It is Eggplant season, and I've been fortunate enough to get eggplant from various sources lately (The organic eco-farm, my tutoring student, Zach, and my neighbor/farmer Randy). It has been an eggplant heavy week in our house!
Sunday morning, I woke up with an idea for a eggplant sandwich. I made Rob get up and go to the store with me so I could make it RIGHT AWAY.
First of all, almost any time I cook eggplant, I slice it first, salt it on both sides and let it sit for about 20 minutes. I'm not totally sure the reason for this- I think that by removing the excess moisture from the eggplant it gives it a better texture. I've also read that by removing the water it is less likely to absorb fat in the cooking process. Rob always heard that it takes away the bitterness, but I have roasted eggplant whole before and have it not be bitter. Anyway, I'm not going to knock what works. Slice it, salt both sides. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then wipe away the salt and water with a paper towel. Sometimes I even press the eggplant with a paper towel.
Next, I mixed up a combination of coconut milk, flour, and herbs (recipe inspired by Oh She Glows) and Panko crumbs, and baked the eggplant slices for 10 minutes per side at 450.
I put the eggplant slices on ciabatta buns with arugula, sliced onion, and a mixture of veganaise, dill, and horseradish.
Tell me how good this looks!
I had some leftover breading, so I made a side with the different types of yellow squash & zucchini we've gotten last week!
While I had the oven on, I also roasted up a whole eggplant (two smaller eggplants, actually). First- prick them a couple of times with a fork- apparently eggplant will explode in the oven if you don't do this first- I have never tempted fate by not pricking! After about an hour, I took out the eggplant and let it cool. I had the time, but if you don't, just drop it in some cold water to shock it and stop the cooking process. Peel & blend in the food processor with tahini, garlic, and salt. (I haven't tried their recipe, but Thug Kitchen has one posted that looks delicious if you need measurements and such. Plus, they're super clever- but don't use language that is "family friendly")
So, Tuesday night, we still had some ciabatta buns, and more eggplant, but I didn't want to repeat, so I made TLT's (tempeh, lettuce & tomato). You can use pre-seasoned tempeh, but I really like to flavor my own like The Vegan Zombie does. I also always purchase the flax-seed enriched tempeh, since it has such great cholesterol reducing properties.
With the eggplant, I roasted the slices for about 10-15 minutes, then I put them in a muffin tin, making little eggplant cups. After another 10 minutes, I added soy vegan feta cheese, and some pesto I made with pine nuts, garlic, and spinach.
I definitely wanted to include this recipe in the week of eggplant.
This was the first vegetarian cookbook I ever got- I lived this cookbook and learned to cook from Anna Thomas. I loved her mantra- that eating was a celebration of life. Curries quickly became my specialty as a teenager- and this one was always a hit. I hadn't cooked it in at least 15 years, and had never made it vegan (a staple of Thomas' curries is a butter ghee and yogurt).
For this dish, I used Randy's eggplant (the one pictured whole at the beginning of the blog), a potato, an onion, some peas, carrots, and a pepper, along with earth balance, spices, and coconut yogurt. Served on brown rice- delicious!!