Meatless Monday – Ginger Miso Eggplant with Sesame Soba Noodles

0

20160403_181608

I love eggplant pretty much any way it is served and I’m always looking for a new recipe.  I’ve been eyeing this one for a while but have been thwarted several times in my attempts.  I planned to make this last week but my eggplant had already grown a few moldy spots, so we had to resort to dinner out (darn!).  In subsequent tries, one or both of us had plans.  Oh darn again, parties…  Anyway, last night was the night and I can report that it was worth the wait.  Tender and flavorful roasted eggplant topped with a miso and ginger sauce, coupled with yummy sesame soba noodles, this dish really satisfies, especially when you’re craving something with an Asian twist.

20160403_182953

We all know that eggplant is an exceptional vegetable and not just because of it’s glorious purple color.  Eggplant is deliciously low in calories and high in fiber and nutrition – but what about soba noodles?  Aren’t they just useless carbs just there to soak up the sauce? Well it turns out that soba noodles are made out of buckwheat flour, which is not, despite its name a form of wheat. The word, Soba, actually means buckwheat in Japanese. Buckwheat is related to rhubarb and the small seeds of the plant are ground to make flour, so I guess it’s technically a vegetable and not a grain.

20160404_092929

Buckwheat is a good source of nutrients like protein, fiber, iron, carbohydrates, thiamine and manganese. When compared to regular spaghetti, soba noodles have less calories, more fiber and more protein.  Buckwheat itself is gluten free but it is often mixed with other types of flour, so check your labels to make sure you know what is in the soba noodles if you are trying to avoid gluten.

20160403_162150

TIPS: The long and thin Japanese or Chinese eggplants work best for this recipe.  You can cut eggplants in half lengthwise, as in this recipe, or cut on a diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices, as desired. I like to salt the eggplant before cooking to draw out excess water and any possible bitterness, but when roasting this is less important.  So if you are pressed for time, you can skip this step.

I used fresh Miso, which is a paste made of soy beans that have been fermented with a culture made of wheat, rice, barley, or beans. Miso is available on grocery shelves in many stores in the Asian section. If you don’t have miso or can’t find it, you could try substituting sesame paste or tahini.

Eggplant Recipe Adapted from www.bonappetit.com

20160403_181343

GINGER MISO EGGPLANT

SERVINGS: 4-6

  • 4-6 Japanese eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste
  • 4 tsp finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsn toasted sesame seeds, divided
  • 3-4 thinly sliced scallions (about 3 Tbsn), divided
20160403_162454
  • Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and place cut side up.  Salt generously and let sit for about 10 minutes. (optional)

20160403_165445

  • Thinly slice scallions and prepare ginger and garlic.

20160403_165122

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Brush or spray cut side of eggplant with oil and place on an oiled baking sheet.
    Roast eggplant, turning once halfway through, until very tender, about 20 minutes. While eggplant is cooking, prepare soba noodles (recipe below)

 

20160403_175108

  • Remove from oven. Arrange a rack in upper third of oven and heat to broil. Meanwhile, whisk miso, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 2 Tbsp. scallions.

20160403_175512

  • Spread top of eggplant slices with miso sauce.

20160403_180016

  • Broil until golden and charred in places, 4–5 minutes.

20160403_180538

  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp. scallions.

20160403_182953

  • Serve hot or warm with Sesame Soba Noodles.  Watch it disappear.

20160403_180809

SESAME SOBA NOODLES

  • 1 package organic soba noodles (9.5oz)
  • 2 Tbsn soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsn sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsn seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced and then minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, mince (ginger paste or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chili or cherry pepper, small dice or thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, garnish
20160403_180130
  • Cook soba noodles per package directions. While the water is boiling, prepare the sesame sauce.

20160403_172811

  • In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, oil, garlic and ginger and whisk with a fork until well combined.

20160403_180508

  • When the noodles are ready, drain (reserving 1/4 cup pasta water) and return to the saucepan. Pour the sesame sauce all over the noodles and stir to combine.  Add the green onions and peppers, toss again. Serve with toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of hot sauce if desired.

 

Ginger Miso Eggplant with Sesame Soba Noodles

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

20160403_181608

  • 4-6 Japanese eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste
  • 4 tsp finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsn toasted sesame seeds, divided
  • 3-4 thinly sliced scallions (about 3 Tbsn), divided
  • Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and place cut side up.  Salt generously and let sit for about 10 minutes. (optional)
  • Thinly slice scallions and prepare ginger and garlic.
  • Preheat oven to 425°. Brush or spray cut side of eggplant with oil and place on an oiled baking sheet.
  • Roast eggplant, turning once halfway through, until very tender, about 20 minutes.
  • While eggplant is cooking, prepare soba noodles (recipe below)
  • Remove from oven. Arrange a rack in upper third of oven and heat to broil.
  • Meanwhile, whisk miso, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 2 Tbsp. scallions.
  • Spread top of eggplant slices with miso sauce.
  • Broil until golden and charred in places, 4–5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp. scallions.

SESAME SOBA NOODLES

  • 1 package organic soba noodles (9.5oz)
  • 2 Tbsn soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsn sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsn seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced and then minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, mince (ginger paste or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chili or cherry pepper, small dice or thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, garnish
  1. Cook soba noodles per package directions. While the water is boiling, prepare the sesame sauce.
  2. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, oil, garlic and ginger and whisk with a fork until well combined.
  3. When the noodles are ready, drain (reserving 1/4 cup pasta water) and return to the saucepan.
  4. Pour the sesame sauce all over the noodles and stir to combine.
  5. Add the green onions and peppers, toss again. Serve with toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of hot sauce if desired.

Wheatless Wednesday – Jerusalem Chicken with Fava & Spring Vegetable Saute

0

bRoasted Chicken1

Can there really be a cookbook co-written by an Israeli and a Palestinian?  Yes, and it is a work of art!   Yotam Ottelenghi, from the Jewish West, and Sami Tamimi, from the Arab East, have written a gloriously beautiful book, “Jerusalem”, which is a cookbook with wonderful recipes but also gorgeous photos and personal commentary that portray life in Jerusalem where they both grew up, albeit in different parts of the city.  They didn’t know each other in Jerusalem but met later in London and became good friends and then business partners.  They now own many successful restaurants together. They claim that this book was a walk down memory lane for them, “a nostalgic trip into their pasts”.  More about “Jerusalem”

Jerusalem

My friend, Stephanie, brought this book back from Israel for my birthday last year and I thought it appropriate to try one of it’s dishes for Passover.  I made their Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon which was delicious.  The combination of lemon, artichoke,  halved shallots, garlic and sliced lemon combined with saffron and fresh herbs was really flavorful.  I couldn’t find Jerusalem artichoke so substituted canned artichoke quarters packed in water.  I used local, free range chicken, herbs from my garden and lemons from my tree in an effort to make a smaller footprint (and frankly, to support the small local growers because if it’s a profitable to let chickens run around in the sunshine, maybe more will follow suit).

Roasted Chicken12

So now I know why fava beans are so expensive.  I had planted fava beans as a cover crop to introduce nitrogen into the soil for my summer tomatoes, not realizing that you are supposed to pull or plow under cover crops when they are flowering and not let them fruit or they pull all the nitrogen back out of the soil. ( More Info on Cover Crops Thank you Sean for all the cover crop info! )  I had already messed up on the cover crop thing since I had quite a few fava bean pods growing on my plants already, so I decided to let them go a bit longer and enjoy a mini harvest.  It seemed a shame to throw out such beautiful, healthy plants so I procrastinated a bit more.  Then we had dinner at a great local restaurant, Farmshop, which offered a roasted halibut on a bed of spring vegetables with fava leaves.  What?  You can eat the leaves?  I had to order the dish just to see for myself.  The dish was delicious but more importantly I now know what to do with my favas.  Finally I can feel good about pulling out my plants before their time.  So why are fava beans so expensive?  First, a big pile of fava beans in their pods shrinks into a small bowl of edible beans.  Secondly, they require a four step process before they are edible.  First they need to be shelled, then parboiled and put straight into an ice bath and finally their skins have to be removed.  Luckily I had two capable helpers, Veronica and Eric who made quick work of the favas.  How to shell fava beans.

I paired the chicken with a spring vegetable medley which includes fava beans, fava leaves, zucchini, asparagus and baby bella mushrooms all diced to be the same size as your average fava bean.  I was really wishing my Dad was in the kitchen to help out as well.  He is the world’s best sous chef.  He wields the paring knife like a master, cutting everything beautifully into  the perfect same size so everything cooks at the same rate.  Luckily, I learned from the best!.

Jerusalem Chicken aka Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Roasted Chicken8 Roasted Chicken7

  • 1 lbs Artichokes, peeled and cut lengthwise so they are 2/3 thick
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 bone-in chicken breasts
  • 12 shallots, halved lengthwise
  • 12 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 medium lemon, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tspn saffron threads
  • 3.5 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of cold water
  • 1.5 tbsp of crushed peppercorns
  • 1/4 fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of tarragon leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Roasted Chicken11 Roasted Chicken10

  • Combine artichoke, water and half of the lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, and then lower to simmer for 10-20 minutes. If you are using canned or marinated artichokes, this is not necessary.

Roasted Chicken6 Roasted Chicken5

  • Mix all ingredients (except the lemon juice and half of the tarragon) in a bowl. Cover and let marinade overnight, or at least 2 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 475degrees. Arrange chicken with the skin up in the center of the pan. Place the remaining ingredients around them.

  • Roast for 30 minutes uncovered.

  • Roast for additional 15 minutes, covered with foil or top, or until full cooked.

  • Add the reserve tarragon and lemon juice.

Stir, taste and add salt if necessary.

Roasted Chicken2

Fava & Spring Vegetable Saute

2 – 3 dozen fava bean pods
large bunch fava leaves (optional)
1/2  bunch asparagus
1 zucchini
6 large mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp each  of fresh thyme and oregano
Roasted Chicken4 Roasted Chicken3
 
  • Dice all vegetables (except for fava beans and leaves) and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a heavy pan and sauté garlic and diced vegetables. 

 

  • Add herbs, fava beans and leaves and stir until leaves are wilted.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.