A treat from PLENTY’s ‘Mighty Eggplant’ chapter (Get this book!)
Lentils with broiled eggplant
Cook eggplant on gas grill or stove top on foil directly on burners. Turn frequently to roast 15 min, until flesh is very soft and skin is entirely burnt. If you don’t have gas burners you can bake in an electric stove under a broiler after poking them with a knife. Scoop out the flesh and set in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. Then add salt, pepper and a half tsp of vinegar.
Make the lentils while the eggplant cooks by cooking in saucepan with water. Add 1 coarse cut carrot and celery/kale stalks, bay leaf, onion and bring to boil. Simmer on low heat until soft – skim if needed. Drain, discard carrot and bayleaf before adding the rest of the vinegar, 2 Tbs oil, and salt and pepper. Then dice the rest of the carrot and celery or chard leaves, halve tomatoes, and combine with oil, sugar, and salt before cooking in an ovenproof dish at 275 degrees for 20 min.
Finally, combine the veggies with lentils, herbs and then place this on a plate, top with eggplant and the crème fraiche or cheese. The next step is obvious.. eat!
I tend to look to the veggies for guidance on what to cook instead of to cookbooks but this one is an exception. I can’t turn the pages of Totam Ottolengghi’s book without going crazy waiting for items to come into season so I can cook them up as shown in the book. The recipes, which are vegetarian and draw on numerous culinary cultures including Arab and Jewish traditions, are produce inspired. I am so happy that onions are in (the stuffed onion recipe is on tonight’s list), and am counting the days for fennel and eggplant to come in so I can make the paella and croquettes.
Make Pickeled Scapes
First trim flower bud off scapes, cut into 3-4 inch pieces. Pack scapes lengthwise into clean jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 head dill to each jar.
Next prepare the juice. I used the Dilly Beans recipe (found that suggestion on the internet). One can take liberties.
2 pounds scapes (hand fulls)
1/4 cup canning salt
2-1/2 cups vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
4 cloves garlic, divided
4 heads dill, divided
Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Bring juice to a boil or heat in the microwave. Use microwave safe glass- heat about 4 minutes.
Then pour hot liquid over beans, leaving ¼” headspace Remove air bubbles. You could can these the usual way- 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner or, be lazy like me, and use a microwave. If using the microwave, use a piece of plastic wrap to loosely cover the jar then microwave for 3 minutes. Place the cap on the jar, leave the plastic wrap on. Cool to room temperature and place in refrigerator. Eat them when they are cool.
We don’t grow rhubarb (I’ll get organized some day.. maybe) but Bob Bracket does!
Combine the first six ingredients in a heavy pot, bring to boil while stirring, add cherries, and return to boil. Remove from heat and stir in chives before allowing to cool. You can keep nicely in the fridge for several days.
Whether or not you call it Dinosaur kale, Black kale, Lacinato kale, or Tuscan
kale you are going to want to try this recipe from bonappetit magazine:
Clean and prepare 2-3 cups of cilantro. Two bunches from Blue Moon would cover this. Remove nice-quality leaves from the main stems.
Grate 1-2 cups of sharp Italian cheese. I usually mix 2:1 cilantro to cheese to start and adjust to taste and use a mix of romano or reggiano parmesan. Take care not to use a cheese that is too salty because this can overwhelm the taste. When in a rush, I do this all in the food processor so first grate the cheese and then dump it out before replacing the blade with the chopper.
In the food processor with the dicing or chopping blade:
We usually toss this with warm pasta but our first introduction to it was as a layer inside lasagna. The point is, feel free to invent. I have seen folks do variants by add lots of oil and spinach before blending to make a runny bright green dressing. The cilantro pesto goes really well with a sharp or sweet side, sun dried tomatoes and or balsamic vinegar.
This is a really fun way to visit with friends. Look on line for real Chinese hot pots or use your fondue pot to heat broth used for cooking. Prepare broth, dipping sauces and chop veggies and meats you will eat in advance.
Red chili sauce
In a food processor blend until smooth:
Garlic dipping sauce
Crust: (Tart Dough recipe from “The Greens Cook Book” by Deborah Madison)
Make this first so that it can prebake while you prepare the filling. Combine 1 & 2 then add 2 and 4, mix well with hands or in the food processor. Add ice water by feel if mixing by hand, until the dough just starts to become mealy. Flatten into a disc and cover with wax paper. She suggests you let it rest for 30 minutes in fridge and then roll out after warming but I just go for it, rolling between sheets of wax paper after dusting the surface with flour. Place in buttered baking dish, and prebake at 425. If you want a perfect crust, line the bottom with buttered foil and pie weights. Poke the crust if it swells as a result of steam.
*You can add broccoli too- chop and add with the cabbage
Clean and coarsely chop 1, 2 & 3. I microwave the carrots and potatoes for 6 minutes to hurry things along. Dice 4 & 5 and saute in a large pan, add herbs and spices to taste. Add in 1/4 cup veggie broth and chopped cabbage, cover to steam the cabbage. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl before placing into the baked pie shell. Cover with foil to retain moisture and prevent the shell from getting too dark. Bake at 350 for 20 (if you precooked 1 & 2) or 60 min.
Clean turnips, remove tops and cut in halves or quarters to make approximately 1.25 inch diameter pieces. Coat with olive oil and bake in a ceramic baking dish and bake for 15-30 minutes until soft (350- 400 degrees). The time and temperature can be adjusted to cook along with other things (squash or potatoes). Salt and pepper to taste.
If you bake along with other veggies (carrots, potatoes, onions) the turnips will be very soft by the time the carrots are cooked. This is good, but if you want them to be ‘done’ (remain intact) at the same time you can partially cook the potatoes and carrots in the microwave before combining and baking. Again, clean, cut into pieces of a similar size, place in a ceramic dish, cover and then nuke for 4-6 minutes depending on the quantity.
This was modified from the ‘Sopa de Lima’ recipe that is in “Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant” in the section written by Lisa Wichman of the Moosewood Collective. This cookbook is great and was published by Simon and Schuster 1990.
1 – 2 onions chopped
4 large cloves garlic (3 if hard neck garlic)
3 Tbs olive oil
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
A ¾ gallon bag of cleaned peppers (often these are frozen in soup ready bags); mix typically includes the following:
3-4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stalk. I just add two veggie bouillon cubes and a table spoon of tamari to water.
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
Saute onions and garlic in oil, add herbs add peppers followed by the stock. Add chopped tomatoes to this. Cover and heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the tastes have merged, add lime. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
To make a heartier soup I add a can of white hominy
To prepare peppers for freezing wash well, remove tops, split and seed them. Slide halves into a freezer bag and combine the varieties in a mix of heat and color that suits your tastes. The frozen peppers are easy to chop. I remove from the freezer, rinse, chop and throw these straight into the oil.
*I am not sure, but suspect this is my variant of Alice Waters’ receipt (Chez Panisse Vegetables) which uses white wine vinegar, less cilantro and additions lime juice and jalapeno peppers.
*Use the white balsamic if you can get it!