At the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon I was on a panel called Eat Your Heart Out – Writing about Food that was moderated by the funny and fabulous Lynn Ames. My fellow panelists were Karin Kallmaker, Georgia Beers and R.G. Emanuelle, all of whom write deliciously about food. Our panel was quite fun, even though I was bracketed by two vegetarians!
Photo credit – Ann de Mooij
The audience had an opportunity to write down a protein, a vegetable and an ‘other’ for the panelists to draw from and then to make a meal after returning home. I choose lamb, eggplant and peanut butter. Much, much better than RG’s gummi bears or Karin’s herring and asparagus!
I decided to go for Moussaka Burgers with Peanut Butter Ice Cream for dessert. Classic Greek moussaka layers eggplant with a spiced mixed meat mixture, topped with a sauce and baked. Instead, I sautéed eggplant, onions and spices and combined that with ground lamb.
Eggplant and Lamb Burgers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced fine
2 cups diced eggplant (remove skin first)
pinch of salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of dried oregano
1 pound ground lamb
Soft hamburger rolls, toasted
Sauté the onion and eggplant, with a big pinch of salt, in the olive oil over medium heat until the eggplant and onions have turned translucent, and started to breakdown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ketchup, black pepper, salt, cinnamon, and dried oregano; cook for 1 minute more. Remove and let cool to room temp.
Combine the eggplant mixture with the lamb until well mixed. Wet your hands and form 6 burgers. Cover in plastic and let sit in the refrigerator until ready to cook so that all the flavors can come together.
Heat up a grill pan to medium high. Season both sides of the burgers with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Grill burgers to desired degree of doneness (about 5 minutes per side for medium) and serve on toasted rolls with tomato slices.
For dessert, I visited an old faithful – peanut butter ice cream.
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
1 cup peanut butter – I use crunchy because I like the texture of the final product
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 – 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the peanut butter and sugar in a blender until smooth. Add the milk. Blend on low speed until smooth and the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and the vanilla (don’t stir too much, just a few strokes until it’s well mixed).
Place in your ice cream maker and follow the directions until desired consistency, then scrape it into a container. If you let it sit in a freezer for a few hours or overnight, it’ll harden up and have the standard ice cream consistency you’ve come to know and love.
I’m very grateful for Charlotte and Thomas for being my guinea pigs for the meal. They definitely seemed to enjoy it.
I’ll add links to the other panelists meals as I get them.