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You know what I find most challenging about blogging?  It’s not coming up with ideas of what to make.  My mind is swimming with them, so it’s just a matter of making a decision (says the girl who is notoriously indecisive).  Uploading pictures is a bit time consuming, but with that, it’s picking which ones to use (more decisions…).  Still, I don’t stress so much about that.

What I do struggle with is the words.  What the heck do you say about food that hasn’t already been said?  With all the blogs I read daily, I’m amazed with how many just seem to have a gift and love for writing.  I am not one of those people.  In school, I absolutely loathed writing papers, and they would literally paralyze me with fear and stress.   We’re talking massive procrastinating, all-nighters, and sobbing fits…yes, tears, people!  So why in the world have I made this a hobby?  I mean, writing and making decisions??  Answer: I’m possibly a little bit crazy.

Writing for this is entirely different, though.  I assure you that I am not shedding tears over composing blog posts!  ;)

pouring in the broth

Unrelated (or not?): a few nights ago while I was sleeping, I bolted up in fear because I had a dream nightmare? that something had happened to this blog.  Uh…okay, psychopants.

Anyway, here’s another recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which makes two in a row.  She actually posted it quite recently, and I was intrigued to try it because we also still have eggplants and tomatoes hanging around here.  While I loooove eggplant, I had never actually cooked one before!  What is this madness??  Either way, problem: solved!

blended soup

Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Soup
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Bon Appetit

Deb made some suggestions for a spicier version of this soup (originally just “roasted eggplant soup”), and I was all over that.  Instead of thyme, I used cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.  Some red peppers caught my eye at the store, so that’s why I swapped one for some of the tomatoes.  While I don’t know what the original recipe is like, I imagine this is quite different.  Eggplant and red pepper are both prominently pronounced, hence the title change.  The color is also much more vibrant!

2 medium tomatoes, halved (I used 1 1/2 large)
1 large red pepper, halved and seeds/membranes removed
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise
1 medium onion, halved and peeled
6 large garlic cloves, peeled (I used 7…oh my!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream (I only used about 1 or 2 tablespoons…didn’t really need it)
juice from half of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
feta, for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, arrange the tomatoes, red pepper, eggplant, onion, and garlic, then drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for about 45 minutes, checking after 20 minutes to make sure the garlic isn’t burning.  Remove the pan from the oven, and scoop the eggplant out of its skin (I ended up peeling the skin off).  Add the roasted veggies and garlic to a large, heavy pot.  Pour in the broth and add the spices.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for a little bit.  Working in batches, blend the mixture in a blender to desired consistency (I left mine a tad bit chunky).  Return soup to pot, taste, and add cream, salt, and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes, then stir in the fresh-squeezed lemon juice.  Serve with feta, if desired. Queso fresca or cotija would also be good with this!

Makes 4-6 servings.

Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Soup

Leave out the cream and cheese for a yummy vegan (and lower-fat) version, of course!