Sunday, November 27, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower with Dates, Olives, Rosemary, and Red Pepper

As I've noted before, cauliflower gets sadly overlooked.  This recipe from running with tweezers pulls out all the stops in redeeming it, however, and I think it succeeds.

I didn't really change anything; I just upped the olives and reduced the rosemary.  In the end, roasted cauliflower is its own reward.

Roasted Cauliflower with Dates, Olives, Rosemary, and Red Pepper

1 medium (4-5″ in diameter) head of cauliflower, tough stems/leaves removed & cut into florets
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 c earth balance
10 Medjool dates, pits removed & roughly chopped
15 green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed from the stems then roughly chopped
kosher salt, to taste
red pepper flakes, to tase

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large roasting pan or baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and the fresh ground black pepper. Once the oven comes up to temperature, roast the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven) until tender with some caramelized brown spots. You’re not looking for char – just nice touches of golden brown.
2. About 2 minutes before you’re going to pull the cauliflower from the oven, heat the earthbalance in a large saucepan over medium heat. Allow to start to bubble and brown ever so slightly. Throw in the chopped rosemary, dates and olives and saute until heated through – you don’t want the rosemary to get black, though. Pull the cauliflower from the oven. You can either drizzle the butter/date/olive mixture over the cauliflower in the roasting pan and toss….or you can put the cauliflower in the butter mixture if your saute pan is big enough. Either will work. Taste a tiny floret & season with salt and red pepper accordingly. Serve immediately.  Serves about 4.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing and Sesame Seeds

Well, hey, let's start with the least exciting.  We needed something green with all these starchy vegetables, right?  And something that didn't have to go in the oven?  Kale salad to the rescue. 

I steamed some kale (2 bunches), then mixed it with a recipe of pomegranate molasses dressing (now, with a link that works!) and some sesame seeds.

Actually, that's it.


Another Thanksgiving come and gone.  Any holiday that ends with a text being sent which reads, "lol bleeding is stanched" is probably an intense one.

Injuries aside, it was a merry and delicious affair.  The broadly Middle-Eastern menu was supplemented by a pumpkin puree from actual (weird, blue) pumpkins that Dan had, which made the best pie ever!  Christine brought some sesame cookies that the Russian lady in WeHo seemed to think were vegan (though shit very well may have gotten lost in translation), and there was also a healthy amount of wine and beer and dorky party games.

le menu 
dolmades and olives
sesame cookies
pumpkin pie with cardamom coconut cream (oops, the coconut cream did not happen, but you know, best intentions...)
lavender-mint champagne cocktails (1 c water, 1 c sugar, 2 tsp lavender, 2 tsp dried mint, reduced to a syrup; mixed with dry champagne at a ratio of 1 part syrup to 2 parts champagne)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fast Macro

I passed my exams!  I am officially masterful!  I can read for fun!  I can... plan Thanksgiving in the next two days?

While studying, I've been making a lot of very simple and fast dishes.  Here are two:

I remade Celeste's awesome mushroom-leek soup, adding edamame this time. However, it tasted bland and sad.  I realized that it's because I used TJ's low-sodium soy sauce, instead of the good tamari I usually keep on hand.  This soup is usually perfect, despite its simplicity, but the tamari you use apparently really makes a difference.

Mushroom Leek Soup with Edamame

3 TB olive oil
1 8 oz package white mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 large leek, trimmed, cleaned, and thinly sliced into half-moons (about 3 cups)
4 c water
2 TB tamari, or to taste
1 c edamame (optional)

1. In a soup pot, heat olive oil at medium-high heat and sautee mushrooms until they begin to sweat, about 3 minutes.
2. Add leeks and a pinch of salt, and sautee until leeks are translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Add 4 cups of water, or just enough to cover vegetables, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4. Add tamari and edamame and simmer for 5 more minutes. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, or parsley.  Serves 4.


I never go out of my way to find broccoli rabe, but this week it appeared before me in the grocery store.  The little florets of broccoli, but the bitter leaves of watercress, yum.  I used Meyer lemons instead of regular ones by accident, but given the bitterness of the vegetable, it actually turned out great to have a little sweetness in the mix.

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Sesame, and Meyer Lemon 

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, cleaned and trimmed
juice of 1/2 meyer lemon
sesame seeds

Heat oil, saute garlic (3 min), then add broccoli rabe and cook until tender (10 min?).  Add a splash of tamari, stir, then turn off heat.  Add lemon juice and sesame seeds, and serve hot.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Creamy Carrot-Lentil-Coconut Soup with Tempeh and Rice Noodles

Although there were almost no groceries in my house, last weekend I realized that I needed to cook something for the upcoming crazy week.  It's been a little like this, though maybe with fewer screaming fans and less Cold War imagery.

Here's a bit of my thought process.  The one vegetable I had a lot of was carrots, and initially I was going to make carrot-ginger soup to take to campus with sandwiches, but then I realized I was out of ginger.  Ok, well... coconut milk goes well in a pureed carrot soup; perhaps that?  Oh, and perhaps some lentils to make it more filling, as in one of these stews.  And some of the same spices at the beginning as in that awesome green curry broth.  But then I can add in other stuff at the end, after pureeing it, as in that squash-pear-mushroom-bean soup from Veganomicon that my mom loves.  So with coconut milk, and the adding noodles and lime at the end it'll be a bit like that one soup I keep making this fall.  Except orange, and with more protein and fiber from the lentils, but still creamy.

I feel like this experience really exemplifies why I still like to cook from new recipes... because every recipe you try, you absorb new flavor combinations and techniques into your repertoire, even if not consciously.  Copying other people helps your own creativity.  At least in my kitchen.

This soup was indeed tasty and filling, but it was a little odd.  Noodles and tempeh felt out of place until I thinned the soup quite a bit; otherwise, it was more like pasta with too much sauce.  Mmm... actually this could be a pasta sauce.  Or a creamy soup sans noodles and tempeh.  Or, thinned out, a delicious meal. 

 Creamy Carrot-Lentil-Coconut Soup with Tempeh and Rice Noodles

1 bunch green onions
5 cloves garlic
1 serrano pepper (not de-seeded)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
5 carrots
splash tamari
1 1/2 c red lentils
4 c stock
1-2 c coconut milk
10 oz tempeh, cubed
splash tamari
small drizzle sesame oil
3 servings rice noodles
lime juice

1. In a largish saucepan, heat oil, then saute onions, garlic, ginger, chili, and spices over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add carrots, stir, deglaze with a splash of tamari.
2. Add lentils, stock, and coconut milk, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes until lentils and carrots are soft.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles, drain, and set aside.  Also, in a small skillet, heat the oil for the tempeh.  Brown the tempeh, turning regularly, then finish with tamari and sesame oil.  Remove from heat and set the tempeh aside as well.
4. When the lentils and carrots are soft, remove soup from heat and allow to cool.  Then puree the soup in batches in a blender (or using an immersion blender if you are so lucky).  Return soup to pot, add tempeh (but not noodles) and reheat.
5. Taste soup for salt, spiciness, and other seasonings.  Stir in lime juice to taste.  Just before serving, ladle in the rice noodles as well.  Serves about 4-6.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chickpeas with Walnuts and Fried Sage

I've always wanted to try a recipe with fried sage leaves.  This simple recipe from taste of beirut was really good, though I wanted more sage and definitely less butter (suggested changes are given in the recipe below).  The texture of the fried sage leaves is delicate and crispy, and the flavor goes well with walnuts.  I ate this warm on its own, mixed with the sausagey cabbage recipe I recently posted, and even on salad.

Chickpeas with Walnuts and Fried Sage

2 c chickpeas, cooked
1/4 c earth balance
salt, to taste
30 sage leaves (or more)
1/2 c of walnuts, chopped coarsely (or pecans or hazelnuts)

Place the butter in a skillet; let it froth then drop the sage leaves and walnuts; let the leaves fry gently in butter (don't let burn) and then add the chickpeas and some salt. Combine and serve.  Serves about 3.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spicy Sausage-Flavored Cabbage and Noodles

Oh hey.  I had a half a cabbage left over from the braised cabbage with chorizo recipe, so I made this.  As I've mentioned before, a pre-made sausage-spice mix is a very good thing to have-- instant flavorocity.  Also, going halvsies on cabbage and noodles creates a dish that is not only texturally interested, but also low carb... if you're into that sort of thing.  I have to say, every time a recipe comes up on google reader with the word "healthy" in the title, I skip it.  Sure, the food that I eat is by most standards quite healthy, but if you're flaunting it, it seems like you're compensating for a lack of deliciousness.  I could go on and on about fool customers at a place I once worked who went nuts over the disgusting "healthy" muffin we sold... which wasn't even that healthy.

...But I digress.  I know this doesn't look too exciting, but it was delicious, filling, fast, and ridiculously cheap.  Whole wheat pasta gives you considerable protein and fiber, or you could pair it with a more proteiny dish.  I'll definitely make it again.

Spicy Sausage-Flavored Cabbage and Noodles

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
 1/2 cabbage, shredded
1-2 c veg stock
2-3 servings whole wheat linguine, cooked

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Saute onion, then add garlic and continue cooking.  Add sausage seasoning, and cabbage, cook several minutes, then add stock.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 5 minutes or until cabbage is slightly wilted but still retains a bit of a crunch.  Stir in noodles, add salt to taste (remember, you used stock), and remove from heat.  Serve hot.  Serves 4.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Braised Cabbage with Chorizo

This recipe is easy and delicious.  I used oregano instead of thyme, as that seemed to go better with chorizo, but otherwise, I kept Janet's recipe mostly as it was.  I did try to saute the cabbage a little before adding liquid, as I thought this might add some toasty caramelly nutty flavors.  Who knows... but I do know that 2 c broth was too much for me; I ended up having to drain the dish at the end (though the excess liquid made for some delicious rice).  Finally, my chorizo was so spicy that I didn't add any other chili flakes.  I used the chorizo sausages (oh no, is that like how English people say "challah bread"?) I made a few weeks ago--they froze and thawed beautifully.

Next I would like to try this recipe with Italian sausage and thyme instead of chorizo and oregano.

Braised Cabbage with Chorizo Seitan Sausage
(from taste space)

1 TB olive oil
1.5 c seitan sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick 
4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp dried oregano
chili flakes, to taste
1-2 c vegetable broth
1 lb green cabbage, thinly sliced (~4 cups; I used half a cabbage)
1/4 tsp salt (optional, to taste)

1. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute the sausage in the olive oil until lightly browned, around 3 minutes on each side.
2. Add the garlic, oregano, and chili flakes and saute for another minute.
3. Add the cabbage and saute briefly, then deglaze with some vegetable broth.  Add salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cabbage should be tender with a bit of a bite to it. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.  Serves 4.


I also made pumpkin pie one morning.  Stress baking WHAT

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Flame-Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

Ok, ok.  I know I have already posted about an eggplant-lentil stew and about a chickpea-eggplant stew.  However, this one--initially inspired by the chickpea-eggplant stew I had at the Eagle in London--was the best!

The eggplant was flame-roasted, as in the above stew with lentils, but the ratio of eggplant to legume was such that it was super creamy.  I knew I wanted that smoky flavor, lemon, cumin, and cilantro.  After that, well, this whole thing was pretty random.  After starting the recipe, and after several glasses of wine, I set out pomegranate molasses, za'atar, sumac, and some other things I don't remember, in front of my friend Holly, and said, "Choose your Middle-Eastern flavors!"  She went for the za'atar--which I'm not sure is often used in stewed dishes this way--and later I cheated and added a tiny bit of pomolasses as well.  It's important not to overdo it; in this Syrian chickpea-chard dish, the tangy flavor was far too intense.  Some wine ended up in there, too.

Anyway, this dish was spicy, tangy, and smoky; I loved it.  We were just too hungry to stew it long enough, and the onions were a bit crunchy.  Oh well.  We had this with roasted veggies in apricot-thyme wine sauce and harissa kale.  Speaking of which... oops, I threw in the leftovers before taking the below photograph.  It had green in it before, anyway, from the cilantro.

Flame-Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Stew (picture with kale, oops)

1 large eggplant
1 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
salt to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp toasted ground cumin
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 can chickpeas
1/2 c white wine
1 c vegetable stock
2 TB za'atar
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
lemon juice, to taste
cilantro, to taste

1. Roast the eggplant over medium flame on a gas burner, turning every minute or two.  When it's blackened and soft, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil.  Saute onion several minutes.  While onion is cooking, peel and coarsely chop eggplant.  Set aside again.
3. Add salt, garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes to the saucepan.  Saute a few more minutes, then add chickpeas.  Cook about one minute, then deglaze with wine.  Add eggplant, stock, and za'atar, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Near the end, add pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and cilantro, as well as salt and chili to taste.  Serve hot.  Serves about 3.


This squirrel is really taking liberties.  One day, I found a pile of nutshells next to the driver's-side door of my car.  And then, I walked out of my apartment to a cascade of nut debris.  When I looked up, who should I see at the VERY CREST of the building, but...

Yeah, he's up there.  Don't get me started about his early-morning roof exercises.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Roasted Veggies in Apricot Thyme Wine Sauce

Having finding vegan in my google reader sometimes annoys me, because there are SO many posts, but every once in a while it gets me to a blog I wouldn't have found otherwise.  Such was the case of this recipe.  Roasted veggies in apricot and thyme sauce!  Yes!

This recipe gave me a chance to finally use up the dried apricot paste I got for Georgian cilantro sauce quite awhile ago.  The fact that it was rather desiccated necessitated a change in method: I soaked the apricot in hot water, then drained it (reserving 1/2 c water), then pureed together all the sauce ingredients.  I reserved the water to make up for the honey, which I omitted; this sauce was plenty sweet as it was.

I'll definitely make this again, but next time I'll use my intuition more: the thyme was a bit overwhelming, which is no surprise given that the recipe called for 2 tsp dried AND 1 TB fresh.  The veggies also took way longer to cook, even though I cut the potatoes into wedges to speed the process.  I think next time I'd either (depending on how warm it was outside) a] cover the veggies with foil during the first part of cooking, and overall just cook them longer, or b] parboil the potatoes to give them a head start.

Overall, though, the sweetness of the apricots balanced well with the acidity of the wine, and who doesn't love roasted potatoes?  Definite comfort food, with a little bit of a twist.  My friend Holly and I had this with a flame-roasted eggplant-chickpea stew and some harissa kale.

Veggies Baked in Apricot Thyme Wine Sauce
(adapted from life currents)

1 c dried apricots, coarsely chopped
2 c boiling water
2 pounds baby red potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 TB fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
2 TB balsamic vinegar
3 TB olive oil
4 bay leaves
1/2 c dry white wine or vegetable broth

1. Pour boiling water over apricots and let sit.
2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
3. Place veggies in a large roasting pan, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Drain apricots, reserving 1/2 c liquid.  In a blender, combine apricots and that 1/2 c water with remaining ingredients and puree.
5. Pour sauce mixture over veggies, and turn to coat. Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes, then uncover, stir, and bake for 20-30 minutes more or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork (see headnote).
6. Transfer to a serving platter, pouring any juices that have accumulated over the top of the veggies.  Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with additional fresh thyme.  Serves about 6.

Squash Saute with Chickpeas and Cilantro

Let's say you picked up a ton of Mexican squash at the grocery store, and then your friends who were going out of town unloaded still more squash from their CSA box.  What to do?  I started thinking about sort of Southwestern flavors because I saw this recipe for squash and beans but ended up going in a different direction than that recipe.

Basically, I prepared these squashes the way I might do black beans, and then I added some chickpeas for protein.  But squash has so much water in it that the dish turned out a little bland and diffuse.  I added a bit of cornstarch to thicken the dish, but what was really missing was a creamier/yeastier/nuttier flavor that black beans would have contributed themselves.  I ended up amping up my leftovers with chili-garlic paste. 

Squash Saute with Chickpeas and Cilantro

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp cumin
red pepper flakes to taste
4 small Mexican squashes, or 2-3 zucchinis
1 can chickpeas
1/2 can diced tomatoes
oregano to taste
salt to taste
1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with a bit of cold water (optional)
lime juice to taste
chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onion several minutes, then add garlic and spices.  After a few minutes, add squash as well and saute until the squash is slightly soft.  Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, oregano, and salt, and simmer about 5 minutes.  Thicken with cornstarch if desired, then remove from heat.  Stir in lime juice and cilantro, and adjust salt and chili to taste.  Serves about 3.

It rained.  Then it stopped.  Then the sun set.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Roundup

Cranberry-Ginger Sauce with Deep-Fried Stuffing Balls

Ricki's awesome Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup inspired me to do one as well.  Here are a bunch of things that I have made or would like to make for a Thanksgiving dinner.

As I've written before, I'm not much of a "main dish" person, for reasons that are vegan-political, gender-political, and mostly just plain aesthetic.  I prefer to choose dishes that complement each other in more dynamic ways than just supporting one dish (which is itself likely to be an object rather than an ensemble).  Anyway, this often makes organizing recipes a challenge--I'm still tweaking the categories I use on the right side of this blog.

I'm so wary of labeling foods as certain ethnic designations, but it seems as though this list might be my "Westernish"-themed one, with a strong Middle Eastern bent: note the prevalence of pomegranate, mint, tahini, apricot, pistachios, and harissa.  I'd like to do a more South Asian-inflected roundup as well, as I've been cooking so much on that side of the globe.

It also seems important for Thanksgiving to choose dishes that can be prepared ahead of time: stews, soups, cold things, and things that just get popped in the oven at the end are ideal.  Fried things are the worst, because they're never as good as they are fresh out of the pan, and it's more fun to be socializing with your guests than running in and out of the kitchen with small batches of fried things.  Sauteed things are somewhere in between.  Still, I found it impossible to leave deep-fried stuffing balls and braised cabbage with sausage off the list.

What are you excited about making or eating this year?  I'm always down for more recommendations.

Appetizers and spreads  
Ricki's Pate Campagne
 Hummus and baba ganoush, obviously; these recipes are a little fancier than average, or maybe a Squash Hummus variation?  Also mouhammarah
Savory Sesame-Herb Shortbread Cookies
 Crackers, flatbread, crudites, etc.

Kathy's slightly fruity Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Veggies, Stuffed Veggies, Stuffing, Salads
Janet's Braised Cabbage with Chorizo; I'd like to try it with Italian sausage instead
Or just stuffing: perhaps this Mixed Mushroom Stuffing from Our Veggie Kitchen, or this stuffing (NOT fried in balls)

"Main Dishes"?

My friend Elisa's "Tofugel" (I'm working on a post), or another baked mac and cheese
Joumana's Sweet Tabouleh

This Mushroom Gravy from is still my favorite gravy recipe ever

Mamoul (Stuffed Butter Cookies)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Coconut Stew, Return of the Creepyass Cookies

Pumpkin + Coconut = 4ever love!!! 

I think it was on my last post about pumpkin and coconut that Janet suggested I check out this stew recipe.  Then, this past week, which was the week of pumpkin-carving parties (I made this sad looking... cathuahua?), I acquired a hefty amount of roasted pumpkin.  This recipe seemed an ideal way to use it up!  Since the pumpkin was already cooked, I added it after 30 minutes of cooking; I also used less split peas (about 3/4 c total) to account for the fact that I had more pumpkin than the specified 2 1/2 c.  I also threw in some sauteed mushrooms, and subbed half a can of diced tomatoes for the fresh one.  I'm curious about the effects of stewing the coconut with the legumes and pumpkin, rather than toasting/frying it with the tempering oil.  It seems like doing the latter might add a nice toasty flavor and actually bring out the coconutty flavor overall.  Or, it might just burn and be a huge mess.

I will definitely make this stew again.  It's delicious--the zingy lime balances out the pungent, mellow turmeric, mustard, squash, and split peas--and the texture (depending on how long you cook it, I suppose) was creamy but still interesting (i.e., not total mush).  Moreover, the combination of pumpkin, stewed coconut, and mustard creates a freakily buttery flavor.  The only woe I had was that it ended up being way too salty.  I used all stock, not water, so I should have tasted it before adding more salt with the tempering oil.  I added a few more cups of water, and now it's absolutely perfect.

Pumpkin Coconut Split Pea Stew
(from taste space)

3/4 c split yellow peas
3-4 c pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
1 tomato, diced (I used 1 c diced canned tomatoes)
1/2 c fresh, frozen, or dried shredded coconut (I used dried)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 c vegetable stock or water, or enough to cover
2 TB canola oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more--this wasn't very spicy)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste (if any)
1 TB agave (optional)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves

1. Rinse the legumes in a couple changes of water.
2. In a large soup pot, combine the squash, drained legumes, tomato, coconut, turmeric, cumin, and enough stock to cover. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer another 10 minutes.
3. In a small skillet, warm the canola oil until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and when they stop popping, add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Swirl the skillet so the contents cook evenly, and cook another 10 seconds. Then pour the contents of the skillet into the soup.  Finish with the salt, agave, lime juice, and cilantro. Adjust the seasonings, to taste.  Serves 6.


In other news, I remade the finger cookies of last year and fixed a few errors: you only need 1/2 c blanched almonds, not 1 1/2 c, and I added 1/2 tsp almond extract.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Split Pea Soup with Eggplant Bacon

Huh.. mixed together, lentils and split peas look like sand art.

I was in a perversely umami mood the morning I made both eggplant bacon and seitan chorizo.  Eggplant bacon (at least this batch) does not taste remotely like bacon.  It's spicier and fruitier.  Still, it serves a similar purpose when you put it in a dish like split pea soup--it adds dimension and meatiness that might otherwise be lacking.  (I think this shroom dust would do the same thing..).

In making Annie's recipe, I made few changes: I used straight up cayenne instead of chili powder, obviating the need for black pepper.  I also kept things simple and used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.

Eggplant, thinly sliced, marinated:

And, 40 minutes later, having been roasted, flipped, and basted:
Eggplant Bacon
(adapted from phoo-d)

1 large eggplant, top cut off and sliced lengthwise in 1/8" thick slices
2 TB tamari
2 TB maple syrup
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne (reduce if you don't want spicy)
3-5 drops liquid smoke
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder

1. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, cayenne, liquid smoke, paprika, and garlic. Add the eggplant spices and toss until they are evenly coated with the marinade. Let the eggplant sit in the liquid for at least 1 hour, turning the slices occasionally.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees with racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Set wire cooling racks on top of two foil lined cookie sheets. Lay eggplant slices in a single layer on top of the racks. Reserve the leftover marinade. Bake for 40 minutes, turning the eggplant slices over half way through, basting them with the remaining marinade, and switching the cookie sheets from one oven rack to the other. Keep an eye on the eggplant slices near the end of the cooking time to make sure they are not turning too black. You want the slices dark brown and mostly dried out but not burnt. When the eggplant bacon is done, pull the sheets from the oven and let cool slightly before removing from racks. Transfer the eggplant bacon to an airtight container. It is best if used the same day it is made but will keep in the fridge up to 3 days.  Makes 16-20 slices.


I put this eggplant bacon with split pea soup, just as Annie suggested.  As I ran out of split peas, I made up the difference with red lentils (see above photo).  I made a half recipe, but then I got a bit generous with the herbs.  I also made it in my slow cooker, sauteeing everything in a frying pan and then transferring it to the crock pot with the water, stock, and legumes.  A half recipe made a LOT; I ate this all week.  And, while it was good, it wasn't anything crazily special, so I think I've had my fill for the foreseeable future.

Split Pea Soup with Eggplant Bacon
(adapted from phoo-d0)

1 TB olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, trimmed, strings removed, and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c split peas or lentils
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp dry basil
1 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground mustard seed
1 bay leaf
3 c water
3 c vegetable broth
eggplant bacon, chopped

Place a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the split peas, salt, basil, marjoram, black pepper, mustard, bay leaf, water, and vegetable boullion. Stir well and bring the soup to a slow simmer. Cook until the peas are soft, stirring frequently, about 30-40 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. If desired blend several cups of the soup and add it back into the pot for a thicker texture. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.  Serves 4-6.
Alternatively, prepare this recipe by sauteeing as directed above, then combining everything in a crock pot; cook on low for 6 hours.


I also recently tried to flame-roast a zucchini for baba ganoush.  It didn't really work.