Curried Stuffed Eggplant - Vegan

I haven't written in a while, I've been focusing on training for my half marathon and I've been concentrating more on what I'm eating and the nutritonal content of it, more than creativity of it. Boring, I know, but the perils of running 25 or more miles a week includes the added chore of ensuring you're eating enough of all the nutrients your body needs. It's a job and a half to get all the ratios correct and I know that in time it will all come together better. The plus side? I do feel a lot better, and I seem to have all the energy I need for whatever the day or workout will bring. 

Last night I made an excellent protein rich vegan AND gluten free dinner... It was so tasty! And while the recipe says four servings, my husband and I were very hungry campers so we ate the whole thing ;)  

 



Veggie and Lentil Stuffed Curried Eggplant 
 Makes 4 servings

 
  • 2 large eggplants, halved
  • ½ Cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 cups of Mushrooms, chopped
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach
  • 1 can of no salt added Roasted tomatoes
  • ½ cup of dried lentils, cooked
  • 1 cup of brown rice, or couscous
  • 2tbsp of Curry Powder
  • 1tsp of ginger
  • 1tsp of chili powder
  • ½ tsp of cumin
  • ½ tsp of turmeric
  • Chopped unsalted roasted peanuts (if desired)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil



Directions:

1.      Preheat oven to 425º.
2.      In a roasted pan with parchment paper, lightly spray or coat olive oil on the cut half of the eggplant. Place eggplant cut side down, and lightly coat outside of skin and salt. Place in oven for 30 min.
3.      Meanwhile, combine 1tbsp of olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, cauliflower, and cook over med-high heat until slightly softened and browned.
4.      Add curry powder, chili, cumin, ginger, turmeric and mix well with veggies, until aromatic.
5.      Add lentils, can of tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
6.      Remove Eggplant from oven, and using a spoon scoop out flesh, and set aside.
7.      Removed flesh can be cut into pieces and added to the tomato veggie mix.
8.      Stir rice into the veggie mix until well mixed.
9.      Using a spoon, fill each of the eggplant shells with veggie mix, and top with chopped spinach, and peanuts if using.
10.  Place eggplant back into the oven for 10 minutes at 450º
11.  Serve with non-fat Greek yogurt on top and crushed red pepper on the side.

Creamy Carrot Soup, Rosemary Ketchup and Chili Spiced Potato baked fry-chips

Today was a great day folks! I got up this morning and went for a run, ran some of my PR best times. Jammed to a sweet running mix while I watched the vicious dark clouds roll into town and reveled in the storm I would get to enjoy from the couch in my living this afternoon!

As of late, I've been on this waste not, want not kick... at least in terms of food. I have painstakingly picked out recipes each week that compliment each other in ingredients and take into account my already acquired spices and pantry staples in an effort to stop buying things that we don't eat or need. I've always hated wasting food, however for me the viewpoint has become significantly stronger due to my patronage of local farmers markets and living near a community garden. I can quite readily see the food I buy, lovingly nurtured and cultivated by a person that could very well be my neighbor. How can we not have some responsibility in taking the steps to minimally pre-plan our purchases and take precautions for things that might be freezable and of use at a later time?

Anyways.. this week we've eaten some decent meals, but this one has been the first real blog worthy meal.. you know sometimes, food is just food, and if I am going to go through the trouble of blogging my caloric and gastronomic adventures then it better be one of two things, either freaking awesome, or down right terrible! As to save all of you from the tortures of eating bad food.

Tonight we ate carrot soup, which intrigued me cause carrots are extremely healthy and putting them into a soup format seemed like a fabulous way to compliment my never-ending desire for Potato Champion's small fries with rosemary ketchup, not healthy, in fact the opposite of healthy. FRIES, who doesn't love them?

Honestly, I really wanted sweet potato fries for dinner, but I couldn't convince my husband to walk to the store and buy some when it was 40 degrees and pouring rain, I don't blame him, but they would have been super yummy.

Rosemary ketchup, the star of the show for me tonight! It's tangy, herbaceous, spicy-sweet and best yet, completely freaky chemical free! Huzzah! Don't even get me started on high fructose syrup, but anyways, the mass processing of food has only awakened my eyes to figuring out that I should start making things "less scary" myself. Thanks Heinz.

Rosemary Ketchup
1 can of tomato paste
4 TBSP of White Distilled Vinegar
2 TBSP of White wine Vinegar
1 TBSP Sherry Vinegar
1 tsp of crushed garlic
1/3 - 1/2 cup of water
1-2 TBSP of brown sugar
2 tsp of cayenne
1tsp salt
1 tsp garlic power
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 spring of fresh rosemary minced

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until completely combined, then simmer over low heat in a sauce pan for 5 min, remove from heat and bring to room temp before serving, you store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks

Chili Potato Fries (recipe used from serious eats)
5-6 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil or a mister for olive oil (these are the best!)
kosher salt
chili powder
 

Procedures


Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick coating or line it with parchment paper.
Slice the sweet potatoes approximately 1/8-inch thick. Thinner than this and you end up with brittle chips (also good!), and thicker fries tend to get mushy. Use a mandoline, but a sharp knife works just as well.

Pat the coins dry with a clean kitchen towel and then toss them with the olive oil in a small bowl. Arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and chili powder.

Bake for 10 minutes and then flip the fries over. Sprinkle the other side with salt and chili, and continue baking for 5 - 10 minutes until the centers are tender and the edges are slightly crispy. Let the fries cool for 5 minutes on the tray to let them firm up a bit.

Serve while still warm with rosemary ketchup or other favorite dipping sauce.

Savory Creamy Carrot Soup
  • 4 Small Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise and chopped evenly
  • 2 small-medium onions, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp of turmeric 
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce, like Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 quart vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup of half and half
  • 1/8 cup of Italian cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

    Procedures


    1. Cut the potatoes into small chunks and the carrots into 1/4-inch thick rounds.
    2. In a dutch oven or stock pot, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes, add garlic and stir for 1 min. Add 1/2 of the wine to dutch oven and deglaze the pan. Next, Add the cubed potatoes, sliced carrots, stock, salt, pepper, spices,  and one cup of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20-35 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat, then transfer to a blender to puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the puree back to the dutch oven and bring back to temperature, add cheese, and half and half and stir thoroughly. You may add water to bring soup to your desired consistency. If desired, chill in the refrigerator, or return to the heat to warm through.
    4. Serve the soup in shallow bowls with Greek yogurt, salt, and thyme on top!

      Sometimes, days are just great... today was that day for me. Take em' when we can get em' :)

      Happy Eating.

    Posting-Commenting Errors!

    I feel so terrible, this whole time I was wondering why no one ever commented on my blog! Now, bring told by several people that they couldn't comment because of a captcha error! Doh! I believe it's fixed now and I'd be happy to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks for your patience!!

    We should be up and running now.

    PUMPKIN ENCHILADAS (LOVE)

    I love pumpkin stuff!.... fall is a wonderful time of year! The winter squash are among my most favorite things  to eat every year. There are so many options for cooking methods, they are cheap, and they last a long time. It's just perfect... I love it when you get to buy things and you don't have to worry if for some reason you don't get around to using it that week, winter goodies are good for almost a month!


    Fall weather is in late full bloom in Portland and we've gotten the opportunity to watch the leaves change from green to yellow, red, orange, and then see them flutter about through the air like colorful snow and litter the streets.

    My favorite days are lazy Sundays, which include the time capsule growler of raspberry beer in my fridge purchased from Cascade Brewery, my new favorite beer destination in Oregon. We bought it, and we couldn't let it go to waste... feeling like blowing it calories wise we made some nachos as an appetizer... which were super terrible good for you, but also super yummy.  Followed by the my newest creation, PUMPKIN ENCHILADAS!

    Pumpkin enchiladas are great, they bring that slightly sweet, slightly spicy, interesting mix to the traditional Mexican dish. Rich, filling, and pretty easy, they were a hit tonight! My husband had two very large servings, while billowing and spouting sweet nothings to his plate.

    Pumpkin Enchiladas
    Pumpkin Enchiladas, Perfect Golden Cheese Crisp

    1 can of purred pumpkin ( or homemade puree if you have it)
    1 small can of green chilies
    1 can of organic black beans, rinsed and shaken dry
    2oz of goat cheese
    1/2 cup of organic frozen or fresh corn
    1 cup of fresh spinach
    1tsp cumin
    1tsp coriander
    1tsp Cayenne
    salt, to taste
    pepper, to taste
    1 jar of red enchilada sauce, I used trader Joe's
    2-4oz shredded pepper jack cheese - to taste
    1 jalapeno sliced, seeds removed
    1 package of corn tortillas

    Directions:

    1. Mix pumpkin, corn, beans, cumin, coriander, cayenne, goat cheese, and green chilies in a large mixing bowl. 
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and adjust shelf for middle rack. 
    3. In a 8x8 Pyrex baking dish, put about a 1/4 cup of red enchilada sauce and spread well to cover the bottom of the dish. Meanwhile take corn tortillas and cut them into quarters and place one thin covering layer in the bottom of the dish. 
    4. Top tortillas with pumpkin mixture, and about half the spinach, add about 1/4 cup of shredded jack cheese and cover with another row of tortillas, pumpkin, spinach, and tortillas again, cover the top of the casserole generously with enchilada sauce, cheese, and top with chopped jalapenos. 
    5. Cook uncovered in the over for 35-45 minutes, or until bubbly and gold brown in spots on the cheese. 
    6. When finished cooking, remove from the oven and let set for 10 minutes. The casserole is somewhat soupy, but will set with a bit of time, or alternatively increase the cheese... it tasted fabulous either way, but this isn't meant to be a foodie photo special for the plate, it just tastes good. Simple as that. 
    Interested in the Nutritional Breakdown? The Facts are broken down HERE

    My mantra? Make pumpkin things, light a fire, grab a blanket, a good book, and wear fun socks!... it's fall! Enjoy!



    Stripped socks from www.sockdreams.com

     

    Level Ten for Food Knowledge Geek Out

    I bought a new book today, one of which I am sure will be a full geeking out version of my already obsessive impulse to know everything there is to know about food! I am so excited! I purchased Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" Harold McGee, who is actually going to be presenting at Powell Books on Burnside tomorrow in Portland, Oregon is a food writer about the mechanics of food, the history, biology, chemistry, and general altering of food... not altering in a way that suggests GMO, but rather... what really happens when you heat milk? What the hell is homogenization? and how can Europeans have milk in a cardboard container sitting on a shelf un-refrigerated? He answers all of this and a lot more.

    I am excited to read it and have a deeper understanding of the physics of food. The whys and the whats of how of great food comes to be, why is it we prefer certain things over others? how do we balance acids in a sauce?.... He writes of all these things and more, certainly having this bank of trivia is bound to make anyone a better cook. And if, like a craftsman, we must know all the tools to be the best and most accomplished artisan.. then understanding all the properties in cuisine is essential to establishing the building blocks of creating something entirely unique, and solely of your own making.

    What's my goal from reading such a large and insightful book?  The hope that my own knowledge will serve to be the sole source of inspiration with a true understanding of and guesstimate of what will become from a hand crafted dish, sans recipe.


    Wish me luck!
    Happy Reading :)

    Creamy Barley Risotto, and Balsamic Glazed Veggies

    Ever since last week when I tried my hand at making some brussel sprouts, I haven't stopped thinking about their awkward but fabulous goodness. Brussel sprouts, hated by many, are rightfully treated skeptically. They are different, and require an open heart, they most importantly cannot be rushed, they take time, and patience. Brussel sprouts are best at home when they have been given the time to fully realize their crystallizing possibilities, when they are topped with things that accentuate their unique and intoxicating flavor.

    The more you learn, the more you perfect, and the more amazing they become. As a self proclaimed new brussel sprout fan child, sorry broccoli I'll come home again soon, I've learned that they are among the world health organizations Superfoods! Brussel sprouts are excellent vectors of health, they fulfill over 270% of your daily needs in vitamin K, contain powerful antioxidants, help protect your bones and can actually reverse some early stages of bone loss.... not to mention the nutrients help you keep looking young! Bonus!

    Tonight I couldn't figure out what I wanted to make for dinner, but I knew one thing, I wanted brussel sprouts, everything else was pretty much inconsequential to me. What I ended up with was a masterpiece of epic proportions! Perhaps not a five star dinner, but definitely a 14 dollar plate at and veggie happy inventive Italian restaurante.

    Risotto, typically made from Arborio rice and slightly fried in hot oil before brought to a rolling boil and then reduced to a simmer in broth and stirred consistently for an awful long time, till it's puffy, slightly textural, but soft, creamy, and chewy. Tonight, I didn't have Arborio rice, and while rice is wonderful, it's also incredibly starchy and not so great for digestion. Pearled barley on the other hand, is cheap, flavorful, and simple to cook in a million different ways. I saw an inspirational recipe on SmittenKitchen and decided to go for my own version of Barley Risotto. 

    Creamy Barley Risotto
    1 Cup of Pearly Barley
    2 Cups of water
    4 Cups of low sodium veggie broth
    1/2 cup of dry white wine
    1 tsp of Olive Oil
    1tbsp of half and half
    1/4 cup Italian cheese blend

    1. Mix water, wine, broth, oil, and barley in a large sauce pan and bring to a rapid boil, then reduce heat to med high, and simmer high for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to assist in the barley cooking.
    2. When barley has tripled in size, and all but a small amount of liquid remains, still somewhat soupy, but not much. Add half and half and stir completely, then add cheese, turn off heat, and stir till melted completely.
    3. Let sit for 3 minutes then serve. Top with Veggie mix, see recipe below. 


    Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Onions, & Mushrooms

    1lb of whole FRESH Brussel Sprouts, stems removed and halved
    1 Large Sweet Onion, halved and sliced with the arch, medium thickness
    1 lb of White or Crimini Mushrooms, washed and quartered
    ~1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinegar, to taste
    2 Tbsp of Olive Oil, or less depending
    Salt and Pepper to taste, on top.

    1. Preheat Oven to 400degrees.
    2. While oven preheats, prepare veggies in a large bowl and mix all ingredients together till they are well coated.
    3. On a parchment paper covered cookie sheet (Large one) spread all the veggies out so they have a reasonable amount of room, to much room and they burn, to little and they won't cook properly, a little coziness? It's ok, get a room? No way, get a second cookie sheet instead.
       ~ a side note on this, why parchment? Why not foil, one you can purchased recycled, compostable parchment, which for acting as strictly a method to "not stick" then it served admirably, and it's a significantly greener choice, plus it's better for you, and unlike foil, you DO NOT have to add oil to make the non-stick properties to actually work, Amazing! 
    4. Roast Veggies for 15 minutes, turn them, and then roast on other side for another 15-20 minutes. Remember good veggies, take time, it is within the time, the slow roasting that they retain their texture, and release their sugar, and this my friends is the killer combo, savory, sugary, naturally wonderful goodness. 


    The journey to finding new loves can sometimes be a tumultuous one, but the many, many times,..... especially in the case of food, it's about forging ahead making a go at it, if you hate it there is always a napkin nearby.

    Fish

     
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