Tag Archives: eggplant

The Freshest Bread and Vegetable Soup

2 Dec

Wooo, bread and vegetable soup.  Sounds boring, right?  Yeah, it sounds boring.  But when everything is fresh and home made, holy geez there was a party going on in my belly.

I’ve still been working my way through The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 but the bread chapter is so large!  I can only eat and give away so much bread.  Really, bread is becoming a treat for me, not something that I’m going to eat regularly.  But, I had bought a bag of rye flour and wanted to put it to use.  Rye bread is my favorite bread.

I’m still working on my bread baking skills.  I can do anything with white flours, but when I turn to whole grains I end up with something a bit more dense than I would expect.  Does anyone have any tips?  Or is this just the way it is?

The rye bread was actually a mixture of unbleached bread flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour and oatmeal.  The overwhelming flavor ended up being wheat.  Disappointing, but not bad.

To offset the carby carbs, I decided to start the soup chapter as well.  Soup is, afterall, one of my favorite things.  And with the snowy Rochester weather, it’s a perfect time to start cooking some up.

The vegetable soup recipe in The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2 is really just a loose outline  of a soup.  Here’s what I did with it.

Fresh Vegetable Soup

makes six very large servings

1/2 medium eggplant, peeled

1 red bell pepper, seeded

1 medium potato

2 medium zucchini

a handful of mushrooms

3 scallions

1 medium onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 large dill pickle

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

2 medium tomatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper to taste

1) Chop the eggplant – onion into large chunks.

2) Slice the garlic and pickle into thin slices, and chop the tomatoes into 6 – 8 wedges each.

3) Add all of the vegetables to a large stock pot.  To this, add about 12 cups of water, the oil, vinegar, bouillon cubes, and spices.

4) Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for at least 30 minutes.  The longer this soup goes, the better it is!

Really, it’s silly to write up a recipe for this.  Throw whatever vegetables you have in a pot and season them to taste!  I meant to put some corn in there too.  I would try seasoning this differently, using some vegetable stock/broth instead of water or using some Braggs.

Regardless, this makes a very brothy and chunky soup.  Incredibly filling, especially with some bread torn into pieces and thrown on top!

Hey, that exciting news I mentioned before is still coming!  Woo woo woo!

Eggplant Ball Z

7 Mar

Guys, I really want to make a Dragon Ball Z joke but I actually know nothing about it.  I’ve come to realize just how geeky I am these days, but I guess it could always be worse.

But anyway, there are plenty of other ball jokes I could make, right?!

I wont.

I’ve had all sorts of meatless meatballs.  Some I’ve bought pre-made, many I’ve made myself with things like Gimme Lean or TVP.  I’m almost positive you could make them with lentils, but that is still on my list of things to try.  This time, I made them with eggplant!

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables.  As far as vegetables go it is not very nutritious, but it is a vegetable and it is low in calories and high in fiber.  It also sucks up a whole lot of oil, so it can easily be not very healthy at all.  Luckily, the eggplant balls I am going to share with you are made with minimal oil and the eggplant is softened mostly by steaming.  Sure, you could fry them instead of baking if you’re into that sort of thing.

They would make a good appetizer or even a strange version of eggplant parmesan if you want to use some fake or real cheese and a marinara sauce.  I served them with rice, a marinara sauce, and a green salad.  I would also recommend seasoning these to taste, as they would probably benefit from a mixture of spices that I didn’t think to use.  Or even a seasoned breadcrumb mixture, making sure you don’t choose one with cheese in it if you’re not into cheese.

Baked Eggplant Balls

makes 15 – 18 1″ balls

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed

4 Tbsp. water, or as needed

2 prepared Ener-G egg replacer eggs, or equivalent egg substitute product

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

3/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 cup parsley, chopped

salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1) Heat oil in saucepan or skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until just browned.

2) Add the eggplant and water.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the eggplant is softened, 20 – 30 minutes.  Add more water if needed.

3) Remove eggplant from heat and mash.  Add egg replacer, nutritional yeast, breadcrumbs, parsley, and seasonings.  Mix until well combined, adding more breadcrumbs if needed.  Place in fridge to cool for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350F.

4) Form eggplant mixture into 1″ balls and place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden on the bottom.  Serve with marinara sauce!

Good looking balls, no?

Fried Eggplant Wrap at Otto Tomotto’s: Victor, NY

23 Jul

For lunch one day me and all the other people I was training with went to Otto Tomotto’s which was this really nice little Italian place. So I wanted to eat vegan so I ordered it without cheese, but I forgot that since the eggplant was fried and breaded there was probably egg in there.

It was really tasty. Fresh green stuff and tomatos and eggplant is always awesome. The dressing was a really simple, tasty balsamic vinaigrette. It hit the spot. Oh and they served it with pasta instead of potato chips! What a great idea!

-Bret

Red Lentil and Eggplant Curry

19 Jun

Okay, so I’m thinking this ended up being a cross between a curry and a daal. It had curry type ingredients but the split lentils made it all creamy like daal.

Either way, it was really good.

So, Bret took me to Wegmans the first time I went out there to visit him. Wegmans was the only fond memory I have from my college time in Geneseo. Well, that’s not true. But it’s a very fond memory and I wish they would spread to the Saratoga area but the Golubs have a tight hold on the area with their crappy Price Choppers. Whatever!

Anyway, while we were there I picked up things that I’ve had a hard time finding around here. One of those things was a big bag of split red lentils. But that bag’s been sitting in my kitchen cupboards ever since I bought it. I’m trying to use things that I have hanging around. So I decided on the lentils. I looked through recipes trying to get ideas and settled on making a curry with the lentils. And an eggplant. So here’s what I did.

Ingredients!

1 large onion, chopped as big or small as you like

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 cups water or veggie broth

1 cup (about) red lentils

1 eggplant, peeled and diced

2 Tbsp. red curry paste

salt and other things to taste

1/2 cup (about) coconut milk

Directions!

Cook the onion and garlic in a little oil or nonstick cooking spray until it’s soft. This is gonna take a rather large pan to fit everything. Once the onions and garlic are cooked, add the water or broth, lentils, curry paste and eggplant. Bring all of that to a boil, then let it simmer uncovered until the lentils are soft and mushy. Stir it around pretty often to make sure that nothing’s sticking and add more water if you need to. I probably didn’t need to, but I did, and I think that’s why it came out a little more like daal than anything else.

Taste it and add seasonings if you need to. I added some salt, a bit of curry powder, and a couple of shakes of cayenne.

Once the lentils are cooked and everything’s seasoned, add in the coconut milk and let it boil for about five minutes or so to thicken up.

Then eat!

I ate it with a little bit of whole wheat couscous, but I could have eaten it out of a bowl with nothing to accompany it. This makes a bunch, you could totally feed 4 – 6 people no problem.

Bret says he wants to learn how to make better curries and I doubt this helped him any but I think he’s pretty good at it already.

-Ellen

Moosewood!

5 May

So way back when me and Ellen were first getting to know each other she said she wanted to go to the the Moosewood which is like a semi-famous vegetarian restaurant that makes a buttload of vegetarian cookbooks. It’s right in Ithaca which is where I live so I’ve eaten there a bunch, and as soon as Ellen expressed enthusiasm I was all over poo-pooing it!

“Yeah, Moosewood’s okay. It’s not great or anything.”

But I wanted her to make up her own mind so when she came to visit over the weekend it was on The Agenda with watching bad 80’s horror movies and playing Scrabble. We went for lunch because that’s when it’s cheapest. I really haven’t noticed a huge difference in the quality of the food between lunch and dinner, but there is a $5-$8 difference in price.

So I’m going to lay it all out on the table here. I usually think the Moosewood is way overrated and that their food is bland. I like their salad dressings and their desserts and I’ve had a few really good cocktails there too, but the entrees just don’t get me that excited which would be fine if the food was cheaper. But it’s not, so… yeah. When friends of mine visit from far away I say, “I can take you out to eat at the famous restaurant, or the good restaurant.” I’m being kind of harsh, here, but every time I go to the Moosewood I walk away wondering why I went there when I know better. Well, this time I went there because I wanted to see if Ellen liked it and thought I was crazy.

Hey this is what I ate:

It was some eggplant stuff. I can’t even remember the name anymore. It was eggplant and peppers and whatnot over polenta. It was pretty good. Ten bucks good? Ehh. Not really. But it did make me think that I need to do a lot more with polenta.

Pfft. Moosewood. But hey hanging out with Ellen was awesome.

-Bret

Bret’s not crazy.  Well, he is, but he’s not crazy for thinking that the Moosewood is kind of overrated.  The only things that really impressed me was Bret’s salad dressing.  Japanese carrot, I think?  I want the recipe.  Maybe it’s in one of their books.

So the Moosewood is kind of overrated.  Based on a one-meal experience.  I tasted Bret’s eggplant scallopine (that’s what it was called!) and I had a bowl of Caribbean black bean soup and the French rice salad.  Here’s what the salad looked like:

It was tasty.  There was rice and all kinds of fresh herbs mixed with a vinaigrette and topped with pine nuts.  The cheese added nothing, but I do like me some cheese so I ate it.  It just tasted like something I could make at home.  The black bean soup also tasted like something I could make at home (only if I made it myself it would have been a lot more spicy).  I’m all for food that tastes like it was home cooked, but it could have been a little more exciting for the price.  Maybe if they threw in a few magic tricks to entertain us while we waited for our food.

So it’s a good restaurant.  And I’m glad I got to go and make up my own mind instead of just listening to Bret be a big downer.  The presentation is nice and the food is quite tasty, but I don’t feel like I need to go back.  Except maybe to try the vegan chocolate cake.

Next time, we’re going to one of these so-called “good” restaurants.  And I’m paying!

– Ellen

Layered Rice with Eggplant and Coconut (Baingan Biryani)

24 Apr

Jennifer posted the recipe for the biryani in the comments for the post. I’m reposting it here in case you missed it. Thanks Jennifer! Heart-heart! -Bret

Layered Rice with Eggplant and Coconut (Baingan Biryani)

2 cups Coconut Milk
1.25 cups Basmati Rice. (sorted and washed in 3-4 changes of water)
1.75 cups Water
.5 cup Grated Coconut
1-3 Dried Red Chile Peppers
1 Large Clove of Garlic
5 Quarter-size slices of fresh peeled Ginger
1-3 fresh Green Chile Peppers
1 Onion
1 ts ground Coriander
1 ts Garam Masala (+ .25 ts for garnish)
.5 ts ground Turmeric
3 TB Peanut Oil
1 lb of Eggplant (cut into bite size pieces)
1.25 ts salt or whatever
1 large Tomato
2 TB fresh chopped Mint Leaves
.5 cup Fresh Cilantro
2-3 TB Lemon Juice

1. Soak rice in the water for 30 minutes.

2. Place grated coconut and red chiles in skillet and dry-roast until golden and fragrant. 1-2 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to blender and process along with garlic, ginger, green chile peppers and onion until finely ground. Mix in the coriander, garam masala and turmeric and process again. Transfer to large nonstick saucepan. Add 2 TB oil and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat. About 5 minutes.

3. Add the eggplant, half the salt and .5 cup Coconut Milk. Cook over high heat about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and cook until eggplant is soft. 15-20 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

4. To the same pan, add 1 TB oil, tomato, mint and cilantro and cook over medium heat until most of the tomato juice evaporates. About 2 minutes. Add the rice and the water it’s soaking in along with remaining salt and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until the rice is almost fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

5. To assemble the biryani: Remove about half the rice to a bowl. Spread the cooked eggplant mixture over the rice that remains in the saucepan. Cover the eggplant mixture with the reserved rice. Drizzle the lemon juice over the rice, cover the pan, and cook over the lowest heat setting, 10-15 minutes, to blend the flavors. Sprinkle garam masala on top and serve.

Coconut Eggplant Biryani

22 Apr

I went to visit some friends in New Jersey and they forced me to cook with them. “While you stay with us you earn your keep!” and then they made me chop mint. But seriously it was a lot of fun. I love friends, and I love friends who cook, and I love friends who want to cook food with me! I got to chop things and mince things and when the spicy fumes got to be too much for Jennifer I got to take over stirring.

Russell and Jennifer cook Indian food a lot. It’s inspired me to give it a try again. They had this big huge cookbook full of Indian recipes (I think it was called 1000 Indian Recipes) and this is one they’ve made in the past. It was really great and had a nice heat to it. Jennifer also made some raitha to go on top.

Also check out their badass skelly blanket. We sat and ate and watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We had a good time laughing and Leatherfacing!

-Bret