Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Miso Glazed Eggplant

This was my guest blog that posted on the Food Yenta on August 22 :) Enjoy!

This week from my CSA I got a nice haul of eggplants....I actually got eggplants from both of my CSAs :) From the Newton farm, I got a variety known as Oriental type. They are smallish in size ~3 inches long, with a light purple and white skin.
Now when I think eggplant, I think umami. Umami is one of the five tastes with the others being salty, sweet, bitter, and sour. It can be thought of as the savory taste. Chemically, umami actually is the "taste" of the amino acid glutamate in it's salt form, and it's often referred to as earthy or meaty tasting.
Some common foods with umami are mushrooms, spinach, red wine, oysters and aged foods like Parmesan cheese and Thai fish sauce.
Eggplant itself doesn't have umami, but it pairs well to foods that do have it, such as miso.....miso is a fermented paste made most typically from soybeans as well as barley, chickpeas and other beans such as azuki. It is high in protein, vitamins and minerals and has a sweet, salty and earthy flavor. I love to use miso in dressings for salad, stir fries and soups.
Here, I use miso in a glaze for the grilled eggplant.
After cutting the eggplant in half, I put them on the grill, at a medium-high temperature and grilled them, turning once after about 3-4 minutes.
After the first flip, I started coating the eggplant in the miso glaze. I let the other side cook and flipped them again, coating the eggplant again in the glaze. I repeated this for a few more flips, for a few more minutes, until the eggplant was tender and the glistening with the miso glaze.
I gave the eggplant a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a bit of chopped tarragon to finish. They were succulent and full of earthy, salty flavor from the miso.
The best part about this recipe is that it's so easy....here it is :)
Miso Glazed Eggplant
6 small eggplants or 2 medium to large eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise if small, or into rounds if bigger
Miso Glaze
2-3 TBS miso...I used a white miso, which is sweeter, but really any miso would work well
1 TBS tamari, soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1-2 tsp honey or other sweetener of choice
Juice of 1 lemon, divided in half
2 tsp sesame seeds
1-2 tsp chopped parsley or other herb (I used tarragon because that is what I had in the house)

1. Prepare your grill to a medium-high temperature.
2. Prepare your miso glaze by adding the miso, tamari, honey and half of the lemon juice to a small bowl and whisking until combined.
3. Give your eggplant a light coating of olive oil and then place on the grill, grilling on one side for 3-4 minutes.
4. Flip your eggplant and brush with the miso glaze. Allow the eggplant to cook on the second side for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Flip again and brush with the glaze, and cook for another minute or 2. Repeat the flip and glaze a couple more times until the eggplant is cooked through and the glaze is caramelized.
6. Remove eggplant from the grill and sprinkle them with the remaining lemon juice, sesame seeds and chopped herbs.

This dish would be great with a sparkling wine such as a nice, cooled Prosecco.
So, try it out and get your glaze on :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

CSA Report - Pickups 5/6,7

I'm not sure if I have my pick-ups correct for this blog....at this point of the CSA season all the pickups roll into one large produce fest...I become inundated w.produce and I freakout (if only momentarily)....I have to say I've been keeping up pretty well w.all the goods....there have been a few sacrificial cucumbers that didn't make it and some lettuce that has gone bad, but otherwise it's all good....now here's what we've (or I've) been eating for the past couple weeks. (Apologies up front about low quality photos....I'm using the iphone b/c my camera is out of commission)...

Here's what the take home was from the 2 farms...From Stillman's....arugula, rainbow chard, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, zukes, cukes, potatoes, cayenne peppers, poblano peppers, tomatoes, apricots, corn, green beans, basil
From Newton Community Farm.....carrots, basil, chard, parsley, onion, tomatoes, eggplant, cukes, corn

Well, right off the bat, I made another batch of pesto with the basil that I received from both farms. It's been great to have the pesto around all season...makes for an easy lunch with the pesto, tomatoes, greens and a grain or pasta...viola, instant lunch....
The blueberries, peaches, raspberries and apricots either got eaten or frozen down. Do you know how to freeze fruit? Simply give the fruit a rinse, cut if necessary and put on a baking sheet w.parchment or foil, then place in the freezer. Allow the fruit to freeze, then place into a freezer safe container or bag. You'll be psyched in the middle of the winter, I guarantee :)
With the carrots from Newton, we had a nice carrot and hummus session....delish.
The potatoes from Stillman's were used to make mashed potatoes w.my son Max, age 9, who is currently into exploring the kitchen.
With all the eggplant, I made a double batch of eggplant parm....the first batch was made using mozzarella cheese and my husband ate it up....the second and smaller batch was made using Daiya vegan mozzarella style shreds, a vegan cheese substitute product. It was my first time using it, and I was surprised at how creamy and flavorful it was.....
I ended up freezing half of that batch because I couldn't get through all of it.

5 ears of corn were turned into a nice vegan corn chowder, made also w.some of the potatoes and fennel from a prior pick-up.....I used So Delicious coconut creamer as the "cream" to make it luscious and it was really velvety with great corn flavor.
The rest of the corn was eaten straight up or grilled and made into my favorite dish of this post, a roasted poblano pepper and corn salad. I simply grilled both the corn and the poblanos. I let the poblanos rest for a bit, then peeled the skin off. I took the corn off the cob and mixed it w.the chopped poblanos, gave the mix a squeeze of lime juice, a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some S+P. It was DELICIOUS. I put it in a burrito that I filled with homemade refried beans and rice, and topped it with homemade guacamole (which I used some of the tomatoes to make).
Refrieds are easy to make....no lard used here...saute some minced garlic and onion in some oil of choice, add in bean of choice (in this case, pinto), some ground cumin and S+P, then get some elbow grease going w.your potato masher... To thin out the beans as you go, you can add a stock of choice or even just some water as needed....You can add other spices as you see fit. I was hoping I could fool the kids into thinking these beans came from our local Mexican joint that we go to, but no go :( I liked them :)
The zucchini were made into Chocolate Zucchini bread. I made 1 full size loaf and 3 mini "cakes" to give to a client as well as to the farmer that grew the zukes ;)...the recipe can be found on FB on my Thyme To Cook page (see banner above)......
I've been going through a little sandwich stint over the past couple of weeks, so the cayenne peppers, and some lettuce and kale from the last pick up were made into some sammies, along w.the sunflower sprouts that I grew.
First off I need to say that the cayenne peppers were HOT, smoking HOT, but with great flavor. They were almost addictive. I wanted, no I needed more, even though my lips were tingling w.heat....so good. They were what made each sandwich really a notch more delicious.
First off a Tofurkey sandwich on toasted Ezekiel bread w.lettuce, sunflower sprouts, cayenne peppers and some veganaise. You could obviously use a meat of your choice.....
Next up, w.no picture unfortunately...the TLT.....a Tempeh, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich with "tempeh bacon", lettuce, sunflower sprouts, cayenne peppers and tomatoes on Ezekiel bread, also with veganaise.
Lastly, a hummus wrap on lavash with a kale, hemp seeds, cayenne peppers and sunflower sprouts.
The green beans, parsley, tomatoes and some chives from my yard made it into a neat little side dish to accompany some grilled sausage and hamburgers, along w.some quinoa. I dressed the salad in a simple red wine vinegar vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of honey, S+P.
And last but certainly not least, I made an Asian cucumber salad to use up some of the cukes and hot peppers. The dish accompanied some grilled lamb and beef.....all the meats came from Stillman's, The Turkey Farm....
I hope you're inundated with as much awesome, local and seasonal produce as I am!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CSA Report - Pickup 5

Hey all, reporting on my week 5 pickup for Stillman's....here's the haul:
Kale, green beans, arugula, fennel, romaine, zukes, cukes, blueberries, tomatoes (cherry and heirloom, mixed varieties), raspberries, hungarian wax peppers, spinach and the first peaches....

Now, the blues and peaches made for good eating...but I did manage to make Oatmeal w.oats from Sunrise Mill, an amazing flour mill out of North Branch, Minnesota...and I put blueberries on top of it along with some raw almonds...sweetened with maple and cinnamon....mmmm.....

The fate of the green beans, wax beans and dill (from last week) as well as the Hungarian wax peppers was a batch of Dilly Beans! My first "pickles" of the season...the wax peppers lent a bit of spice to the brine and the result was a nice firm, slightly sweet and crunchy dilly bean.
The recipe I followed to make the dilly beans can be found here: In the Garden. It's a great recipe, easy to follow and yields a great final product.

The salads have been really super this season. Here are a couple I made w.this past week...
1.Kale Salad with kale, sunflower sprouts that I grew :), cherry tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon juice, sesame oil and Coconut Secret Aminos, a salty liquid form of amino acids that is raw, vegan and soy free....it has a neat taste and makes a good substitute for soy sauce

2. Tomato Salad with the heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes (from both Stillman's and from our "farm"), Romaine and sunflower sprouts
And a couple of other dishes:
3. Pesto (from last week) with Chard, tofu, brown rice and tomatoes
4. Tofu with kale, tomatoes and brown rice
A nice chicken was roasted to go along with the tomato salad above...the chicken is also from Stillman's, the meat portion of their CSA....
The zuke, arugula and kale were used in a really tasty red lentil stew, made with coconut milk, turmeric, cumin, coriander, onions, garlic and some veggie broth, finished with cilantro and lime juice...served with brown rice....I love red lentils for when you don't mind if the lentils break down and lose their shape.....
An extra this week, but fun, so it should be discussed are the Eggplant wontons that I made....my son, Max, 9, who has Asperger's syndrome and ADHD is currently into cooking. While at the store, he wanted an eggplant and cabbage and decided they should be made into dumplings. Well, I decided to make them into wontons using wonton wrappers.
For the filling, Max helped and cut the eggplant up into small dice, also chopped up the cabbage and some garlic. He helped me saute it and we gave it a touch of honey and a squeeze of lemon juice. It was pretty yummy.
We filled the wonton wrappers with the filling, some rice (as per Max's instructions) and pan fried them....unfortunately Max did not like the eggplant filling and by the end of the cooking session, I had made him a number of "rice only" wontons....Carb fest!!!!!

Enjoy your week or 2 and eat some good food!!!!!