100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free (with Substitutions), Mains, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegan (with substitutions)

Day 28 – Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Bulgur Salad

day28

Since the last two days have been quick and simple recipes, I figured I would do something a bit fancier for today’s post.

Are you ever in a Doctor’s office or coffee shop flipping through the magazines and come across that amazing looking recipe you want to take home to try? So you very sneakily and quietly, trying not to attract the receptionist’s or cafe staff’s attention, rip the recipe out of the magazine and quickly stuff it into whatever bag or purse you have with you. I know I have done this countless times over the years since I have started being interested in cooking as a teenager. It always leaves me feeling a bit guilty . . . but thank goodness for technology and camera phones; I no longer have this guilt. Now I simply pull my iPhone out a take a picture of whatever amazing looking recipe has caught my attention. This recipe for Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Bulgur Salad, found in January 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine, is was one of these recipes that I snapped with my iPhone.

Eggplants are a vegetable that is native to the Indian Subcontinent, has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia, and the first known written record is found in an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise. It is believed that the eggplant was introduced throughout the Mediterranean by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages. The raw flesh of the eggplant can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining  eggplants to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness that it can have. The flesh is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes, but salting reduces the amount of oil absorbed. Due to its texture and bulk, eggplant makes a great  meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

Bulgur is a whole grain, usually sold parboiled and dried, that has a light nutty flavor and is a common ingredient in Armenian, Assyrian, Lebanese, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes.  Bulgur can be used in pilafs, soups, bakery goods, salads, or as stuffing. Its high nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous.

I was looking forward to making this dish because of the interesting spice mixture that is brushed on the eggplants before they are roasted, and the combination of sweet, savory, and crunchy ingredients that are mixed through the bulgur salad, and this recipe definitely delivered on the promise of great flavor and spice.

This dish can easily be made dairy free and vegan by leaving off the yogurt, and the bulgur can be substituted with quinoa to make it gluten free.

Spiced Eggplant with Herbed Bulgur Salad

from: Bon Apetit, January 2012

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons preserved lemon peel, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium eggplants (9-10 ounces each), halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup quick cooking bulgur
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives or capers
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Greek style yogurt

Preheat ovem to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup oil, the next seven ingredients, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Score the flesh of each eggplant half with 15mmor 1/2 inch deep diagonal crisscrossing lines, spacing 40mm or 1 inch apart (do not cut through the skin). Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over each cut side, allowing it to soak in. Season lightly with salt. Brush or spoon spice mix on each half diving it equally. Place eggplants, cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until soft ( about 50 – 60 min).

While eggplant is cooking, place bulgur in a large bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Let soak for 45 minutes to soften and absorb water. Stir in olives or capers, onion, currants, parsley, 1/2 cup coriander, pistachios, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then let sit for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld.

Serve at room temperature, with a dallop of greek yogurt on top of the bulgur salad and coriander to garnish.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Dips, Condiments and Dressings, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan

Day 7 – Mediterranean Spiced Carrot Relish

Day7

What do you all think about the new pop-up dining craze?

For those of you who may not know, pop-up dining is when a small restaurant appears in random and/or previously vacant space for a limited time, sometimes only one night.  Personally, I think it’s a great idea!! Serving a specialized menu or sometimes themed, pop-up restaurants offer patrons something different from what is normally locally available and helps turn going out to dinner into a social community event. Unfortunately, one of the draw backs of pop-up dining is that it is typically a set menu with limited vegetarian and vegan options.

I found this recipe on online from Pop-Up Dining Auckland. I have only recently found out about this group, but I am very excited to see that they not only are very creative with their events (the last one being Viking themed), but that often these events are Vegan. The next Vegan pop-up dining event, Vegan Latino, is on July 3rd, and tickets are on-sale now. Being American, I love Latino/Mexican food, and I am thinking I need to check out this yummy Vegan goodness myself. Here’s  hoping tickets will still be available when my next paycheck comes in. Anyone want to go with me?

Further endearing this group to me, they seem to openly post some their recipes on-line inviting and encouraging people to try to make the food they have tasted for themselves.  This recipe was one of the items they served during their recent Mediterranean Vegan pop-up dining event, held at Kokako. They called it Carrot Jam, but when I made the recipe, the consistency and texture is much more similar to what I would call a relish; hence the name change.

The flavors found in Mediterranean food are usually fresh and vibrant playing on the contrast between sweet and savory. This recipe for Mediterranean Spiced Carrot Relish certainly fits that description. Much of this recipe is based on your own personal tastes, and you have to work it it a bit to get the sweet savory balance right, but the results are well worth the effort. I am looking forward to eating this carrot relish with some feta and avocado on a cracker, or maybe as a topping for a falafel burger.

Mediterranean Spiced Carrot Relish

by: Pop-Up Dining Auckland

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 carrots, grated
  • 1 onion, grated
  • orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed
  • orange zest
  • apple cider vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • salt

Take a tablespoon of mustard seeds and one of cumin seeds and fry in hot oil until it smells nice and the mustard seeds pop.

Add about 5 grated carrots and a grated onion and let it sweat over a med heat. Then add orange juice and zest, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. Here you will need to judge and taste. A rough guide is about 1 part juice to 2 parts vinegar and then a cup of sugar. You need some liquid to show in the bottom of the pan and you may need to add more as it cooks.

Cover pan with a lid and cook for ages; it is jam after all. If it starts to dry out, add more juice and vinegar and suagr to counter the acidity. Add salt as well. Keep cooking and tasting. If its too vinegary for you, add more sugar, to sweet add more vinegar. You get the idea. It should end up rich and sticky. Leave it to cool, refrigerate and eat tomorrow.

ENJOY!!

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