Monday, October 31, 2011

Eggplant Bhartha with Saffron Quinoa

This is one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes. I've been buying eggplant at the farmer's market, but then am stumped to think of what to do besides tossing it with pasta. I've always got peas in the freezer and grains in the pantry, so this dish came together in a matter of minutes. I love cooking Indian food at home now that my spice rack is stocked with traditional spices. It's easy to adjust the heat level, you can serve it with whatever grain you'd like, and best of all, it's a fraction of the price for a lot more food.

I loosely used this recipe, mostly as a guide for the spice amounts, which I then adjusted to my tastes. I also roasted the eggplant, then tossed it in the sauce. I served this with saffron laced quinoa, the saffron just added a touch of flavor and made it a little more than just plain quinoa. Get to the market and buy up the last of this season's eggplant so you can make this dish soon!

Eggplant Bhartha with Saffron Quinoa
adapted from this recipe

1 medium eggplant, diced
2 tbsp. EVOO, divided
Salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground corriander
1 tsp. garam masala
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 c. frozen peas

optional garnishes: plain yogurt, cilantro
2 c. prepared quinoa tossed with a pinch of saffron threads

Preheat oven to 400*
Toss eggplant with EVOO, salt and pepper on a baking sheet.
Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender and beginning to brown on the edges.
In a nonstick skillet over medium, saute' onion and garlic in 1 tbsp. EVOO until onions begin to brown.
Add tomatoes, spices and peas. 
Bring to a simmer, taste and adjust seasonings.
Add eggplant, stir gently until combined, serve with quinoa. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Temp-fakin' (Tempeh Bacon)

It seems like bacon fever has calmed down a bit in the past few years. For a while, it was everywhere, on cupcakes, donuts, cookies, in chocolate and even ice cream. I can't say that I love bacon that much to eat it in ice cream, but there are several dishes I've had to forego over the years as a vegetarian. Sure, there's fake bacon out there, but it's full of chemicals and who knows what else. 

I saw tempeh bacon at Whole Foods, and though I'd give it a try. Then I saw it was double the price of regular tempeh, so I took the challenge on and tried making my own. I can't say this tastes exactly like bacon, but boy is it close! My husband even commented that it smelled like bacon as I was cooking. Since coming up with this recipe, I've used it in many dishes, like Hawaiian Pizza (shown below), wedge salads, with eggs and English Muffins, and on BLTs. It's a keeper for sure! 

Temp-fakin' (Tempeh Bacon)

1 package of plain tempeh, sliced into strips
2 tbsp. EVOO
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder (or smash a clove and leave it in the marinade)

Whisk together EVOO, syrup, soy sauce, liquid smoke, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
Add tempeh, toss to coat evenly.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 day, tossing occasionally.
Heat a skillet over medium-high, cook tempeh until golden crisp on each side, about 3-5 minutes (be careful not to burn it!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Curried Butternut Squash

Simplicity is key these days, as are meals that sit for five minutes or two hours. Just when I am about to take a bite of food, I hear a crying baby, and dinner is set aside for who knows how long. I try to tell Violet that if I don't eat, she won't eat, but she doesn't quite grasp that concept yet! 

Well, butternut squash have finally made their presence known at the farmer's market! I grabbed three last weekend, and then had some brainstorming to do. It had cooled down a bit here, to like, the 70's! I snapped up the opportunity to make a warm bowl of something squashy, and this is what I came up with! It's really simple, but packed with flavor. The quinoa works as a hybrid protein/starch to make this a well-rounded meal. I did throw a dollop or yogurt on right before eating, which I highly recommend! 

Curried Butternut Squash

1 tbsp. EVOO
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 4-5lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-2 c. vegetable stock
Quinoa, Rice or another grain for serving

Optional toppers:
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. minced cilantro
1/4 c. chopped cashews

Heat a soup pot or deep skillet over medium heat.
Add EVOO, onions and garlic.
Season with salt and pepper, saute' until onions are just golden, about 5 minutes.
Add butternut squash, curry powder and cinnamon, season with salt and pepper, stir well.
Add 1 c. vegetable stock, cover and turn to low heat.
Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and reduce liquid as desired, or add more if necessary. 
Taste and adjust all seasonings.
Serve over quinoa, top with yogurt, cilantro, cashews, etc. 

Note: For an added burst of sweetness, add 1/4 c. golden raisins just before simmering

Monday, October 3, 2011

Honey Spiced Madeleines

I have a problem with honey. Specifically, honey in glass jars. A month ago when I was at the farmer's market, I bought a large jar of Gallberry honey (my favorite, which I discovered when I went to a Jewish Group's Honey Tasting for Rosh Hashanah at Native Sun). When I had about 1/4 of the jar left, my sticky fingers dropped it and it smashed all over the kitchen floor. That was fun to clean up!

Luckily I remembered I had a jar of honey in the pantry that my sister brought me from Greece recently. Yes, this is the same sister who brought saffron from Morocco, chocolate from Switzerland, and even went to France just for me because I wanted Herbes de Provence. For the record, she's in Copenhagen right now earning her masters degree!

So anyway, I saw these Madeleines on a few blogs because they were chosen for a Dorie cooking group. I love Madeleines, but rarely think to make them. The pans just collect dust in my baking closet, such a shame! These madeleines were a nice change from a classic, delicious with a small cup of coffee. Just don't forget when you make madeleines, the way to get the signature hump is by letting the batter chill as long as possible! I went 5 hours before I absolutely had to bake them!

And after I made these madeleines, sure enough, I dropped my jar of Greek honey on the floor. Seriously, I about cried. Plastic honeybears it is, for me anyway...

I'm simply going to link Dorie's blog, because she has some great tips that go along with these, and I think her blog is worth reading!