Thursday, October 02, 2008

Eggplant Parmesan Supremo

Welcome back to day 2 of VEGANMOFO!

So we had this eggplant and I was all "maybe I'll just make ratatouille" and then I was like "But that doesn't have pine nut cream and I WANT IT." So, eggplant parmesan it was. And boy did it FREAKING ROCK!

Eggplant Paremsan Supremo
aka, Eggplant Farmesan (according to Silas)
Here's what I did:

1 Medium eggplant*, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 Breading recipe from Everyday Dish's seitan cutlets - but you'll need a LOT of panko, just an FYI (1-2 cups, maybe?)
Some Mushroom Marinara(my recipe below)
1 batch of Pine Nut Cream (from Vcon)

Lobster Mushroom Marinara:
1-2 T olive oil
1/2 medium onion*, chopped fine
1 crazy freaking lobster mushroom,* thinly sliced (This was from our Mushroom CSA - replace with whatever mushroom you want, about 1 cup thinly sliced)

1 28 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tsp garlic powder (OMG I was out of fresh garlic! Half of an entire bulb was moldy, and I had already shopped. Rawr).
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2-1 tsp salt
pinch sugar
1 glug (2-4 T) red wine*

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sautee until translucent. Add the mushroom (if you're using the lobster mushroom - start to freak out how much like seafood it smells as it cooks! Seriously!) Sautee until soft.

Take your immersion blender to the opened can of tomatoes and puree. Alternatively, throw it in the blender or food processor until smooth. Add the onion-mushroom mixture, tomatoes and everything else to a saucepan and heat through. Taste, adjust the seasonings.

Fry up the eggplant over medium heat until brown and crispy on both sides. Put one layer of eggplant down in a 9x13 dish. Cover with Marinara. Carefully spoon on and spread out the pine nut cream (we had a little leftover, but more will definitely not hurt!). Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes, or until the pine nut cream looks set and starts to form little cracks, like this:

We served this alongside some brown rice linguine. It was so good! Silas, the vegan toddler wonder, couldn't get enough. Let's just say that between the three of us, it is now completely gone, between dinner and today's lunch. Yeah, like that.

* = local organic

Amaranth Porridge = Notsomuch, thx.

So I checked out Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way from the library and was flipping through it last night. First of all the book totally rocks, it has cooking info and instructions for all those obscure grains you want to try at the health food stores (kamut, millet, funky colored rices, wheat berries, groats, etc). It has substituting instructions and she's all about having you cook extra to freeze so you have some wicked fast recipes on your hands for later.

But back to amaranth. So I was reading about how it's like quinoa, in that it has the complete amino acid chain and is a good source of protein, blah blah blah. I also just saw a gorgeous amaranth plant at my garndening class last weekend, so I was reinspired to give it a go. We had some on hand, and I'm not even sure I had ever tried it. So I soaked it overnight and cooked it up for breakfast this morning.

Erg. I'm not usually a texture-phobe, but I just couldn't get into this one. No matter how much agave, cinnamon or coconut oil I added, the runny texture just creeped my gullet out. It reminded me of that glop they have to eat on The Matrix, you know the one I'm talking about? The whole tastee-wheat-chicken conversation? Right, like that. Silas inspired me to try to just drink it like a soup, and that almost caused some hurling on my part.

So I don't think we'll be having that again. Which is too bad, because Chad and Silas both kind of liked it. I'm going to have to try a savory recipe for amaranth; I'm determined to like it, kind of like how I feel about beets (how can they be so pretty and yet taste so much like dirt?!). I'm willing to give it another go. Stay tuned for the Amaranth Chronicles.


allularpunk said...

man... i wish i could like eggplant. but it's like you with beets: everytime i try, it grosses me out so bad i feel like gagging.

i do however have a lovely recipe for a beet/sweet potato curry salad somewhere on my blog if you wanna try out beets in a new way!

carrie said...

Oh beets....I love beets!! They do kind of taste like dirt, but there's just something so unique about that taste. Funny story though....we went out with some friends and the place we went had beet sangria as their drink special that night. My husband and I ordered it, then our friend came along a little later, saw sangria on the menu, totally missed that it said beet sangria, ordered it and almost hurled (he was not a beet fan like we are!!)

The eggplant looks good too......I so wish nuts weren't forbidden at our house!

tofufreak said...

ooh that looks really good!!!

Chessa said...

allularpunk - yeah, eggplant was definitely an acquired taste to me, too. But when gagging happens, it's best just to find something else to eat! Beet&Sweet Potato Curry Salad sounds pretty intriguing! Next time we receive beets I'll be looking that up!

Carrie - I know, I want to love the beets, but I don't know. It's one of those I had never tried until I was an adult, and I'm wondering if I missed some early beet introduction. Silas loves them! That's hilarious about the sangria!!! I think I would have been pretty surprised by that as well.

Ugh, I forgot about the nut allergy! You know, there is only like 1/4-1/2 a cup of pinenuts - I wonder if they could be replaced by something else, like sunflower seeds? Probably not, huh. The main creaminess comes from silken tofu, maybe you could just leave the pine nuts out altogether. Definitely worth experimenting.

tofufreak - thanks!!

Jen said...

love the "Farmesan"! :)

jessy said...

your dish looks soooooo fantastically delicious! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! i need to make this pine nut cream (it's on my list! ahahahahaa!) - and i need to make some eggplant paremsan supremo! glad everyone super loved it!

hooray for more VeganMofo! superw00t!

Kati said...

I just tried amaranth for the first time the other day. I actually thought it was quite good - mine wasn't soupy, though. I used 1/2 cup amaranth and 1 1/2 cups water and it pretty much all absorbed. Although, it was gooey in an odd sort of way. Conclusion: better than quinoa.

Chessa said...

Jen - I know I was kind of partial to Farmesan myself! Hope you are feeling well!

Jessy - The pine nut cream is magical! You will be wickedsuperhappyfaced when you make it!!!

Kati- I'm definitely going to give the amaranth another try. I think I was just a little icked about the soupy consistency and the sweet factor. And maybe I just should try new grains first thing in the dang morning! ;)

Chessa said...

Kati - that was supposed to say *NOT* try new grains first thing in the morning!

Anonymous said...

Farmesan = Major Smiles! Don't you just want to gobble up all the cuteness??

Another funny thing about amaranth...I once read that amaranth can be popped like popcorn. So, I measured out a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of amaranth, put it in my popper, turned it on and amaranth sprayed out all over my kitchen. That was my first and last experience with amaranth. I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy your amaranth experience either!