All of a sudden, this is the last blog post that I'll be writing from my little apartment that I only just moved into. It's a tiring thought, that I'm moving house again this Friday, but I'm also pretty chill about it. Well, relatively chill considering my usual lack of it. My tarot card for this month was all "look at the facts" and "don't follow your feelings, follow the facts" and "hey: facts" and with that in mind it's easy to look at this move as simply a practical thing that needs to happen and that is going to make things easier in the long run. Also, I absolutely cannot wait to live with my dear friends and their pet cat. Who will be kind of like my pet cat. I actually can't quite comprehend that there's going to be a cat around me all the time, it's a dizzyingly exciting prospect for someone who has wanted nothing more than to just be in the presence of a cat regularly for sooo long.
Also pleasing: the house I'm moving into has a lovely, lovely kitchen. I can't wait to cook in it to take photos in it (no offense to my current apartment. We can't all be photogenic.)
crispy eggplant: it's super.
So anyway, the last blog post from where I currently hang my hat is crispy eggplant and smoky beef tacos. I made them to impress a girl, but really the girl who I'm most concerned with impressing is myself, and luckily, I was personally way taken with these tacos. I should add, I call them tacos but it would be more accurate to call them "stuff in corn tortillas" since they're not in the slightest bit traditionally Mexican, but yeah.
Honestly, the only bit of this recipe that I really care about imparting to you is the crispy eggplant, which I'm very proud of. It's so crisp! So delicious! And the rest is mostly assembly. But I'll give you the whole lot because, well, mostly because it sounds cooler and slightly more credible this way.
crispy eggplant and smoky beef tacos
a recipe by myself. (Sorry that this recipe requires liquid smoke, which is a very specific ingredient, but it'll still be delicious without it. Just not smoky. Surprise.)
one large eggplanta third of a cup of flour
quarter of a cup of cornmeal/polenta (ideally the coarse-ish stuff, not the super powdery stuff, but whatevs)
200g steak, some kind of non-terrifyingly expensive cut
one tablespoon olive oil
one teaspoon cumin seeds
a pinch of ground cinnamon
half a teaspoon liquid smoke
50g feta (or more)
finely sliced cabbage, or green of your choice
sriracha or chilli sauce of some persuasion
Set your oven to 200 C/400 F. Drizzle some olive oil into a large baking dish, and mix the flour and cornmeal together on a plate. Dice the eggplant and toss it in the flour/cornmeal mix, so that all the cubes are finely dusted on all sides. Place the eggplant in a single layer in the baking dish, and drizzle with some more olive oil. Put it in the oven and leave it for around twenty minutes, until all the eggplant cubes are crisped and brown - it may take a little longer or a little less, depending on your oven.
Meanwhile, slice the steak into strips, and mix in a bowl with the olive oil, cumin seeds, cinnamon and liquid smoke. Fry briefly in a pan over a high heat till decently browned. Finally, either microwave the tortillas or sit them in the oven for a bit to warm through. Layer them up with cabbage, the smoky beef, the crispy eggplant, and a handful of feta, then drizzle with sriracha. Or do what you like, it's just stuff in a tortilla, there's no strict order to proceedings.
The eggplant is the star here - each little square of it beautifully crispy and crunchy on the outside, blissfully melting and soft within. The beef is perfectly nice, but I'd happily have this with just the eggplant. Or in fact just a bowl of the eggplant itself. That said, the spicy, cumin-y meatiness of the steak is a delightful contrast, and feta just makes everything more fun. (Considering testing this theory by taking some feta to my next dentist appointment.) And there's something sort of pleasing about food you can assemble according to your own sense of proportional decency, and then eat with your hands.
well, I was impressed by me. Although I'm both easily impressed and in possession of strong feelings about tacos.
As well as living with a cat (oh my gosh, living with a cat), I'll also be significantly closer to this particular dingus. All that animal closeness and also friend closeness is most definitely going to be a worthy reward for the actually ridiculous amount of packing I still have left to do.
We both just heard Kim say "dinner!" She was saying it to Percy, my reaction was all Pavlov's Dog. Or maybe Pavlov's Dog's Friend.
Finally, I say this all the time, but forget ye not that if you want to get your hands on a copy of my cookbook, you can only do this by ordering it directly through me. It's a reeeeally good time to buy a copy, since it will be one less thing for me to have to cart over to my new-house-to-be...but also it's a good time to buy a copy because it's a seriously wondrous cookbook. And I'm the author, so I would know.
title from: White Stripes, Hotel Yorba. This band is really important to me and this song is delightful.
Sky Ferreira, Everything Is Embarrassing. It really, really is.
Lykke Li, I Follow Rivers. Such a perfect, moody, intense love song, I love it.
M.I.A XXXO. This song is underrated I feel, I love how it's so oddly mournful sounding yet so upbeat at the same time, and the chorus fully reminds of The Real McCoy.
next time: New kitchen, new house, new Laura!