Friday, August 27, 2010

Foodie Friday: Eggplant steaks and the BEST. SALAD. EVER!

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.
This week I tried out two recipes that I can actually share with you, because they came from TV and the internet! But, before I do, here are Jason's thoughts on boat food:
I feel like I’ve been on an Atkins diet since I’ve been out on this deployment. All they’ve been serving is stuff with lots of sugar (donuts, cookies, cake) and meat products. For breakfast, they serve scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes or waffles. This is what they serve EVERY day. I try to just get some cereal, but they run out of it so quickly. I wish they had soy milk. Powdered milk sucks. For lunch and dinner they serve chicken and beef with some mixed veggies. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to your vegan cooking. I feel like my arteries are going to explode.
To me, this is the ultimate compliment and a testimony to the healthfulness of vegan living. The standard American diet makes even my nonvegan husband feel like garbage, and he can feel the difference in less than a month. Nurse, one vegan detox, stat!

But on to the real reason for this post--the food!

My stepmom sent me a link to this saucy beans and eggplant recipe a couple of weeks ago, and I knew right away that I would make it. I love eggplant, and putting white beans in the sauce is genius--they add a creamy element without also drowning you in dairy, and beans are an excellent source of protein. I omitted the brown rice that the recipe calls for because I didn't have any, but I also think that quinoa or whole wheat pasta would be tasty accompaniments. I cut my eggplant slices extra thick to make steaks. They came out just how I had envisioned--tender, but firm enough to require cutting them with a knife. You could really sink your teeth into them, and I did just that over the course of two dinners and a lunch.

I watched this past season of The Next Food Network Star, and I immediately liked Aarti Sequeira, the eventual winner. I wasn't aware of her food blog until after the fact, but she is also a sharp writer. When her show, Aarti Party, debuted last weekend, I watched it in real time and DVRed it. I'm glad I did, because one of her recipes, massaged kale salad, combines two of my very favorite foods that I never would have thought to put together: kale and mangoes.

This recipe's title is a serious misnomer. It has kale, yes, but there's so much more to it than that. Sweet mango! Crunchy pepitas! Tart lemon-pepper dressing! This stuff is heaven in a bowl. It's what I had for dinner last night, and I'm probably going to make another batch tonight, it is that good. I even hand-washed my dishes so that I could have them ready to use today. And I DON'T hand-wash. Like, EVER. This salad is worth that.

A few notes on substitutions: The recipe calls for honey, which I don't buy because it isn't vegan, but I happened to have a jar on hand from my dad and stepmom's happy bees, so I used that. If you're allergic to honey or don't have several thousand bee siblings, use agave nectar instead. If you can't find pepitas at your grocery store, I recommend hulled sunflower seeds. And use fresh mango if you can--jarred or frozen will do in a pinch, but there is nothing quite so lovely as the tropical aroma of a fresh mango.

Coming up next week: I intend to begin Jason's vegan detox with a batch of these.

1 comment:

Jessica (Bayjb) said...

Oh man that Mexican hot chocolate looks awesome! I can't wait to hear how it goes.