Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 5, 2014
How nice it is to be able to serve a vegan entrée that makes people say WOW! That wonderful compliment came my way very recently at a luncheon attended by 80 non-vegetarians.
The luncheon was held at a very large hotel and conference center. When offered the entrée choices of Rosemary Sage Chicken with Piccata Sauce, Roast Salmon with Red Wine Sauce, or Vegan Walnut Stuffed Eggplant, 21 of the 80 people attending chose the eggplant dish–one of my very favorite recipes from The Nut Gourmet, my cookbook that was published in 2006 and is still in print. Especially rewarding was the lively applause when the chairwoman announced the entrée was my recipe.
I really wanted to thank the chef for accepting my recipe and preparing the eggplant entrée. I asked if was possible to speak to the chef. It seemed rather unusual for the chef at large hotel to even be willing to prepare a recipe from a patron. Within a few minutes, the chef came out with a smile. Desi Szonntagh is the executive chef at the hotel. After we chatted a bit, he said he really liked the recipe and felt it was a good idea to introduce his kitchen staff to something unique. He also appreciated the opportunity to experience something vegan that was not just pasta with vegetables.
If you have family members who really love eggplant, and you serve this delicious entrée, better get ready to receive a few WOWs of appreciation. I have no doubt you’ll agree this is one very killer delicious dish!
This recipe is a hearty Mediterranean dish with Greek ancestry and is pure heaven to walnut and eggplant lovers. Its exceptional flavor comes from the combination of cinnamon, tomato paste, and capers. Because the stuffed eggplant is so special, I keep the rest of the meal simple with stir-fried or steamed vegetables, bulgur wheat in place of a rice dish, and a tossed salad.
WALNUT STUFFED EGGPLANT
Yield: 4 hearty servings.
2 (1-pound) eggplants
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
1/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped onions
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup raw walnuts, divided
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 heaping tablespoons capers, well drained
2 to 3 small ripe tomatoes, sliced
- Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, slicing through the stem end. Using a curved, serrated grapefruit knife, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell, and coarsely chop the flesh. Put the chopped eggplant into a large, deep skillet or flat-bottom wok.
- Rub the inside of the eggplant shells with a small amount of olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Place the eggplant shells under the broiler, and broil them 3 inches from the heat source for 5 to 10 minutes, until fork-tender. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove the eggplant shells from the broiler and set them aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, cinnamon, and pepper to the skillet with the chopped eggplant, and cook and stir for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Coarsely grind the walnuts in a hand-crank nut mill and add 2/3 cup to the skillet along with the tomato paste and capers. Mix well.
- Fill the eggplant shells with the vegetable mixture and sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/3 cup coarsely ground walnuts. Top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes.
Posted in Main Dishes, Nut Recipes, Recipes, walnuts | Tagged: capers, cinnamon, company recipe, Eggplant dish, Greek eggplant, Greek recipe, hearty entree, Mediterranean eggplant, Mediterranean recipe, mushrooms, recipe, vegan eggplant dish, vegan entree, Vegan Walnut Stuffed Eggplant, walnut entree | 1 Comment »
Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on August 13, 2009
I know I’m not alone when I say I have a thing for pistachios. They’re so darned lovable in practically every dish I’ve put them into. I had this wild idea to create a totally whole-grain, no-yeast bread and pack it with pistachios. I did it and it’s a winner!
Preparing, baking, and eating this bread will feel like Mother Nature paid a visit to your kitchen. This is not the airy white bread that comes from highly processed grains and leaves you with little nourishment. Because, this bread is made from truly whole grains and is prepared without yeast, it will be heavier, considerably denser, and delightfully earthy because it’s full of flavorful savory ingredients that give it a chewy texture.
Most of all, it’s delicious, but there’s something else very special about this bread. Wheat berries and oat groats deliver an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, 20 in all, plus protein, fiber, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. The oat groats add another dimension to the nutrition package—they contain soluble fiber that helps to lower cholesterol naturally.
PISTACHIO CAPER BREAD
Yield: 2 small loaves (4 to 6 servings per loaf)
5 1/2 cups water, divided
1 cup oat groats
1 cup wheat berries
1 tablespoon psyllium seed husks
2/3 cup raw pistachios
2/3 cup dehydrated onions
1/2 cup well-drained capers
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Place the oat groats and wheat berries into a large bowl and rinse the grains. Add 4 cups of the water to the grains and soak for 8 to 24 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a large jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Drain and rinse the soaked grains and put them into the food processor with 1 1/4 cups of the remaining water. Process the grains for about 2 minutes, or until they are ground to a coarse meal and all the liquid is well incorporated. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. If your processor has a small capacity, process the grains in 2 batches.
3. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of water with the psyllium husks in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside for about 30 seconds to allow the mixture to thicken. Add the thickened psyllium to the processor and process it into the grains.
4. Transfer the grains to a large bowl and add the pistachios, onions, capers, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
5. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared jellyroll pans in two even piles and use the spoon to shape the loaves into thick rectangles about 5 x 7-inches.
6. Lightly cover the loaves with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes longer. Cool completely, slice, and serve.
Oat groats and wheat berries are available in natural food markets. Psyllium seed husks absorb water and act as a binder. They are also available in natural food markets.
If not serving right away, wrap the breads separately in plastic bags and refrigerate for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before serving or wrap in aluminum foil, shiny side inside, and warm in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
I like to prepare these breads in advance and freeze them to give as gifts or to enjoy when guests come for dinner. To freeze, wrap the cooled breads separately in heavy-duty zipper-lock plastic bags. Frozen, they will keep well for up to 4 months.
Posted in Antioxidants in Nuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nuts and Health, pistachios | Tagged: antioxidants in pistachios, capers, Nut Recipes, oat groats, pistachio bread, pistachio recipe, pistachios, Vegan Recipes, wheat berries, whole grain bread | Leave a Comment »