Tag Archives: eggplant

Nuts about You

Spicy Chili Peanut Sauce

Peanut Chili Sauce

For the most part my house is a peanut free place, since I find my husband functions best when not dealing with an allergic reaction.  However this move has us spending work days apart while I wrap things up in NoVa, and he starts his new position in Maryland.  Needless to say I have gone a bit peanut crazy, to include eating peanut butter straight out of the jar.  The other week I was doing a basic stir-fry when I decided to add some peanut butter to the dish, to see what would happen.  The result was incredible so I decided I had to replicate it and figure out how to get the perfect balance between the spicy chili and the delicious peanut butter.

Spicy Peanut Chili Sauce

Serves 4


1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Japanese eggplant, roll cut

1/2 lb bok choy, chopped whites and torn greens

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (or more to taste)

1 1/2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook 3 minutes or until garlic starts to turn golden. Add the eggplant and the white section of the bok choy and cook for 7-10 minutes, the eggplant should start to turn slightly brown and become soft.
  2. Meanwhile mix the rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, and chili sauce. Once the eggplant is soft add the sauce along with the bok choy greens and toss well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then stir and taste - adding more of the chili, soy sauce, or peanut butter as needed.
  3. Serve over brown rice or soba noodles and enjoy!


If sauce is too salty or spicy add vegetable stock or water, 1/2 tbsp at a time until desired taste is reached!


The first time I made this dish I wasn’t sure how things were going to go, but learned once again that randomly experimenting with ingredients can produce spectacular results.  One tip, if using creamy peanut butter make sure to add some fresh peanuts to the dish in order to keep the satisfying crunch!  I’m sending this over to 52weeksofcooking for their nuts week, which I’m thankful fell during the time when my hubby was out of the house 🙂

Trust in Me

Braised Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce

Braised Garlic Eggplant

Eggplant is a standard ingredient in my house, it can be cooked in so many ways and essentially goes with everything.  However I tend to always prep it the same way – pressed – and cook it one of two ways: stir fry or baked.  I’ve branched out once before with poached eggplant and wanted to do that again, even it meant having pasta on hand just in case.  So I searched the internet, and my cookbooks, and decided to give braised eggplant a whirl after seeing claims of a softer more flavorful dish.  It’s closer to how eggplant is cooked in most Oriental restaurants and I liked the idea of the eggplant absorbing more sauce, and with that more flavor.  This cooking method also meant I needed to salt my eggplant, instead of pressing it, to insure it was as “dry” as possible for maximum sauce.

Trust in Me

serves 4


3 Japanese (Ichiban) eggplant, roll cut


2 tbsp vegetable oil

5 garlic cloves, diced

1 tsp ginger, diced

3 scallions, diced

4 shallots (green onions), diced - whites and greens

1 thai chili, chopped

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp water


  1. Salt the eggplant in a strainer and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile chop and prep the remaining vegetables.
  2. Heat the oil in a large flat bottom saute pan. Add the eggplant and cook for 7 minutes, or until eggplant is soft. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and continue to cook for another 7-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile puree the white parts of the shallots with the chili, soy sauce, and rice vinegar - forming a sticky paste.
  4. Add the paste to the eggplant along with the water. Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes then add the green tips of the onions stir and Serve!

Ever Wanted

Navratan Korma

Navratan Korma

Every now and then I tend to bite off more than I can chew when it comes to blog challenges, and this week’s r/52weeksofcooking is a prime example.  The theme this week was Indian which is a cuisine I’m familiar with and have done a few times in the past.  However I wanted to try something different so instead of my standard tomato based curry I decided to attempt a yogurt based dish, and then go the extra step in making it vegan.  I researched a variety of different dishes before finally deciding on Navratan Korma which translates to Nine Gems Curry.  For my nine gems I settled on: peas, green beans, Indian Eggplant, green bell pepper, tofu (or paneer), Indian red chilies, shallots, cashews, and carrots.  I debated about using cauliflower or broccoli but it’s still too early in the season for them and couldn’t find any at the local market.  Needless to say this is a very (very!!!) prep-heavy dish with lots of cleaning and cutting.

I started prep work with the tofu in order to give it time to press before moving on to the eggplant, for similar reasons, and then all the remaining vegetables.  To figure out the right spices I looked at a variety of online recipes before finally settling on the below combination.  For a more traditional dish use paneer in place of tofu, just keep it mind it will cook a lot faster than tofu and might require additional vegetable oil in order to brown.

Ever Wanted

Serves: serves 5-6


2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp cumin seed

1/4 tsp cardamon seeds

1/4 tsp amchoor powder (mango powder)

1/2 tsp tumeric

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tsp ginger, shredded

3 scallions, diced

1/2 tbsp garam masala

1 lb of tofu, well pressed and drained (can also sub paneer)

4 Indian eggplants, sliced and salted

1 cup spring peas

1 cup green beans, tipped and halved

1/4 lb carrots, cut in to 2inch pieces

1 green pepper, diced

2 Indian red chilis, diced and seeded (optional)

1 cup coconut milk (plain or original - can also used canned version)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used So Delicious Coconut - but Almond or Dairy would work as well)

1/4 cup cashews (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute dish over medium heat. Once hot add the seeds, spices, garlic, scallions, and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes or until cumin seeds start to split stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  2. Add the tofu and cook for 10 minutes, turning regularly so tofu browns on all sides. Add the remaining vegetables and stir well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once to prevent sticking.
  3. Remove lid and add the coconut milk and yogurt. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Serve hot over coconut (or regular rice) or with fesh Naan topping the dish with cashews (optional)

I served the cashews only on top of mine since I couldn’t find a bag that was marked in such a way to indicate it was 100% peanut free.  This dish might have taken a while to get started but it’s incredibly quick to come together and delicious – making all the cutting worth it!  I also have a feeling this dish would work well in a slow cooker and look forward to testing that theory shortly.

Note: I’m submitting this to the So Delicious Dairy Free Recipe Contest

So Many Things

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

Some recipes come together in no time flat, first or second time cooking it and things are good to go.  Other recipes take a fair amount of time or even, as with today’s recipe, a couple of years.  I’ve been a fan of Baba Ganoush since the first time I had it at a friend’s house.  Everything about baba ganoush is perfection, the creamy texture and smooth eggplant flavor and the slight hint of something nutty.  I have been trying to recreate this delicious dip ever since and it has always fallen flat – a victim of too much oil, or not enough tahini, or undercooked/overcooked eggplant.  Every attempt was recorded, with notes of how to improve it as well as researching various websites and cookbooks for tips and tricks to make it better.  I decided to give it another go the other week for my Downton Abbey finale, figuring there were enough apps being planned that if it did flop I had my Garlic Feta dip as a back-up.    However I was FINALLY successful!  The dip game out smooth and rich and delicious – no oily aftertaste, no bitterness, and no leftovers!

Baba Ganoush

Serves: makes around 3 cups


1.5 lbs Italian Eggplants

5 tbsp EVOO, divided

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt (I used So Delicious but any plain variety will work)


  1. Preheat oven to 425. Half the eggplants lengthwise and lightly coat in 3 tbsp of EVOO. Place cut side down on a roasting pan and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, then scoop out the eggplant flesh and allow to cool.
  2. Once cool add the eggplant to a food processer, along with the remaining EVOO, garlic, sesame oil, and yogurt. Pulse until everything is well blended, then season to taste with salt and pepper (optional)
  3. Place in fridge for at least an hour and then enjoy!

It might have taken a far amount of mistakes to wind up with this recipe, but it was well worth it!  The best part about this dip is how you can use it as a sandwich filling assuming you have any left.  I also realize this is not the traditional method, but I find that tahini paste has a strange aftertaste so I use the combintation of sesame oil and Greek yogurt to recreate the nutty taste of the paste.

Empty Tables



Create a meal inspired by music – that was the assignment this week from /food52 and one I was perfectly comfortable with.  Music has always been a big part of my life, from my dancing days to singing in the choir to singing along with the radio.  Some of my earliest memories are of making up dances with sisters – complete with a doll audience and re-purposed dance costumes.  Since starting my blog I have picked song titles to go along with my recipes and occasionally have decided to cook something based on hearing a certain song.  For this challenge I wanted to do something BIG, something that would push me in some way while still remaining true to the challenge.  So I started thinking about my favorite songs, eliminating those that had already been used, and focusing on ones that really have meaning.  In the end I decided to go with a song that I first heard when I was in elementary school watching the Today show with my mom.

The 10th Anniversary cast of Les Miserables was being interviewed and while I was originally completely transfixed by Lea Salgona’s Eponine the tall, dark, and handsome (curly hair!!!) gentleman next to her was extremely distracted.  During the interview he gave a quick demo of Marius’s solo and I was sold – from that point on I was a Les Miserable fanatic.  While I have featured lyrics from On My Own before, which I was convinced was my “theme song” during High School, I decided to focus on the song that sold me on the  musical.   Marius sings “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” after realizing he is the lone survivor of his friends.   I wanted to create the type of meal that might have been served in the cafe, at that table in the corner…if the guys were vegetarian.


serves 4-5


4 tbsp EVOO, dived

1 large American Eggplant, sliced 1/2 in thick

1 green pepper, sliced 1/2 in thick

2 tsp thyme

1 tsp rosemary

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 zucchini,sliced 1/4 in thick

1 yellow squash, sliced 1/4 in thick

2 portabella mushrooms, sliced and gilled

2 tbsp red wine

14 oz can diced tomatoes (or 4 large tomatoes if in season)

salt and pepper (to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Toss the green pepper and eggplant in 2tbsp of EVOO and layer on a roasting pan. Cook for 30 minutes, turning once. Set aside
  3. Meanwhile heat the remaining EVOO in a large saucepan over medium heat, along with the dried spices. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently, then add the garlic, zucchini, squash, and mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring a few times to prevent sticking, then add the roasted vegetables.
  4. Add the red wine along with the tomatoes, then cover and allow dish to simmer for 20minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!


wild mushrooms - such as Italian brown - can be used in placed of the portabella for a more woodsy taste


I served this with some left over noodles and crusty bread since I didn’t want any of the sauce to escape.  This might not be the most traditional ratatouille recipe out there, but it was warm, comforting, and perfect for sharing with friends.