Early Fall Tagine
Amazed and slightly shocked that so far the best part of my pregnancy has been the third trimester. The HG is mostly under control and while my back is sore, it’s amazing the energy boost that comes with not getting sick multiple times a day. I’m still sticking with quick and easy meals, as I have no desire to tempt fate, and have also been bringing out my cookbooks more with the plan of finding easy to freeze recipes. This recipe is not one of those, but it is one that I had marked at the start of summer. It’s inspired by a recipe in Vegetarian Tagines & Couscous which is a fantastic book for people who don’t have a citrus allergy. However the basic ingredients are just that, so I can adjust and mess with as necessary – resulting in citrus (and nut) free treats for my household!
I served this with some leftovers lentils, but couscous would be the more traditional option – tho flatbread or rice would also work. I topped mine with a bit of Greek Yogurt (So Delicious Coconut) while Joe went the naked route this time. It was shortly after this that my tagine decided it was time to quit – lesson learned regarding gas burners and the importance of a good diffuser. Thankfully a new one just arrived (late birthday present) and I can’t wait to give it a whirl!
Imam Bayildi (Stuffed Eggplant)
Time for another installment of /52weeksofcooking – this time featuring a Turkish dish! I’ve had Turkish food a few times, but I’ll be honest in that it’s not a regular cuisine in our house tho after making this eggplant dish that might have to change! In order to figure out a recipe I searched the menu of a few local Turkish restaurants, to get an idea of what kind of vegetarian dishes were out there. I saw so many different eggplant dishes – it was insane! Now figuring out what kind of eggplant dish, that was a bit of a challenge. I debated doing an appetizer I found called Saksuka but in the end decided it was too close to the Shakshuka dish I’ve already done – which defeats the purpose of this challenge. So I decided to go with a stuffed eggplant dish, specifically Imam Bayildi. This dish features eggplant, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in addition to HUGE amounts of olive oil.
With our 4 eggplant sections I did half with the cheese and half without and for once Joe preferred the cheese-less option while I went for the cheesy ones! It’s not your normal cheese, and I think that’s part of the reason I enjoyed it – the texture actually reminded me of daiya. With that said, Daiya would make a great option for this and would probably go for a non-meltable in order to recreate the firmer texture this cheese had as the contrast was rather nice. Of course there is nothing wrong with going totally naked in the cheese department – gotta love flexible dishes! I served this up with some garlicky green beans and had planned to include some lentils but in the end decided there was already enough going on. In the future I might include some pre-cooked lentils in the eggplant stuffing in order to “beef” them up – again with the flexibility 😀
Aloo Baingan (or Spicy Potatoes with Eggplant)
Over the past week I’ve been reminded of the deep and undying love I have for my slow cooker. While it’s getting on in age, it’s dependable and loyal – constantly serving up delicious dishes with very little effort. This past year I received a new book just for this technological wonder “The Indian Slow Cooker“, and boy was I ever thrilled. I’ve made a few recipes directly from the book in the short time I’ve had it, and have already started adjusting dishes in order to better fit my family. Today’s recipe falls in to that second category, as the original dish required adjusting flavors halfway thru the cooking time – which (for me) negates the purpose of a slow cooker. When I use a slow cooker, I want to toss things in and forget about them until it’s time to eat. Maybe some slight adjustments at the end, adding cheese or breadcrumbs or similar topping, but mostly just want to be done with it as fast as possible.
This dish has a bit of a kick to it, but can be cooled down by dropping out the chilies or adding some plain yogurt to take the edge off. We both enjoyed ours as is, serving over top of some brown rice. One of these days I’m going to figure out how to make naan and then I’ll be all ready for a real Indian dinner.
Thai Coconut Curry
As part of my New Year’s pledge I’m trying to participate in all of the challenges on /52weeksofcooking – which means I have to actually finish the ones from 2013. Luckily I’m only two behind, and I’ve already figured out two of the ones for 2014 so I’m not horribly behind…or something like that! First up is from week 51: Thai! I’m a HUGE fan of Thai food and rarely get to enjoy it because of Joe’s peanut allergy (tho I’m rather certain he’s worth it). I debated making drunken noodles, but wasn’t able to find the right type of rice noodles so I decided to go with a simple yellow curry. I found a great recipe for a homemade yellow curry powder, tweaked it as needed to get the right spice level, and went to work.
This dish came together incredibly fast, and making the curry powder from scratch added a new level. I’ve always used store brand curry powder, and occasionally curry paste when I can find some that is fish sauce/shrimp paste free. Was also pleasantly surprised that making it myself wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Hello from Maryland! So hubby and I have rather successfully made the move from VA to MD – with only one broken glass and one broken mug (so far). My kitchen is mostly unpacked and ready to go, and with that I’m hoping to actually cook or bake something in there later today. This recipe comes from when I was staying at my mom’s house after reading more than a few articles from the Washington Post and other sites discussing eggplant “meatballs”. After comparing a few of them I decided to go with a vegan baked version, which turned out perfectly.
I’m sending this over the /52weeksofcooking for there $10 challenge. For four servings this dish cost: $2.63 (eggplant), $0.79 (pasta), $0.55 (garlic) for a total of $3.97. I’m adding an additional $2.00 to that total to account for the premade tomato sauce, fresh herbs, and the homemade bread crumbs using homemade bread – probably a higher guess than it actually is but math is not my thing. This brings to the total to $5.97 or just under $1.50 a serving – mission accomplished!
Spicy Chili Peanut 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.
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 🙂
Braised Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce
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.