Today is my little puff’s birthday! 😀 A good way to remember is that it’s the day after Freedom Day, since I suck with birthdays, but it’s completely legit, because I only got a dayplanner last year, and everything before then never happened.
Who is this puff? This angelic creature of love and snuggles?
Well, it could be my husband, who loves snuggles and head scratches and being fed, but no. Tis his majesty, the royal overseer: Gatsby the Great! Those two are in the throes of a life-long bromance, honestly! I tried to bake a gingerbread cake in celebration this morning from Chocolate Covered Katie, but my oven’s thermostat is on the fritz, and thus it met a sad (but still somewhat charred and tasty) fate, and, as such, not presentable for guests, which was kind of the point (and promise!). Boo hiss!
Well anyway, a ballistic oven doesn’t do sweet goods any favours, but a bit of charring doesn’t hurt the savoury deliciousness I have to show you today. This is part three of my quick ‘n easy dinner ideas (see beet latkes + glazed polenta slices). You’ll notice that I use a lot of the same ingredients, or slowly shift from one set to another (I’ve finished my broccoli, so now we’re onto eggplant and nearing the end of the black beans!). I’ve decided not to buy any new ingredients but use what’s in the house, just as is usually the case during a busy weekday (unless you have a food-shopping compulsion as I do). Also, public holidays make me lazy, so there’s less flashing of emptying bank cards and more prancing about in pajamas.
There’s also a bit of indulgence. Exhibit A: The eggplant pancake burger.
A modest looking creature, but it’s delightful, filling, and ridiculous. Prerequisites for a birthday dinner, wouldn’t you agree?
I guess I should break down what is happening:
A. Carrot oatmeal pancakes – these are based on the Veggie Nook’s delightful oatmeal pancakes! I followed her instructions to the letter and got my most perfect pancakes ever! Not one wasted as per usual procedure with those dastardly buggers. I added carrot juice in the place of the 1/3 cup liquid, and omitted the sugar since these are mock burger buns. Delicious! I also added some paprika, thyme, and smoked paprika.
B. Baked eggplant slices – 15 minutes a side at 180C. I don’t usually oil my roasting veggies, but you can easily paint on a splash of olive oil with some spices and salt. I baked 1 medium eggplant cut into 2-3 cm slices, and have the rest in some tupperware for midnight snackage.
C. Tomato-hoisin sauce – I slathered some of this on each pancake between the layers and it is delicious (and ridiculously simple). 1 TBSP tomato paste + 1 TBSP hoisin sauce + 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar.
C. Grilled veggies – I LOVE roasting carrots for the best snack ever (here they are masquerading as french fries and doing a marvellous job). The slices of roasted zucchini add a bit of green to the table, but I always recommend an actual salad on the side of any of these dinner meals – no dinner is sane without one. I roasted these with the eggplant slices at 15 minutes a side.
D. Tahini-tomato sauce – this is for dipping the carrots of doom. 1 tsp tahini + 2 tsp tomato sauce + 1 tsp lemon juice + smoked paprika + 2 tsp hot water + a few splashes of Tabasco (green pepper). Let me tell you this is epic. Since you can’t top epic as a descriptive word, I’m just going to leave it at that. Epic.
May I take a moment to gloat about my perfect pancakes? I really suck with pancakes, but this was the first time I didn’t have to sacrifice a few to the gods of the mighty steamy pan of doom. The recipe makes four, but I thought a four-layered pancake burger would be just a tad too ridiculous, so I set it aside to munch with almond butter and fig jam. YUM.
This is an uber fun thing to eat- sometimes one needs a bit of whimsy in yer dinner after a day slogging about (in pajamas or in professional garb – equally challenging in different ways). I ended up dipping my bites into the tahini-tomato sauce (which was actually meant for the carrots, but whatever) and hoooboooy was that delightful! Tahini makes everything better. Ice-cream, chocolate, savoury stuff, world peace. Yes.
And since I wanted to do it properly and everything I took a deep breath and tested the pancake burger as any burger should be tested. Could I eat it with my hands?