Posts tagged ‘eggplant’

November 12, 2013

Eggplant Po’Boys

poboy1

This recipe was inspired by Killer Poboys in New Orleans. I was reading their most recent menu (because that’s something I do in my spare time) and was instantly excited by their vegan option. Each individual ingredient was original and all together it sounded like a sandwich I could totally get on board with.

I think that’s what I love about vegan and vegetarian cooking so much – it encourages a different level of creativity, inevitably making vegetables taste more interesting and satisfying.

Now, a po’boy is really just a sandwich. But in New Orleans it’s a sandwich on a fresh pillowy baguette. It’s almost certainly one of those things that people claim cannot be replicated outside of the city due to the water – like bagels in New York or sourdough in San Francisco, I tend to believe these dough-related myths.

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April 14, 2013

Za’atar Chickpea and Grain Salad

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I always seem to be carrying too much stuff.

I take public transport to work, so everything I need to make my day comfortable, I have to carry on my shoulders. I’ve begun to consider a backpack but there’s part of me that’s too vain to do that. It’s the part of me that used to work at a fashion magazine. She feels shame from even thinking about a backpack.

The other part of me is all, girl, get yourself a backpack and stop complaining!

For now, I’m still rocking my awkward too-heavy leather handbag and extra tote bag combo because I still need all of the things every day.

I need entertainment, so there’s usually a book (please don’t start talking tablets – I like my books with tangible and sometimes pre-owned paper pages.) I need to be protected from the elements and office air conditioning, so there’s always a cardigan and/or scarf, sunglasses and sometimes an umbrella. I need to be hydrated during my 50 minute commute, so there’s usually a water bottle an occasionally a coffee thermos.

And, of course, I need to be well-fed. There are a few decent lunch options around the office, but I prefer to bring my own most days. And snacks. I need the snacks.

voraciousvander

Sometimes organizing a lunch to bring can be annoying in the evening when all I want to do is plant myself on the couch and eat popcorn by the fist full. But most often, I like to see it as an opportunity to get creative with new spices and combinations of vegetables, grains, cooking methods and textures.

This salad was one of those finer combinations. I made a big batch of it on a Sunday night. We had it as a side dish with baked snapper that evening and I had it for lunch the following two days. It held up perfectly.

April 1, 2013

Eggplant and Butternut Squash Bake

eggplant and butternut lasagna

I know, I know. I’m the worst.

I haven’t written. I’ve been in a hole of nine-to-five-ing. During the week I’ve been getting up to exercise at 6 am and not getting back home until almost 7 pm.

I’ve been cooking all along, but mostly after the sun is almost gone and there’s no pretty light. The food itself  hasn’t been the cutest. It’s been nourishing combinations of vegetables that don’t necessarily look that great, but it’s exactly what I need.

And eggs. There’s been a lot of eggs consumed.

On the weekends, I’ve been cooking too – and even taking a few pictures of the process. But mentally I’ve just been too lazy to put words to paper/screen. That’s real life.

I’m going to do better. I just need to find a new rhythm to my writing, cooking and photography that fits in with my real person job.

It’s a work in progress, but I’ll get there.

With the late summer and early fall weather we’ve gotten both butternut squash and eggplant in our vegetable delivery box for a few weeks in a row. I’ve cooked these two together in quite a few ways – with Moroccan spices in the slow cooker and roasted on a baking sheet. With quinoa, atop a bed of greens, with lashings of sriracha, and with a poached egg on top.

I would never necessarily think to put these two vegetables together, but they’ve been a surprising hit. They’re meaty and filling, complex and satisfying – the butternut squash brings a sweetness and the eggplant, an earthiness.

I thought about calling this a pasta-less lasagna but I landed on Vegetable Bake. The layering aspect along with the ricotta, pesto and tomato sauce is totally reminiscent of lasagna, but calling a pasta-based dish pasta-less is just straight up inconsiderate.

February 1, 2013

Slow Cooker Moroccan Eggplant

voraciousvander -eggplant

Oh hey slow cooker, hey.

You’re looking really great over there on the counter, all warm and stuff.

But not too warm that you heat up the whole dang apartment like that gauche oven. No. You’re super classy and independent  You take your time, do your job well and I don’ t even have to supervise you.  You’re like the perfect job candidate.

Sorry.

I was just…ah, having a fake conversation with my slow cooker to provide a weird/funny introduction to a recipe that I cooked in my slow cooker. NBD, guys.

Slow cookers make me think of meaty stews and thick soups, so at first, they don’t really seem to fit in with summer cooking. But they’re actually pretty perfect for summer (and obviously winter, spring, and fall.) No oven, no stove. Just toss a bunch of things in there, leave it alone, and come back to find a whole meal of cooked food!

Great right?

I love our slow cooker, it’s easy to clean and takes everything from pork neck to big summer eggplants to flavor nation.

January 8, 2013

Vegetable Paella

Food 2012 062

So 2013, this is happening!

Resolutions are in full force – are you sticking to yours so far?

I took a look back some of my cooking goals for 2012 to see what I actually accomplished.

Making my own yogurt didn’t happen, and I definitely need to learn more of my Dad’s seafood secrets. But I did make frozen things and, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve made a paella that I’m happy to share with you today.

Please please please tell me you’re not on a juice cleanse. Then you wouldn’t be able to eat paella with me.

The thought of a juice cleanse brings back memories of my job as an advertising assistant for the most serious of all fashion magazines. Picture irritable, high-powered women in an underfed, over-caffeinated state. Juice and stress and terror go hand in hand in hand in my brain. Just say no.

July 18, 2012

Greek-Style Vegetable Casserole

I grew up in a house where dinner wasn’t complete unless there was something green on the plate – or at least something colorful and nutrient-dense. Some days it was sautéed spinach or steamed broccoli or roasted bell peppers, but most often it was a salad.

This meal standard has quietly followed me into adulthood (with the exception of a hardcore grilled cheese phase in college) – I find myself always searching for that all-important color on my plate.

Sydney winter has got me craving warm vegetable dishes in the place of the usual salad. This recipe for a baked Greek-style vegetable casserole is perfect for all sorts of vegetables (and for cleaning out the crisper drawer) – topped with feta and dill, it’s comforting and vegetable-packed with a robust Greek flavor.

It makes the perfect side dish for fish or meat, or simply have it as a meal on its own with some crusty bread or rice. A fried egg on top never hurt anyone either.

Greek-Style Vegetable Casserole
adapted from Bon Appetit
Feel free to swap the eggplant for zucchini, the potatoes for sweet potatoes, and add or subtract any vegetables you’d like.

- 1 small-medium eggplant (or half a large one) cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) wedges
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) wedges
- 1 large carrot, cut into rounds
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) strips
- 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 1 14-ounce (400 gram) can peeled whole tomatoes, cut into quarters or cherry tomatoes with juices
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
Heat oven to 450 F/ 230 C
Place eggplant, onion, and 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Season with salt. Transfer to a large baking dish (9×13″ or larger) and roast until the eggplant is slightly dried and beginning to turn brown, 12–15 minutes. Set eggplant and onion aside.
While eggplant is cooking, toss remaining 2 tablespoon oil, potatoes, carrot, red pepper, green beans, tomatoes with their juices, garlic, lemon juice, and oregano in a large bowl. Season with salt.
Place mixture in the same baking dish and top with roasted eggplant and onion. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and stir vegetables. Bake until pan is nearly dry and potatoes are tender and beginning to brown, about 25–35 minutes longer.
Sprinkle dill over the vegetables and let casserole sit for 10 minutes. Garnish with feta and serve.
June 28, 2012

Eggplant Sun-dried Tomato Spread

I got two plump eggplants in my vegetable box last week, which I thought was odd…considering it’s winter here. This week I got fresh peas. And strawberries. And brussels sprouts. Aaaand I officially have no grasp on the Australian growing cycle.

Nothing to do but roll with it.

Make this spread to eat on toast or crackers, chicken or fish, over pasta, rice, quinoa, pizza or with eggs. Stir in some chickpeas or white beans to give it a protein boost.

If you like creamy eggplant and sweet roasted garlic, make this immediately. It’s easy to put together, packed with good Mediterranean flavors and tastes great warm, cold or at room temperature. And in all seasons.

Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Spread
(very slightly adapted from Gourmet)

- 1/2 head garlic
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch/1 cm pieces
- 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (3 ounces), chopped, plus 2 tablespoons tomato oil
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F/205 C.

Cut off and discard the bottom (the woody end) of garlic head to expose cloves. Brush top of head with olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil and roast until tender, about 40 minutes. Cool to warm, then squeeze garlic cloves from half of the skins into a small bowl, discarding skins. (Reserve the other half for other things like this or this.)

Meanwhile, toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in a large colander. Let sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze eggplant in a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, saute half of eggplant until browned and tender, about 6-10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Cook the other half of the eggplant in olive oil the same way, transferring to bowl.

Add 1 cup cooked eggplant to garlic and coarsely mash together. Stir into remaining eggplant with sun-dried tomatoes (without tomato oil), parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle with tomato oil and serve.

April 10, 2012

Eggplant Egg Sandwiches

I really felt like calling this post: “This Week in Breakfast Sandwiches” because I believe we should be talking about egg sandwiches on a weekly basis.

Like the grilled cheese and the BLT, egg sandwiches are part of the classic warm sandwich elite. They’re simple – but if done with a little extra care and flair, can be a real soul-warmer. And if the combination of sunny eggs, melted cheese and carbohydrates does not warm your soul, then we might not be friends.

Let’s discuss the main components of an egg sandwich, so we can be sure to get this right.

1. The bread. I’m partial to a fresh bread roll. Baguette, English muffin, or a couple of good slices of toast all work nicely too.
2. The eggs. Over-easy, sunny side up or scrabbled are the top cooking methods for sandwich purposes. Whatever your yolk consistency preferences, they MUST be hot upon serving. No one wants cold eggs in this situation.
3. The cheese. Cheddar is a classic. Anything with a good melt-factor and a bit of saltiness gets my vote. This one also goes hand in hand with the egg temperature: it MUST be melted.
4. The extras. Bacon, ham, sausage, tomato, salt, pepper, ketchup, hot sauce. All classics. But sometimes its good to mix it up.

What about the veggie folk (I’m talking vegetarian OR veggie-lover)? Sure, sometimes a little cheese with your eggs is enough – but there are times when you need a bit…more.

Enter the eggplant steak: thick slices of eggplant, cooked in a covered pan until tender and flavorful. These “steaks” are the extra for my new favorite egg sandwich. The key is cooking the eggplant until it’s silky but still maintains its meaty structure.

Eggplant Steaks
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper

Slice eggplant into 1-2 inch/2.5-5 cm thick circles.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Place eggplant circles in a single layer in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side and flip. Cover with a lid and bring the heat down to low. Cook for 10-12 minutes covered, flipping occasionally and adding a tablespoon or two of water if the eggplant is burning at all.

By trapping the natural steam from the eggplant, you end up with well-cooked, silky eggplant. You can store the steaks in the fridge for 2 or 3 days and heat up when you’d like to use them again.

My sandwich: fresh multigrain bread roll, split in half + 2 warm scrambled eggs + melted aged Australian cheddar + eggplant steak + sea salt + ground pepper

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