Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Roasted Eggplant with Mustard Vinaigrette

This morning I had a conversation that went like this: "Hello, my husband is supposed to PCS to Travis, and we are still waiting on the EFMP office, but wanted to know if we can begin to schedule anything with the TMO..."

No, I don't work for NASA, and I am not an engineer of any sort. I'm simply a military spouse trying to navigate the logistics of moving our family from one air force base to another. Apparently, this requires a degree in military logistics.

Moving also means that I have to attempt to conqure my OCD need to constantly organize, because our apartment is just chaos. Unavoidably. And when people find out you are moving halfway across the country, they suddenly are seized by a need to send you more things, right when you are trying to decrease the number of "things" in your life! Why?

Despite all the convolutions of military life, it's all worth it because I am so insanely proud of my guy! :-)

I also had the most hilarious wrong number call yesterday:

Me, answering my phone: "This is Astra."
Lady on the other end of the phone: "helloooo?"
Me: "This is Astra."
Lady on the other end of the phone: "helloooo?"
Me: "This is Astra."
Lady on the other end of the phone: "ohhhh, I don't know anyone with that name..."
*long pause*
Lady on the other end of the phone: "why are you calling me?"

Notice that while one of these phone calls I have discussed here was a purposeful attempt to do something official, neither of these two phone calls make any sense?

I digress. Warm weather has finally come to Ohio...

which means my favorite vegetable is finally in season!

Roasted Eggplant with Mustard Vinaigrette

2 medium eggplant, cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T of your favorite grainy mustard
1 T minced parsley
1 T dried dill
1.5 T balsamic vinegar
1.5 T honey
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp salt

~ Set the eggplant cubes in a large bowl of salted water to soak for 20 minutes. Drain, rinse, and set aside to dry.
~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray.
~ Whisk together all the remaining ingredients to make a thick paste.
~ Toss the eggplant cubes with the lovely vinaigrette paste. Spread in a single layer in the roasting pan, and roast on an upper rack in the oven for 40 min - until tender. Serve warm!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The First Nut-Loaf

Photographing the spring flowers... :-)
When my folks were in town for Passover the last two weeks,

My parents hand-made matzah for our Passover seders!! How cool is that?!?

my creative mother baked our first nut-loaf. I know, I know, I am just now having my first nut-loaf?!? I was a vegan for 14 years, a raw veganist for a period of time, and have spent the rest of my life as a plant-focused mostly-veg flexitarian, and I am just now having my first nut loaf?!? What can I say? I have been missing out. Seriously missing out.

Nut Loaf - Vegan and Kosher for Passover and Year-Round
Adapted from http://heebnvegan.blogspot.com/2010/03/guest-post-nut-based-cuisine-definitive.html

2 medium onions
1 pound russet potatoes, unpeeled OR 1 lb butternut squash cubes (for the SCD-legal version)
3 cloves garlic, divided 
2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided 
2 cups whole almonds
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup pecans
2 medium tomatoes, diced 
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
Dash of cayenne
1 large ripe tomato, diced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil an 8 x 8-inch ovenproof baking dish.
~ Cut the onions in half. Coarsely chop one of the halves and set it aside. Cut the remaining onions into chunks and pulse-chop them in the food processor until minced. Transfer them to a large bowl and set aside.
~ Scrub the potatoes or butternut squash, cut them into coarse chunks, and put them into a 2-quart saucepan. Coarsely chop 1 of the garlic cloves and add it to the saucepan along with the 1/2 coarsely chopped onions, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and water to cover. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
~ Thoroughly drain the potatoes or butternut squash and onions in a colander to remove all the liquid, and transfer them to a medium bowl. Mash them with a fork or potato masher, and add them to the bowl with the reserved minced onions.
~ Finely grind the almonds in the food processor and add them to the potato or butternut squash bowl. Process the walnuts and pecans until they are well ground but still retain a little crunchy texture, and add them to the potatoes or squash.
~ Finely mince the remaining garlic cloves and add them to the bowl along with the 2 medium tomatoes, water, lemon juice, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, nutmeg, basil, thyme, marjoram, pepper, and cayenne. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
~ Spoon the nutloaf mixture into the prepared pan, pressing with the back of a spoon or your hands to compact the mixture.
~ Arrange the diced tomato over top and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes.
~ To serve, cut the loaf into wedges and serve with Tomato Herb Gravy on the side.

Tomato Herb Gravy

3 cups vegetable broth
3 medium size Roma tomatoes, diced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons arrowroot or potato starch (leave out for the SCD legal version)
2 tablespoons water

~ Combine the broth, tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, and onion powder in a 2-quart saucepan.
~ Create a bouquet garni by placing the rosemary, thyme, and sage into the center of a small piece of cheesecloth. Gather up the ends to enclose the herbs, and tie it securely with a string. Add the bouquet garni to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
~ Reduce the heat to medium and simmer about 5 to 8 minutes. Discard the bouquet garni and season the gravy with salt and pepper.
~ Combine the arrowroot and water in a small cup or bowl and stir it well to form a runny paste. Stir the paste into the gently simmering tomato gravy a little at a time, stirring with a wire whip for about 1 minute, or until the gravy is thickened to desired consistency. Cook one minute longer to temper the arrowroot. Skip this step for the SCD legal version.

Voila! Our first nutloaf! Delicious!

Exploring historic downtown Dayton with Mother...

One of my favorite historic homes :-)

Dayton Wright Brothers Pride!! :-)