Monday, October 8

Parmesan-Peppercorn Eggplant Fries with Chipotle Dip

I took the day off work today.

MiniMon was on vacation this weekend with my family in mid-Michigan, and we were reunited yesterday.  I was SO happy to see her yesterday morning, and it was a very good idea to spend the day with her today.  We got in some much-needed bonding time.

I don't normally spend weekdays with her.  Usually it's a weekend, and we're rushing here, there, and everywhere else.  Today I got to see what it's like to really spend the day with my daughter.

My sister Amanda texted me today: "What are your plans for today?"
My response: "Painting something for Sol's room, watching a lot of Big Bang Theory, baking some vegan brownies, and trying to figure out how to do this full time :)"

Yes, I'd love to work from home and spend each and every day with my daughter.  But alas, I do, after all love my job and I guess I can deal with spending 50 hours away from my daughter every week.  That's life.

So yep, I painted something for Sol's room -- something that's been at the back of my mind for many months.  More on that later :)  And while I never got around to the brownies, I made something fabulous for lunch.

Head to the supermarket in the next few weeks and you'll see all sorts of beautiful fall colors popping up in the produce section.  In that autumnal palette you'll see dark purple.

Mmmm... eggplant.  A vegetarian's best friend.

I looked through my cupboard to see what I could make with the purple monstrosity I picked up from Trader Joe's yesterday... and I concocted one of the best meals I've ever eaten :)

Parmesan-Peppercorn Eggplant Fries with Chipotle Dip

It starts with an eggplant.
Eggplants are smooth, sexy, and altogether fabulous.
Plop that sexy Old World plant on the counter and slice. it. up. 
(I only used half an eggplant)

Now that you've got your raw fries, set them off to the side and concentrate on the luscious coating that's about to rock your world.
In a small bowl, mix up:
1/2 c. milk
1 T. olive oil.  
I added a smidge of chipotle flavoring, but that's just because I had some on hand.  You can add a teaspoon of liquid smoke if you like :)

Whip it up with a fork.  Whip it good.

In a larger bowl, blend up the following dry ingredients for the breading: 

1 c. ground quinoa (I use a coffee grinder.... works like a charm)
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
1 T. cracked black pepper
1 t. salt
1/2 c. shredded parmesan

Now's the time to channel your inner Henry Ford and set up this sweet little assembly line.  I think most people do it left-to-right, but I'm slightly crazy/possibly dyslexic, so I go right-to-left.  You have your raw fries, oil/milk mixture, breading mixture, and an oiled baking sheet.  Dip each fry in the oil/milk, then roll in the breading, and set on the baking sheet.  Repeat many, many times.

Now pop that baking sheet in the oven - broil on high for 3 minutes, then flip the fries and broil another 3 minutes.

Pull out, let cool, and serve with some chipotle dip:

1/2 c. mayo
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. liquid smoke
1 t. crushed red pepper
1 t. Lawry's seasoning


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