Creole Eggplant SoupI’d never before fathomed eggplant in a soup, so the recipe for “Creole Eggplant Soup,” from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, by Nava Atlas, dared me to try. I was also interested in the use of rice milk, here. Fortified by onion, celery, and potatoes, the taste of the eggplant won. The curry powder added good flavor depth, just short of being “spicy.” My young child was able to enjoy this soup.

I used 3 cups of water in this soup, and added 3 tsp. salt. Nava Atlas has described this as a “Springtime” soup, but I believe it’s hearty enough for now. Will you make an eggplant soup? Try it.

Rhubarb Salad with Goat Cheese

Rhubarb is a cool-season, perennial crop. When I see it piled up at the Food Coop, I always feel guilty about not trying some of it. I’m aware of certain rhubarb-pie aficionados, who just can’t resist this stuff. I took on the recipe for “Rhubarb Salad with Goat Cheese,” from the May 2009 issue of Everyday Food, probably because it wasn’t pie. This recipe was supposed to be suitable for 4 servings, but it made way too much! I could have fed 12 people with my 10 oz. of arugula (and the recipe actually asked to use 1 lb.). Wow. This was a big oversight for the recipe testers.

I believed it was clever to roast the rhubarb pieces with honey in the oven; the resulting taste, however, was still too sharp. In fact, Dave gagged on this salad. The arugula was too bitter, the goat cheese was too tangy, the fennel was fennel -- he just couldn’t find anything he liked in this one. I added 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper to the simple oil-and-vinegar dressing. I need better advice/encouragement on how to present roasted rhubarb in a salad. This recipe was too careless.

Russet Potatoes (2 large) = $1.05
Eggplant (1 1/2 lbs.) = $2.06
(3/4 lb.) = $1.38
Arugula (10 oz.) = $7.54
Fennel (1 organic bulb) = $2.96
Goat Cheese (.33 lb.) = $2.23

RECIPES: eggplant soup should surprise your diners with its hearty flavors; rhubarb salad needs a revamping
PREP TIMES: soup is ready in an hour or more; rhubarb roasts, walnuts toast, and salad could be edible within 30 minutes.
TASTES: curry enhances the eggplant soup; rhubarb needs more help in order to be more palatable in a salad

Next time, I’ll continue with the vegetarian angle. I’ll cook “Veggie Burgers,” from All Recipes, along with the “Golden Beet & Potato Salad,” from the June 2009 issue of Cuisine at Home. Come back to my site on Thursday, November 5, to see my results.