Coming up with an idea for a meal can be difficult, especially if you’re looking for a vegan dish. That’s also gluten-free. And soy-free. Oh and corn-free too. Oh boy, am I asking for too much here?
This is why I LOVE the Epicurious app for iPhone. LOVE it. What other apps do I adore? Whole Foods, since it offers a lot of gluten-free options. Hello Vino for wine pairings. Can’t go wrong with that!
So while I was browsing Epicurious because we both were getting a bit antsy about what to make. I found one that we both gravitated toward to. Braised Eggplant and Peppers. Ooooo, sounds tasty, does it not? And it’s in the season too! I love finding ways to cook eggplants. It’s a good source of folic acid, potassium, along with many other vitamins and minerals. Not only that, but it also helps combat free radical cells. Makes you want to eat eggplants, doesn’t it?! That’s only the purple squash-look-alike vegetable. There’s also the red pepper, having three times more vitamin C than an orange! Now, that’s something I didn’t know before. LOTS of antioxidant lycopene (a type of carotene), helping reduce certain types of cancer.
Okay, all of these benefits makes me want to go back and eat some more!
Go and make it yourself: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Braised-Eggplant-and-Peppers-278
I made a few modifications, since we didn’t have everything on hand. No fresh cilantro meant half the amount required, dried. We used Kalamata olive oil, which has a richer flavor, and is meatier than regular olive oil. Something about it just makes you want to say “That’s olive oil!” My boyfriend insists on using only Kalamata olive oil, and for good reason too. He tasted it for the first time in Greece, where it originated and never had any desire to go back. I can see why. It’s not that much more expensive, and often is the same price. If it’s a few dimes more, it’s worth the purchase. And please buy it in glass containers only, please. Something about oil has the ability to draw out chemicals from the plastic. Gross.
So that recipe? Supposed to be an appetizer, or a side dish. We served it to ourselves with two avocados sliced up, and bread on the side for the boyfriend. We were MORE than satisfied! The onions turned almost pasta-like for us. The consistency. Also the turmeric was the perfect addition to the dish. I can see it being more of a complete meal if you served it atop brown rice or quinoa. Alone, it had the sensation of being a chunky soup. Which I LOVE.
For those who are very visual, it is an eye-pleaser with all of the colors! Purple, red, yellow and the AROMA! Just stirring the pan heightened the anticipation. I couldn’t wait to try it. And it was more than worth it. Sure, there’s a bit of prepping beforehand, but I’ll do it again. Definitely.
Oh, the lemon juice? Just squeeze one fresh lemon, and it will be the amount the recipe calls for.
How do you find your recipes?
Ps. An interesting tidbit about eggplant:
“Eggplant is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant, with a concentration of 100 ng/g (or 0.01 mg/100g). However, the amount of nicotine from eggplant or any other food is negligible compared to passive smoking. On average, 20 lbs (9 kg) of eggplant contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette.”
A “say no to smoking” website says eggplants help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Fascinating!