Caviar d’Aubergines

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 03:13 Written by Flax Wednesday, 18 January 2012 01:28

Caviar d’Aubergines, or in simple English, Grilled Eggplant, is a rather uncomplicated and inexpensive dish.  None- the-less, it has received this rather bombastic title as a result of its delicate flavor and its elegant appearance.  When properly prepared, the white seeds glow with a luminescence that is reminiscent of caviar, and the smoky flavor brings to mind a variety of rather pricey delicacies.

The eggplant belong to a very special group of vegetables called the nightshades.  Nightshades vegetables belong to  a group of plants that flower at night.  Nightshade plants are primarily toxic, the exceptions being the potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper (other than the black pepper).  The nightshades as a group, especially the potato and the tomato,  are craved by Western society.  Perhaps the reason why the fast paced Westerner enjoys these foods so much is that they induce a feeling or relaxation and expansion (think of the term, “couch potato”, eating potatoes, perhaps even one coated in tomatoes,  makes you want to sit on the couch and relax).  Additionally, nightshade vegetables are also useful in providing a balance for a meat based diet as they help to clear the stagnancy of eating excess animal products.   While it is quite enjoyable to feel relaxed and expansive, this action can exacerbate certain health conditions.   It is recommended to avoid nightshade vegetables in instances of swelling or pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, or nerves.  Such conditions as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, neuritis, and sciatica are negatively affected by nightshades.  People who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis would also benefit from abstaining from nightshades.

To reflect upon their good nature, the nightshades as a group, and the eggplant specifically, possess many healing powers as well.  The eggplant is beneficial in clearing stagnant blood and it has a homostatic action which helps to reduce bleeding.  A pack of raw eggplant is useful in case of a scorpion bite, and grilled eggplant (see the recipe below) has the miraculous ability to heal bleeding hemorrhoids.  A word of caution however, pregnant women are advised not to over indulge in eggplant as they can cause miscarriage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 firm eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt

Use a high flame to grill the eggplant. The grilling can be done on an outdoor grill, a stove top, or in an oven.  If it is done on an open flame, the smoke will enhance the flavor of the eggplant.  As the skin of the eggplant blackens and cracks open, turn the eggplant so as to grill it on all sides.  To know when the eggplant is ready push down to feel if it is fully soft inside.

Remove from the flame, cut down the center and scoop out the insides.  Place the grilled eggplant meat into a bowl and immediately pour on the lemon juice.   Add the pressed garlic and salt.

Alternatives:  For a delicious creamy spread, add three tablespoons of tehina.

Serve as a first course, accompanied by bread.  Kept refrigerated this salad can be kept for up to a week.

Note:  To retain the white color of the eggplant, the lemon juice needs to be applied while the eggplant is still hot, freshly removed from the flame.

Learn More

Coconut-Polenta Rounds

Last Updated on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 12:56 Written by Flax Wednesday, 23 March 2011 10:42

Mushrooms on a bed of PolentaI often get asked, how I come up with new recipes every week.  The answer is that I find inspiration all over the place.  I also think I must dream about food.  This is because one morning last week, I opened my eyes, and this recipe popped into my head.  I must admit that if I do have to dream about food, this dish is worthy.

In class we made this as a spicy biscuit, served with grilled mushrooms and grilled eggplant slices.  It can also be made into a delicious egg free, gluten-free cookie.  I give both recipes below.

Spicy Polenta    

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1″ ginger, grated
  • 1″ chilli pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Oil the bottom of a sauce pan.  Saute the onions for a few minutes until soft.  Add the remaining spices and saute for one minute more.  Add the water and the coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the red pepper and then slowly pour in the polenta, while briskly stirring the whole time to prevent lumps.   Keep stirring the polenta for a few minutes while it cooks.  The polenta is ready when it starts to thicken and pull away from the pan. 

Pour the polenta on to a flat surface and smooth it out.  Allow it to cool for up to five minutes.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out the desired shape. 

It’s not really possible to recut the remaining polenta – so just put it on the table and let people munch on it. 

Sweet Polenta

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Bring the liquid, spices and sugar to a boil.  Follow the same method as above.

Before serving, grill the polenta in a toaster or an oven for five minutes.

Serve hot.  Serves 4-6

Enjoy!

Learn More
Copyright © 2009 Afterburner - Free GPL Template. All Rights Reserved.
WordPress is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.