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.

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.

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.

Carrot Top Pesto

I’m growing rainbow carrots this year. The tops are greater in mass than the roots. So I’ve been working on things to do with the greens. This is by far the smartest thing I’ve come up with and it really celebrates carrot greens as a food rather than a garnish.

I used the greens from 5 big carrots. After everything was washed very well, the thick stems trimmed, and just the leafy greens used, I had about 5 handfuls or 4 cups.

In the food processor:

1/2 Cup chopped pecans
1/2 Cup quality olive oil
juice from 1 lemon (this helps the pesto retain color and develops the flavor)
2 TB sea salt

Then I added the greens 1 handful at a time and processed until smooth.

With the last handful, I added 1/4 C water. You can add more olive instead of water if you want a richer oil flavor. I used the water because I like it better.

Yield: 1 pint.

Thanks to my mother in law for sending pecans from South Georgia.

Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 9:48 am  Comments (2)  
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Yes, You Can Eat Carrot Tops

We’ve been eating a lot of carrots from the CSA recently. And they always come with the tops on. So I’ve started using them as I would any herb-a-licious green. Just make sure to wash the sand and soil out of them before you move them to your cutting board. Like spinach and other greens, they can pick up a great deal of grit.

Check out this Carrot Greens and Mushrooms pasta toss.

Cook some pasta (I used gluten-free fettuccine noodles) according to the package directions

In a saute pan add:
1/2 C olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 bunch carrot greens, rough chopped
8 oz mushrooms, I used beech mushrooms this time and broke up the colony by hand rather than slicing them
3+ cloves garlic, diced
*optional– add some sliced, precooked chicken sausage

Saute for about 8 minutes on medium high. The onions should be cooked through and the mushrooms should be juicy. The carrot greens will wilt considerably.

Drain hot pasta and toss. Add in

salt and pepper to taste
a little reserved starchy pasta water to thin sauce

Serve vegan as is or add a little grated parm.

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

Nacho Greens and Pigeon Peas

In the South, we eat Collard Greens on January 1st to bring us wealth in the new year. I would prefer tacos. So I made collard greens into tacos. You can put it atop nacho chips, in taco shells, over Spanish rice, as pepper stuffing, rolled into a burrito or enchilada, and so much more.

1 bunch collard greens, washed very well
12 oz cook and drained pigeon peas (canned are easy to find in the Hispanic foods or Caribbean foods section of your market)
12 oz green chile and tomatillio salsa
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chile powder
3+ cloves minced garlic

I make green chile and tomatillo salsa with peppers from my garden. You can buy a prepared salsa verde or make a quick one by combining 1 cup each chopped green chiles, white onions, and tomatillos with 3 TB white vinegar, juice of 1 lime, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the nacho greens:
After collards are well washed, roll and chiffonade cut them so they are as thin as possible. Cut to the bottom of the leaf. The stalks are not used in this dish. Save them for a veggie pie or crudite. I give my collard stems to the dogs.

Place greens in a large skillet or wok with vinegar and citrus juice. Heat pan on medium. Put lid over the greens to help them wilt. They will cook down considerably.

Add salsa and seasonings. Stir fry to coat greens. Add pigeon peas and turn heat to low. Cover and let heat through 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

I like this served with avocado cubes and Jalepeno Tabasco sauce.

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