Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Eggplant Parmesan Soup


Have you ever had inspiration strike from an unlikely place? That's what happened to me when I came up with this recipe. 

In my family, food is not just for sustaining life in my house; it's a WAY of life. I can remember watching my mom and my grandmother cook from the time I was a little girl. I fought it for a while, but I eventually gave into my true calling,and now I love to cook. Any time I visit my mom, you can bet we'll do two things: cook and watch the Food Network

It was during one such visit that I came up with the idea for this recipe. I don't know if you've heard of it or seen it before, but there is a show on Food Network called Cutthroat Kitchen. The chefs can buy items to sabotage another chef's meal. It's a fantastic show, and it's on Netflix, so you can bet I've been binge watching the mess out of that. 


Anyway, in the episode I was watching at my mom's house, the chefs had to make eggplant parmesan. One chef bought a food processor, and his opponent's eggplant got pulverized. How was he supposed to make eggplant parmesan with no eggplant? Well, that's when I had my moment of inspiration. 

I had recently made a roasted eggplant soup, so I immediately thought about adding roasted tomatoes, cheeses, and different seasonings... All the ingredients of eggplant parmesan, just prepared a different way. 

I roasted the veggies, puréed them with vegetable stock, added my cheese and seasonings... Let me tell you, this might be my best recipe idea yet. The dish had all the flavors of real eggplant parmesan and all the comfort of a big bowl of soup. I even made some eggplant parmesan bites to go on top of the soup. Those little guys are addictive!!  


Ingredients
1/2 eggplant
2 tomatoes, halved
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Onion powder
4 c vegetable stock or chicken broth
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c Italian cheese blend
1 tbs Italian seasonings

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. In a baking dish, place eggplant and tomatoes skin-side down. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Roast veggies for 45 minutes. 

Bring 4 cups of vegetable stock to boil. Add roasted veggies. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, purée the vegetables. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a food processor or regular blender. 

Add cream cheese and Italian cheeses, stirring until melted. Add Italian seasoning and other seasonings to taste. Serve warm topped with extra shredded cheese and eggplant parmesan bites. 


The eggplant parmesan bites are really easy and the perfect touch to the soup. I used the second half of the eggplant, chopping it into one inch squares. Coat the pieces in coconut flour, then dip them in egg. Finally roll them in grated parmesan cheese. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spray them with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Flip the bites over, spray and season the new exposed side, and bake an additional 10 minutes. These are great in the soup and really great by themselves as a snack!

I love it when a recipe I've created tastes even better than I'd hoped it would what's the craziest way you've found inspiration for something? If love to know I'm not alone in this!

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