Crispy Eggplant Curry

I’m growing these adorable lil Japanese eggplants. They happen to be delicious. I curried them up.

1 lb eggplant sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds (if using a bigger eggplant variety, try cubes)
1 white onion, sliced
12 oz bamboo shoots in chili oil
1 1/2 Cups green peas (I use frozen)
2 large springs basil (I’m growing purple basil so I use that. Thai basil would be nice too)
13 oz (1 can) coconut milk
3 TB green curry powder
enough sesame oil/ veggie oil blend to pan fry the eggplant

Salt the eggplant and set it aside to drain. Slice the onion, chiffonade the basil, eat a handful of thawed peas.

When the eggplant has released much of it’s fluid, rinse it and drain it well. A salad spinner is great for this. Heat a little veggie oil seasoned with sesame oil in a wok. Stir fry the eggplant over medium-high heat until brown and crispy. Transfer to plate to rest.

Add onion to pan and let the sugars caramelize. When onion has a nice brown color all over, add the bamboo shoots and chili oil, basil, and peas. Stir fry 2 minutes then turn heat to medium. Add coconut milk and green curry powder. Stir to combine. Cover and let heat through to bubbling.

Serve over rice.

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Tomato Tart

It’s not really a tart. I just make it in a tart pan because it’s pretty like that. This is super easy. Even people who don’t cook can make this dish and feel really fancy. This recipe serves 4. You can half the ingredients and make it for 2 or double the ingredients and place it in a large casserole pan for 8.

2 sweet yellow onions sliced into thin rings
2 large tomatoes cut into discs
2 Cups bread crumbs, I use Udi’s gluten free sandwich bread
large handful fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Make the seasoned bread crumbs by putting 3 slices of the gluten free bread in a food processor at a time. Whirl in the fresh basil. Add a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper.

Layer the baking dish:

onion rings
olive oil
salt and pepper
bread crumbs
tomatoes
bread crumbs
onion
olive oil
salt and pepper
bread crumbs
tomatoes
bread crumbs

You can adjust the recipe ingredients to make more or less, just keep the layers in order. Always top with bread crumbs so there is a nice crispy top.

Bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes, when the onions are caramelized on the bottom. Let cool 5-7 minutes before slicing to help the “tart” hold it’s shape.

**Cook’s Tip***
I’m growing heirloom beefsteak and heirloom German Queen tomatoes this year. I’ve used both with great success in this dish. I have also made a green tomato tart and it is phenomenal! For green tomatoes, I sub fresh tarragon in the breadcrumbs. It compliments the tart green tomato flavor better than basil.

Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup

I’m growing these delightful pickling cucumbers, and boy do they grow fast! This is a quick refreshing soup for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

1 lb cucumbers*
2/3 Cup buttermilk
2 springs fresh tarragon
3 springs fresh dill
salt and pepper

*If you are using a thin skinned cucumber like small pickling cukes or fresh english cucumbers, you can leave the skin on. If you’re getting those thick, waxy skinned ones at the grocery store, peel them. Those skins just don’t have the right texture.

Put the cucumbers and herbs in the food processor and blend until smooth. Add buttermilk and salt and pepper to taste. Blend 2 pulses. Chill. Serve the same day.

You can serve this in a martini glass or other fun glass with chilled shrimp or lump crab or lobster on the side. Very fancy cocktail party food!

Garden Picadillo

Picadillo is a different dish throughout Latin America and even into the Philippines. The Cuban version is what most people are familiar with, made with ground beef, raisins, and olives. Plenty of layers of flavor. This version is from the garden. It is totally vegan, but you can add ground meat or cheese if you like.

1 lb bell peppers, any color, chopped
1 lb mild green chiles, chopped, I used New Mexico peppers
1 yellow onion, diced
12 oz pigeon peas, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz black beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz salsa verde*
1 Cup sliced green olives
1 TB cumin
1 TB chili powder
3 TB olive oil
1/2 Cup raisins (optional)

Put everything except the salsa and olives in large skillet or chef’s pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring often until onions are soft and translucent. Add salsa and olives. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors marry. Serve over rice.

* I make my own salsa verde with chiles from my garden and tomatillos. Trader Joe’s and 365 both have good salsa verde off the shelf.

I don’t put the raisins in for two reasons: I don’t care for raisins and my dogs get people food. Dogs can’t eat raisins. Or grapes.

Tomato and Asparagus Soup with White Beans

This is a tangy and rich soup that will use up some of those tomatoes you canned. You can make it vegan by using veggie stock. It’s an easy soup to whip up from common pantry items.

28 oz canned tomatoes, diced or crushed
28 oz stock, veggie or chicken
1/2 cup red wine
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 TB olive oil
1 1/2 C cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
1 stalk asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces

Place all the ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes until veggies are tender and beans are flavored with broth. Serve as is or sprinkle on some cheese!

Warm Black Eyed Pea Salad

I used fresh black eyed peas for this recipe and cooked them very gently. You can sprout fresh peas and toss them in the salad raw or warm them.

Heat a large saute pan on medium heat with
1/2 C olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 small spanish onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
12 oz fresh black eyed peas
2 tsp salt

Saute until onions are translucent and peas are tender, stirring often.

Add in
1 C sweet corn kernels
1 TB black pepper
3+ cloves garlic

Saute 5 minutes, until garlic and corn are crisp tender. Remove from heat.

Add in
Zest and juice from 2 limes
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

Toss to coat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice, salad greens, with crackers, or with toast points.

Fennel Stew

Fennel is a fun veggie that is under-appreciated. It is delicious and warming. Fennel is also great for nursing moms! I made this in the crock pot, but the stove top is great too.

1 bulb fennel with stem and fronds, chopped
1 lb red potatoes, large dice
1 pint mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3+ cloves garlic, minced
2 TB savory
2 TB tarragon
1.5 liters stock
1/3 C olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a crock pot on low and let cook for 4+ hours or simmer one hour on stove top.

Warm Quinoa and White Bean Salad

Quinoa is used in many Latin influenced dishes. This is more of a Mediterranean flavor inspired dish. It’s also very quick and easy. It’s a budget friendly dish that would be great to serve at a luncheon. It’s also low fat, high protein, and high fiber.

I used garlic stuffed olives!

1 1/2 C dry quinoa
3 C water or stock
12 oz white beans, cooked, drained & rinsed
1 pint grape tomates
1 small spanish onion, chopped
1/3 C vinaigrette (your favorite home made or farmer’s market blend will work great)

salad greens and olives for serving

In a large stock pot or chef’s pan, add everything and heat on medium-low. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients one time. Cover. Keep covered. After 20 minutes, remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve over greens. Garnish with olives.

You can also make this in a rice cooker!

*** You can use any Italian vinaigrette you have on hand or make a simple one using

1 C vinegar
2 C olive oil
3 TB dried Italian seasoning blend (or make your own unique mix of oregano, marjoram, parsley, basil, dried garlic, red pepper flakes, saffron)
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

Vegan Kale and White Bean Stew

This is a great way to use winter veggies. It can be thrown in the crock pot for a simple supper that will be ready when you get home.

1 bunch kale, chopped
1 lb red potatoes, large dice
3 carrots, sliced
4+ cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
2 TB thyme
1 TB savory
1.5 liters stock

3 Cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed (That’s about 2 cans if you use canned or 1.5 Cups dried. If you cook them from dried, use only water to cook them. They will make the soup slimy if you cook them with the soup.)

If your stock is fat-free, add 1/4 C olive oil.

Simmer all ingredients for an hour OR place in crock pot for 3+ hours.

Our Favorite Curry

This curry is so easy. The coconut milk is creamy and delicious. It keeps the chicken moist without letting the veggies lose their crunch. This meal is ready in minutes.

1 lb chicken thighs
8 oz mushrooms
8 oz carrots
4 oz sliced water chestnuts
3+ cloves garlic, minced
1 large avocado, cubed
14 oz coconut milk
1 TB sesame oil
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
cayenne to taste

Cut chicken and veggies into bite sized pieces. Heat wok on medium high. Add EVERYTHING but avocado pieces. Cook and stir occasionally, gently for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Stir in avocado before serving. Serve over rice.

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