Wednesday, June 23, 2010

0 Recipe #123: Summer Vegetable Masala

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I whipped up this little number for tonight's dinner. I basically just looked in the fridge to see what was inside -- an eggplant, a zucchini, mushrooms, & some asparagus -- and went from there.

This is the second night in a row that I had absolutely zero idea of what I was going to cook for dinner. And you know, a lot of the time, that's just the way I like it. :) It keeps things exciting & also keeps me on my culinary "toes." It's not always due to a lack of planning; a lot of the times it's deliberately done.

I don't always want to know what's next, because in my case, it usually only takes a few minutes to find out. :) Ideas just pop into my head, and fingers crossed, these little "last-minute" challenges are actually just what I need to help me finish writing my cookbook. :)

I find that when one is creating recipes, it's best to go with the flow, and find inspiration along the way. Although I have a solid understanding of the science behind food & cooking, a lot of the time I find that I do my best creative work when I go by feel & remain flexible.

Summer Vegetable Masala

I ate this dish as a main course for one (i.e., Erik's not a fan of the below veggies, so he ate something else for dinner tonight), but most people will probably want to eat it as a vegetable side. :) If you're planning to eat this as an entrée, just add a little protein (like chicken or tofu, etc.) and you're good to go!

1 Tbsp. garlic, finely minced (about 2 large cloves)
1/2 Tbsp. ginger, peeled & finely minced (about 1/2" piece)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. shallot, finely minced (about 1 large shallot)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. eggplant, diced into 3/4' cubes (about 1/2 small eggplant)
1 c. zucchini (about 1 small zucchini)
1 c. asparagus, sliced crosswise on the bias into 1" pieces (about 5 large stalks)
1 c. mushrooms, sliced (about 5-6 medium-sized mushrooms)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground clove
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 large bay leaf
1 Tbsp. fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, finely minced (for garnish)

Directions: In a mortar & pestle or food processor, combine garlic, ginger, salt, & red chili pepper flakes & pulverize to make ginger-garlic-chili paste. In a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet, sauté ginger-garlic-chili paste, bay leaf, & shallots in olive oil over low heat until soft. Add eggplant & zucchini cubes and cook for about 1-2 minutes & occasionally stir. Next, add asparagus & mushrooms, as well as all of the remaining dry spices. Stir well to thoroughly combine ingredients. Cook until vegetables are tender and slightly crispy around the edges. Discard bay leaf. Garnish with fresh Italian flat leaf parsley and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 2-4 as a side dish (or 1 as a main course).

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