Monday, July 2, 2012

Baked Eggplant with Mushroom-Tomato Sauce

This recipe is a blast from the past for us.  We made this pretty often in the first year or two of our marriage when I was beginning to expand my universe of taste.  Naturally my husband is always on board for some different veggie inspired dish.  There was so much anxiety in the kitchen because I had zero experience cooking in those days.  My Mom never really taught me anything useful in the kitchen because I "got in the way" so I never really bothered her anymore after that kind of treatment.  Between Andy and the internet, I learned my way around the kitchen.  Oh, I haven't stopped learning but there's more confidence.

A few things about this recipe though.  It has a relatively small ingredient list but this meal can be kind of lengthy to prepare because of the eggplant as you will read below.  There is some debate on the internet over the necessity to salt the slices of eggplant to leech the bitterness.  I do it anyway but, a lot of the bitterness in the eggplant is in the peel.

Baked Eggplant with Mushroom-Tomato Sauce

From: Cheap Healthy Good
Serves: 4

1 peeled eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (8-ounce) mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, divided
2/3 cup (about 3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1) Salt eggplant slices and place in colander on top of a plate. After 30 minutes, rinse eggplant thoroughly and pat down with paper towels.

2) Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.

3) Lay eggplant out on the sheet. Broil 8 minutes, flipping once, until both sides are a little brown.

4) Turn oven to 375°F. Coat a 1 1/2-quart baking dish (round if possible) with cooking spray.

5) In a large nonstick pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, and mushrooms. Cover. Saute 7 or 8 minutes, until soft, lifting cover to stir occasionally. Jack heat up to medium-high. Take cover off. Cook a few more minutes (not more than 4 or 5) "until liquid evaporates."

6) Pour 1/2 mushroom/onion mixture into baking dish. Place 1/2 of the eggplant in a layer on top of that. "Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon pepper." Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese.  Repeat layers, leaving off the mozzarella at the end. Cover (with tin foil or dish lid) and bake 60 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella and all the parmesan. Bake 5 minutes. Cheese should melt. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Peruvian Purple Potato Soup

It has been awhile.  There have been new recipes tried in the Hanton household and they were tasty.  I'm not going to lie though, there was was a point where any kind of cooking was met with a resounding "meh".  Thus, the husband wept over the sheer amount of money spent on takeout.  To get that spark back, I had to take a break from my usual rotation and step back from my favorite vegan/vegetarian cookbooks for a bit.  So I made some more "normal" kind of fare like pasta or tried cooking my own Chinese food. 

However the sirens call beckoned me back toward those beloved vegetarian/vegan books I had grown so fond of.  So to start us off once again, I am going to offer up this amazing spicy potato soup from Appetite For Reduction and it's PURPLE. Not "Barney the Dinosaur" purple but after cooking, it is more like an eggplant shade.  (Though Isa does suggest grating beet into the soup if you want to keep it vibrant purple.  I am not a fan of beet so I omitted that.) I would caution you on the amount of jalapeno you add to the soup.  I bought a large jalapeno from the store and let me tell you, my sinuses were very clear after dinner.

Peruvian Purple Potato Soup
From: Appetite For Reduction

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
2 pounds purple potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
A little grated beet, for color (optional)


Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onions, jalapenos, and bay leaves for about 7 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes more.

Add the potatoes, water, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat a bit to a slow simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree half the soup, or transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree. Be sure to let the steam escape between pulses so that it doesn't build up and explode all over you. If using a blender, return the pureed soup to the pot and mix.

Add the cilantro and lime, and taste for salt. Grate in a little bit of beet, using a Microplane grater if you've got one. Use about a tablespoon. Let the soup sit for at least 5 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve!

TIP: Peel the potatoes while the onions are sauteeing, or if you don't care about a little potato skin in your soup, live on the edge and forgo the peeling altogether.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's For Dinner? (Week 2, 1/9/2012-1/16/2012)

Yam & Black Bean Soup with Orange and Cilantro

Coriander Mushrooms with Cherry Tomatoes
Unfried Refried Beans
Steamed Broccoli

Curried Chickpeas & Greens
Naan Bread

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What's for Dinner? ( Week 1, 1/1/2012-1/8/2012)

This will be my weekly round-up of what I'm cooking for us. However this was last week's picks. I'll post the new one later or tomorrow.

Arabian Lentils & Rice Soup
Whole Wheat Pitas
Strawberry Spinach Salad

Chipotle Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts
Strawberry Spinach Salad

Mushroom Tibs
Ethiopian Millet
Ye'abesha Gomen

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Arabian Lentils and Rice Soup

For the holidays, I received a copy of Appetite for Reduction from my clever husband. It's brought to you by one half of the ladies of Post Punk Kitchen, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It's a low fat vegan cookbook however the recipes I've tried so far absolutely bursting with flavor. I highly recommend this fine cookbook to anybody who just loves cooking. (Please note I've never fallen into the vegan romance of tofu, seitan, or tempeh. In both PPK cookbooks I own, I ignore those recipes because they just do not taste good to me or my husband.)

The first recipe we tried was Arabian Lentils and Rice Soup. It's not very pretty to look at but the flavor is good for it's simplicity. Coriander and Cumin are the main spices of this dish but that's all it really needs. The lemon just brings it all together. Serving it with pitas is suggested but Andy liked it without them.

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Arabian Lentils and Rice Soup
From: Appetite For Reduction
Serves: 4

2 tsp. Olive Oil
1 Medium Sized Onions, diced small
6 Garlic, chopped
Dash of pepper
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Ground Coriander
1 1/2 c. Carrots, diced
1 c. Dried Red Lentils,
6 c. Vegetable Broth
1/2 c. Brown Basmati Rice
1 tsp. Lemon Zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pre-heat 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the olive oil for about 4 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic, pepper and salt. Saute for another minute. Add in the spices, stirring for 15 seconds to toast them slightly.

Add in the carrots, rice, lentil, zest and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Depending on your rice, could be 15 minutes or less. Stir occasionally to keep the soup from burning on the bottom. If necessary, thin soup with a little water. Add lemon juice and taste for seasonings and salt. Let soup rest for 10 minutes or so to bring out the flavor. Serve with pitas or alone.