Easy Curry chicken and eggplant

Ingredients:

boneless chicken breast, 1/2#

coconut milk, 1 can (Chaokoh brand is good)

red curry paste (Maesri brand)

eggplant, 300 g+, cut into large chunks. Or small Thai eggplants if available.

cilantro, chopped

optional: fresh peppers — hot or sweet; ginger, garlic, mushrooms, onions

Well it’s so 2017, but I have launched myself into (back into?) it with a purchase of yes, an Instant Pot. I read about Amazon’s one day a year sale on them, and again missed it this year but then read about Walmart competing with an even better model and for only 50 bucks I sprung. I have a honking-large 6-in-one pressure cooker, slow cooker and who knows what else because though I have washed it is in just sitting in the middle of my kitchen taking up an elephant-size share of real estate.

I thought I might try it last eve since I got out of the library the “butter chicken lady” cookbook called Indian Instant Pot Cookbook. Still too involved what with the making up the garam masala mixture before I even got to cooking and I was getting hungry, so I used my can of curry paste and cooked in my mother’s old-fangled dutch oven. Here’s what I did:

Sauté 3/4 can red curry paste in 1 T oil. (Or you can instead of oil, use the skimmed coconut fat/oil on top of the can of coconut milk.) Cook and stir for a couple minutes. Add one can of coconut milk and bring to a boil. (I think you can add some fresh ingredients before the milk, such as: fresh peppers — hot or sweet — ginger, garlic, mushrooms, onions and other sauté-type ingredients.)

Add boneless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces, and eggplant also cut up. Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until eggplant is cooked through. Taste and correct with fish sauce, soy sauce and/or sugar.

Serve with rice garnished with cilantro.

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Asian style grain bowl with roasted vegetables

Perfect for late summer harvest.

Since grain bowls are all the rage, I thought I would test the waters today as my hunger inched up. Having procured some black/forbidden rice at my local natural foods store, I boiled some up, roasted some eggplant, and then a pan of large-julienned carrots, cut up peppers, onion, mushroom at 425 degrees in oiled pans. Added garlic last minute to the carrot mixture. Should go in the oven in this order: carrots, peppers, onion and mushrooms all together. Right after the eggplant wedges go in on their own tray. Then last few minutes mix in garlic with carrot medley.

Asian vinaigrette:  2 T rice wine vinegar (or use lime juice as part of this acid component), 2 T soy sauce, good dash siracha (or garlic chile paste or pinch red pepper flakes), toasted sesame oil, olive oil, canola oil, S&P. Whisk together. Not bad, even if there was no ginger in the house. (Better: grate in some ginger; optional: sesame seeds.)

To cook black rice: Rinse 1 c rice and put in small pot with 1-3/4 c water and some salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes. Al dente, nutty, delicious! (Farro is good too!)

(update 11/18) For rice cooker: Rinse and drain rice 4x. 1 c rice, good amount (1/4+t) salt, 1-3/4c water. Cook as for brown rice. Gives you time to prepare and roast veggies, and prepare vinaigrette.

Assemble: rice on one side, eggplant on the other, carrot medley in middle, drizzle dressing on top. Perhaps top with fresh mozzarella cubes or queso fresca if it’s on hand; scallions and sesame seeds.

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Roasted eggplant with stewed lentils

… and fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. (I had fresh locally made mozzarella, so that plate is loaded up!)

Just when eggplants are starting to come in in mid- to late August — plumb and firm, roast some widgets (bigger than wedges) with garlic & oil (&S&P) at 410 degrees for 25 mins.

Put up a pot of vegetable stock with: carrots, celery, onions, parsley, garlic, zucchini if you got lots of it, particularly if it’s getting oldish, and some peppercorns and hey one bay leaf and a new potato if there is one in your kitchen. 45 minutes is it, then strain and chill/freeze.

Use some of the stock to make stewed lentils: Saute onion, then carrots, celery and garlic in oil w/ S&P, some cumin if you’re in the mood; add puy lentils and cover with twice as much stock/water. Simmer about 30-40 minutes until tender.

Plate up:
Stewed lentils
Eggplant
fresh mozzarella pieces
cherry tomatoes, halved on the side, seasoned with some salt & maybe some olive oil.

Roasted eggplant

Hello August!  Hello beautiful, succulent, bursting eggplant!  Eggplant is in fact my most beloved vegetable.  I love it roasted, sauteed, pureed, and recently boiled(!), and always, always with garlic.

One of my favorite ways to prepare eggplant is the white pizza equivalent of eggplant parmesan.  You get the eggplant slices, plenty of mozzarella and parmesan, garlic, but no red sauce.  Easier and quicker and, to my palate, tastier.  Here’s the procedure:  Slice one or two eggplants thickly the long way about 1/2-3/4″ thick, put on sheet pan that has olive oil on it, layer on some pureed parsley, garlic and oil, and roast for less than half an hour.  Then throw on some mozzarella and parmesan, bake a little more, and you get meltingly soft eggplant with garlic flavor plus the parsley and that gooey warm cheese.  Yum!  I just made it two nights in a row. I think I could have eggplant almost every day.  Yay August!  Yay eggplant!

 

Ingredients:

1-2 eggplants

4 cloves garlic, rough chopped

1/2 bunch parsley, leaves removed from stems

olive oil

mozzarella — fresh, or supermarket, cut into pieces

parmesan, grated

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover sheet pan with aluminum foil and put on a couple T olive oil.
  2. Put into mini food processor:  parsley, garlic, S&P, olive oil.  Whir around.
  3. Cut eggplant into thick slices, first cutting off skin to discard.  Lay on pan and cross-hatch with knife.  Smear on parsley mixture. image
  4. Roast 20-30 mins until tender when poked with fork.image
  5. Layer on mozzarella, then grate parmesan on top.  Use lots!image
  6. Roast another 5-7 mins until cheese is melting.  Try not to eat it all!

Here’s a plethora of eggplant recipes to explore.

Inspiration:  Bittman’s Roasted Eggplant with Garlic and Parsley, How to Cook Everything, p. 570

Asian style eggplant and peppers

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Remember how I said this blog is about simple, easy cooking?  What could be simpler than a two-ingredient dinner dish?  Yes indeed.  This recipe comes from Lucky Peach cookbook.  Here’s what you do:  Buy some mini-eggplants and some cubanelle peppers (aka Italian frying peppers — light green and somewhat elongated).  You boil (!) the eggplant, heat up neutral oil and cook whole garlic cloves, then the peppers, and mush together in a bowl the eggplant, peppers, garlic and perhaps some more of the now very flavorful oil.  And salt.  Siracha if you want a tang.  With some brown rice we can call it dinner.  Beats the pants off of yucky Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, laden with oil.

For a fancier version, check out this recipe from “Swanky sweet potato”  blog.

Ingredients (per person):

2 small-ish eggplants (or 3 for 2 people)

2-3 cubanelle peppers

6 cloves garlic

1/4 c grapeseeed or other neutral oil

Brown rice (as accompaniment)

Directions:

  1. Start brown rice if you want.
  2. Put up a big pot of water to boil.
  3. Boil eggplants, covered, for 20 minutes, until soft.  imageSet aside on paper towels on a plate or baking sheet to cool. (Will retain heat for a long time.)image
  4. Heat 1/4 c grapeseed or canola oil, and cook garlic for 6 mins, turning to brown lightly on all sides.
  5. Prepare peppers:  wash, and cut into 1″ pieces.
  6. Remove garlic to bowl.
  7. Turn up heat on oil to medium, and fry peppers, turning to blister on all sides.  Remove to bowl as they are done.image
  8. Cut stem off eggplant.  Cut into quarters, lengthwise, then in half.
  9. Mush with a fork together with salt and a spoonful (or more) of oil: garlic, eggplant and peppers.image