Quick and Easy Baba

A couple nights ago we realized the eggplant in our fridge had started to go rotten on one end, so the good half would have to be salvaged post-haste. We still had a couple tablespoons of tahini leftover from some middle eastern meal a few weeks back, so I decided on some imprompu baba ganoush, which we don’t make very often at all, but I hoped to be able to pull of relatively easily based on my extensive hummus-making experience. Tina had read somewhere that you should roast the eggplant in thick rounds under the broiler to get a nice smoky flavor. Correct. I would also note that we were out of olive oil, so I used canola. I’m still suggesting olive for the recipe below, though, since I am 100% certain it would provide better flavor.

Quick and Easy Baba Ganoush

1 large eggplant, sliced into thick rounds
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
garlic (I used powder out of laziness – fresh would be better)
salt and pepper

1. Brush the eggplant rounds with a little olive oil on each side, lay them on a baking dish, and stick them under the broiler for a few minutes until they are good and brown on both sides. The more smoky flavor you want, the longer you want to leave them in there.
2. Remove the eggplant from the broiler and put in in the food processor, along with the rest of the ingredients (salt and pepper to taste). Blend.
3. Serve it warm, or let it chill in the fridge for a bit first.


Brussels Sprouts w/Chickpeas, Cashews and Red Pepper

No real recipe for this, which is a bit of a shame because it was delicious.  This was just a simple mix of braised Brussels sprouts that I added some diced red pepper, cooked chickpeas and black sesame seeds towards the end of the cooking time.   Placed on a bit of brown rice and topped with toasted cashews, this made a hearty and healthy dinner.

This Week’s Receipt

From the Coop:

  • Olive Oil: 6.66
  • White Vinegar: .74
  • Broccoli: 1.48 (1 bunch)
  • Squash: 1.86 (.69lb @ 2.70)
  • Eggplant: 1.81 (.97lb @ 1.87)
  • Rutabagas: 2.06 (1.25lb @ 1.65)
  • Lemons: .60 (2 for .30)
  • Tofu: 1.68
  • Apples: .82 (.83lb at .99)
  • Anjou Pears: 1.34 (1.61lb @ .83)
  • Lacinato Kale: 2.32 (a bunch)

TOTAL: 22.57

From Pioneer:

  • Lemons: .50
  • Parsely: 1.00
  • Bread: 1.00
  • Salt: .87

TOTAL: $3.37

Total for the week: $25.94

Pa Jun

A friend used to make these quite often and we loved them.  After an intense weekend gallivanting around Brooklyn, we wanted something simple and delicious for supper on Sunday.  I have had a small bag of rice flour in our freezer for, umm, I really don’t know how long, but I read online that it doesn’t go bad, so I decided to make some Korean pancakes (Pa Jun).

I used the following recipe from the NY Times, but want to note that I added a bit more rice flour to the recipe as the consistency seemed weird.  I could have also have been overzealous in the ice-water department, so I would play strict attention to proportions.  Nevertheless, the results were delicious and something that I am going to be making as hors d’oeuvres for future parties because they are a) simple; b) delicious; c) you can roll them up into bite sized pieces and d) serve with a variety of dipping sauces.

Sidenote: We want to apologize for not putting last week’s receipt up yet.  It has gotten lost in the shuffle, but we spent about $34 since we only spent $25.88 last week.

Pa Jun (recipe adapted from the NY Times)

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil [Tina: I used less]
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour [Tina: I used rice flour]
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt [Tina: I also threw in some fresh black pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder]
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, green beans, scallions) [Tina: I used red pepper and carrots]

To Do:

  1. Fill a measuring cup with ice  and 1/2 cup or more cold water; set aside. Place a small (8-inch) nonstick or well-seasoned skillet over medium-low heat. Coat bottom with vegetable oil and allow to heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs just until frothy. Add flour and salt and whisk to combine. Add vegetables or meat and stir to blend. Add 1/2 cup ice water and mix again to blend. [Tina: I thought I just put in 1/2 cup of ice water and felt that the batter thinned out way too much, could just be me though]
  3. Fill a 1/2-cup measuring cup with batter; pour into hot pan. Allow to sit until browned and crispy on bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip pancake and cook another 2 minutes. Place on a serving plate and keep warm (or set aside to serve at room temperature) [Tina: I placed in a 200F oven]. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with dipping sauce, tearing or cutting off pieces of pancake to dip in sauce with fingers or chopsticks.
  4. Yield: 2 to 4 appetizer servings (3 pancakes).

Pumpkin Coconut & Raisin Muffins

Muffins can be a tiny, perfect package for breakfast or a snack, when made correctly.  Too often muffins are sugary messes – think of blueberry muffin topped with brown sugar crumble.  Delicious, but not nutritious.

I think these muffins are great!  They are not too sugary and the coconut and raisins add a delightful texture and sweetness of their own.

The recipe is loosely adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook.  I happened to have some canned pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving time in our cabinets and used that instead of what the recipe called for – as well as some other modifications (see below).

Pumpkin Coconut & Raisin Muffins


  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or AP flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can of pumpkin pie mix (15 oz)
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fruit preserves (we had some peach jam that my mom canned over the summer)
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/4-1/2 cups raisins

To Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Grease a muffin tin or use paper liners.
  3. Process the oats in a blender or food processor until they become the consistency of cornmeal (you can also just squish them with a rolling pin – it’s OK).
  4. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats together.
  5. Beat the eggs, pumpkin, milk, oil, vanilla, brown sugar and preserves together.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.  Add the coconut and raisins and mix just a tiny bit – don’t overmix or else the muffins will be tough.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out dry and clean.
  8. Cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin and then take out muffins to cool completely.   Serves 12 muffins.

Polenta with Seitan Eggplant Ragu

A variation on a recipe I’ve used more than once before. This ragu, as the title indicates, was made from seitan and eggplant.

Seitan Eggplant Ragu

1 large onion, chopped
1 eggplant, chopped
2 or 3 seitan steaks, chopped
1/2 cup parsely, diced
olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
red pepper flakes
fresh pecorino romano

1. Marinate the seitan and eggplant in the lemon juice, plus about 1/4 cup olive oil, red pepper, parseley, plus S&P to taste. The longer it can sit in there the better
2. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions, preferably in a pot large enough to hold the rest of the ingredients later on.
3. Once the onions are golden, throw in the rest of the ingredients in the pot, mix, cover, and cook on low-medium heat for acout an hour, stirring occassionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom. You might want to uncover it halfway through to get rid of some of the water
3. Serve over polenta and top with a few extra parsley and some grated pecorino.

Jamie Oliver on TED

You may have heard that TV chef Jamie Oliver has been, for some time, on a campaign against obesity; an effort he very much ties to food knowledge, food economies, corporate and government systems.

Having recently one a TED Prize, he gave a talk at TED 10, which you can watch online:

To be totally honest, some of the tone of this presentation gets a bit too reality television for my taste (especially in the video clips). Nevertheless, it think it’s important that this sort of message gets presented to large audiences in an accessible way, and if there’s a venue for that on network television, that’s probably a good thing.

p.s. If you aren’t already in the habit of watching TED Talks online, I highly recommend them. Here are two of my favorites:

John Hodgman: A Brief Digression on Matters of Lost Time (now mysteriously retitled)
Jill Bolte Taylor: Stroke of Insight