Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fast Eggplant with Miso

I was in such a hurry to eat I didn't get a photo!
This is a picture of an eggplant I grew, though
not the one from the container. Use what you've got.
One day this week, it must have been before we picked up our weekly share of vegetables, food supplies were down to green peppers, hot peppers and onions.  Then, on a trip to and fro my second story apartment I passed our containers lining the stairs.With only a shady piece of land available to us on the ground, earlier this summer we opted to plant some tomatoes, peppers and you guesed it, eggplant to grow in containers (10gallon buckets) on our sunny staircase.  I harvested what must have been the third eggplant of the season from this container, and woola, suddenly I knew what was for dinner!  Container gardens aren't necessarily the most productive way of growing food, especially if you take the extreme low-maintenance route like I do, but when they do fruit, my is it fantastic!

This recipe is so tasty that...
1. I've made it more than once (It's not often that I go back to stir-fry type dishes and actually measure ingredients) 
2. Even people who claim not to like eggplant say they like this.

All the sauce ingredients can be found at an Asian grocery store (New Market if you are an Athenian), or perhaps even your grocery store's 'ethnic food' isle. 

Ingredients (for 4 servings)
This recipe is from the book Japanese by Lulu Grimes
 I like to double the sauce, especially if I use a lot of veggies.

2 eggplants (or one eggplant and other veggies you like)
1 fresh red chili, sliced (I had hot peppers so that is what I used.  If I was out of those I would have used dried thai hot peppers.)
2 TBSP sake
4 TBSP mirin
2 TBSP shoyu (or another favorite soy sauce that doesn't have wheat like Bragg's Liquid Aminos )
3 TBSP hatcho miso (not sure what hatcho miso is, I used a red/dark miso paste)

1. Peel eggplant if desired, especially if you aren't using the long, skinny type of eggplant. Cut into bite-size pieces.
2. In a small bowl, heat the water and combine warm, not burning hot, water with miso. Stir until dissolved.  Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and set aside.
3. Preheat a wok over high heat - here in southeast Ohio a cast iron pan works just as well.  SERIOUSLY.  Pre-heat you pan, this is not a step you want to skip.
4. Add a little sesame, peanut, or olive oil and heat until it is very hot.
5. Add eggplant in BATCHES to the hot pan and cook about 4 minutes or until done.  Avoid overcrowding the pan in this step, as it will slow the cooking of the eggplant and change its texture.
6.  Return all veggies and hot chili to hot pan. Add sauce, stir, and cook until sauce thickens to desired consistency. 
7. Serve over rice, rice noodles or as a side dish.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


What can I say? I have a sugar addiction and hardly a week goes by when I don't bake something.  It is one of my favorite forms of procrastination. Becoming wheat and dairy free did originally hinder my sweet tooth but no more!  This blog entry includes recipes for cupcakes and cookies.  Inevitably more desert recipes will follow. 

Don't like my recipe selection? No worries.  Send me a request or take just about any recipe and substitute Earth Balance for butter, a milk alternative (soy, rice, almond, coconut) for milk, and rice flour for all-purpose flour.  I'll often mix in other flours depending on the taste or texture I want but rice is normally the base.  If you really like baking, do yourself a favor and invest in an electric grain mill. 
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting (that happen to be vegan)
Quantity: 12

Photo by Travis Stevens

These are slightly denser than other cupcakes but are still tasty.  If you want bigger cupcakes, fill muffin tins until they are about 3/4s full, but you will have less than 12 cupcakes if you go this route.  Also, I tend to use what I have on hand. What I used this time is what is written.  *Items in parentheses are what the recipe actually calls for. 

1C. coconut milk (soymilk*)
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1/2 -3/4 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract (+1/4tsp almond*)
1/4 C. tapioca flour
1 C.  rice flour (1/2 C. rice flour*, 1/2 C. quinoa flour*)
1/3 C. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
NOTE: for vanilla cupcakes use almond or masa flour instead of cocoa.

1. In a medium bowl combine coconut milk, oil, sugar and vanilla.
2. In another bowl combine dry ingredients.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet, mix well.
4. Fill greased or lined muffin tins about halfway (more for taller muffins, but less of them).  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
5. For frosting, beat together 1/4 C. shortening with 1/4 C. margerine.  Add 1 3/4 C. powdered sugar and beat.  Add  3/4 tsp vanilla and up to 1/8 C. of soymilk until frosting is fluffy and to the consistancy you want.
6. Frost muffins once they are totally cool with room-temperature frosting.

Photo by: Travis Stevens
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
adapted from the Quaker oatmeal cookie recipe
Quantity: 3 1/2 dozen

1 C. butter (earth balance), softened
3/4 to 1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. rice flour (all white or 1C. white rice flour + 1/2 C. brown rice flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 C. oats
1 C. raisins

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy.
3. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat.
4. In a separate bowl combine flour(s), baking soda, cinnamon & salt.  Stir this into the wet ingredients
5. Stir in oats and raisins.
6. Drop by tablespoon full on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute and remove to wire rack to cool completely.