a third of a cup of flour
quarter of a cup of cornmeal/polenta (ideally the coarse-ish stuff, not the super powdery stuff, but whatevs)
200g steak, some kind of non-terrifyingly expensive cut
one tablespoon olive oil
one teaspoon cumin seeds
a pinch of ground cinnamon
half a teaspoon liquid smoke
50g feta (or more)
finely sliced cabbage, or green of your choice
sriracha or chilli sauce of some persuasion
Set your oven to 200 C/400 F. Drizzle some olive oil into a large baking dish, and mix the flour and cornmeal together on a plate. Dice the eggplant and toss it in the flour/cornmeal mix, so that all the cubes are finely dusted on all sides. Place the eggplant in a single layer in the baking dish, and drizzle with some more olive oil. Put it in the oven and leave it for around twenty minutes, until all the eggplant cubes are crisped and brown – it may take a little longer or a little less, depending on your oven.
Meanwhile, slice the steak into strips, and mix in a bowl with the olive oil, cumin seeds, cinnamon and liquid smoke. Fry briefly in a pan over a high heat till decently browned. Finally, either microwave the tortillas or sit them in the oven for a bit to warm through. Layer them up with cabbage, the smoky beef, the crispy eggplant, and a handful of feta, then drizzle with sriracha. Or do what you like, it’s just stuff in a tortilla, there’s no strict order to proceedings.
The eggplant is the star here – each little square of it beautifully crispy and crunchy on the outside, blissfully melting and soft within. The beef is perfectly nice, but I’d happily have this with just the eggplant. Or in fact just a bowl of the eggplant itself. That said, the spicy, cumin-y meatiness of the steak is a delightful contrast, and feta just makes everything more fun. (Considering testing this theory by taking some feta to my next dentist appointment.) And there’s something sort of pleasing about food you can assemble according to your own sense of proportional decency, and then eat with your hands.
As well as living with a cat (oh my gosh, living with a cat), I’ll also be significantly closer to this particular dingus. All that animal closeness and also friend closeness is most definitely going to be a worthy reward for the actually ridiculous amount of packing I still have left to do.
Oh hey guess what, I was on Radio New Zealand recently talking about a couple of recipes, it was highly fun, I love being on the radio so much. Which is weird because I tend to prefer to have an audience, but I guess just having peoples’ ears is also still gratifying. Anyway, feel free to listen to it, it’s only short! And excitingest of all, I had another Crush Cake story published on magnificent important website The Toast. It was for Lucy Liu, who is the ultimate queen of my heart, so it took forever and a ton of thought to write, but I’m proud of it.
Finally, I say this all the time, but forget ye not that if you want to get your hands on a copy of my cookbook, you can only do this by ordering it directly through me. It’s a reeeeally good time to buy a copy, since it will be one less thing for me to have to cart over to my new-house-to-be…but also it’s a good time to buy a copy because it’s a seriously wondrous cookbook. And I’m the author, so I would know.
title from: White Stripes, Hotel Yorba. This band is really important to me and this song is delightful.
Sky Ferreira, Everything Is Embarrassing. It really, really is.
Lykke Li, I Follow Rivers. Such a perfect, moody, intense love song, I love it.
M.I.A XXXO. This song is underrated I feel, I love how it’s so oddly mournful sounding yet so upbeat at the same time, and the chorus fully reminds of The Real McCoy.
next time: New kitchen, new house, new Laura!