Sunday, September 8, 2013

New Food

I had it in my head that I wanted to focus once a week on something that I've never made before. Then since I crapped out on the whole first week of Mofo I pretty much gave up on trying to do themes. BUT that didn't stop me from wanting to try cooking with something I've never cooked before: eggplant.

The reason I wanted to give it a try is because it's in season here in Ontario right now. Our growing season isn't especially long but we do grow lots of good things. My local farmer's stand has been my go-to for veggies this whole summer, as since from the first bite of wax bean I took all the veggies have been exceptionally delicious. And lo and behold, there were eggplant this week. I decided to take the dive.

It was very fortuitous timing that not only did the eggplant appear, but a friend lent me a cookbook that I spied at her house last weekend and one of the recipes that caught my eye was for a coconut curry with potatoes, chickpeas and, you guessed it, eggplant. Kismet!

It's an eggplant! I could Google to see why it's called that, but honestly, who has the time these days?

So, that's what they look like inside. Okay, just kidding, that wasn't a big mystery or anything. It's still kind of pretty though, right?

The recipe was from Mouthwatering Vegan, which I'd never heard of before. Leafing through there are definitely a lot of super promising things, but there is also a really heavy reliance on 'cheeze' - be it Daiya or home-made - and I am not keen on that. The curry section is all kinds of awesome though and Eggplant, Chickpea, Potato & Coconut Curry is the first of many that sound amazing. (note: the recipes also tend to be very oil heavy, but I think you can probably cut down on that as preferred. I did with no ill effects). And I'm lucky that not only are eggplants in season at our market, but luckily enough, so are potatoes, garlic, and onions.

This was in a field a few days ago!!!

The method of cooking the onion / garlic / ginger was different than any I've ever done, which to this point, has been straight chopping / mincing and then sauteeing. So not a lot of other methods to compare to. But anyway. Instructions were to chop them roughly and then toss them into the food processor until they were completely broken down. And you know what, I kind of loved that.

Only 4 or 5 cloves to the whole head! So different than the Chinese garlic.

I liked that it blended right into the sauce this way. I liked how consistent it made the flavour of the curry, too. Am I too lazy to do it every time? More than likely. But when I have extra time? Heck yeah!

The spice mix was perfect, if a little less spicy than what I'm used to in a curry. I also forgot to add the sugar called for so I added some agave at the end and then let it sit for a few minutes. I cut down the oil and skipped the cilantro.

The end result was delicious. And now I can't say I've never cooked eggplant, so double win.

However, I still can't figure out how people make curry photograph 'pretty' and not like... this.

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