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

    2nd November 2009

    Moussaka

    moussaka

    I’d been craving lamb, and Lisa was in a I-want-lasagna-but-we-just-had-lasagna mood, so moussaka seemed like the perfect bridge between our two wants. This recipe comes from the book Mediterranean Hot and Spicy; the moussaka was certainly hot (after being in a 400F oven for an hour…) but spicy? Not so much. Mouth-watering? Yes. Mouth-burning? No. Just a warning; this is not a recipe you can just whip up when you get home from work; it’s a multi-hour commitment!


    Lisa says:

    I can’t believe you’re just finishing up, I would have been frustrated hours ago.

    Chris says:

    Ha, I actually enjoy the occasional time-intensive recipe; besides, the last hour I haven’t been doing anything but getting hungry while I wait for it to finish baking.

    Lisa says:

    Well I’m glad it’s done now… I’m starvin’, Marvin.

    Chris says:

    This smells awesome… Mmm.. and there’s the lamb I’ve been craving.

    Lisa says:

    Oooh, I love the texture of the baked yogurt top. And the meat is good — not super-duper “lamby”.

    Chris says:

    All the veggies are great; I like the layer of green peppers.

    Lisa says:

    The potato layer is awesome. Whoa — looks like there’s a ton leftover.

    Chris says:

    There is — you could totally cut this recipe in half and just bake it in an 8″x8″ pan and you’d be set for 4 servings.

    Lisa says:

    I guess at some point we’ll be able to report back on how this freezes and reheats.

    Chris says:

    Indeed — we’ll have to whip this out midweek next week. It’ll be nice to not have to work nearly as hard for it next time. :)

    Spicy, Light Moussaka
    Sea salt
    2 large eggplants (about 1.5 lbs). sliced lengthwise, 1/4″ thick
    Olive oil
    1 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
    3 large green bell peppers, quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
    1 lb lean ground lamb
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    2 or more pinches of cayenne
    1/3 cup dry red wine
    1/2 cup dried currants
    2 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juice
    fresh ground black pepper
    2 pinches freshly ground nutmeg
    1 pinch allspice
    1 lb (4 cups) nonfat Greek yogurt
    2 egg yolks

    Salt the eggplant slices, place them in a colander, and let them drain for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat about an inch deep of olive oil in a deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and fry the potato slices until browned but not cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and layer on the bottom of a 9×12″ glass ovenproof casserole dish. In the same oil, saute the peppers over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they start to color, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reserve the oil, measure out 1/4 cup, and return it to the pan. Saute the lamb in the oil, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until no longer red. Add the chopped onion and continue to saute for another 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the cayenne and red wine. When boiling, add the currants and tomatoes. Lower and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne if wanted. Add the nutmeg and allspice and add to the heat.
    Preheat the broiler.
    Wipe the eggplant slices with paper towels and place them on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with the reserved oil and broil about 4 inches from the heat until golden brown on both sides.
    Preheat the oven to 400F.
    Arrange the eggplant over the potatoes, overlapping if necessary. Layer the peppers over the eggplant and top with the lamb/tomato mixture. In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the egg yolks, stirring well. Pour the mixture over the lamb/tomato mixture. Bake for 1 hour, until the top starts to color and the moussaka is bubbly.

    6-8 Servings.

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    posted in Greek, Main Dishes, Mediterranean Hot and Spicy, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments

    5th August 2009

    Baba Ghanoush

    baba
    This particular recipe for baba ghanoush (or baba ghannouj, moutabal, etc.) comes from a book called Little Foods of the Mediterranean: 500 Fabulous Recipes for Antipasti, Tapas, Hors d’Oeuvres, Meze, and More, but honestly, the basic recipe is pretty simple: eggplant, tahini, lemon, garlic. We served it with the gyros we made for the Almost Meatless Potluck.


    Chris says:
    Hooray, I’ve always wanted to make baba ghanoush! I love the smokiness from the grilled and blackened eggplant.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, this is good — tastes really close to how my dad makes it.

    Chris says:

    Same ingredients I’m assuming?

    Lisa says:

    Yep… though we always called it “moutabal” growing up.

    Chris says:

    I think this one came out just a little … sweet? …is that possible? It might just need a pinch more salt.

    Lisa says:

    You’ll never get an argument from me on adding salt. To anything.

    Baba Ghanoush
    2 medium-size eggplants
    4 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    1/4 cup tahini
    2 large garlic cloves, peeled
    1 tsp salt
    Extra-virgin olive oil
    parsley

    Score the eggplants all over with a fork. Preheat a gas grill on high and grill the eggplant whole until the skins are black and blistered, about 40 minutes. Remove the skins and spoon out the insides as soon as you can handle the eggplant. Puree the pulp in a food processor, then drain the bitter liquid from the eggplant by letting it sit in a strainer over a bowl for an hour.
    In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and tahini. Pound the garlic and salt together in a mortar until it is a paste, then stir into the tahini. Stir into the eggplant puree. Taste and add water to thin.
    Pour onto a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil, then top with parsley.
    Scoop with pita or Arabic flatbread.

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    posted in Appetizers, Arabic, Armenian, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments

    14th February 2009

    Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream

    moussaka
    One thing we’re finding out about the recipes in Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook is that a lot of them aren’t exactly weeknight-friendly. Some of them are very involved and one would be wise to steer clear if a quick dinner is the goal. This recipe definitely falls into the “takes a while” category, but is totally worth it. This moussaka (which I like to think of as a greek lasagna with eggplant standing in for the noodles) features layers of eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes, a nicely spiced tomato sauce, and is topped with a pine nut cream rather than bechamel (This is vegan, after all).


    Chris says:

    Wow, that was kind of a pain, cutting those veggies 1/4″ thick. And it was a clear reminder that I need to sharpen our knives.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, seemed like it took a while… if it makes you feel any better, the house smells absolutely amazing.

    Chris says:

    I know, I’m really looking forward to this…

    Lisa says:

    Did you try the pine nut cream before you put it on?

    Chris says:

    Yeah, it’s really, really good.

    Lisa says:

    Cool — I wasn’t sure about the whole pine-nuts-and-silken-tofu thing.

    Chris says:

    You blend it to a really creamy consistency. I also tossed some pine nuts on top. Anyway, let’s dig in!

    Carrie says:

    This is delicious!

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, I love it.

    Chris says:

    I really like the potatoes in it — they were crispy and browned going in, and now they’ve soaked up the goodness from the sauce.

    Carrie says:

    I’ve never had a moussaka before, but you’re right, it is sorta like a lasagna.

    Chris says:

    Wahoo, I’m ready for more — want to split another piece with me?

    Lisa says:

    Split?

    Chris says:

    You can always have more!

    Lisa says:

    I guess we can save some for lunch…

    Chris says:

    I bet it’ll be even better tomorrow. ;)

    Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream
    Vegetable Layer:
    1 lb eggplant
    1 lb zucchini
    1 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes
    1/8 cup olive oil

    Sauce:
    1/8 cup olive oil
    4 large shallots, sliced thinly
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/3 cup red wine
    2 15-oz cans crushed tomatoes
    2 tsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 bay leaf
    Salt

    Pine Nut Cream:
    1 lb soft silken tofu
    1/2 cup pine nuts, plus additional for garnish
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp arrowroot powder
    1 clove garlic
    Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    Salt
    white pepper

    1/2 cup dry, fine white bread crumbs

    Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly oil two baking sheets, line a third with parchment paper, and spray with cooking oil.
    Wash the eggplant and zucchini, and trim the stems. Scrub and peel the potatoes. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes lengthwise, into approximately 1/4″ thick slices. This is a pain, but worth it. Rub the eggplant slices with a little salt and set aside in a colander in the sink or in a big bowl for about 15 minutes to drain. Briefly rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

    Place each vegetable on a separate baking sheet. Distribute the 1/8 cup of oil among the three sheets and sprinkle vegetables with salt (except the eggplant if salted already). Toss to coat the vegetables on each sheet. Making sure each piece is completely coated with oil. Spread out the vegetables on each sheet; some overlapping is okay. Roast the pans of zucchini and eggplant for 15 minutes, or until tender. Roast the potatoes for about 20 to 22 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the vegetables to cool.

    Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce:
    Combine the remaining 1/8 cup olive oil and minced garlic in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat and let the garlic sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until slightly reduced, another 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, ground cinnamon, and bay leaf. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and adjust the salt.

    Make the pine nut cream:
    In a food processor, blend the pine nuts and lemon juice, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until a creamy paste forms. Add the tofu, garlic, arrowroot, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Blend until creamy and smooth.

    Lightly oil a 9 x 13 inch pan and preheat the oven again to 400˚F, if necessary. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on the pan, then add successive layers in order of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and half of the bread crumbs. Spread all the zucchini on top of this. Top with a final layer each of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and breadcrumbs. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the pine nut cream over the entire top layer. Scatter a few pine nuts on top, if desired.

    Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a few cracks have formed in the topping. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

    4-6 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, Veganomicon | 11 Comments

    27th January 2009

    Roasted Vegetables with Chickpeas and Couscous

    roastedveggiecouscous

    Vegetarian Week continues here at We [Heart] Food, with this recipe (okay, it uses chicken stock, but you could replace with vegetable stock) from Fitness Food. Nothing too fancy here, just a huge plate of roasted vegetables over a bed of couscous and chickpeas.

    Lisa says:

    Waaahoooo!

    Chris says:

    I know, this is like your dream dinner!

    Lisa says:

    It’s true! It’s like a really good version of what I make at lunch at work.

    Chris says:

    Super simple, and you can do it in stages… while the first set of veggies is in the oven you can start cutting up the next set.

    Lisa says:

    It reminds me of that dish I made for a party a few months ago.

    Chris says:

    Oh yeah! I was just about to say this would be easy to bring to a party as a side dish.

    Lisa says:

    Tonight it works pretty well as dinner. :)

    Roasted Vegetables with Chickpeas and Couscous
    18 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut 1/2″ thick on the diagonal
    3 baby eggplant, cut into 3/4″ slices on the diagonal
    2 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped
    oil spray
    2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thick strips
    1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
    3 ripe Roma tomatoes, quartered
    2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1 15 oz can chicken broth
    1 1/2 cups couscous
    1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    1 handful mixed herbs (basil, green onions, oregano), chopped

    Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place the sweet potato and eggplant on the trays. Spray with the oil, add the rosemary, and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes.
    Add in the zucchini, red bell pepper, and onion. Spray again with the oil spray and continue to bake an additional 15 minutes.
    Add the tomato wedges, drizzle with the vinegar, and bake for a final 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender.
    Meanwhile, heat the stock in a saucepan to boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and set aside for 3 minutes, then return to a low heat and fluff with a fork for 2-3 minutes to separate. Add the chickpeas and most of the herbs. Serve the vegetables on warm couscous. Garnish with extra herbs.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Fitness Food, Vegetarian | 7 Comments


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