Posts Tagged 'eggplant'

Sesame Eggplant Stir Fry

So I’m running a marathon on Sunday,  my seventh!  I’m incredibly excited, even though I know there’s pretty much a 0.000032% chance that I’ll PR.  It’s okay, though.  I signed up way back in August when I had no idea what life with a baby would be like, and figured that it was a good goal to have for 7.5 months after having a baby.

On my 5ish mile run yesterday, my legs felt SO fresh and ready to run that it took some serious willpower not to just keep going.  I gotta save it all for the race, though.  I only did one 20-miler this training cycle, so there’s a pretty good chance I’ll crash and burn hard somewhere around mile 22 if I go out even a little bit too fast.

I’ve done a lot of runs on the treadmill lately but the weather has been better the past few days, so I’ve been running outside more.  It’s kind of nice to go from zoning out, staring at a TV playing the news at 5 AM to fresh air and great blue herons in the nice afternoon sun. I’ll take a little more of the latter.

We have a big bag of these little egg noodle nests in the cupboard, which I know are not the healthiest choice, but I love them.  They require a decent amount of oil to avoid turning into a giant yellow clump, so I don’t cook with them too often, but when I do, I try to add a lot of vegetables so there’s at least something  a little healthy going on. We’ve had a bunch of broccoli stalks sitting in the produce drawer for a couple weeks, and I’ve been promising Mike I’d use them and wooohoooo I actually did.  Finally.  I also roasted an eggplant, fried some tofu and sliced up a red pepper, so there was a pretty nice variety of flavors and textures.

Ellie and Mike impatiently watched my pre-dinner photo shoot.

Ellie REALLY wanted to try some of this, but she’s still doing mostly purees at this point.  They’re exciting purees, though! Red lentils with tomato and coriander, carrots with dill, and cauliflower with cumin – and she loves them all.  But she still was very intrigued by our food.


Soba with Eggplant and Mango

I had two fantastic runs this weekend.  First up: 10 miles on a beautiful path with Mike and Ellie.

I woke up kind of dreading the run and I was in a pretty crabby mood, but about 3 miles in everything was good again. It was warm, my legs felt good, and it was nice to be able to run and chat with Mike (who pushed Ellie in the stroller – she loved it too!)
Afterwards we stopped at 7-11 and nothing sounded better than chocolate milk.  I guess that whole “refuel with chocolate milk” marketing thing worked on me.  It was divine.

Sunday morning there was a 5K in Golden Gate Park. It was same course as a month or two ago (when I ran 21:56), so I was curious how it would go with kind of tired legs. The weather was perfect for running (as usual) and I felt nice an relaxed the whole race. I ended up snagging a fifth place finish in 21:08, my second fastest 5K ever. I definitely didn’t see that one coming.

I also finally got to meet Kristine, who totally killed it in her first 5K!

Sunday night I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, but this recipe sounded too good to pass up, and it ended up being pretty easy. I used regular eggplants, but next time I might switch to Japanese eggplants because they have thinner skin.

This recipe made plenty for both dinner and lunch the next day, and the mix of flavors was awesome: sour lime, smoky eggplant, sweet mango, and earthy soba. I added a chopped habanero pepper, but you can leave it out if you’re don’t want it super spicy.

(adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Baked Eggplant with Couscous and Yogurt

I guess all jobs are like this to some extent, but teaching really seems to be one with big ups and downs. On Tuesday I felt like the a totally awesome teacher. The activity went well, the kids were into it, and they all really seemed to get the concept (chemical and physical properties of matter). Yesterday was a different story. There was way too much drama (with 13 year olds, I guess that’s not really a surprise), a bunch of kids didn’t turn in their homework, and I just felt off all day.

It’s been that way in the kitchen lately, too. Some things come out better than expected, and others are flops. I’m trying to make more original recipes, but it doesn’t always work out very well. This beet salad was actually pretty awesome (roasted beets, toasted pistachios, goat cheese, orange zest)…

but a couple other things I tried this week were pretty lame. Fortunately there are still a million recipes on my to-try list, so I have somewhere to turn when I’m feeling less than inspired.

This kind of turned out to be more of a project meal than I planned for, so it’s a good thing I made it on a lazy Sunday (well, it was lazy after my 9.5 mile run…) The original recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi, who shares with Heidi Swanson the honorable distinction of being my food idol. I used whole wheat couscous instead of bulgur, and added chickpeas for some extra protein. My preserved lemons won’t be ready for a few more weeks, so I skipped that part. In the end, though, it was worth the hour or so it took to but this all together. Plus, we had leftovers for lunches the next day, which is always a huge win!

(adapted from Bon Appetit)

Spicy Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Sometime last week, I decided I wanted to run a mile on the track. I think I was still riding high on my better-than-expected 8K time, so it seemed like a good idea. I decided Sunday was the day, and didn’t think about it too much for a couple days.

Sunday morning rolled around and I was nervous. I really hoped I could run under 7 and not die. I know running a mile is never pleasant, expecially when you’re out of shape, which I still kind of am.

The track is a mile away so I ran over slowly as a warm up, then did a few strides once I got there. I felt pretty pretty decent and ready to go.

Lap 1: 1:39 Running fast is fun! Crap, I probably went out too fast

Lap 2: 1:45 Uh, yeah, went out way too fast. This sucks, and my stomach feels weird.

Lap 3: 1:47 I am so ready to be done. Why did I want to do this?

Lap 4: 1:42 OK at least I didn’t keep getting slower. Damn, I’m glad that’s over.

So, 6:53. I’m happy it was under 7, but there’s definitely a LOT of room for improvement. Especially considering that my 5K PR pace is 6:51. Definitely going to be incorporating speed work from here on out. I’m actually kind of excited to go and run some 400s next week.

This recipe was originally for pizza, but I had some leftover hamburger buns to use up, and Mike likes sandwiches even more than he likes pizza. I used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes with jalapenos to make the marinara, but I’m sure it would still be great with regular tomatoes as well (and you’ll definitely have lots of sauce left over).

(adapted from Erin’s Food Files)

Eggplant and Tofu in Miso Sauce

I guess I should come clean, since Mike called me out in the comments of the last post, and publicly admit that I went to Bi-Rite Creamery twice in less than 24 hours (and for those keeping count, yes, that’s 4 scoops of ice cream in less than 24 hours. Fortunately we decided that calories don’t count on your birthday weekend.)

Sunday happened to be an awesome event in the Mission called Sunday Streets, which meant that a few blocks of Valencia and 24th Streets were closed to cars. Because we were back in the neighborhood, it just made sense to go to Bi-Rite again. This time I got brown sugar ice cream with ginger caramel swirl, and cinnamon ice cream with pieces of snickerdoodle in it. There are no words.

But about this Sunday Streets business. It was such a cool event!

Apparently about 25,000 people came out to participate, including the mayor of San Francisco!

We also tried a new (to us) and outrageously good coffee shop called Ritual (1026 Valencia, San Francisco). Mike’s co-workers raved about it and it completely lived up to the hype. My decaf latte was PERFECT! It’s kind of overrun with hipsters, but I’ll let that slide…

This weekend (and particularly our dinner at Cha-Ya) really made me want to cook more Japanese vegetarian food. For the most part, it just seems so nice and light and healthy (which is particularly important after going a little overboard on ice cream and cake). I found this recipe in Color Me Vegan, modified the ratios a little bit, and added some tofu. Over brown rice and with a side of cucumber salad, it was a great weeknight meal.

(adapted from Color Me Vegan)

makes 4-6 servings

3 large Japanese eggplants (about 12″ long), cut into french fry-sized strips
2 14 ounce blocks extra firm tofu, drained and pressed to remove excess liquid
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup white miso
6 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the eggplant strips with the sesame oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for about 6 minutes, or until softened but not falling apart. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Cut the tofu bite-sized pieces about 1/2″ thick.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wide frying pan over medium high. Add the tofu (in batches if necessary) and cook until golden, shaking the pan often. Add the eggplant.

While the tofu is cooking, combine the miso, water, mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan and stir well. Bring to a simmer.

Remove the tofu, eggplant, and miso sauce from the heat and toss together. Serve over brown rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Curried Potatoes with Eggplant

This was Easter dinner. Or, the dinner I ate on Sunday, which happened to be Easter. Things have changed a little since I was 7 years old and Easter meant a frilly dress, jelly beans at church, lamb with mint jelly, and the fancy lace tablecloth on the dining room table. The last few years, Easter has pretty much just been like any other Sunday, with maybe a Cadbury egg or two.

After buying The Art of Vegetarian Indian Cooking on Sunday, I could not wait more than a few hours to cook something out of it, and just kind of randomly stumbled on this recipe out of the hundreds in the book. For years all the Indian recipes I made were pretty Americanized, and although I liked the food I made, it definitely wasn’t as good as what I could get at my favorite Indian place in Bangkok (the best Indian food I’ve ever had). This, however, was definitely FAR better than any Indian food I’ve ever made at home, and rivals the dishes I’ve loved at good Indian restaurants. There’s definitely a little prep-work involved, and I modified the spices to fit what I had on hand, but it actually comes together pretty quickly once everything is assembled. It’s rich, creamy, and flavorful, and I think I’m going to have to double the recipe the next time I make it!

And also, I’ve been meaning to revisit my running goals, since when I wrote mine I was pregnant but didn’t know it yet and they were:

1. Finish the Boston Marathon (not sure what my time goal is yet)
2. Run a sub 21 5K
3. Run a sub 45 10K
4. Run at least 2 trail races

Well. I guess I can put a check next to number 1, but as for the others, I think I’ll push those off to 2012 and make my goal for the rest of 2011 to be to run as long as I can through this pregnancy, and hopefully get back into it not too long after the baby makes her debut. We’ll see!

(adapted from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking)

3 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4″ cubes
1/3 cup plain yogurt (nonfat is fine)
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 habanero or serrano chili, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 t salt
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Set a steamer basket over simmering water and steam the potatoes until tender. Set aside, then steam the eggplant until tender, and set them aside.

Put the yogurt, ginger, chili, and coconut in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Stir in the garam masala.

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and fry until deep brown, then stir in the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until browning in places. Add the yogurt mixture, turmeric, coriander, eggplant, salt, and 1 1/2 tbsp cilantro.

Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, stirring well, for an additional 5 minutes, then serve garnished with remaining cilantro.

Eggplant and Chickpea Curry

I have some confessions.

I have not run at all this week. I’m so scared about my knee being messes up for Boston that I don’t want to chance it. But I’ve also decided not running means not working out at all, and I’ve only gone to the gym once since my run on Saturday. And I’m LOVING that extra hour of sleep.

I have been watching the Bachelor. And now I’ve been completely sucked in and I can’t stop (I don’t have a TV, but God bless hulu).

I have class every Tuesday night from 4:30 to 7:30 (after teaching a full day) and pretty much the only thing that gets me through is a grande skinny caramel latte.

I told myself I was going to start shooting in RAW and even got some processing software, but I still haven’t committed.

I didn’t read this recipe before starting. I assumed it would be a fairly quick dinner, but no…the first thing you have to do is roast a whole eggplant in the oven for 40 minutes, THEN wait for it to cool, and then proceed. Don’t worry, I changed it up so it should take about 45 minutes TOTAL, so you’re welcome!

This is a fairly close cousin of chana masala but with the eggplant and fire-roasted tomatoes (don’t skip those, trust me!) it’s definitely not the same. I loved it for dinner and even more as leftovers for lunch the next day!

(adapted from Fat Free Vegan)

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or other hot red pepper (or less if you don’t like spicy food)
about 2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or a can or two… there’s room for lots!)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp cup minced cilantro

Preheat oven to 400F. Drizzle some oil or spray nonstick spray in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan and add the eggplant.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until eggplant is soft.

While the eggplant is in the oven, heat a heavy pan or dutch oven over medium and add the oil. Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn golden and soft. Clear a spot in the center of the pan and add the cumin seeds. Wait for about 30 seconds, then stir them into the onions.

Add the coriander, turmeric, ginger, sugar, tomatoes, and cayenne. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the eggplant is ready (turn the heat to low if you need to wait more than a few minutes for the eggplant to finish).

Add the eggplant and return the heat to medium. Cook for about 3 minutes, then stir in the chickpeas and water. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Stir in a few pinches of salt, taste, and add more if necessary. Adjust spices if desired. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.

Millet and Tempeh Stuffed Eggplant

Yesterday was just one of those days. I knew there was pretty much nothing in the cupboards, but I was too lazy to stop at the store, leaving me with no choice but to try and throw some stuff together that was edible. Just before starting dinner I baked a loaf of Vegan Pumpkin Bread, so even if my experiment flopped, I wouldn’t starve.

I started with Japanese eggplants, which are just like regular eggplants except the skin is a lot thinner and there aren’t as many seeds. I actually like them a lot better than the regular kind, plus they are perfect for cutting up into little canoes, filling with stuff, and baking.

Once upon a time I was afraid to use oil, or pretty much any added fat. I thought I was a culinary genius at the time (look! no fat on this chicken! It’s so healthy!) when everyone around me must have been completely disgusted (Oh good, Cate baked some more rubbery, flavorless fat-free scones again. Oh joy, more dried out flavorless boneless-skinless chicken breasts). Sorry everyone, I’ve realized the error of my ways. Here’s proof:

Drizzling oil over the top helps keep the filling moist as it bakes and makes those beautiful little crusty parts on top that are so irresistable. Plus isn’t olive oil good for your heart or something?

I made a really simple mint and cabbage salad to go on the side: just slice some cabbage really thinly, toss with some chopped fresh mint, sprinkle with salt, and dress with olive oil and lemon juice. It’s best when it stands for about 15 minutes before you eat it.

And in other news, our reflective running stuff and headlamps have taken up permanent residence on the hook next to the front door. I guess it’s time to fully acknowledge that every single weekday run will now be in the dark. I was trying to figure out why this was such a hard concept for me to get used to and then it hit me: I have never had a full-time job before. This growing up and becoming a real adult stuff is kind of a pain sometimes.

Oh and because we were on the topic of leftovers recently, I wanted to show you two awesome things you can do with leftover millet (because this recipe calls for a cup and a half cooked millet, but it’s nice to cook up a bunch in the rice cooker and stretch it out over a few days):

1. Fried rice-style millet

Just make fried rice the way you normally would, but with millet instead.

2. Pizza millet

Heat up some cooked millet with some pizza sauce, then top with grated mozzarella.

It was while eating item #2 this afternoon that I realized I have a bit of a fork problem:

For the record, using a fork to juice lemons might seem like a good idea at the time, but the fork is the one that suffers.


4 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Japanese eggplants
1 1/2 cups cooked millet
1 8-oz package tempeh, cut into 1 x 1 x 1 cm cubes
about 3 tbsp lemon juice
5 Tbsp tahini
a few pinches sea salt
chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Cut the stem and leaf part off the end of the eggplant and cut each one in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds so you end up with a canoe shape. Arrange in a baking dish (I used a 9″ cake pan)

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a wide skillet and add the garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic just begins to turn golden (don’t let it brown!) then add the tempeh and saute until golden brown.

Toss the millet, tempeh, lemon juice, tahini, and salt together in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings, then pile into and on top of the eggplant halves. Drizzle evenly with 2 tbsp olive oil then bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplants are tender and the filling is golden.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little chopped parsley to serve.

Eggplant and Cashew Barley

Last night I came to the slightly painful realization that my photos have gotten incredibly boring. Food + white dish + white background over and over. And over. So today I went to the craft store (where I feel completely out of place because I’m not crafty in the slightest) and picked up some paper and fabric so I can spice up my pictures. My wonderful husband also moved the light box from the garage/basement up to a room at the front of the house that gets great light at dinner time, so I’m hoping this will improve my photo quality at least a little. I’m just going to let the picture above be one of the last of my “white phase.”

This dinner is incredibly flavorful, with an unusual combination of ingredients that work together surprisingly well: cardamom, cinnamon, mustard seeds, eggplant, roasted red pepper, cashews, and a little lemon. It sounds like a really weird mix, but trust me, it’s comforting and just exotic enough to get you out of the rut using the same flavors over and over (which you might not do, but I kind of end up relying on garlic, soy sauce and little else a lot of the time). Although the recipe calls for rice (and I have no doubt rice is great in it), I’m keeping my pearl barley kick going.

(adapted from Fresh Indian by Sunil Vijayakar)

1 1/3 cups pearl barley, soaked in warm water for 30-40 minutes, then drained
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 whole dried red chiles (like Chiles de Arbol)
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
1 medium eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp turmeric
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 lemon
1 red bell pepper, roasted and thinly sliced
1/2 cup cashew pieces
chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the shallots, mustard seeds, chiles, cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaf and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add the barley and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the eggplant and turmeric, mix to combine, then add the water. Stir in a few pinches of salt, then turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the water has absorbed and the barley is tender (if it’s not soft, add a little water and continue cooking).

Turn off the heat and let stand for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with lemon juice, pepper, cashews, and cilantro.

Baba Ghannouj

I make hummus all the time. I just love having it in the fridge as an easy snack, and it’s rare that I don’t have all the ingredients on hand. Baba ghannouj, on the other had, is a little more “special occasion” to me. The ingredients are pretty similar, with smoky eggplant rather than garbanzo beans, but the process is slightly more complicated.

There’s the charring of the eggplant that has to come first, and that takes a little more effort than just opening a can of garbanzos.

Some people recommend roasting the eggplant in a hot oven, others suggest putting it under the broiler. I will stick with the burner on my gas oven, even if it makes a little bit of a mess. The most crucial thing is to make sure the skin gets very charred, and the whole eggplant is very soft. Once that’s accomplished, the rest is easy! Like hummus, you’ll want to play around with the amounts listed. Some people like a lot of lemon, others prefer more garlic. When I have fresh mint around, I love to chop up a few leaves and mix them in to add another layer of flavor.

1 large eggplant
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp olive oil
fresh mint (optional)

Place the eggplant over a gas burner and turn every few minutes until all the skin is black and charred and the entire eggplant is very soft. Place in a bowl and cover with a clean towel. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scrape off and discard the skin (I like to use a paring knife to scrape it off). Put the eggplant into the food processor (if there are a lot of large seeds, throw them out, but most of the time I don’t bother).

Peel the garlic and mash it up with the salt in a small mortar and pestle. Once you have a smooth paste, add it to the food processor with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until smooth, then taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve garnished with fresh mint


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