12th April 2010

    Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

    I find myself turning to epicurious more and more often when I have something sitting in the fridge that I just don’t feel inspired by. We had an eggplant from our CSA box hanging out for a few days, and a few minutes at epicurious turned up this recipe from Gourmet Magazine a couple years back. Eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms are oven roasted and then tossed with barley cooked in stock, green onions, and spices, cooled, and tossed with a lemon vinaigrette. Delicious!


    Chris says:

    Oh, happy day!

    Lisa says:

    What? What?

    Chris says:

    I figured out what to make with the eggplant, and it ain’t baba ghanoush… not only that, you’re gonna love it.

    Lisa says:

    Why, is it some sort of grain salad with a bunch of veggies?

    Chris says:

    How the — what? Hey!

    Lisa says:

    Man, I’m good. Yum — so is this dish! You’re right, I love it.

    Chris says:

    I’m still trying to figure out…. whatever. Yeah — I really like the tomatoes… and I’m glad I threw in those mushrooms, too.

    Lisa says:

    That’s good for the blog, too. It missed featuring shrooms.

    Chris says:

    If we didn’t know so many picky eaters, I’d suggest we bring this to parties.

    Lisa says:

    Hey, more for us.

    Chris says:

    I love the way you think.

    Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
    1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    3/4 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2″ cubes
    6 oz cremini mushrooms
    10 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 cup chopped green onions
    1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp ground coriander
    1/4 tsp cayenne
    1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
    1 14-oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth (1 3/4 cups)
    3/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 tsp sugar
    1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
    1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
    1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
    1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

    Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.

    Cook barley:
    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot, then cook green onions, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

    Roast eggplant and zucchini:
    Meanwhile, toss eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool, reserving other pan for cooling barley.

    Transfer the barley to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

    Make dressing and assemble salad:
    Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well. Eat, eat, eat.

    4 Main-dish Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, Mediterranean, Salads and Light Soups, Vegetarian | 5 Comments

    27th February 2010

    Mushroom Larb

    We heart larb, and we used to make larb gai all the time, but with Lisa being on a veggie kick lately, we introduced this version into the mix. Instead of chicken, I used a mix of various mushrooms we had on hand — shiitake, cremini, and good old white button. It was delicious! One thing to note is that after sauteeing the mushrooms you should try to get as much excess liquid out as you can — you’ll be adding more liquid via lime juice and fish sauce, and you don’t want to end up with a soupy mess. Also, I noticed this version warranted a greater fish sauce to lime juice ratio than when done with chicken.


    Lisa says:

    How about we don’t talk about this one, and just eat it instead?

    Chris says:

    I’m *so* okay with that. Also, “om nom nom nom nom”.

    Mushroom Larb
    1 lb mixed mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, white, etc.), roughly chopped
    1 tbsp roasted rice powder
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    2 green onions, chopped
    2 tbsp chopped shallots
    3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    2 tbsp lime juice
    2 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tsp garlic and red chile paste
    cabbage leaves
    cilantro

    Spray a nonstick skillet with oil and heat to medium. Add in the chopped mushrooms and cook until they release their water and start to brown.
    Remove from the heat and put in a strainer to drain excess liquid. Add the mushrooms to a large bowl and stir in the rice powder, cilantro, green onions, shallots, and mint leaves.
    In a separate small bowl, mix together the fish sauce, lime juice, chile paste, and cayenne pepper. Taste for desired levels of spicy/salty/sour.
    Add to bowl with mushrooms, stir, and adjust seasonings.
    Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve with cabbage leaves to scoop.

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    posted in Appetizers, Salads and Light Soups, Sides, Thai, Vegetarian | 5 Comments

    27th February 2010

    Roasted Root Vegetable Bread Salad, a la Essential Baking Company

    Local, organic bakery The Essential Baking Company has a few cafés around town, and I’ve been enjoying their bread salad on a pretty regular basis, so much so that I decided I had to recreate it at home. I love the mix of roasted yams, beets, and leeks (!), and when tossed with big chunks of crispy-on-the-outside bread, mixed greens, and balsamic vinaigrette, it’s a salad I just can’t say no to. In a wonderful instance of kismet, our CSA box this week provided both the yams and beets for this recipe.


    Lisa says:

    Hey, this looks familiar!

    Chris says:

    Yeah, I think I did pretty good recreating it…

    Lisa says:

    What kind of greens are these?

    Chris says:

    Well, I meant to pick up some mixed baby greens, but accidentally got this mix of mustard greens, kale, and chard…

    Lisa says:

    Whoops…

    Chris says:

    Yeah, but it’s actually fine, I think — it may have been overwhelming if it was all greens, but most of this salad consists of the roasted veggies.

    Lisa says:

    It *is* totally fine; actually, it’s pretty good. I heart kale and chard.

    Chris says:

    I heart these leeks. I may want to just roast those up on a regular basis; maybe add them to mashed potatoes or something — they’re really good.

    Lisa says:

    I love it. Hmmm, I’m going to come up with a list of other dishes to recreate at home!

    Roasted Root Vegetable Bread Salad
    Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
    3-4 medium beets
    2 medium/large yams, peeled and sliced 3/4″ thick
    2 leeks, washed and sliced on a bias into 1/2″ thick pieces
    favorite day-old bread (we used Essential Bakery’s Rosemary Diamante), cut into 1″ cubes
    mixed salad greens
    balsamic vinaigrette

    Preheat the oven to 400F. Arrange oven racks so that both can be used during the roasting process. The beets take the longest, so you should be able to swap in the remaining vegetables to roast while the beets are going.
    Wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Place the beets on a cooking sheet and into the oven, on the lower rack, for 45 minutes to an hour, until a knife pressed into a beet gives little resistance. While the beets are roasting, toss the yams in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Turn out onto a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, flipping once, until soft on the inside but still a bit crisp on the outside. Set aside to cool. Toss the leeks with just a little olive oil and turn onto a baking sheet, and roast for about 10 minutes, until soft and just starting to brown. Set aside to cool. When the beets are ready, remove and open the foil packets. When cool enough to handle, peel the outer layer and cut into chunks.
    Meanwhile, toss the bread cubes in a little olive oil (sounding familiar?), place on a baking sheet and bake just until crisp on the outside — you don’t want to make rock-hard croutons.
    Now you can just throw everything, including the salad greens, into a bowl, add enough dressing to your liking, toss until coated, and serve! Season as desired.

    2-3 servings.

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    posted in Salads and Light Soups, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

    29th August 2009

    Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp

    greenpapayasalad

    Lisa had her first green papaya salad at Thoa in Seattle and absolutely loved it; after trying it myself, I decided that this was something we had to make at home. The recipe itself, which I adapted from a few I spotted online, as well as what I remember of the restaurant version, came together really quickly. The biggest adventure was actually in procuring this little gadget — I wandered all over the International District/Chinatown looking for it and finally found it in a little grocery next to the Tamarind Tree. Four bucks, and the papaya was shredded perfectly. Highly recommended if you’re going to make this dish.


    Lisa says:

    I love how the papaya looks like noodles — so different that what I was expecting!

    Chris says:

    I know, green papaya seems nothing like its ripe counterpart.

    Lisa says:

    This dish just tastes so summery and fresh…

    Chris says:

    I like that dishes like this are so easy to tailor to what you have on hand — you can pretty much make it however you want.

    Lisa says:

    Well, now that you went through all the effort of finding that little papaya shredder, we’ll definitely have to have this more often.

    Chris says:

    Heck yes! Next time I’m thinking I’ll do the beef jerky version, which apparently pretty popular.

    Lisa says:

    Hmmm… maybe I’ll have some shrimp ready as a backup… you enjoy, though!

    Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp
    1 medium-sized green papaya
    1 large carrot
    2 serrano, thai bird, or other hot peppers
    2 garlic cloves
    2 tsp sugar
    2 tbsp fish sauce
    1 1/2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
    1/3-1/2 lb. shrimp
    fried shallots
    peanuts, toasted and chopped
    cilantro, chopped
    basil, cut into ribbons

    Peel the green papaya, then shred or julienne into thin strips and set aside in a large serving bowl. Peel the carrot, and shred or julienne into strips, and add to the papaya.
    In a mortar, crush the chilies, garlic, and sugar into a paste. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the fish sauce and lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings to have your preferred level of tartness, sweetness, and spice. Pour just enough dressing over the papaya and carrots — it shouldn’t be swimming in liquid. Toss and set aside.
    Grill or saute the shrimp until just done, then add to the tossed salad. Garnish with fried shallots, the peanuts, cilantro, and basil.

    2 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups, Vietnamese | 4 Comments

    3rd August 2009

    Greek-Style Tomato-Zucchini Fritters

    greekfritters

    This recipe comes from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook — they make an nice starter, or you could do what we did and served them over a salad with a lemon-dill vinaigrette to make a light dinner. The book recommends a vegan alternative to tzatziki to serve alongside, but not being vegan, we went for the full glory of greek-yogurty goodness. The main impetus for this dish was the zucchini and tomatoes from our garden that were just begging to be eaten!


    Lisa says:

    Ooh, these look awesome. Did you save any of our tomatoes to just eat on the side?

    Chris says:

    Whoops — though it looks like the rest will be ready to pick in the next few days.

    Lisa says:

    Dammit, oh well. Let’s see how these are…

    Chris says:

    I love the herbs. Dill and mint are a good combo.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, they taste really good. Interesting texture…

    Chris says:

    Ha, was wondering if you’d mention that. Not quite exactly what I was expecting. Though when you realize that they’re mostly tofu, it makes sense.

    Lisa says:

    True! Maybe add just a little more bread crumbs?

    Chris says:

    Yep, that may help — whatever, they taste bueno.

    Lisa says:

    …as the Greeks say.

    Chris says:

    Totally.

    Greek-Style Tomato-Zucchini Fritters
    1 lb firm tofu, squeezed to remove extra water (place a heavy dinner plate on top for 10 minutes or so), then crumbled
    1/4 cup ground walnuts
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    1 tbsp tomato juice
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp salt
    fresh ground pepper
    1/2 cup bread crumbs, plus 1/3 cup for coating
    1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
    1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    1/2 lb zucchini, grated and squeezed to remove excess water
    1 lb seeded, finely chopped tomatoes, drained to remove extra liquid
    Olive oil

    Preheat the oven to 350F.
    Blend the tofu, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you wish. Scrape into a large bowl and mix in the bread crumbs, dill, and mint — it should have the consistency of a thick cookie dough. (Add more breadcrumbs by the tablespoon if it’s not quite there). Fold in the zucchini and tomatoes.
    Create golf-ball sized balls of the mixture, and drop into the bread crumbs and roll to coat. Flatten to about 1 inch thick.
    Rub a large cookie sheet with olive oil, and as you complete each fritter, arrange so they do not touch. Spray with olive oil, then place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

    Serves 4

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    posted in Appetizers, Greek, Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups, Veganomicon | 3 Comments


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