Monday, February 20, 2017

Parmesan Eggplant Meatballs


I was super irritated the last few summers with the meager supply of eggplants at my local *big box* garden center. Am I really the only person in my town who grows eggplants at home? Can’t the garden centers carry a few plants for the eggplant lovers out there? Apparently not.

Anyway, last year I wanted the classic globe shaped vegetable, but ended up with a Japanese variety. They were way too narrow for eggplant bacon, and I hated to waste them (they grew like crazy!), so I had to find another way to use them. Luckily I found the perfect recipe. Even those of you who are eggplant shy, will enjoy these little beauties.

This is how they look directly from the oven.
Obviously mine were not beautifully shaped balls, but it didn't matter. 


Parmesan Eggplant Meatballs (veganized by me, originally found in the 'Heirloom Gardener' catalog) 
Here’s what you need:
1 ½ pound of firm, small, peeled eggplants, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T olive oil
½  t salt
½ C fresh parsley
1/3 C fresh basil
1 C panko bread crumbs
2/3 C vegan parmesan cheese (my favorite recipe can be found HERE)
2 eggs (I used 2 flax eggs)

Last night's dinner : I pulled the eggplant meatballs directly from the freezer and fried them. Delicious! Crunchy on the outside and creamy and tender on the inside. 

Here’s what you do:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss eggplant cubes, garlic cloves, and salt with oil and bake in a foil covered baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until everything is nice and soft. Allow to cool and remove any excess moisture by squeezing it out. (To speed along the process, you can chill the veg in an ice bath by putting the hot veg in a big bowl, and then placing the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water.) Increase oven temp to 375.

In a food processor process the parsley and basil until coarse. Add the eggplant, bread crumbs, parmesan, and eggs and blend until its nice and smooth.

Line a baking sheet with parchment, use wet hands, form meatballs about 1 ½ inches in diameter, bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

I froze these in dinner-size portions and they have behaved beautifully right from the freezer.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Festive Portobello Mushroom Wellington from Bosh!


The most difficult part of this beautiful recipe is finding chestnuts. I had never used chestnuts in any capacity, so I was really interested to taste them and learn that they have a very meaty taste and texture. Luckily, I found whole, cooked, and peeled nuts. I can’t imagine the amount of work involved to peel and roast (or steam?) 2 Cups of chestnuts, so look all over your town for prepared nuts….and then forge ahead! This is really a simple recipe and such a beautiful presentation! I am going to remember this for Thanksgiving or Christmas or a dinner party or when company is coming or Sunday dinner or ….. whenever!

I served my wellington with mashed potatoes, peas, and a mushroom gravy. Festive, indeed!


Here’s what you need (directly from the Bosh! Facebook page)
4 portobello mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh thyme (I used 1 t dried)
1 T fresh rosemary (I used 1 t dried)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 red onion, minced
1 T fresh rosemary (I used 1 t dried)
Salt and pepper
1 C white wine (dry)
½ T brown sugar
2 C chestnuts
2 C pecans
2 slices seeded bread
½ C vegetable broth

Short crust pastry (I used 2 sheets of puff pastry)
½ C non-dairy, unsweetened milk

Here’s what you do:

Thaw the puff pastry according to the package.

Clean, trim, and roast the mushrooms. I like to scrape out the black gills, but for this recipe, I left the stem intack. Season them with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and a splash of olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Make sure they are nice and soft.  Allow to cool.

Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add rosemary thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the wine and simmer for a bit. Add the brown sugar and caramelize the onions. Set aside.

Process the chestnuts, pecans, and bread in a food processor until it’s all crumbs. Pour into a large bowl and add the onion mixture and mix well. Slowly add the veg broth until the mixture clumps up … not too wet, not too dry. Your hands are the best tool here. 

Here comes the fun part. Place the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet. Arrange a large amount of the nut mixture over one sheet of pastry, forming it into a long oval of sorts. You’ll need to leave about 1 inch all around the edges. Arrange the four mushrooms over the nuts and then arrange the remaining nut mixture over the mushrooms. For me, it was difficult to get all the nut mixture in, but use whatever you can. The mushrooms should all be encased in the nut mixture. (A hint for the mushrooms: place one right side up, then the next one upside down, then the next one right side up, and the last one upside down. Snuggle them in nice and tight.)



Place the second sheet of pastry over the mound of goodness and crimp the edges with a fork. Trim and use the excess pastry to decorate the top of your wellington. Use a fork to make air holes. Brush the pastry with milk.

Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, but be sure to check it once in a while.

Cool for a bit and slice carefully with a serrated knife.





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