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Filtering by Tag: vegetarian

Red Bell Pepper and Shallot Curry

Sarah West

Building a masala (curry) from scratch with fresh spices creates an intoxicating depth of flavor for minimal effort, and is one of the foundational techniques of Indian cooking. This curry dish makes the most of late season peppers and tomatoes and is a good starting place for cooks who are used to pre-ground curry blends, as it calls for a small and widely available set of spices.

If you don't have black mustard seeds, you can substitute yellow, but know that their flavor profile is quite different. It is worth seeking out black (sometimes also called brown) mustard seeds if you plan on making this and other masalas part of your repertoire. Black mustard's pungent kick ties the aromatic qualities of this dish (and many other Indian dishes) together in a way that yellow mustard just can't imitate.

Serve this curry with rice and a protein for a complete meal. It is also lovely over a bed of steamed potato chunks or with sauteed wild mushrooms added with the bell peppers. There is a good amount of pepper heat in this recipe as written, so scale back the chile peppers if you want to tone it down.


Serves 6 as a side dish

Ingredients

1 bunch green onions, white and green parts separated, chopped into thin rounds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
2 cups (11 oz) thinly sliced shallots
1 pound tomatoes, chopped
3 large jalapenos (or other chile peppers), finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black mustard seeds (grind in a mortar and pestle or, if you don't have one, place in a plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin until coarsely ground)
3 to 4 red bell or sweet Italian peppers, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch thick strips

1. Heat oil in a heavy, medium pot on medium-high for 30 seconds. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for 30-45 seconds, or until they become darker brown. Immediately add shallots and the white parts of the green onions and saute for about 8 minutes, or until the shallots are soft and golden. Add tomatoes, chile peppers, salt, turmeric, paprika, and mustard seeds. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the masala for 10 minutes, or until oil separates and glistens on top.

2. Stir in the bell peppers and cook, covered, for 3-5 minutes, or until they reach your preferred texture. Stir in the green parts of the green onions and serve immediately.
Based on a recipe from Vij's at Home, by Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij

Summer's End Gratin

Sarah West

While you could make this recipe at any point during tomato-eggplant season, something about it calls out to the end of summer, when the chill that lingers in the shadows (or jumps right out and owns a whole day) makes you hungry for something comforting and warm. Any kind of eggplant works; to add a little more complexity to the preparation and the resulting flavor, grill the eggplant slices instead of sautéing.

I once cooked 1/2 pound ground lamb with the chard portion of this dish and found it highly satisfying. I've also used queso fresco or feta in place of mozzarella, and mustard greens instead of chard. Keeping the basic architecture the same, the fun part is tailoring the dish to the ingredients you have on hand and the flavors you like best. I imagine, once summer draws to a permanent close, that sliced delicata squash would make a nice substitute for the eggplant and canned whole tomatoes for the fresh ones.


Serves 4

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds eggplant
Sea salt
Neutral vegetable oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 small finely diced onion
10-12 cups coarsely chopped chard leaves (about 1 pound)
Freshly ground pepper
Several large basil leaves, torn
1 or 2 large tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
Handful of cherry tomatoes 
1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1. Slice the eggplants into rounds a scant 1/2-inch thick (you should have about 8-10 slices if using globe eggplant). Heat a ridged cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, brush both sides of each eggplant slice with neutral vegetable oil. When the pan is hot, add the slices and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, rotating them 45 degrees and cooking for another 5-7 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook on the second side the same way, though they may take less time. Alternately, brush the rounds with oil and bake in a 375-degree oven until soft and nicely colored, about 25 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for three minutes. Add the chard and a few pinches of salt, cover, and cook until the chard is wilted and tender, 5 minutes or so. Turn the cooked chard into a colander set over a bowl and press with the back of a spoon to remove some of the liquid.

3. Heat the oven to 350-degrees. Lightly oil a round or oval gratin dish large enough to told 6-8 cups.

4. Cover the gratin dish with half the eggplant slices and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the basil, then layer half of the tomato slices on top, followed by half of the mozzarella. Season again with salt and pepper. Strew the chard over the cheese layer and season lightly with salt and pepper. Layer the remaining eggplant, followed by the remaining tomato, and cheese. Tuck any small whole tomatoes here and there among the vegetables.

5. Toss the bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil and strew them over the surface. Bake until bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned, about 35 minutes. Let settle 10 minutes or so before serving.

Based on a recipe from Deborah Madison's, Vegetable Literacy.

Farro with Tomato & Onion

Sarah West

This delightfully easy one-pot recipe is highly adaptable: use any tomato you like and any onion. Try shallots instead, extra garlic, a different herb. Add chevre or feta crumbles to serve, or Italian sausage, or grilled zucchini or fennel (or all of the above). It's charming enough to make you want to eat it again and again, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to find your favorite permutation.

The least flexible part of this recipe is the type of farro you use; it is designed for semi-pearled (30 minute cooking time) or pearled (15 or fewer minutes cooking time) farro, both of which can soften before the tomatoes are completely obliterated. If you use unpearled farro (1 hour+ cooking time), expect something akin to a red-sauce farro-risotto, delicious in its own right.

Serves 2 as a main dish

Ingredients

2 cups water (or chicken broth)
1 cup farro
1/2 large onion, cut in half (lengthwise) again and sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced or thinly sliced
1 pint of red cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in halves or quarters (if you use slicing tomatoes: remove skins, then cut into chunks, about 1 1/2 cups total)
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
5-10 basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Grated parmesan cheese for serving 

1. If using semi-pearled, place water and farro in a pan to pre-soak for 10 minutes. Put water, farro, onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a medium saucepan and bring, uncovered, to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking, until the farro is tender and the liquid reduced to a sauce. 

2. Plate and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, basil, and fresh pepper, or anything else you can dream up. 


Adapted from Smitten Kitchen