I was able to attend the event with 3 other fantastic bloggers – Caroline from Smarty Pants Mama, Anne from Cooking with Anne, and Toni from The Happy Housewife. It is so fun to meet other bloggers. They are all such amazing women. I am always able to learn something from everyone I meet.
We were able to eat dinner and breakfast at Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant – The National. For dinner, we all enjoyed “The Ugly Burger” for dinner with delicious hand cut fries and the most amazing ketchup I have ever tasted. We even saw Chef Geoffrey himself walking through the restaurant. Anne was “chef shocked” when she saw him. All the sudden she stopped what she was saying and was completely thrown off by seeing in the restaurant. What are the chances he would be there while we were there? For breakfast, I enjoyed pancakes topped with honey butter, blueberry compote, and candied hazelnuts. I didn’t even need syrup on these. The pancake itself along with the honey butter and blueberry compote was enough.
We also had some time to look around Chelsea Market. That is like a foodies dream place to grocery shop. They have the most amazing meat market and fresh produce. I was in heaven. I even found this monstrous jar of nutella ($70) that would put a smile on any nutella fan! The Food Network films Iron Chef America and Emeril Live in Chelsea market. I must admit I was hoping to see someone from Food Network in the market itself, but alas we saw no one.
Then we spent time at the cookbook Launch for A Very Veggie World. We were able to sample items from the cookbook along with make a couple of the recipes ourselves.
I especially loved the veggie wagon. What a fun way to serve this dish! Even if you aren’t into serving this in the wagon, it was so delicious and you should still make it minus the wagon. I have never tried eggplant before but I am a HUGE zucchini fan. I must tell you that this dish was SPECTACULAR -so simple and easy to make and yet so flavorful. I plan on making it again at home and then keeping it in containers for me to eat for lunch. You could even make individual boats with zucchini instead of the egg plant. So give it a try and also get the cookbook on line for free. I also love the hippo dip!
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1/4 cup country crock
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup bell pepper
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 toothpicks
- Cut top quarter off of the eggplant lengthwise, leaving the stem intact. Dice up that quarter piece leaving the skin on.
- Scoop out egg plant leaving a 1/2 inch thick wall on the eggplant; this will be your wagon. You can spread some lemon juice inside the wagon to prevent the eggplant from browning.
- Dice up the inside of the eggplant you removed.
- Cut for 4 1/2 inch thick slices from the zucchini and set aside. These will be the wheels of the wagon. Dice up the remaining zucchini.
- Melt the 1/4 cup of Country Crock in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion begins to get color, about 5 minutes.
- Then add your diced eggplant and zucchini. Cook until soft, about another 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, basil, salt, and pepper to the skillet and cook until the liquid evaporates.
- Attach the zucchini wheels to the eggplant wagon using the tooth picks. Spoon the cooked vegetable mixture into the boat to serve. You will probably have extra filling.