Company's Coming. Now We're Cookin'

Well! My last post led me smack up against a brick wall- nary a thought shared nor a comment posted. So I have to now admit that sidewalk embellishments are more of a niche topic, and I shall send the post off to a bunch of urban planners. They may enjoy it.
In the mean time, I hope you all feel like eating. Food is a topic I love. Not only do I love eating, I love growing it, foraging for it, talking about preparation methods, and ultimately cooking it.
I am not one of those people who eat to live. No, I live to eat.  But I will never suffer from being too thin. (Or too rich sadly). However, I digress.
I achieve almost the same meditative state I get from taking a walk in the woods with my camera and binoculars when I'm in the kitchen, preparing something special. Not just anything though...the daily drudge does not induce peace. Just plain ol' boredom. As in ho hum, another supper, I wish they'd invent new food and I wish I could find the genie in the olive oil bottle, and he could do the dinner drive.
BUT! when company's coming, that's a whole other bag of groceries!
And so tonight, having first served frozen fish sticks and coleslaw (see what I mean? Pure drudgery), I am now cooking up a storm for guests who are coming for dinner tomorrow night.
On the menu:
Warm olives with orange slices, cheese and seeded crackers
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup
Mushroom Lasagne
Spinach, Pear and Pancetta Salad
Strawberry Rhubarb Vanilla Yogurt
The soup is first up, and is  pretty easy peasy...roast the veg to bring out the flavours, simmer in stock, puree, done.
I have never made this before, but it sounds delicious, I love eggplant, garlic , onion and tomato, so it should be tasty. Should may be the operative word here. We'll see.
It's not that I like to experiment on my guests, it's that  having guests ignites the creative cook within. And I have difficulty following specific directions and cooking within the pot so to speak.  Sometimes the results are disastrous...but not always.
Bathed with olive oil, it's into the oven  the veggies go for some flavour intensification. The kitchen  smells incredible as they mingle in the heat.

Once they've softened up somewhat, and browned a little, then it's time to make formal introductions and let them dance together in a slow simmering pot filled with a tangy broth with accents of cumin, pepper, and thyme...I'm making myself hungry here!

The flavour is rich, full bodied, earthy with a tangy lemon accent and back notes of pepper. It tastes wonderful as it's simmering away, but truthfully, doesn't look all that swell. The eggplant is quite stringy, a gelatinous mass.  I suspect once it's all pureed it will be a caramel colour..a bit odd for soup..but the taste! That will overide the visual, and I'll be sure to serve it by candle light.
or maybe in full light. Bon appetit!

                                                                                         ...to be continued.