Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta | Kitchen in the Hills

Call this the last of the transition meals. We’re officially several days into fall now, but I still have some late-summer vegetables hanging around my fridge. I suppose you do, too? I turned the last of my eggplant and tomatoes into this plate of pasta, a dish warm and hearty enough to fill your belly on a chilly night. I suggest you do the same. If you’re living in a warmer clime (say, in California) these vegetables will be available to you a bit longer.

This is your basic garlic and oil pasta— aglia et olio— topped with seasoned roasted vegetables. It’s incredibly simple to make, but absolutely delicious. Roasting the tomatoes sweetens them and concentrates their flavor. The eggplant turns silky smooth in the oven. Toss the veggies with the garlic pasta, add some parsley and salt, and you have a great meal.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta | Kitchen in the Hills

Don’t be afraid of roasting tomatoes! I know I was the first time I tried it— I was afraid they would release their juices, and cook into a watery mess. That didn’t happen, at all. Instead, roasting tomatoes evaporates off some of their liquid and intensifies their flavor. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a little caramelization by the time your pan comes out of the oven.

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Kale Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Kale Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette | Kitchen in the Hills

I am a latecomer to most big trends. I discovered the magic of jeggings and yoga pants just last year, well after they had become cause for ridicule. I’m currently reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, a memoir that hit the best seller list in 2011. And food-wise? Don’t even get me started. It’s embarrassing, but I only realized that sriracha was a thing (a delicious, delicious thing) after news of the possible factory shut-down swept my twitter feed. And were we always so crazy about brunch? (Yes. The answer is, a million times, yes.)

Kale Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette | Kitchen in the Hills

So it is with kale. I’ve been eating the stuff roasted, baked, and sautéed for ages. I’ve loved it in chip-form and stew-form, I’ve eaten it in pasta and alongside mashed potatoes. But raw? Not really my thing. For the longest time, I couldn’t stand the taste of uncooked kale. It was passable in juices, but I’d never put it in a smoothie myself. Definitely not in a kale salad, even if it had been massaged forever and ever. There was just something off-putting about the texture and flavor.

Until now.

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Dirty Chai Latte



Dirty Chai Latte | Kitchen in the Hills

I am, by nature, a morning person. I have friends who would rather sleep in till noon, and would sacrifice their breakfast for an extra thirty minutes in bed daily. Not me. Don’t get me wrong— I have my bad days, too. I have my sleep-through-three-alarms-and-run-to-class mornings. But most days, I prefer to wake up early enough to read a book, make a small meal, and sit with a cup of coffee or tea before heading to school or work.

For the last week, I’ve been drinking dirty chai in place of my plain old cup of joe. That’s not a drink I usually have in the mornings, because it requires a trip to the coffee shop. But this week, I figured out how to make it at home. There’s something that feels just right about a warm, spicy, sweet, and highly caffeinated drink on a cool morning.

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Autumn Spice Cake Mix Blondies

Autumn Spice Cake Mix Blondies | Kitchen in the Hills

It was some time during my second year of college that I picked up a brownie habit. You see, on a busy afternoon, I’d stop at the on-campus Peet’s location for a brownie and a latte. Those little fudge chocolate bars and caffeine boosts kept me going through countless afternoons and evenings. I’d finish up some reading, go to lecture, return exhausted, and then grab a brownie before powering through evening lectures or lab hours. I was always thankful for the chance to take a pause and refuel— that coffee-and-brownie break was sometimes the only down time during a long day.

autumn spice cake mix blondies with vanilla glaze

This semester, a little shorter on time and more in need of a coffee-and-brownie break than ever, I decided to bake up my own treats. This time, I thought I’d try a chewy, spiced and glazed blondie instead of the usual chocolate brownie. A couple of these guys and a thermos of good coffee in my lunch bag have been more than enough to carry me though the afternoon.

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