Category Archives: Fusion

Vegan Indian Spiced Eggplant Soup

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Today my friend and I ran into each other at our local farmer’s market. As we were chatting, she mentioned how much she wanted eggplant now that it was eggplant season. At the time, I was at a loss for what to make for dinner. I had some left over cheese from my Bastille Day celebration, so I wanted a little something to go with it that wasn’t too heavy. The eggplants at the market DID look beautiful and I already had some eggplant at home, so I decided to make my favorite eggplant soup.

Delicious cheese and fruit plate with the eggplant soup.

Delicious cheese and fruit plate with the eggplant soup. Another thing Ben really likes: Brie. Something Ben really doesn’t like: Macaroni and Cheese. He’s weird.

The soup is really easy and a good consistency for all but the hottest summer days. I served it with the above platter to un-vegan it. Husband had some farmer’s market salami as well to un-vegetarian-ify it. At dinner, Ben said, “This is delicious!” Granted, he is a sucker for anything with garam masala!

It's delicious!

It’s delicious!

Vegan Indian Spiced Eggplant Soup

4-6 Servings

45 minutes

1 large eggplant, peeled, 1” dice

1 large onion, roughly chopped

1 15oz can of tomatoes, drained

1 15oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups of vegetable stock

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

2 Tb of olive oil, divided

1 ½ Tb curry

1 Tb garam masala

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground corriander

pinch of cayenne

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place eggplant on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until tender in a 400-degree oven (approximately 25-30 minutes).
  2. When the eggplant has about 10 minutes to go, heat a large pot (I used an enameled-lined cast iron pot) over medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and sautée the onions for about 3 minutes until tender.
  3. Once the eggplant is done in the oven (it should begin to darken and be very tender to the touch, toss the eggplant in with the onions. Sautée for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add in the tomatoes, stir to combine, and season with the curry and cayenne. Pour in the vegetable stock.
  5. Allow the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in the cannellini beans and remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth. Stir in the remaining spices and the almond milk. Adjust the seasoning as you want. Serve!
So easy, so delicious, so nutritious!

So easy, so delicious, so nutritious!

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Italian Sausage and Chard Quiche

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Italian Sausage and Chard Quiche

On my drive home from work today I got it into my brain that I would finally get around to throwing together the quiche I’ve been threatening to make. My friend Helen made one recently and it looked divine, so I decided that we needed some of the eggy-pastry-veggie goodness. Quiches aren’t inherently very difficult; they’re just time-consuming, especially if you make your own crust. Sadly, I think my great-grandmother would roll over in her grave if I ever used a store-bought crust. Being a good Midwestern pie baker, I had to make my own crust. Unfortunately, that adds a minimum of 1 hour to your cook time. On the plus side, while the dough is resting, it gives you time to make the rest of the ingredients.

Added bonus of this evening’s dinner: Baby approved! At Ben’s 9 month check-up the doctor gave us the go-ahead to give Ben anything we wanted except honey (due to botulism). Because this recipe is pretty healthy (minus the stick of butter in the crust), I figured it would be a good one to start Ben on eggs. It was a big hit. Even the chard didn’t seem to bother him. Granted, this is a kid who slurps up spinach, so I wasn’t terribly shocked. But it’s good to know that Ben is on his way to becoming un garçon français.

Quiche Crust
(Pâte brisée)
Makes one 9″ pie crust
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
8 Tb (1 stick) unsalted, MEGA COLD butter cut into 1/2″ cubes (put it in the freezer for a while)
5-6 Tb ice water

  • In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and sugar to combine.
  • Add in half of the butter and pulse 6-8 times. Repeat with the other half of the butter until the mixture looks like a course meal.
  • Gradually add in the water 1-2 Tb at a time until the mixture is just coming together and you are able to crunch it together and it stays.
  • Turn the mixture onto a floured surface. Knead into a ball then smoosh it to form a small disc.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it set in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Ideally, you should let it rest over night, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.
  • Take the dough and place it on a floured surface. I like to roll out pie crusts on wax paper (my grandmother’s trick). By rolling it out onto wax paper, this eases the transport into the pie tin.
  • Roll the dough until it is about 14″ in circumference.
  • Push the dough into the pie tin/dish so that there is a little over an 1″ overhang. Wrap the overhang over the lip of the dish. This will help prevent shrinkage.
  • Poke holes in the bottom and add pie weights/dried beans. Cook in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Take out and add filling. (see below)

Filling
3 spicy Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
4 cups chard sliced into 1″ ribbons
1 Tb olive oil
5 eggs
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup water
2 cups cheese (I used 1 cup of Gruyère and 1 cup of cheddar)
salt and pepper to taste

  • In a large skillet, break-up and brown the sausage.
  • When sausage is nearly done browning, add in the chard and a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wilt the chard.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until combined.
  • Add in the Greek yogurt and 3/4 cup of water. If the mixture looks to thick (chunks of yogurt), add a little water until the mixture looks like thick scrambled eggs.
  • Add in the cheese and chard-sausage mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust.
  • Place a jelly roll pan underneath the pie dish (to avoid spillage) and bake for 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven. The quiche should not jiggle when you bump it and should have a slightly golden brown top. If you cut into it and it’s a little runny, pop that sucker back in the oven for a few. We don’t want salmonella!

Quiche….it’s what’s for dinner.

Pumpkin Risotto, aka Bringing Down the Zebra

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Pumpkin Risotto, aka Bringing Down the Zebra

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Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a stay-at-home-mom. Every night she had a delicious dinner on the table by 5:00 when my step-dad got home from work.  She was awesome at it. On the other hand, my best friend’s used to say that her mother cooked once a week/month and “brought down the zebra.” By bringing down the zebra, she was referring to the fact that the family would be able feed off of the one meal for a week. Now, I would love to be like my mom and have something unique and different every night. However, reality dictates that I have to “bring down the zebra.”

Last weekend, I had a bunch of leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin cheesecake brownies and stumbled across a recipe for pumpkin risotto. Risotto is actually surprisingly easy to make and will feed you for a few days. To jazz it up a little, I added in some garam masala and some Italian sausage (Husband likes meals with meat even though I could very happily be a selective vegetarian). Many Indian and Italian grandmothers would freak out because of this meal, but I think it’s delightful. Here’s the dish:

Garama Masala Risotto


3 Spicy Italian turkey sausages
1.5 c Arborio rice
5 c-ish of chicken stock
1 c pumpkin puree
2 Tb butter
1.5 c diced onion
3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp garam masala (you can get it at some grocery stores or Indian spice markets)
2 tsp garlic powder (you can use less if you’re not a garlic fiend like me)
1/4 tsp each of thyme, ginger, dried parsley, and celery seed
3 Tb heavy cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste

  1. In a separate pan over medium-high heat, brown the sausages just enough to crisp the casings. Take them off of the heat and slice them width wise to make disks. Brown the disks then set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a preheated skillet over medium heat. Sautee the onions and garlic for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a sauce pan.
  3. Once the onions and garlic have become fragrant, add the rice and coat with the butter, garlic and onion mixture.
  4. Dump in the pumpkin and the spices, stirring all the while.
  5. Start adding in the chicken stock one ladle-full at a time. Add a new ladle or two once the rice has absorbed all of the liquid. Make sure that you’re stirring it a lot. The stirring helps release the starches in the rice. It’s a gradual process and you may use more or less stock, depending on the level of doneness you like. Husband and I enjoy our risotto to be a bit more “done” than others. If you like yours a little more al dente, use less stock and less stirring.
  6. Once your rice is at the doneness level you prefer, pull it off the heat and stir in the cream and Parmesan cheese.  You can either top the risotto with the sausages, or mix them in like I did. Either way is great!