Thursday, October 6, 2011

Warm Fall Day and Pomegranate-Glazed Eggplant

Another crazy warm day for October. I got out early for the usual round of Frisbee. This is her NEW Frisbee, only a week old. Why can't Frisbee make one that will actually hold up? Other kinds don't throw as far, so they're not as fun. She doesn't even mess with it except for the crazy slide and grab when she catches it.

After Tansy got her crazy juice out, I got out my bike for a morning bike ride. I brought my camera today. I thought this was funny along side the road.

I went all the way past Passi Road today and took the long route home. It took about an hour and a half. On the way home I stopped to get mail at the Fat Chicken Feed Store. We don't have mail delivery here, so we rent a post office box at the Fat Chicken.

I had one eggplant left from the Wisconsin bounty. I decided to buy Heidi Swanson's cookbook Super natural Every Day because the recipes I tried from the library copy were really good. This recipe is from that book.

I stopped at Evergreen Cottage to buy tempeh, and they also had a nice looking feta cheese. The recipe calls for tempeh, but you could easily use a firm tofu (or none).

The recipe calls for smashing the garlic with salt. I've done that before for various recipes. Somehow mashing the garlic with the salt mellows the garlic and turns it into a nice paste. I use a mortar and pestle.

I also have this really great zester tool. It's called a "micro plane". It works great for when you need to make some lemon or lime zest.

The recipe is called "Pomegranate-Glazed Eggplant with Tempeh" and it calls for pomegranate molasses. Ha! Who in the world has even heard of that, much less get it in Ely! But the recipe says you can substitute maple syrup. Well, I had some pomegranate cranberry frozen juice  that I thought might work to add to the maple syrup. Sure enough, I threw in maybe two tablespoons of the concentrate to the maple syrup and it tasted great! (If anyone tries pomegranate molasses, let me know what you think.)

Pomegranate-Glazed Eggplant with Tempeh

1 long, thin Asian eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks (I used a regular globe eggplant)
8 ounces tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup peeled and diced winter squash or sweet potatoes (1/2 inch pieces)
Grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 tsp sea salt
3 medium cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses (or your maple syrup concoction)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mound the eggplant, tempeh, squash, and lemon zest on a rimmed baking sheet.

Start making the glaze by mashing the garlic with the salt until it is a paste. Combine the garlic paste in a bowl with the red pepper flakes and pomegranate molasses. Whisk in the olive oil. Drizzle three-quarters of the glaze mixture over the ingredients on the baking sheet. Toss well and arrange in a single layer. (I had larger eggplants and squash, so I used two baking sheets. If you do have more squash and eggplant, remember to increase the glaze ingredients accordingly.)

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, tossing everything at the 35-minute mark, until the eggplant and squash are soft and starting to caramelize.

Drizzle with the remaining pomegranate glaze, sprinkle with the cilantro and feta, and serve.

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