100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Mains, Vegan

Day 46 – Pomegranate Glazed Eggplant with Tempeh

Day46

I was going through my recipe books with a friend, and she was utterly surprised to find out that I just happened to have pomegranate molasses for this recipe already in my pantry. My cheeky response was  . . . “doesn’t everybody?”

Seriously though, I had bought the pomegranate molasses ages ago for a particular recipe I ended up not liking very much, and have been looking for an opportunity to use it ever since.  Hence my excitement at finding the Pomegranate Glazed Eggplant with Tempeh recipe in Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day” cookbook.

Pomegranate is one of those flavors that it so unusual, just the right mix of sweet and tart. It is a fruit that has been cultivated in the Middle East since ancient times, and has been mentioned in many ancient texts including the Old Testament. Pomegranates are used in cooking, baking, juices, smoothies and alcoholic beverages, such as martinis and wine, and can give you up to 12% of your daily required intake of vitamin C. You can usually find pomegranate molasses at a middle eastern shop, or sometimes at your local natural food type store.

Tempeh, is a kind of patty made of highly nutritious fermented soybeans. To learn more about the this food you can read my Day 18 – Teriyaki Tempeh Bowl post.

This recipe is Vegan, gluten and dairy free, if you leave off the feta. I served it over a bed of couscous made with currants, green/spring onions, and dry roasted pistachio nuts, but realistically it would go well with almost any grain or pulse: rice, wild rice, Israeli couscous, bulger, quinoa, etc . . .

Pomegranate Glazed Eggplant with Tempeh

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 long thin Asian eggplant (about 225 g or 8 ounce), cut into 25mm or 1 inch chunks
  • 255 grams or 8 ounces tempeh, cut into 10 mm or 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup peeled and diced winter squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, or kumara
  • grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain, sea salt
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1/3 olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta or ricotta

Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F, with the rack int he middle of the oven.

In a large bowl combine the cubed, eggplant, tempeh, and squash.

Prepare the glaze by sprinkling the salt over the smashed garlic, and then turning the garlic into a paste, either in a mortar and pestle or by  continuously chopping and smashing the garlic with the flat of your knife. Combine the garlic paste in a small bowl with the chili flakes and pomegranate molasses. Whisk in the olive oil.

Then drizzle 3/4 of the glaze over the ingredients in the large bowl. Toss well and transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet trying to arrange the ingredient sin a single layer.

Bake for 45-60 minutes until the eggplant and squash are soft and starting to caramelize. About 35 minutes into baking give the ingredients a good toss on the pan.

Once out of the oven drizzle with the remaining glaze, and sprinkle with the feta and fresh coriander/cilantro.

Serve warm with couscous or your grain of choice.

ENJOY!!

 

 

 

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Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Recipes, Soups, Vegan

Lebanese Red Lentil Soup

RedLentilSoup

This soup is one of my favorite easy recipes to make, and is great for a winter weekday, when you just want something simple, warm, and full of flavor.

The recipe, originally from the Allrecipes.com website posted by JENP1, is closest I have been able to come to my favorite red lentil soup served at Mezze Bar in Auckland CBD.  It was not originally a vegetarian recipe, but with the substitution of vegetable stock for chicken stock, and a few small tweaks of the spices, I do not think it has lost any of its flavor.

Red lentils, which are very high in protein, vitamins, and nutrients, are often used in Middle Eastern style cooking. Lentils were one of the first domesticated crops, but may have been eaten by humans almost 13,000 years ago. Red lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils, but that means they cook up quicker and you do not need to soak them overnight.

This recipe originally calls for fresh coriander, which is typical in a Middle Eastern dish, but I forgot to buy this ingredient at the store, so substituted with fresh chives. It still tasted nice, but would recommend going with the coriander for authenticity, if you have the option.

Lebanese Red Lentil Soup

adapted from: JENP1, Allrecipes.com

SERVES: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 450 grams or 1 pound  red lentils
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Bring vegetable stock and lentils to a boil in a large soup pot over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic, onion, and spices and cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 3 minutes.

Stir onions into the lentils, and continue simmering until the lentils are tender, about 10 minutes.

At this point if you are in a hurry, you can puree the soup in a standing blender or with a stick blender to get a smooth consistency, but I prefer to turn down the heat to low and let it continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes, and the lentils will break down themselves.

Stir in the fresh coriander and lemon juice before serving, and garnish with feta cheese and a bit more coriander. Leave off the cheese if you want to keep this soup Vegan.

ENJOY!!

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Dairy Free, Dips, Condiments and Dressings, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan

Harissa

Harissa

Mmmmm . . . Spicy chili goodness!!

Harissa is a spiced chili paste originally from Tunisia, but its use has spread to other North African and Middle Eastern countries . The main ingredients are hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander, red chili powder, caraway as well as some kind of vegetable or olive oil.  Recipes for harissa vary according to region and country; variations can include the addition of cumin, red peppers, garlic, coriander, and lemon juice. In Saharan regions, they add a smokey flavor to harissa.

I needed a harissa paste to use in my Day 23- Harissa Ravioli post, and a friend suggested that I try making my own. Brilliant idea!! After a bit of research I found a recipe on the Food52 blog site, that seemed to be easy enough, use ingredients I mostly already had around the house, and was open to my own interpretation. You are supposed to let the harissa paste sit for over 24 hours before using, but since I needed it for a particular recipe I could not wait. My version of harissa worked perfectly in the dish, and I cannot wait to taste the intensity of the flavors 24 hours from now.

Harissa

MAKES: approx. 1 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 red jalapeno or serrano chiles, stemmed, chopped with seeds (the more you add, the hotter the harissa)
  • 2 large or 3 medium red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded, coarsely chopped (I actually used jarred roasted red peppers and it worked just as good)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Toast cumin, coriander and caraway seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic, 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar with pestle, and grind seeds to a fine powder.

Combine ground seeds, garlic, smoked paprika, chiles, red peppers and 1 tablespoon olive oil in bowl of food processor. Process, adding additional olive oil if necessary, for a thick sauce-like consistency. Add ground pepper and salt.

Let harissa sit at least one hour and up to 24 hours before serving. (Refrigerate until use.)

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Mains, Recipes, Vegan

Day 5 – Indian Curried Chickpeas with Fresh Ginger and Coriander

Day5

WOW . . . this dish packs quite a lot of flavor and spice. I like spicy food, and I had to keep my yogurt nearby.

book3Although the best part about this recipe is that it is made in a slow cooker. Slow cookers are one of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment (that and my immersion/stick blender; both of which are used in this recipe). There is nothing better than coming home after a long day of work to a warm meal  that has been slowly bubbling away for hours cooking down and gaining flavor. Usually, most recipe books for slow cookers are very meat-centric, so usually I just make up my own concoctions, but it is always nice to get inspiration from somewhere. A couple years ago a friend gave me The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker  cook book as a birthday present. This is literally one of the best birthday presents I have ever received!! The book is organized by country and it has so many amazing recipes for ways to use a slow cooker that I have never imagined.

Chickpeas or Chana are commonly found in Indian cooking, especially vegetarian Indian cooking. With this recipe there is still a bit of work to be done at the end; the spices and fresh ingredients are added last after the chickpeas have been simmering all day to preserve the flavor and the freshness of these elements. As I mentioned earlier this recipe is SPICY!! You can adjust it for your own spice tolerance by varying the amount of cayenne pepper used.

Indian Curried Chickpeas with Fresh Ginger and Coriander

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sesame or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 green cardamon pods
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure chili powder
  • 30 mm  piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, or vary for your spice tolerance)
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Yogurt for serving
  • 3 fresh serrano (or NZ green) chiles, seeded, deveined, and cut into julienne, for garnish
  • rough chopped coriander, for garnish

Thoroughly rinse the chickpeas and place them in the slow cooker insert along with the water. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hrs (pretty much while you are at work), until the chickpeas are tender.

In a large saute pan, brown the onion in the sesame oil until dark brown in colour, about 10 -15 min.

spicesNow the fun part . . . combine the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, chile powder, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne in an electric coffee mill or mortar and pestle and grind to a coarse powder/paste. If you do not have either an electric coffee mill or mortar and pestle then put spices into a heavy bowl and use the bottom of a glass  or jar to grind the spices down. I love the look and smell of all these beautiful spices combining together.

Add the coarsely ground spices to the onion and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, then add the onion and spices to the cooked chickpeas. Recover and continue cooking for another 30 – 60 minutes.

Using an immersion/stick blender, puree some of the chickpeas in the insert, and mix through to thicken the mixture.

Add salt to taste, then stir in the lemon juice. Ladle into bowls, add a dallop of yogurt, and garnish with chile slices and fresh coriander.

ENJOY!!

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