Arugula Salad with Grilled Eggplant & Portabellas

1 07 2012

I  love everything about this meal. The fact that it was made with organic arugula from the CSA. The fact that it was my first time using the grill this summer. Definite turning point. And also the fact that I made a cilantro-based anything and was able to stomach it, let alone enjoy it. I still hate cilantro on it’s own, but the few times I’ve cooked with it, I absolutely love its fresh and herby flavor.

See: http://falmouth.patch.com/articles/adventures-in-pesto

So for now, Cilantro: 2, Kristie: 0, the battle continues.

Give me a pile of grilled veggies over a bed of cold greens, covered in a flavorful sauce, and I am quite content.

Arugula Salad with Grilled Eggplant & Portabellas
Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian

4 portabella mushrooms, caps removed
1 large eggplant, stem ends removed, sliced horizontally into long, flat pieces, each the length of the whole eggplant and about 1/3-inch thick
1-2 tbs. olive oil
Cilantro Vinaigrette (recipe below)
6-8 cups very fresh arugula leaves, washed and well-dried

Preheat grill to high.

Lightly brush the mushroom caps and eggplant slices with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place them directly on the preheated grill. Grill the mushrooms for 6-8 minutes and the eggplant for 8-10 minutes, turning once with tongs about halfway through.

Remove the vegetables from the grill. Toss with about 2 tbs. of the Cilantro Vinaigrette and serve on the cold greens. Top with any remaining dressing.

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Moussaka

18 07 2010

 
Fresh off the bus from Boston, I knew I had to cook something. I’m usually at work until 9:30 on Tuesdays, but had gotten it off so I could go meet up with Ryan and visit his father who was visiting from Florida. It was a solid day. Started off with an adorable Jewish grandmother feeding us Kugel in Stoughton, progressing along the outer towns of Boston and culminating in a trip to Fanueil Hall where I was whisked away to la-la land by a raspberry smoothie, and proceeded at an attempt to barter with a gift shop boy selling the cutest Piggy socks I’ve ever seen. Reaching for my wallet, almost paying $10.99 for a pair of socks, I mentally slapped myself and went back to the fam who thought I had just gone to the bathroom. Later that evening, Ryan, his brother Adam, and myself went to the Why? concert at the Middle East in Cambridge. Sufficiently buzzed, covered in the sweat of others, head throbbing to the monotone beats, I was happy. And that’s where I found myself yesterday, minus the buzz but still, unshowered and encrusted with hot show goodies. Getting off the bus around dinner time, I knew I had to make something. That’s where I was going with this. Moussaka. And my first vegan cookbook. But one of the best. A recipe I haven’t made since high school that had been stored away in my brain as I hunted for another vegan moussaka recipe that may come close. Haven’t found another one so, as is life, we’re back full circle. So throw on Eskimo Snow and let this recipe take you away. Each component a delicate and fragrant entity. From the paprika & cayenne dredged eggplant to the sauce that smells like a Grecian outdoor market, it’s bliss.   
 
 
Moussaka

Adapted from Tofu & Soyfoods Cookery

1 large eggplant, peeled & sliced
1/3 cup white flour
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Tomato Sauce:
1 tb. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 can stewed tomatoes
½-1 cup water
2 tbs. fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
Creamy Topping:
1 lb. firm tofu
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ tsp. salt
Juice of 1 lemon (2 tbs.)
1 cup bread crumbs
Place the eggplant slices in a large, shallow dish, sprinkling each layer with salt. Place something on top to weight them down, such as a heavy pan or a teakettle. Let the slices set for 30 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.
Combine the flour, paprika, salt, and cayenne in a bowl and dredge the eggplant slices. Heat a skillet with oil and fry the eggplant slices until lightly browned on either side (about 1-2 minutes). Arrange the fried slices in a baking pan.
To make the sauce, sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft. Puree the stewed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a blender and add to the onion. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes to blend the flavors.
To make the creamy topping, combine all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Preheat the oven to 350.
Assemble the moussaka. Pour the sauce over the eggplant slices and cover with bread crumbs. Spread the creamy mixture evenly on the top with a spatula. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown. Let the moussaka stand for 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven.