On one beautiful summer weekend, Jeff and I along with four of our friends (with one couple’s two young children) rented a vacation house on a sand dune by Lake Michigan. Oh what a fun weekend we had!
We probably spent the whole weekend being outside. We swam in the lake, strolled around a cute beach town, grilled and cooked delicious food with international flavors, and chilled by the fire at night making smores while sipping wine and beer. Did I mention the delicious food we made and had? 🙂 It was no wonder at all. When you put six people who love to eat, cook, and appreciate good food, you could easily end up with some fantastic dishes. I got too busy enjoying the food that I forgot to take pictures! So, I’ll just tell you what we had: Indonesian fried rice with shrimp, tuna steak with corn salad, turkey burger with red peppers and onions, a FANTASTIC guacamole, chili pepper marinade/dip, and an eggplant/tomato dish served with pita bread.
Now, for this blog entry, let me share with you the eggplant/tomato dish recipe—since I just made it too last night. So that weekend, we decided to take turns in making dinner. A couple of our friends brought fresh tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers from their garden. When it was their turn to cook, they prepared a one-pot meal of eggplants cooked with tomatoes, garlic, peppers, and a little bit of salt and pepper. Super easy and yummy. The dish reminded me of me of this Indonesian eggplant dish, only milder. Our friends served the dish with pita bread and gave the rest of the fresh vegetables they didn’t cook to me to take home.
Yesterday, I gazed at the abundance of fresh produce our friends gave us. I also noticed that my basil plants were in full force. A dinner idea came to mind: that eggplant/tomato dish and my basil pesto pasta with pan-seared sea bass and sea scallops. What a great flavor and color combination they made! The green basil pesto coated the pasta with that fantastic basil fragrance, the savory taste from the cheese, and nuttiness of pine nuts. The eggplant/tomato dish gave out sweet, tangy, and fresh flavors that wonderfully complemented the pesto pasta taste. So delightful!
Here’s how I made the eggplant dish (just like how my friend made it at the beach house):
- I used four smaller and skinnier eggplants
- Halved the eggplants and cut into four long pieces
- Chopped them up into shorter cuts
- I diced up five medium size tomatoes
- Minced four garlic
- Chopped three sweet peppers
- Chopped seven hot finger peppers (optional)
- Heated up a medium pot with a tablespoon of olive oil
- Let the garlic sizzled for a minute, add all of the above, and a little salt and pepper into the pot
- Closed with a lid and cooked until the eggplants turned soft and translucent
Click here to see: Basil Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops recipe (I used spaghetti instead of penne for this one)
I’ll post more delicious recipes that came out of our beach house adventure soon 🙂
Have a great weekend, everyone!
(Original recipe by and a special thanks to Leena Hamdi, and to Spas)