Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stuffed Eggplant and Kale and Asparagus with Lemongrass and Basil

For the second roll of my Leafcutter Designs Vegetarian Recipe Dice I got eggplant, cumin, onion, rice, tomatoes, corn, cheddar, kale, lemongrass, asparagus, and basil.

Stuffed Eggplant
by Louise

1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/4 pound)
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 ear of corn, kernels cut off
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons white wine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups cooked short grain brown rice seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon cumin
8 grape tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out center of eggplant (a melon baller works well for this) leaving a half-inch thickness; and discard as many seeds as possible. Drizzle olive oil into eggplant cavities (spread with fingers) and sprinkle with salt. Bake eggplant shells 20 minutes or until lightly browned but still hold their shape. Set aside.

Chop eggplant flesh. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add chopped eggplant flesh, red onion and corn kernels and sprinkle with salt and cumin. Stir in wine and tomato paste. Sauté about 8 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Set aside.
To assemble eggplants: Spray an ovenproof baking dish with vegetable spray and place the eggplant shells in the dish. Spoon half of brown rice into bottom of each eggplant shell pressing down with the back of the spoon to level the rice. Slice grape tomatoes into 3 slices each, 4 slices if they are on the larger side. Lay the slices of tomato over the rice and sprinkle with salt. Spoon the cooked filling over the grape tomato slices and cover the dish with foil. Bake in the preheated oven 30-35 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and sprinkle each of the eggplant halves with half the cheese. Return the eggplants to the oven and continue baking about 8 minutes or until cheddar is melted.

Kale and Asparagus with Lemongrass and Basil
1 stalk of fresh lemongrass*
1/4 pound thin asparagus
1 Tablespoon canola oil
4 cups washed kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Peel the tough outer layer off the lemongrass. Slice the lemongrass very thinly into circles. Set aside. Cut off the bottom 1” of the asparagus and discard the tough stems. Slice the asparagus stalks into circles about 1/8” thick. Leave the last 1-2” (the bud) intact. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. All all ingredients into the pan and toss the pan to coat the vegetables with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Stir fry the vegetables until the kale is slightly wilted but still green, about 6-8 minutes.

*I eat lemongrass. The first time I was ever served Thai food, the lemongrass was part of the dish. I enjoyed the flavor and the crunch. I’ve since seen recipes where the lemongrass was used to “infuse” a liquid or a dish, then removed. I found that to be very wasteful and it never quite relayed the same burst of lemongrass flavor as including sliced lemongrass. If a cook is uncomfortable with this, by all means use the “infusion” method and remove the lemongrass before serving the kale.

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