Archive for ‘Eggplant’

August 9, 2012

Roasted Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Stacks with Pesto and Feta

This is a delicious Greek-Mediterranean fusion recipe that features the beautiful produce of summer. Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, make sure that each ingredient is the freshest and best quality you can find! Be careful not to over-season, since the feta is naturally salty. Although this is best eaten right away, you can make a big batch and store in the fridge for about a week. This would be great in a sandwich or wrap for a weekday lunch or as a quick snack.

 

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Adapted from Gluten-Free Veggie Gourmet

  • Olive oil
  • Basil Pesto
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 3 oz feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup), more if you desire
  • Garnish: finely shredded fresh basil leaves

 

1. Preheat oven to 450F and line a baking pan with foil.

2. Cut off bottoms of eggplants, then cut 1/4″ thick crosswise rounds. Cut 1/3” thick rounds from the tomatoes.

Gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from DC’s Eastern Market

3. On baking pan, arrange the eggplant rounds side by side. Lightly brush eggplant rounds on both sides with olive oil to keep the eggplant moist and to prevent it from sticking to the foil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes.


4. Spread each eggplant round with pesto, then top each with the largest tomato rounds. Top the tomato rounds with feta. Make another layer with eggplant rounds, pesto, tomato rounds, and feta, then top with remaining eggplant and feta.

Roasted eggplant

Stacks on stacks on stacks!

5. Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until heated through and cheese on top is softened. Transfer stacks to 4 plates and drizzle plates with olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste.

Happy Eating!

 

Love,

Yang

August 8, 2012

Sichuan Eggplant

This is a classic Sichuan dish that is spicy, sour, salty, and sweet all at the same time. You can find Sichuan peppercorns at a Chinese grocery store on the cheap, or you can order them online. The Sichuan peppercorns give this dish its characteristic tingly sensation and spicy flavor.

Tip: To grind the Sichuan peppercorns: Toast peppercorns in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until very fragrant and smoking, 3 to 5 minutes (be careful not to let them burn). Grind, while still hot, to a powder in an electric coffee/spice grinder (or a blender/food processor). If you want, you can sift through a fine sieve, discarding hulls.

 

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Adapted from Appetite for China

  • 1 1/2 pounds Asian eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock, or substitute water
  • 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns

1. Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each length into quarters. Cut each quarter in somewhat substantial, but still bite-sized, cubes (about 1 1/4-inch to 1 1/2-inch cubes).

2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl the pan to coat the base and sides. Add the eggplants and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

 

5. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix well. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the eggplant to fully cook and the sauce to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon.

6. Remove from the heat, plate, and sprinkle scallions on top.

Happy Eating!

 

Love,

Yang

July 11, 2012

Panang Curry with Tofu, Eggplant, Potatoes, Sweet Red Bell Pepper, and Fresh Basil

I’m a fiend for curry and Thai curry is one of my favorites. There are many different Thai curries (Massaman, Panang, Red, Green, Yellow, Karee, Kaeng Kua, Khing, etc.), each with a unique flavor that stems from the different ingredients in their pastes. If I was an authentic Thai chef, I’d grind my spices in a pestle and mortar and crack a coconut and strain its milk. Let’s just say I’ve tried to make authentic curry before in just this manner and ended up with multiple bruises on my forehead and a chipped countertop. Since I’m a college a student with no time, the following recipe is one that I’ve made up over the years and is as convenient as can be without sacrificing taste. You can use any protein you want (chicken, pork, beef, seafood, duck, etc.) and any vegetables or fruits you want (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, green beans, etc).

Again, this recipe is a simple concept where you can mix and match to find your favorite combination:

Concept: curry paste + coconut milk + protein + vegetables = delicious curry.

This is a great recipe for making a huge batch and reheating the leftovers throughout the week. Curry will taste even better the next day when all of the flavors have had time to mingle. A batch of curry will last for about a week in the fridge.

If you’re watching your fat and calorie intake, you could use light coconut milk (best deal is at Trader Joe’s, $0.99/can). However, this will make your curry runnier (since light coconut milk is essentially diluted coconut milk) and, in my opinion, less delicious. You could do 1 light can, 1 full-fat can to compromise, but from my own experience, just use the unadulterated coconut milk and eat less of it. Trust me, the taste and texture of your curry will be absolutely amazing and it will be worth it.

Chao Koh is the best authentic brand of canned coconut milk for foodies and Thai home cooks alike, and is available at Safeway. The next best brand is Thai Kitchen’s Coconut Milk, which is available at Whole Foods.

I always use Maesri brand curry paste, which I get from Asian grocery stores, but Thai Kitchen curry pastes are good, too. You can find those at Safeway and Whole Foods.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp of neutral oil such as canola, peanut, safflower, or vegetable

2 13 oz cans of coconut milk

1 can (4 oz, or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste (or any curry paste)

1 medium eggplant

3 medium-sized potatoes (or 6 small potatoes)

1 14 oz box of firm or extra firm tofu (spongy tofu, tofu gan, or any form of tofu will work, but firm will hold up better in the curry)

1 red bell pepper

1 small handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded

1. Heat up a medium to large pot to medium heat.

2. Stir fry 4 oz (or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste with 2 tbsp of oil.

3. Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir to integrate the curry paste with the coconut milk. While you’re waiting for the mixture to boil, chop the tofu into small 1/2 inch chunks.

4. When the mixture boils, add the tofu and stir thoroughly.5. While the tofu is cooking, chop the eggplant and potatoes into small 1/2 inch chunks.

6. Add another can of coconut milk and add the chopped eggplant and potatoes. If the liquid doesn’t cover the newly added eggplant and potatoes, add some water, but not too much, since the eggplant and potatoes will reduce down as they cook.

7. While the eggplant and potatoes are cooking, remove the seeds from the red bell pepper and slice the pepper into strips.

8. After 20 minutes, check to see if the eggplant and potatoes are tender by sticking a fork or chopstick in it. The potatoes should not be too hard or too mushy. If they’re too hard, let them cook for 5-10 more minutes.

9. Once the potatoes are tender, add in the chopped red bell pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, and then serve immediately over jasmine rice or by itself. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. If you like it spicy, you can also garnish with fresh red chilies.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

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