Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Best Blog Tips

This will be my last blog post until July 6th or so, when I get back from the McDougall "Celebrity Chef" Weekend in Santa Rosa, Ca. I'll be in good company, with Chef Kevin Dunn, executive chef and creator of the Vegetarian Awakening vegan chef's conferences; Susan Voisin from the fat free vegan blog; Colleen Patrick-Goudreau from the Compassionate Cooks blog; Jill Nussinow, "The Veggie Queen"; Miyoko Schinner from the Artisan Vegan Life blog; and Chef Eric Tucker of Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. Wow!

We will all, along with Mary McDougall, be demonstrating flavorful, no-fat-added recipes for the participants to recreate at home. I'm doing a workshop on breakfast foods on Saturday morning, and a work shop on "The Elegant Bean" on Sunday.

So, I'll be filling you in when I get back! In the meantime, I'm posting a delicious eggplant dish that I made the other day. A medical practitioner recommended that  my husband eat more eggplant. Now, I've been telling him that for ages, because eggplant is a great source of viscous fiber-- "the 'sticky' type of soluble fiber found in oats, barley and beans, and certain vegetables such as okra and eggplant. Viscous fibers help binding the cholesterol in your digestive tract and sweep it out of your body. In another word, soluble fiber act as a sponge, absorbing cholesterol and carrying it out of your system. People at less-developed countries (such as China) are less prone to having high blood cholesterol because their diet are high on viscous fiber." See: You can read more about this here: "Portfolio Diet".

I love eggplant, but DH has only eaten it reluctantly, except when I make Szechuan eggplant, which he does like. So I thought I'd start out with a stir-fry. I found the following recipe on a great website called "Ashbury's Aubergines" that has thousands of eggplant (aubergine) recipes!

I wanted to cut down the oil a bit, so I experimented with a technique I read about in Cook's Illustrated magazine. Eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge-- as the authors say, "it's essentially a sponge, ready to absorb anything, and it's packed with water. This one-two punch transforms the eggplant into oil-soaked mush before it has a chance to caramelize."


"The Solution: First we needed to dehydrate the eggplant, but the traditional salting method didn't sufficiently dry it out. Combining salting and microwaving did work— after we put a few disposable coffee filters under the eggplant to keep it from poaching in its leached-out liquid. The eggplant (now reduced to a third its original size) could be sautéed in a much smaller amount of oil (1 tablespoon vs. nearly 1/2 cup). The eggplant plumped up nicely when added back to the other vegetables to stew, absorbing these other flavors instead of just oil."

So, what you do is, cut your eggplant into chunks or strips and toss it with a bit of kosher salt in bowl. Line entire surface of large microwave-safe plate with double layer of [unbleached] coffee filters and lightly spray with oil from a pump sprayer. Spread the eggplant in one even layer over the filters. Microwave on high until the eggplant is dry and shriveled to one-third of its size, 8 to 15 minutes (the eggplant should not brown). (If your microwave has no turntable, rotate the plate after 5 minutes.) Use in your recipe. It worked!

(PS: For anyone who is still afraid of using a microwave oven, here's some information you may be interested in reading.)

Printable Copy
Serves 2-4

This was delicious and DH loved it, even though heclaims to hat eggplant.

1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into strips and prepared as above
1 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, diced (I washed the oil off with hot water and patted them dry)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small tomato, peeled
seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook over high heat until the garlic is soft. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and prepared eggplant (see text above). Turn the heat to medium. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes until the eggplant is tender. Add the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar to the skillet. Cook until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add tomato and parsley or cilantro. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat.

I served this with brown basmati rice, but it would be great cold with baguettes or pita bread or rye crisp!

Enjoy and have a great week!


spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks for the tip of cooking eggplants in microwave. I always bake them. What's the difference between microwaving and baking, I wonder? I have to try the microwave method, I guess, to find out. :-) I love eggplants.

I am an believer in acupuncture and chinese medicine. We went to a good Chinese doctor here and he helped all kind of diseases including liver, cancer, heart, cholesterol, etc. He also recommends food to heal. He told all patients not to eat dairy product and not to eat chicken. This Chinese doctor also believes in seasonal food (like macrobiotic). I hope this acupuncturist can help your husband.


Anonymous said...

Ooo, that's so exciting that you will be presenting at the McDougall event! I wish I could be there.

The eggplant dish looks great, thanks for sharing. I am always looking for tastier ways to use eggplant.

mustardseed said...

Thanks Bryanna! But I don't have sundried tomatoes, we never use it in Chinese cooking, and sundried tomatoes are VERY expensive! Help?

Kate said...

Thanks for the eggplant tips!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Mustardseed, sorry to be so late in getting back to you! This recipe isn't Chinese, of course (in the original recipe they used Chinese. or Asian, egplant, but I used the larger kind). There i really nothing to substitute for sundried tomatoes, but could you dry some tomatoes where you are? They could be oven-dried, or sun-dried or dried in a food dehydrator. Preferably the paste tomatoes, cut in half. Then you can put them in jars with oil and herbs to store.

Peggy said...

Ooh, that looks SO GOOD! (but then again, I'm an eggplant lover, not a hater :P)