Friday, September 27, 2013

Stuffed Eggplant

The whole Moosewood oeuvre has really been getting a workout around here lately, and today's post is no exception. This recipe is partly a conflation of two separate Katzen approaches to the mighty aubergine (Stuffed Eggplant Hippie Style and Mimi's Stuffed Eggplant), and partly what I think of as a "good parts" reinvention. As usual, a perusal of the originals shows a preponderance of multiple cheeses; I decided to ignore the whole cottage cheese and/or ricotta thing this time and use a combination of nutritional yeast and Daiya cheddar shreds instead. Beyond that, I basically picked and chose elements from each recipe that appealed to me (mushrooms from one, bell pepper from the other, walnuts instead of sunflower seeds, etc.) and added the seasonings that seemed appropriate. So although this dish is really more of an homage than a proper adaptationit still feels true to the spirit of its inspiration; the Hot Tuna soundtrack filling the kitchen added a pleasingly note of nostalgia to its preparation.

Stuffed Eggplant
~ 2 largeish eggplants
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 large onion, diced
~ 1 red bell pepper
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme, marjoram, dill, chili powder, smoked paprika
~ 1 tbsp. hot sauce (I used Frank's)
~ 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
~ 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
~ 2 cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya)
~ 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. wheat germ
~ 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
~ Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/4" of skin. Set the skins aside and chop the flesh (eeeww) into approximately 1/2" bits and reserve.
~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for  about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more.
~ Add the mushrooms and dried seasonings, cook another 5 minutes, and stir in the chopped eggplant innards. Cover the pan and continue cooking about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
~ Add the hot sauce, walnuts, and nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Mix in the vegan cheddar in smallish increments, stirring with each addition until it melts.
~ Stir in 1/2 cup of the wheat germ and the fresh parsley and cook a minute or two more. Remove from heat and allow to rest a few minutes.
~ Now - and this is a direct quote - "stuff the [eggplant] shells generously and with love." (Seriously.) Sprinkle the tops with the remaining tbsp. of wheat germ and a dusting of paprika and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
~ Remove from the oven and allow to rest about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. (Be forewarned that even with set-up time, this may still be a somewhat messy - but delicious - process; just chill out and enjoy!)

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