I love visiting the studios and homes of Armadillo Artists! I was lucky enough to be invited over to the home studio of Rick and Lisa Loudermilk, both artists at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. Lisa, a world traveler and great cook, generously offered to make me a home cooked lunch inspired by her recent trip to Turkey. She served a 5 course, traditional Turkish meal that was unbelievably tasty. My favorite dish (though it was a tough choice) was the roasted eggplant with gravy. Lisa kindly shared her recipe with me and I would love to share it with you:
“Eggplant Cream Gravy”
It’s the sauce from “sultan’s favorite” or “hunkar begendi” adapted from Raindrop Turkish House cooking class.
6 cups roasted, canned eggplant (with a little citric acid, but not ones marked pickled. Available at Shahi foods near Parmer and Lamar or probably Phoenica)
You can also try putting 3-4 whole eggplants on hot grill or glass stove-top burner on high to medium-high to char the skins. Just keep rotating and use the vent fan. I think you probably should cover them so they continue to steam after all the skin is black.
Cool, peel quickly so supposedly the eggplant doesn’t get bitter, mash by hand, strain. You may want to stir in a little lemon juice.
3 TBS flour (rice bran flour works well)
a little cornstarch suspended in water in case you’re working with a flour that doesn’t thicken
4 TBS butter
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt – start with 1/2 if using the canned eggplant
Melt the butter over medium high and fry the flour till medium yellow, stirring constantly. After the flour starts turning golden yellow, stir in the milk slowly. Some flours don’t thicken like wheat. If it doesn’t thicken , stir in a little cornstarch that has been suspended in water. Keep stirring! Add the salt and eggplant and cook on medium low for a few minutes.
Besides the amazing food, my lunch included the best conversation with Lisa and Rick on art, traveling, music and of course the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar! I also got to take a tour of both of their studios inside their beautiful South Austin home.
One of my favorite parts of visiting the homes of artists is seeing what art they choose to display in their homes. I also love to see what I can recognize from the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. It never fails that I fall in love with a piece that I don’t recognize, for example, the Bulldogfish in the bottom left corner below.