Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hot and Spicy Eggplant

Sorry, no picture on this one! It was good though!

Hot and Spicy Eggplant (adapted from the Vegetarian Times (my new best friend))
Serve 4

4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 T soy sauce
1 T dark sesame oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. hot chili oil, or more to taste
Pinch of sugar
6 Japanese or Chinese eggplants, cut crosswise in thirds then quartered lengthwise (I used regular eggplant – it’s all I had)
2 medium scallions (white and light green parts), chopped

Sauce: In a medium bowl, combine garlic and ginger; whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, both vinegars, chili oil and sugar. Set aside.

In a large saucepan fitted with steamer basket, bring 2 inches of water to a boil over high heat. Add eggplant, cover and steam until tender, 4 to 6 minutes

Add eggplants to bowl with sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Ramadan!!!

It’s RAMADAN!!! Yes, the holy month for all Muslims, like me, is finally upon us. How does Ramadan affect a typical Muslim’s eating habits? It’s good you asked, since it affects our eating habits in a big way. Basically, it means…no food…from sunrise until sunset. NOTHING! No small meals, no water, NOTHING! The religious and philosophical reasons behind the fasting are written about extensively on the internet. But the purpose of this blog is not to espouse religious beliefs, it’s about food.

So, because of the fasting, you may think that food, or the preparation of it at least, is not a big part of Ramadan. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. The preparation and serving of food is an integral part of this festive month. And it’s highlighted in a fantastic way by Huma Siddiqui in this article:

So, please everyone, if you know a Muslim – either work with one or are friends with one – don’t tempt them with chocolate covered cherries or strong coffee in the early morning, it’s just cruel. Instead, try and get an invitation to their home for a “breaking the fast” meal, because honestly, it’s a meal that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Simple Broccolini

What is broccolini? Well, Wikipedia defines it as “a green vegetable resembling broccoli. Although often mistakenly identified as young broccoli, it is actually a natural hybrid of the cabbage family Brassica oleracea, a cross between broccoli and Chinese Kale. It was developed by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan. It is generally agreed that broccolini has a sweeter flavor than broccoli." I define it as a delicious, healthy, and beautifully green vegetable. You can find it at Trader Joes or Whole Foods.

A few weeks ago I had dinner at my friend Kim’s house. She and her husband are fabulous cooks and they made some awesome food for me. One of the dishes was broccolini sautéed with garlic and cherry tomatoes. A simple dish, but a lovely one.

Here’s how it goes.

Sauteed Broccolini
Serve 2

½ lb broccolini
2 T olive oil
½ lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut a half-inch off the stems of the broccolini. Place a large pot of salted water to boil. Once the water begins to boil, add the broccolini for a minute and remove. Drop the broccolini in some ice water to stop the cooking process.

In a medium-size sautee pan, heat the oil and garlic. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, add the broccolini and tomatoes. Saute for 7-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Masala Aloo

So, a little while back, actually many months back, I made a dish called Bombay Potatoes. They were good, not great, but good. I love potatoes, so I'll really eat any edible potato dish. Tonight, I tried a new Indian-style potato dish from the Vegetarian Times. Yes, I read the Vegetarian Times. It has great recipes and some interesting veggie information, obviously. (They should pay me for this endorsement). Anyways, I tried the dish, and guess what? I loved it! So good!!! (Um, definitely deserve pay for this ringing endorsement of a recipe).

Masala Aloo (also called Potatoes Masala)
Serves 4

16 small new potatoes, halved
2 T tomato puree (I used tomato paste)
2 T ketchup
1 T tamarind paste
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. cayenne
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 T vegetable oil
1 T chopped cilantro

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender when tested with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup water, tomato puree, ketchup, tamarind paste, sugar, ginger, coriander, garlic, cayenne, lemon juice, and salt to taste.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add tomato mixture and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Add potatoes, stirring to coat. Cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and serve hot.