Eat Well: Chinese Cabbage Persian Eggplant

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
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Yesterday morning, just when I was about to roll up my sleeves and start writing about Chinese cabbage, the Babycenter "pregnancy vegetable of the week", two things happened. I picked the bounty (pictured above) from my vegetable garden and THIS cookbook arrived in the mail:
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Suddenly, all desire to talk about Chinese cabbage flew out the window and I found myself searching for eggplant, tomato and green bean recipes in my brand new cookbook.

I don’t know about you, but when I get a beautiful new cookbook, my mouth waters as I read through the recipes and anticipate preparing them. For me, reading a new cookbook is like reading a really good novel. I love imagining how the different flavors will meld together and I relish in figuring out which recipe I want to try first. And low and behold, I quickly found the perfect recipe for my abundant harvest, replacing all thoughts of cabbage.

Vegetarian Traditions is an amazing cookbook filled with gourmet recipes from author George Vetetakis’ Inn Season CafĂ© in Michigan. All of the recipes are vegan or have vegan alternatives and many are gluten free or could be easily modified by using gluten free flour. Some of the recipes are ingredient and time intensive but many are not and Vetetakis’ Persian eggplant recipe is neither (I modified it to make it even more user friendly).

I am so thrilled with this recipe because I have been looking for a great “company meal” to replace my all time favorite pre-vegetarian recipe, Chicken Marbella, and this is it. The flavors are awe inspiring and the presentation, beautiful. I left out the sumac powder since I have never heard of it don’t have any in the house, omitted the persimmons since they aren’t in season, and replaced the cinnamon sticks with powdered cinnamon. (I also omitted the walnut crust as it added 30+ minutes to the cooking time. Instead, I sprinkled the finished dish with toasted walnuts tossed in cinnamon.)

Here is my modified version:

Persian Eggplant
(modified from Roasted Eggplant with Walnut Crust in George Vetetakis’ Vegetarian Traditions)

4 medium-sized baby eggplants or 8 small Japanese eggplants, stems on
6 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced (I used my home-grown tomatoes which weren’t Roma)
2 shallots, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 ripe fuyu persimmons, peeled and thinly sliced (OPTIONAL)
2 cinnamon sticks, or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups green beans, trimmed into 1 ½ inch long pieces
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sumac powder (I left this out)
1 t sea salt
½ t fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (can substitute ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice with ½ of a lemon rind
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (preferably blood orange) with ½ of an orange rind
2 fresh bay leaves (I used dried)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Place the eggplants in a 9x 14 inch baking dish and puncture each one a few times with a knife or fork.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour evenly over the eggplants.
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4. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until eggplants are soft and buttery.
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5. Meanwhile, toast walnuts in a dry pan until golden brown.
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6. Sprinkle with cinnamon and toss.
7. Set aside to cool.

If using Japanese eggplants, serve whole. Otherwise, cut eggplants in half, widthwise. Serve hot with basmati rice:
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Almond Basmati Rice
(modified from Saffron Almond Brown Basmati Rice)
2 cups basmati rice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 ½ cups water
2 bay leaves
1 t salt
¼ teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
¼ cup dried currants (or raisins)
½ cup slivered almonds (sliced work, too)
1 three inch cinnamon stick (or ¼ t ground cinnamon)

1. Rinse basmati rice 3 times and strain in a fine sieve.
2. In a 4 quart sauce pan, slowly toast the rice and olive oil for 10 minutes.
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3. Add water and other ingredients. Bring to a boil.
4. Turn down to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes until the water is absorbed.
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5. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves and fluff just before serving.
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***

I thought I'd throw in one quick Chinese cabbage recipe (also called Napa cabbage) in honor of Rebecca’s bulging body. This salad is delicious and refreshing…and actually would make a great accompaniment to the eggplant!

Asian Coleslaw
(from Clean Food by Terry Walters)

3 cups thinly sliced bok choy, pac choy, or tatsoi
4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1 carrot, julienned
2 cups julienned snow peas
1 cup culienned red bell pepper
2 T toasted black sesame seeds
2 T toasted white sesame seeds

Dressing
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T toasted sesame oil
2 T ume plum vinegar
1 T tamari
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1. In a large bowl, combine cabbages, carrot, peas and peppers.
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2. In separate bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
3. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat evenly.
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4. Refrigerate 10-20 minutes to help flavors blend. Before serving, toss again and top with toasted sesame seeds.
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Serves 8.
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Enjoy!

Love,
WWW

9 comments:

Jules | 6:39 AM

I am definitely making that eggplant this weekend! I am drooling over my morning coffee at work.

Anonymous | 9:37 AM

Another excellent post, WWW!

Abby C. | 1:08 PM

Oh, yum! Sumac is a ground powder common in alot of middle eastern recipes - no surprise it pops up in a Persian Eggplant recipe. You can find it at international groceries I would bet. I happen to have some eggplants in my fridge right now and I may need to give this a try! (We also have sumac, but thats because my beloved grew up in the Middle East, and we always put sumac on our hummous to flavor it.)

Emily | 1:10 PM

I have to laugh because my mother's go-to entertaining dish is Chicken Marbela as well. The eggplant looks like a worth substitute, however!

ssm | 1:15 PM

HOW did I never look into putting sesame oil on cabbage? Like the marriage of my two best friends (if my friends don't mind being compared to cabbage). YUM. Making this when we get our head of cabbage this week.

Taylor Alt-Mama | 6:35 PM

That looks delicious, and I love that it was improvised based on what's in season/in your pantry (no sumac? No problem). Also super impressed with what your garden is yielding. That produce looks perfect.

Anonymous | 6:13 AM

on behalf of the tortured dairy cows and their dead babies THANK YOU! delish and cruelty free THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
chel xxxx

Sky | 5:55 PM

Oh Bec,
How can you post up about Archer's awesome videos and then not link to even one? Oh please don't torture us :P Please please do share :)

JMom | 6:43 PM

That cabbage salad is a thing of beauty! Thank you!