Sunday, June 30, 2013

Zatar Eggplant and Kale

Before I decided to do more raw foods this summer, I first decided to cook on a budget.  So far, there are wins and loses in that department, but this recipe was a win.  Growing up, my mom would make Zatar Chicken, with sauteed onions and chicken (it was the only form of onions I cared to eat), cooked with zatar and lemon and served over rice.

I have come to simply adore the combination of kale and eggplant.  When those two vegetables are cooking (with onion and garlic), the smell is simply heavenly.  Add this spice of my people, and we have an excellent vegetarian, budget-friendly, and super healthy and delicious dish.  Added to rice, the mixture goes a long way (Matt and I ate it for lunches most of the week).


-3 tbsp vegetable oil (and olive oil to be added later, at your discretion, but try not to do the initial cooking with olive oil, as it can burn)
-1 yellow onion, sliced (cut in half, then halve the half, then slice)
-1 eggplant (skin on), chopped into bite-size pieces
     Note: The easiest way for me is to cut it lengthwise from just below the stem to the end, three approximately even cuts with one side up, then rotate and make another 3 cuts to make a cross hatch pattern so that it stays attached at the stem; then chop it widthwise.  I will add pictures the next time I use this technique.
-1 bunch kale, chopped into bite-size pieces (stems too)
-2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-3 tbsp lemon juice (or more, if you prefer)
-2-3 tbsp zatar (a middle eastern spice found at ethnic grocery stores, though the regular grocery store might have it too)
-1 tsp salt (more if desired)
-cracked pepper to taste
-1 can garbanzo beans (aka chick peas)
-rice for serving (jasmine rice is my favorite, but any long-grain rice will do)


-Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or a pot
-Sautee the sliced onion, garlic, kale stems, and eggplant for 3-5 minutes
-Add the kale leaves and continue to sautee.  You may need to add them a bit at a time, and let them cook down to make room for the rest.
-Add the zatar and lemon juice, a few twists of cracked pepper, and salt, and continue to cook


-Rinse the garbanzo beans and add to the pan.
-Add a bit of olive oil to moisten the mixture.  You want to have a bit of a sauce (just a bit).
-Continue to cook on low-medium to warm the beans, and mix everything together.
-Serve over rice.

Serves 6-8

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Raw Shaved Squash Salad

I hereby declare this a summer of raw fruits and veggies (and other things in moderation).

We went to a guerilla restaurant, the Agrarian, for dinner with some friends, and I ordered a dish that involved raw shaved yellow squash, and a black garlic puree mixture for dipping.  It was quite delicious, and I was very pleased to learn it was possible to enjoy raw yellow squash.  Our friend Gretchen works for the restaurant and informed me that they soaked the squash in some kind of vinegar.  And doesn't that just sound fresh and yummy!

So today at the farmers market I bought some squash and decided to make it into a salad.  The process was so simple that a paragraph of explanation should suffice:

Shave the squash into a bowl with a vegetable peeler, and add a couple splashes of rice vinegar, a sprinkling of salt and sugar, and fresh cracked black pepper (I used flower pepper from Trader Joes).  Mix the contents of the bowl.  No need to let it soak, just eat up.  

Note: The squash we bought also tasted surprisingly delicious raw without the vinegar mixture, but that may have been the variety.  With other varieties, you may find it needs some soak time.

I used rice vinegar because I like its sweetness and wanted to see how it would taste.  I'm sure balsamic or apple cider vinegar would work quite well also.  If a significant amount of vinegar accumulates at the bottom of the bowl, carefully drain it.  I put a little too much vinegar in mine, and after tossing it a bit, had to pour some out.

The result did not disappoint.  Here's to an excellent start to the summer of raw fruits and veggies!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Last night I made the best frozen yogurt (possibly best food) I have ever had.  Then again, I'm a sucker for sour, tart, tangy foods and desserts.  And I couldn't get you a picture because we gobbled it up right quick.  Just let your imagination soar with Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt.

Note: The canned cherries I bought were rather large, compared to a normal cherry pie filling, so I smushed them up.  Chopping them would also be an option, but I had already poured them into the yogurt and stirred the mixture when I realized it.


-1 quart yogurt (I used my homemade yogurt, which is much tangier than the plain yogurt from the store, see recipe for homemade yogurt here)
-1 can pitted cherries in heavy syrup (DO NOT DRAIN - you want the sweetness of the syrup) -- a can of cherry pie filling would be good too
-1/4 cup sugar


-Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Stir well to help remove yogurt lumps.
-Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker until frozen like soft-serve ice cream.
-Put the frozen yogurt in the freezer for an hour or so (I put them in individual mugs first, then stick those in the freezer).  I much prefer a softer-serve, so if you prefer it harder, just freeze for longer.

The result was incredibly creamy, tangy, and a beautiful red violet colored frozen yogurt with delicious fruit.

Matt loved some sliced almonds on top of his serving, and we both agreed that fudge would also have been a good addition.

Something I thought to do in the future is to make a goat milk yogurt (which tastes similar to goat cheese), and add a can of blueberries in syrup and some sugar.  I suspect that would be delicious too.