Vegetarian

Eggplant and Tomato Curry

by Anne Maxfield on November 11, 2019

I had a pile of Japanese eggplants from our CSA that were supposed to go into a Thai duck curry, but the duck leftovers disappeared. This looked like a good vegetarian/vegan way to use up those lovely eggplants. Serves 6:

  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2” piece of ginger
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds,
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 handful fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon mango chutney
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 12 small (Japanese) eggplants about 1 ½ pounds (see my verdict below for using regular eggplants)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ pound mixed color cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 375º. Peel the onion, garlic and ginger, place in a food processor with the cilantro stalks and jalapeno and process to a fine paste. Put the spices and curry leaves into a medium ovenproof pan on a low heat with 2 tablespoons of oil and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the ginger paste and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Stir in the peanut butter, mango chutney and tamarind paste, season with salt and pepper. Put aside in a medium bowl.

Leaving them intact at the stalk, cut the eggplants into quarters lengthways. Rub and stuff them generously with all the paste, then arrange them in the pan.

Place the pan on medium heat and fry for 5 minutes, turning the eggplants halfway. Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil.

Cover with tin foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, removing the foil halfway. Season to taste, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

My verdict: Hot, very hot! I used one small jalapeno and it was killer hot. A little mango chutney on the side and some basmati rice helped, but it was still pretty hot. For future, I’d go easy on the jalapeno and add more in if needed. Once the heat was sort of tamed, these were really good. I thought the cherry tomatoes looked a little lame, so got some Campari tomatoes, quartered them and used them instead.

Although my spice list goes to 120 items on an Excel spreadsheet, surprisingly fenugreek seeds were not on it, so they didn’t go in the curry. Not sure how that affects the final product, but now I’ve got some.

If you’re using regular eggplants, cut them into 1/2” rounds and sandwich the paste between them.

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Your New Favorite (Corn) Salad

by Anne Maxfield on August 19, 2019

Even thought I was in the throes of moving, when I saw this corn salad recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site, I paused and made it for lunch for friends who were helping us. Just give yourself a little time for the onions to pickle.

Your New Favorite (Corn) Salad

  • 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 medium ears corn, shucked
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, or crema
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 ounces (heaped 1/2 cup) crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Tajín seasoning or chile powder
  • Handful of fresh cilantro leaves

Combine red onion, red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons cold water, salt, and sugar in a bowl or jar. Set in fridge until needed. Onions will be very lightly pickled by the time you’re done assembling the salad, but if you can give them 1-2 hours in the fridge, they’ll be better.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Lightly oil grill grates and place corn cobs directly on them. Cook corn until charred in spots all over, turning as often as needed. Transfer them to a cutting board to cool slightly.

While you’re grilling your corn, combine sour cream, mayo, and cotija cheese. Spread on the bottom of your serving plate. Cut corn from cobs with a sharp knife and pile it over the cheese mix on the platter. Squeeze the juice of half a lime all over, then scatter with the pickled onion rings from the fridge. Generously shake Tajín or chile powder all over; if you’re using plain chile powder, season with salt and an extra squeeze of lime. Top with cilantro leaves. Cut remaining lime half into wedges and serve alongside. Serve and enjoy right away while the dressing is cold, and the corn is warm!

My verdict: Amazing! I’ve been wanting to try to make elote anyway and seeing this just sealed the deal. I had some chorizo, so we grilled that and served it with the corn salad. It was a perfect summer lunch and there wasn’t a kernel of corn leftover.

It was so good, that in the middle of moving, I almost bought some more corn just to grill so we could have it in our new (grillless apartment), but I’m hoping my grill pan will do a decent job.

If you have a Mexican grocery nearby, you can get the Tajin, cojita and crema there, otherwise substitute chile powder, crumbled feta and sour cream. I did use homemade mayo and crema, but it’s so good that that probably didn’t make much of a difference.

The Tajin seasoning is great and you’ll find lots of other uses for it. I might introduce it to some Fritos and see if I can replicate my favorite junk food from Mexico—Fritos with chili and lime. What do you put it on?

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The Best Gazpacho Ever!

by Anne Maxfield on July 22, 2019

Accidental Locavore Drinking GazpachoNow that it’s time for great tomatoes, do yourself a favor and give this amazing gazpacho recipe a try. Thank me in the comments.

It’s become our go-to gazpacho, it’s so good!

After I read the description of this gazpacho in the NY Times and remembered how good it was when Chef Jose Garces made it at his house a couple of years ago,  I needed to give it a try. Use the best tomatoes and olive oil you can.Accidental Locavore Gazpacho IngredientsBest Gazpacho recipe:

  • 2 pounds of red tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 Italian or Anaheim pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • Part of a Serrano chile, seeded and thinly sliced (optional, if you like a little heat)
  • 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • ¼ cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Accidental Locavore Straining GazpachoCombine the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender.

Blend at high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt, taste and add the Serrano chile if you’re using.

The next part you might want to do in batches unless you have a big blender.

Very slowly pour in the olive oil, so the gazpacho can emulsify. It will thicken and change color, becoming more orange.

If it seems thin, keep slowly pouring in the olive oil and it will thicken up. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt and oil as needed.

Strain and discard the solids.

Pour into a pitcher and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil on the top and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Close UpMy verdict: Fabulous! It took a few minutes, but the color did change and the texture and taste was perfect. You really need a blender for this – sadly, a food processor won’t give you a fine enough puree.

I didn’t have the right kind of peppers, so I seeded and chopped a couple of pepperoncini, and they worked fine.

Since you really taste the oil, be sure to use something delicious. If you wanted, a shot of vodka might be interesting.

The original recipe suggests pouring the gazpacho over ice, which I think is a good idea; even though ours had chilled all afternoon, it never tasted really cold.

And forget Christmas in July, I’m thinking about making a batch and freezing it, so it can be August in the middle of January!Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Gone

 

 

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Crazy Easy, Crazy Good Zucchini Pizza

by Anne Maxfield on July 8, 2019

Finished zucchini pizza slicedThis time of year, our CSA influences what’s for dinner so when Frank came back with some beautiful zucchini and summer squash, they seemed destined for this crazy pizza recipe I saw on Food 52.

It’s super easy with only a few ingredients, just give yourself some time for the dough to proof. Probably feeds about 4:

Crazy Easy, Crazy Good Zucchini Pizza

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for greasing the pan, plus more for your fingers
  • 1 Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough (below), or your favorite
  • 1/2pounds (about 5 small-medium or 3 large) zucchini or other summer squash, trimmed
  • 1/2teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 cups (8 oz) coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

Shredded zucchiniHeat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Brush a 13×18” rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.

Use oiled fingertips to pull, stretch and press the dough across the bottom of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect; just try to get it even. If holes form, just pinch them together.

Use a food processor with a grater attachment or the large holes of a box grater to grate the zucchini. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and salt.

Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes (more, if you have the time), until the zucchini has wilted and released its water. Drain the zucchini in a colander and then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible.

Back in the large bowl (wiped out if still wet), toss the zucchini with the gruyere shreds, being sure to break up any clumps of zucchini. Taste the mixture; it should be seasoned enough from the salt, but you can add more, plus ground pepper or pepper flakes if desired.

Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough, going all the way to the edges of the pan and piling it a bit thicker at the edges, where it will brown first. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden. Remove from oven, cut into squares, serve and enjoy!

Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough  

  • 2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (250g) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (5g) instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon (heaped) fine sea or table salt
  • 2/3 cup (150g) room-temperature water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until well blended, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Continue using instructions above.

My verdict: Well, Frank’s actually:” The best pizza you’ve ever made!” “You can make this any time.”

It was really delicious. Super simple and could easily be dressed up if you felt like it.

I was thinking a sprinkle of lemon zest and/or some Niçoise olives be good additions.  Some crumbled Italian sausage would be nice too.

If you want a great way to use up some of summer’s endless zucchini and summer squash, this is your recipe!

 

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