Showing posts with label Eggplant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eggplant. Show all posts

Friday, September 20, 2013

Eggplant, Tomato and Zucchini Gratin with Parsley Breadcrumbs

I have tried writing about coming home for the last four weeks, unsuccessful as you can see. But we are back, and I am cooking again. It is good to be back after such a long hiatus. I might write about the rest of our trip on a later date and maybe about coming home, but right now I don't find the words and prefer to enjoy the moment instead of looking back.

I was so happy not to have missed all of summer's vegetable bounty. When we returned, tomatoes were just getting really juicy and sweet and lovely sprinkled with a little salt and the olive oil we brought back from Italy back in spring. And since we've been back in our apartment, we've had a bowl full of San Marzano tomatoes on our kitchen table. Ready to be eaten. Ready to be cooked down into a simple, garlicky tomato sauce. We made a lasagne with fresh tomatoes (which actually turned out dry, sorry mum) and today I made this gratin I found in Vegetable Literacy, a cookbook I bought just before leaving for Bolivia and haven't actually used it much since then (for obvious reasons).
Like Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty, Vegetable Literacy is divided into chapters according to vegetable family, which is very helpful when you find yourself with an abundace of summer squash, green beans or run out of inspiration in the middle of winter on how to use carrots or cabbage. And considering the fact that the gratin I made today turned out wonderfully, I think I am going to cook from this cookbook quite a few times in the future.

The recipe for the gratin can be divided into two parts, first you make a rataouille of sorts, cooking the eggplant and tomatoes into a thick stew while lightly steaming the zucchini slices that Deborah Madison makes you place on top of the sauce, keeping them from falling apart.
Then you scatter breadcrumbs over the ratatouille and after 25 minutes in the oven soft pieces of eggplant and tomato and zucchini with a herby crunchy topping emerge.

Eggplant, Tomato and Zucchini Gratin with Parsley Breadcrumbs
Adapted from a recipe in Vegetable Literacy, by Deborah Madison
Note: Deborah Madison has you top the ratatouille with slices of mozzarella, which in my opinion, does not much for the dish itsself, so next time I would omit the mozzarella and maybe stir in some parmesan with the breadcrumbs or keep this as is.

for the ratatouille
1 eggplant, quartered lengthwise and cut into slices
2 onions, cut into thin wedges
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried rosemary
4 San Marzano tomatoes (or 5-6 of regular round tomatoes), cut into dice sized pieces
2 smallish zucchinis, cut into slices the same width as the eggplant
salt and pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste

for the topping
1 clove of garlic
a bunch of parsley
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 tbsp olive oil

Before preparing the other vegetables, slice the eggplant and lightly salt the slices. After prepping everything else, dab the excess moisture off of the slices.
Preheat the oven to 375°F/200°C.
In a skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent and fragrant, then add the dried herbs and garlic and let cook for another minute or so. Then stir in the eggplant and tomatoes and sauté a minute or two before turning down the heat. Place the zucchini slices on top of the eggplant and tomato stew, cover the skillet and let cook, on low heat, for 20 minutes or so.
While the ratatouille cooks, prepare the topping. Putthe garlic and parsley into the bowl of a small food processor and give it a whiz until cut into smallish pieces, then add the breadcrumbs and pulse until the breadcrumbs are mostly green. Stir in the olive oil and set aside.
With two spoons remove the stew from the skillet into a baking dish and mix in the tomato paste with the liquid that remains in the skillet. Add this liquid to the ratatouille. Top everything off with the green breadcrumbs and bake for 25 minutes.

Serves 4.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thai Coconut Soup

I hope you all had a really lovely Christmas, with lots of good food, laughter and a little too much sugar.
I spent Christmas at my parents' house with my brothers and sister, my parents and grandmother, and every year we have a pretty calm and peaceful evening together. I meant to come back online to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but then I found myself off the net for the most part of the last few days.
I did some cooking, too. I prepared the nut loaf on Sunday, still in my kitchen, and while it smelled really lovely here, I was not that happy with it after reheating. The recipe still needs some tweaking before I feel good about sharing it with you. I expect a lot from my vegetarian meat loaf, and right now I am not confident that everyone at your table would be that excited about it.
The cauliflower cake did turn out really well, though. It may be seen around here later in the year (because right now I dont have any pictures, to tell the truth. I was not only disconnected from the net, I also did not bring a camera). How was your Christmas? Did you do any cooking?
I returned to my home yesterday, with little motivation to cook, or eat. Like last year around this time, I crave lighter meals. Last year I made this gingery noodle soup, a perfect remedy for after the days, and weeks before them, of feasting on everything heavy and sweet.

Soup sounded fitting today, but I really wanted to try something different after making a variation of the noodle soup quite a few times over the course of the year. Leaving through my cookbooks I settled on a vegetarian version of Tom Kha Gai, the Thai soup usually featuring chicken. A light coconutty broth sounded just about right to tie together lighter eating and the sweet delights served at Christmas.

Thai Coconut Soup
Note: I used a combination of beans and eggplants here, and you can see fresh green pepper in the pictures above. Use whatever vegetables you can find or have on hand, though)

500ml coconut milk
thumb sized piece of galangal, or ginger if you can't find galangal, sliced
4 dried kaffir lime leaves, or 2 2-inch strips lime rind
2 lemongrass stalks, remove the outer leaves and cut into thirds
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups water
2 handful green beans
2-3 Thai eggplants, cut into wedges
8 ounces firm tofu, cubed, or seitan, or vegetarian chickn substitute
1-2 Thai peppers, sliced thin
1 scallion, green and white part, thinly sliced
1 can straw mushrooms
juice of 1/2 lime
fresh cilantro, as much as you want
1 teaspoon salt

In a large pot combine the coconut milk, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass stalks, garlic cloves and water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the beans and eggplant, your protein of choice, the peppers, the sliced scallion, the straw mushrooms and the lime juice. Cook for another 5 minutes, serve with the chopped cilantro. (I usually do not stir the cilantro in before serving, because I like to reheat the soup and the cilantro does not take that well.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Warm Farro Salad with Eggplant, Zucchini and Tofu

I have the interesting habit of carrying cookbooks with me and reading them like "real" books. And I dont me memoir style cookbooks with one or two recipes thrown in between lots of writing. I love to read recipes, and their discriptions. To look at the pictures, too, but I found myself doing this even with books that have little photographs inside.

Today I had Isa Chandra Moskowitz' Appetite for Reduction with me, and on my one hour commute to work and back I read the whole book from front to back. Reading cookbooks always leaves me hungry, and inspired, too.
While today's recipe was inspired by Appetite for Reduction, there is no particular recipe that I adapted from it. Rather I was inspired to use less oil in my cooking than I usually do, and I was surprised that it actually really worked well.
Cooking eggplant usually involves lots of oil, it can soak it all up with no problem. And preparing tofu usually involved more oil than I wanted to admit, too. Not anymore, I was really happy how this all turned out and how the resulting salad was that much lighter and fresher than it would have been otherwise.

The leftovers are going to come to work with me tomorrow, just take it out of the fridge at least an hour before you plan on eating it, grain salads are much better at room temperature than cold, IMHO.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Eggplant Antipasto

I told you, eggplants have a special place in my heart. Right next to the one for Goat's cheese. When I saw the recipe for a eggplant antipasto on Delicious Days, I put it in my Tapas recipe folder and knew I wanted to make it soon.
Yesterday I did not have to work. I had all morning to myself, and I spent it in the kitchen. The first thing I made, was a plum butter, after having been inspired by Deb. Then I made this easy antipasto. I just knew it had to be perfect. And it is. It's garlicky, lemony, a bit spicy. The herbs add lots of flavor, and I just love the mix of textures: The soft flesh of the eggplant and it's leathery skin. I let them marinate for the whole day and brought them to a party in the evening. They were gone in a very short amount of time.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stuffed Eggplants

I told you about my love for eggplants just a while ago. Today I planned on cooking "Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans" out of Heidi's book Super Natural Cooking. I planned on buying chard, but ended up buying a cute little eggplant. I planned on making the beans with eggplant instead of chard.

I cooked my beans on low heat, for a little bit too long. My beans were mushy, no chance turning them into "crusty". I decided to puree the beans and use them as a sauce for pasta, with eggplant chunks that I sautéed in olive oil. But then I cut the eggplant in half and decided that it was perfect for filling. I sprinkled some oats, pepper and piment d'espelette (a souvenir from my holidays) on top and put them in the oven. That's how I usually cook, and I tried really hard to follow a recipe. There must be something wrong with me...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eggplant Love

The eggplant. I don't like its name in English, the German or French "aubergine" sounds a lot nicer and highlights its beautiful color. We never had eggplant at home when I grew up, now I buy lots of them. Eggplants are one of the vegetables I buy out of season. I can live without tomatoes, without asparagus, without strawberries, just about anything, but you just can't replace the eggplant in my kitchen. We like to make a Moroccan tajine with chickpeas and eggplant here (recipe coming soon) and lately we began roasting them in the oven. The following is not a real recipe. But we already had it several times this year and it is just delicious.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Eggplants Calcutta

I bought a new cookbook a few weeks ago. There is something about cookbooks I just can't resist. I love books with a lot of images in them, mostly because I refer to my cookbooks as source of inspiration and rarely follow a recipe as it is.
My newest addition to my cookbook collection is "World Food Café" by Carolyn and Chris Caldicott. My boyfriend turned vegetarian a few months ago and I needed a cookbook with lots of interesting vegetarian recipes. (Actually I don't think I "needed" one, but hey, I somehow have to justify buying another cookbook, don't I?)

A few days ago I tried their Eggplant Calcutta. It is quite sweet, but the garlic and the cilantro give it a more complex flavor. Adding a lot of garlic is necessary here, without it it would be bland.
I changed a few things, so here is how I did it: