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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Apple Cider Vinaigrette


Apple cider vinegar and honey strike a perfect balance between sweet and sour in this simple vinaigrette.

Use it to garnish salads, steamed vegetables, sautéed tempeh, grilled fish, and roasted chicken, pork, or beef.

This recipe makes a shy quarter cup, enough to coat a big salad. Double or triple the recipe to meet bigger needs or to store some for future use.

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Sea salt
Freshly ground peppercorn

Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (vinegar, salt, pepper). Serve it immediately or store it in the fridge for future use.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Charred Eggplant Appetizer


This charred eggplant appetizer is like a combination of hummus and baba ganoush. Full of flavor, fiber, and protein, it's a healthy way to start a meal.

This recipe is easy to make but requires a few steps that take time: roasting the eggplant, cooking the beans, and caramelizing the onions. I often do this prep work ahead. If you want, you can make the whole dish a day or two in advance so it's ready when you need it.

I used rendered duck fat to cook the onions, but you can use any saturated fat. (Unsaturated fats like olive oil are too easily damaged to be used in this recipe.) If you don't have rendered animal fat, ghee is a good substitute.

2 cups bone broth 
1/2 cup garbanzo or white beans, pre-soaked for 24 hours
1 large eggplant
Sea salt
1 large lemon
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon rendered duck fat or ghee
Fresh parsley to garnish

Bring the broth and beans to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until they're tender and fully cooked. (If you've soaked them for 24 hours this may take only half an hour.) Turn off the heat, stir in a generous pinch of salt, and cover them. Allow them to cool in their cooking liquid.

While the beans cook, preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Place the halves skin-side up a baking sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. Roast until they become soft and browned, 30 minutes or more, depending on the size of your eggplant. Remove the roasted eggplant halves from the oven and set them aside to cool. Once they are cool, roughly chop them and add them to a food processor.

While the eggplant roasts, cook the onion in the fat until soft, brown, and caramelized, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or more. Once they are brown, add a little bit of broth from the beans to loosen any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and any liquid to the food processor.

Strain the cooked, cooled beans and reserve the cooking liquid. Add the beans to the food processor. Directly into the food processor, grate the garlic, zest the lemon, and juice half of the lemon. Purée until almost smooth, adding as much of the reserved cooking liquid as necessary to create a thick but spreadable consistency. Taste the mixture for seasoning and add more salt or lemon if necessary.

Garnish with fresh parsley leaves and serve it with cucumber rounds, celery sticks, and whole wheat pita triangles.