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. 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!
Vegan Indian Spiced Eggplant Soup
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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Add in the tomatoes, stir to combine, and season with the curry and cayenne. Pour in the vegetable stock.
- 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!
In an attempt to get my child to eat anything at all, I’ve been cooking as much Indian food as I can, which is slightly challenging. One thing I’ve learned about cooking is that watching someone cook is really important. Having only served as a sous chef to my bestie as we made channa masala during high school, I make a lot of things up as I go. I’m working on it, though!
Dinner tonight was an accidentally vegan meal. Accidentally, because I don’t intend on ever becoming vegan and the recipes just happened to not have animal products. Trust me. I love dairy far too much. This meal was spawned from a desire to get rid of a lot of the produce that I had in my fridge. My dad found the eggplant recipe after two HUGE eggplants arrived in my Washington’s Green Grocer box. Getting rid of produce will be a theme this week.
Baingan Bharta and stuffed Kale Parathas. Yum.
For the main dish, I made Baingan Bharta, which is an eggplant and tomato curry. Think of it kind of like an Indian ratatouille. Fun fact: Indian food is not quick to make. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe and was really pleased. It was probably one of the better curries that I’ve made so far. I followed it to a T and it came out really well. I recommend using only one jalapeño with the seeds mostly removed. We like heat and this was a pleasant amount.
To go with the Baingan Bharta, I made stuffed Kale Parathas. Husband LOVED them. I used this recipe and altered the filling slightly by using fresh ginger instead of ginger paste and I didn’t use the chilies or the sugar. Instead, I used a dash of cayenne. They were superb, if I do say so myself. Highly recommended!
This summer, I have vowed to learn how to make South Asian cuisine in order to feed Ben. Part of that vow is to learn from his daycare ladies. The rest is trial and error. Today was a mixed bag. For lunch I tried to make some cholé and rice. Not that successful. For dinner, I made beet and paneer stuffed paratha with different fillings for tacos. It was awesome and very baby approved.
Notes on paratha:
For the paratha, I followed this recipe pretty closely. I didn’t have any cilantro, so I used the juice and zest of one lemon to brighten up the filling. Also, I upped the paneer quotient to about a grated cup. Speaking of grating, I wasn’t sure if the recipe called for cooked beet to be grated or raw. Raw worked just fine. Super good choices. A note for the non-Indians out there. When the recipe says to “gently roll” out the paratha. Gently is not a guideline. You must be really easy with the rolling pin or else you will get an exploding paratha. Not ideal.
Generally, though, these are pretty easy to make. Ben was a big helper.
Ben is pretty much obsessed with making dough.
For the filling, I made a meat-itarian and a vegetarian version and served them with Greek yogurt, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Garam Masala Turkey Tacos
(Baby approved! He ate it out of the bowl.)
Makes about 4 full tacos. Takes about 10 minutes.
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 garlic powder
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 cup water
- In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the turkey.
- When the turkey starts to brown, add in the spices. Stir and allow the turkey to absorb the spices.
- Add the water and cook for another 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Not the greatest picture, but it was so, so good.
2 cups of baby spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cream cheese
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add in the spinach and spices and cook until wilted then add the cream cheese. Enjoy!
Ben enjoying his hard work! Notice the different shrapnel all over the plate. He ate more of this than anything in the past week other than raisins and Cheerios. True story.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Once the onions and garlic have become fragrant, add the rice and coat with the butter, garlic and onion mixture.
- Dump in the pumpkin and the spices, stirring all the while.
- 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.
- 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!