Thursday, April 24, 2014

Smoked Eggplant Curry

This one, I had to try. I wanted to believe in the magic of smoking something inside the house. But unless one of my readers can come up with a way to make this smokiness much headier, then the risk of fire from this method is simply not worth it. Probably much easier to smoke the eggplants on (or in) a grill.

Smoked Eggplant Curry
Veggie Belly blog

3 tomatoes
6 cashew nuts
1 T butter, ghee, or vegetable oil
1/2 lb eggplant, American or Asian
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp lemon juice (or less, if tomatoes are already sweet)

For smoking the eggplant:
1 lump charcoal, about the size of a lemon (be sure to use charcoal that is chemical-free)
1 tsp vegetable oil

Roast the eggplant in the oven by coating loosely with olive oil, piercing with a fork and placing on the oven rack. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes - until soft.

Boil a medium pot of water, and drop the tomatoes in whole and let them boil for about 60 seconds. Remove from the water, drain, and let cool. Peel tomatoes and discard the skins. Core the tomato. Place the skinned, cored tomatoes in a blender along with the cashew nuts and puree. Set aside.

Cut the eggplant into 1" cubes.

Heat butter, ghee or oil in a medium skillet. Add the eggplants, and let them brown a little on medium-high heat, about 4 minutes. 

Then add ginger and garlic. Stir on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala and chili powder and cook another 30 seconds.

Pour in the tomato puree and salt. Boil for 7 minutes or till the eggplant is cooked and the sauce has thickened a little. If the sauce gets too thick, sprinkle some water over it.

Turn off heat. Taste the curry and add lemon juice, if using.

Hold a piece of charcoal, using tongs, over an open flame. You can do this on an open gas flame, or an outdoor grill. 

Heat it till it becomes red hot. (Be careful, the hot coal may give out sparks, turn on your ventilator or exhaust). Now you need to work quickly. Place the red hot coal in a small bowl.

Immediately place the bowl inside the skillet with the eggplant curry. Pour the oil over the coal, so that it smokes. Quickly place a lid over the skillet. 

Let the smoke from the charcoal infuse into the covered curry for about 6 minutes. The longer the charcoal bowl sits in the skillet, the smokier your curry will get.

Remove the bowl from the skillet, and discard the charcoal. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rustic Spinach Tart


Rustic Spinach Tart
Real Simple, October 2004

1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed, chopped, drained, and squeeze of extra moisture (I used fresh spinach that was steamed and squeezed)
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp pepper
2 ready-made pie crusts
1 c cottage cheese
10-12 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 12-oz jar roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
1 T thyme, fresh (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400. Place the olive oil in a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Add garlic. Cook and stir 1 minute. Add spinach and saute 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Coat a large b aking sheet with Pam. Unfold 1 piecrust onto the baking sheet. Spoon spinach mixture evenly over crust, leaving 1 " border around the edge. Layer the cottage cheese, mushrooms, and peppers over the spinach. Sprinkle with thyme and Parmesan.

Brush half the egg around the crust's 1" border. Place the second crust on top and crimp the edges to seal. Brush evenly with the remaining egg.

Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake 35 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pecan Sticky Rolls

I don't even know how any day that starts with these can be in the same league as any other day on the planet. Life is not fair.

Pecan Sticky Rolls
Cooking Light, September 2008

3/4 c milk, warm
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water
1/2 c egg substitute (I used egg)
3 T butter, melted and cooled
4 c flour, divided

3/4 c dark brown sugar
3 T butter, melted
2 T hot water
1/3 c pecan, finely chopped

2/3 c sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 1/2 T butter, melted

To prepare dough, combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl.

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 c warm water and let proof 5 minutes. Stir yeast mixture into milk mixture. Add egg substitute and 3 T melted butter. Stir until combined.

Add 3 3/4 c flour to yeast mixture and stir until smooth. Turn dough out and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Place dough in a bowl and let rise 45 minutes. Punch dough, turn over, cover and let rise another 45 minutes. Punch down, cover and let rise 5 minutes.

To prepare sauce, combine brown sugar, butter, and hot water in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Scrape sugar mixture into a 13x9" baking pan coated with Pam. Sprinkle mixture evenly with pecans and set aside.

To prepare filling, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough into a 16x12" rectangle. Brush surface of dough with 1 1/2 T melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, leaving a 1/2" border around the edge. Beginning with the long side, roll up dough jelly-roll fashion. Pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Cut roll into 15 slices, about 1" wide. Arrange slices, cut sides up, in prepared pan. 


Lightly coat with Pam. Cover and let rise 30 minutes, or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350.

Uncover rolls and bake 20 minutes.

Let stand 1 minute, then invert onto serving platter.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fluffy Buns

These are a lovely addition to any dinner. They need about 2-3 hours prep time.

Fluffy Buns
All-American Vegetarian

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 c buttermilk, slightly warmed
canola oil
2 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 c whole wheat flour
2 c + 2 T bread flour

In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with dough hook, combine yeast, buttermilk, 1 T oil, sugar, and salt. Stir in flours to make a soft, slightly stickky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, working in small amounts of flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled, 60-90 minutes.

Punch dough down and divided into 8 pieces. Roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Press lightly to make disks of dough about 3/4" thick. Cover loosely with a towel and let rise about 1 hour, until light.

Preheat oven to 400.

Brush tops of buns with oil. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden but not hard.

Let cool. Store in plastic bags - they freeze well.