Chunky Roasted Peppers and Eggplant

Teaching budgeting/food cost in a high school Culinary Arts program taught *me* many things as well. First and foremost, how to get creative on the spot, modifying lessons to reach each group of students and their particular needs for the day. As any teacher can tell you, the same bunch of helpful students you worked with in the morning, two hours later might not even be willing to make themselves a favorite batch of cookies.

Once I had worked out the lesson I mentioned in this previous post:

https://thefoodpuzzler.com/2016/02/02/adventures-in-teaching-round-one-nutrition-and-food-cost/

I’d have moments when the students embraced the idea that almost any savory dish was allowable (budget-depending of course). They would come up with all sorts of favorite family dishes. One of these is a relish called Ajvar. Ajvar is a Serbian relish* which one of my students associated with some of her favorite family gatherings. Avjar is primarily composed of roasted red peppers, garlic and spices, but eggplant is also often added.

This dish is based on the same ingredients, but instead of making a traditional Ajvar, I diced the ingredients before roasting, and added red onion, tomato and Poblano peppers.

How I have used this (when my Mom doesn’t eat half the batch with a spoon before it’s done cooling 😉):

~Tossed with cooked quinoa, rice, or small pasta like orzo and orecchiette.
~As a topping for cooked chicken, eggs, or tuna.
~As a base for flatbread or pizza, or on top of French bread slices.

But very often, I just follow Mom’s lead and grab a spoon…Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chunky Roasted Peppers and Eggplant
Copyright 2016 by Lauren Bradford
(aka The Food Puzzler)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 5 cups

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INGREDIENTS:
~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 large eggplant
2 Roma tomatoes
1 red pepper
2 Poblano peppers
1 large red onion
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

~~~~~~
STEPS:
~~~~~~

1. Dice all vegetables into small and even pieces, keeping the peels on but removing seeds and stems.

2. Toss in olive oil and spices, and place on a parchment-lined* sheet pan.

3. Roast at 350 degrees until softened and lightly charred, about 25 minutes. About halfway through the cook time, remove the sheet pan carefully (let the wall of steam escape before reaching in) and stir the vegetables around once.

4. After the vegetables have finished cooking, remove carefully (there’ll still be steam) and let cool slightly before serving (if serving warm) or cool completely.

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NOTES:
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* http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6430271&sc=emaf

* The parchment is optional, it just makes for easier cleaning and food release.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week (if they last that long). You can freeze portions, but once thawed it should be puréed to improve the texture and look of the veggies, and warmed to release some of the excess water you’ll get from the freezing/thawing process.

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