honey
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A new twist on the generic fries, and made gluten free! These eggplant fries are more tender than potatoes, and have their own unique, and subtly sweet flavour that will keep your hand reaching back to the dish of fries. And when drizzled with warm honey, there really aren't too many things that'll compare, and I don't think I'm going back to potato fries.
I also tried frying a few slices of carrot, which also tasted delicious, although very different to the sweetness of the eggplant. I might whip up this easy seasoning recipe again, just to try my hand at some other vegetables... the pickle jar was beckoning this time, but hungry family members stopped me this time. A healthier version than the fairground fried pickles, its something I'll have to try!
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, fresh ground
1 large eggplant
Grape seed oil for frying
salt for seasoning
Peel the eggplant, and slice into approximately three inch long and 3/4 inch thick fingers. Set aside.
In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the potato and tapioca flours, dried oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper until thoroughly mixed.
Toss the eggplant slices a few at a time in the seasoned flour until well coated.
In a heavy-bottom medium saucepan, heat at least two inches of grape seed oil. When the oil is ready, drop a few sticks of eggplant into the oil – they should begin sizzling immediately. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan or have the oil temperature drop too much.
When the eggplant fries begin to brown, about a minute later, flip them over and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute.
Remove the eggplant fries from the oil and let drain on a cooling rack. Serve hot with a shake of salt and a drizzle of warm honey.
A great snack or appetizer for 2-3 people.
Candied Pecan and Goats Cheese Salad
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A delicious array of fresh flavours, with the sweet crunch of candied pecans, and the creamy taste of goats cheese, this salad is perfect for the summer alongside something straight off the barbecue, or bring it to a dinner party and you'll for sure get the approval of all the guests - even if they just pick off the pecans as if they were candy.
3 large handfuls baby spinach mix
1/2 cup candied pecans, recipe here
2 - 3 tablespoons of soft goats cheese
1/2 - 3/4 pear, sliced thinly
When candied pecans are roasted and cooled, toss spinach together in a wide bowl.
Add over top pecans, goats cheese, and sliced pear, and you're almost to perfection!
I served this salad with my new obsession, Brianna's honey mustard dressing, and it tasted absolutely delicious.
Enjoy! xx S
Labels: appetizer, candied, carrots, egg, eggplant, fried, fries, gluten free, goats cheese, honey, maple, pecans, salad