Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: B's Eggplant "Steaks"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

B's Eggplant "Steaks"

This was my favorite kind of meal - a team meal! You see, Brett came up with this (awesome) meal idea, we went to the market together to get the necessary grub, and I made the meal. It worked out great!

We are coming around to eggplant. For the longest time, I did not like eggplant, and neither did Brett. I had only had two experiences with eggplant, and both were bad. The first was a rubbery, greasy, and cheese laden "eggplant parmesan" (ick!), and the second was baba ganoush - Brett was present for the baba ganoush experience and it too was bad. But then, at our good friends' wedding, they prepared a special vegan meal for yours truly that contained eggplant, and my opinion began to change. I then attempted to create something similar at home, and my opinion changed even further. After this meal, I can now say that we do like eggplant, at least in the applications we have had it in since the parmesan and baba experience.

Anyways, this is also one of those meals that looks like it took a long time, was expensive, and complicated to make, but it wasn't at all. This meal took less time to prepare than a lot of our quesadilla recipes.

Just a reminder of the produce legend:
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden

So, here she be!

B's Eggplant "Steaks"

The "Steaks"
1 eggplant sliced into rounds (only the thick part of the eggplant) *
balsamic vinegar

The Topping
the rest of the eggplant, diced *
10 baby portobello mushrooms, minced
1 yellow summer squash, minced ***
3 cloves of garlic, minced *

1 cup of brown Basmati rice, cooked

Marinate eggplant steaks in balsamic vinegar for at least 2 or 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 425.

Put "steaks" on a baking sheet and baste with more balsamic (the leftovers from the marinating process).

Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning a couple of times and basting with more balsamic until eggplant is lightly browned and soft.

Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of water in a small skillet. Add the topping ingredients, and season with salt and any remaining balsamic from the marinade. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Drain any excess liquid if necessary.

Place a bed of basmati rice on a plate and lay down the steaks side by side. Top with the veggie mixture and enjoy!

We had this with ciabatta bread chunks (the bread came from the farmer's market) and herbed olive oil to dip the bread in.

Nothing special here, but definitely tasty. All I did for the herbed olive oil was mix in some dried basil, thyme, oregano (regular, not Mexican), garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.

It was the perfect complement to the meal! Yum!

In other cooking news, my kitchen is officially "out of order" for a little while.

Last night, I was making a stuffed poblano pepper recipe I created (they were awesome, I'll be posting about them soon!). Well, the peppers were getting close to being done, and I had the (electric) oven door open to keep an eye on them. Suddenly, part of the lower element got really red and incredibly bright. Then it started sparking. It looked like a welder's torch! We got out the fire extinguisher and turned off the oven. But yet the element kept burning, sparking, and melting. The super hot area just kept moving along the element. It was loud, bright, and I must admit, a little nerve wracking. I mean, the oven was OFF! We decided to wait a few minutes, thinking it would cool down as the oven cooled, but no, it just kept going. Brett eventually had to go turn the breaker off! We think it would have continued until it melted the entire element and likely caught something on fire. So needless to say, our oven/stove is out of commission.

Brett will be calling "maintenance" this morning (I use the ""s because our maintenance is awful, horrible really, I have a hard time calling them "maintenance", more like "we'll rig something up and then never come back and actually fix it"), so hopefully we won't be without a stove/oven for too long. We rarely cook anything in the microwave, and neither of us are fans of processed foods too much, so it looks like some of our local restaurants may be getting some business from us over the next day or so (or however long it takes them to actually getting around to fixing it).

In other, less exciting, news, I created a J's Recommended Reads page yesterday (located below the "J's Currently Reading" element on the sidebar) that includes the most influential, informative, or entertaining books that I have read (now of course, this is just my humble opinion). I included links to either the books website, a wikipedia entry describing the book, or a book review. No links to Amazon or anything, I am no sales person. Not to mention, I recommend checking with your local library or getting together with some folks to do a book swap as opposed to purchasing the books. And if you are going to purchase these or any other books, please consider doing so at a local book store rather than Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc.

And finally, it is not too late to sign up to participate in the Unplug Yourself initiative. Feel free to sign up for as little or much as you would like, whatever works for you is what you should "commit" to. This is one of many opportunities to join in with likeminded folks and get on the path to sustainability. Doing these initiatives together gives us all a support network, and a wealth of information and tips based on others' experiences. We do hope you all will consider getting involved.

'Til next time!


Daphne said...

I'm so sorry about your oven. Can you still use your stovetop?

I always thought I hated eggplant too. I had it as a kid and thought it just disgusting. But I grew eggplant in the garden for the first time this year and I'm really loving it.

jennycestcake said...

That eggplant does look pretty good. I need to have my mind changed about eggplant since I currently don't care for it much and my husband can't stand it. Thanks for the new idea on preparing it!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Daphne - I'm not entirely sure about the stovetop. As of last night, simply having the power on to the oven/stovetop was enough for the element to continue burning and melting. We've talked to the apartment complex and said they would send someone over "right away", of course a few hours have already passed, so I guess their definition of "right away" and mine are in contention, but we'll see. I think Brett is going to attempt to try using the stovetop at lunch.

Glad to know I'm not the only one who has changed their mind about the eggplant. It's probably like most things, it just depends on how it is prepared.

Jenny - Thank you! We all have things we don't like, for the longest time, I WISHED I liked eggplant, 'cause they are so pretty and everywhere at the farmer's market. It seems that if you prepare with a flavor combination you know you like (in our case balsamic), then you probably stand a better chance of enjoying it than trying something new you've never had before.

Try as I might, there are still things that I just do not like, the one that comes to mind first is celery, EW. I have tried many different ways, raw, cooked, in soups, and I just don't like it, so I've given up on it. There are plenty of other veggies out there, I don't think I'm missing too much without the celery. ;-)

VeganCowGirl said...

I admit that I love love love eggplant in all its appearances, but your B and J steak sound great. Thanks for the idea, I am going to try it for sure.

Dawn said...

Oh my goodness...I love eggplant! That stinks about your oven, though. I hope they repair/replace it soon!

jessy said...

that is super scary on your oven! eek! i hope they get you a new one or repair this one so it NEVER does that again! i would have had a heart attack!

dan and i have a love-hate relationship with eggplant. some days we love it - other days, not so much. but your recipe looks gooooooooooooooood, and i think it's something we would both really enjoy! i'll try and remember to snag an eggplant at the farmer's market this week! yay!

also, i can't wait for the stuffed poblano pepper recipe! hooooooray!

Courtney said...

I am so sorry about your oven! I can totally apt/leasing company has *awful* "maintenance" people as well, and last year my oven was broken for a week and a half! All it needed was a new heating element in the bottom of the oven. You would think they could fix that in an hour or two, but no, it took them a week and a half...and yes, I am still resentful :o) I hope yours gets fixed much quicker!

I love eggplant, and it is super cheap lately at the farmers market, so I will be making your eggplant steaks soon--they look great!


selina said...

i dont usually like eggplant either. although ive had really good baba ganoush. ive just had enough bad experiences with it that im afraid to buy it for fear that i'll be disappointed again. now celery... not a huge fan either unless its in chicken-less soup. and thats about the only way i'll eat it.

sucks about your oven. thank goodness nothing actually caught on fire. i hope they'll fix it soon for you since itsa kinda a fire hazard.

thanks for the post on recommended reading. i was hoping youd do that actually. come gonna want to read more. and days like today. its really rainy & its only been around 65. brr! i think winter is coming early this year. tress are starting to change colors a little already. its barely sept.!! CRAZY!

selina said...

check this out if you want:

I posted a comment to your comment on my blog.

Bianca said...

What a fab idea! I'm iffy on eggplant too. It's gotta be cooked right, or I just don't care for it. I'll eat it, but it's probably my least fave veg. But I would totally eat this. Totally.

And sorry about the oven. That sucks ass. Just glad it didn't catch your house on fire.

Bianca said...

But if it makes you feel any better about the oven, not only does my maintenance suck at my apt, but I found out today that I have 30 days to move because the owner of my building has foreclosed on the property. Yep. Crazy. And I have no idea what I'm going to do or where I'm going to go....suck.

kale for sale said...

The eggplant sounds delish and the cute guy here loves balsamic on anything. I've been buying the tiny eggplant and dicing them up in fried rice with peppers and whatever else is in the fridge. It's good but I've been wanting to cook just eggplant so I'm there. Thanks.

kale for sale said...

I forgot - lots of high fives on the buy local or go to the library for books. Independent book stores are generally the personality of every town or city. They're one of the first places I go in a new area to get a sense of where I am.

shellyfish said...

I love team meals! And this looks divine, being a huge fan of the eggplant of course.

I hope your stove is up & running soon! I actually didn't have one for most of my adult life, and you can easily survive without it (I did), but I've had one for about two years and it is fun for baking :)

Rural Vegan said...

I fear that eggplant and I will never be friends. I've also had 2 bad experiences so eggplant and I have agreed to part ways. ;) Good luck getting your stove fixed!

Chile said...

The oven malfunction sounds very scary! I hope they fix (or replace) it soon.

I love eggplant. It helps that my CSA farmer grows really good, never bitter, eggplant. Just last night, I made a wonderful Indian dish with previously roasted eggplants I'd put in the freezer before a trip. It looked disgusting (I'll try to post a photo later) but tasted wonderful. I wouldn't even let my sweetie take the leftovers to work today because I wanted them for my lunch.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Vegan Cow Girl - I'm starting to warm up to it. There are certain things that I can only eat when I prepare it myself. This is not because I am some sort of "high supreme" cook or anything, but because I know how I like it.

No problem, it was super easy, and I don't mind Brett coming up with the meal ideas at all, saves me the trouble!

Dawn - :-)

Yeah, it kind of does suck. I came home from work early today to wait for the maintenance man and thus far, he hasn't shown up (it's 3:00 in the afternoon on Friday). I think I'm going to have to call them again. I really hate doing it though, I don't like to nag, and I don't like conflict. :-(

Jessy - It really WAS scary. Oddly, at the time, neither of us freaked out, we just tried to figure out what to do. But after the fact we realized how scary it was. :-/

I'm glad we aren't the only ones! There are some ways that I just think I will never come to appreciate eggplant being prepared.

Courtney - Oh my goodness! I would still be resentful too. So far, it looks like we may end up in the same boat as you. But, so long as someone is here keeping a very watchful eye on things, we can turn on the breaker and use the stovetop. It's just so sad, I mean, what DO we pay these people for?! And it's not the maintenance men either, they WANT to fix things, but the money comes from the office, and they, well, don't want to fix things to be perfectly honest.

It IS really cheap lately at the farmer's market, almost everything is. It's the abundant time now, we should enjoy it!

Selina - I think Jessy said it right, eggplant IS a love-hate thing. Haha, I've felt that way many 'o times about food. I've gotten a lot better at being ok if a recipe doesn't turn out. If a meal doesn't turn out so hot, I just try hard to figure out a way to make it at least marginally edible so I don't have to waste the food.

Glad to hear I'm not the only "celery hater" out there. I don't eat soup very often. I've just never really found many soups I like, they are all so salty. I guess I should try making some myself. I was thinking of trying some soups out this winter with some of the local produce I froze.

Yeah, we were afraid something was going to catch fire too, but luckily, that didn't happen. I don't think it's a fire hazard so long as the breaker is off. Man, I hope the maintenance guy shows up soon, otherwise, I'm going to visiting some raw food blogs to figure something out! Anyone got any suggestions? I need a back-up plan, just in case.

No problem. I really don't like Facebook, but kept an account with them so I could use the "visual bookshelf". I read so damn much that I can't remember all the books! When people ask me for recommendations on a particular subject, I would go there and my mind would be refreshed, I remember reading them and what they were about, but not always what they were called or who wrote them. I have a horrible memory.

I read more over the winter too, since I have far more activities to do outside over the summer.

It's been like that here too! Yesterday felt like late October, it was around 68 here, rainy, and cloudy.

The trees are confused!!

Thanks for the link, I'm going to check it out this afternoon.

Haha, well I responded back so, HA! ;-)

Bianca - I completely understand, it has to be cooked just right or no thank you! Hahahahahahaha.

It does kind of suck ass, but I am trying not to get pissed off at this apartment complex. It's just not worth it, all these people care about is sucking the profit out of this place while they can. The maintenance men have no say in it, and sadly, that's the way it is for many apartment dwellers.

That is HORRIBLE Bianca, honestly, I've been waiting for the day that happens with my apartment complex, I know it likely will at some point.

That has to be really scary though! I hope you find a new place without too much trouble. If things get really bad, you got a veg*n in Missouri, who lives in a complex that is likely to be foreclosed or condemned at some point too. :-(

Kale for Sale - Thanks, Brett's a lot like that too, and he used to hate it. Now he is full of ideas for things to put balsamic on.

That's an awesome idea, I never thought to do that, I'm going to get an eggplant next time I make fried rice, I bet that would be good. Thanks for the idea!

Right on! That IS a great place to get a feel for what the area is like. It probably speaks volumes to you too if you go to an area and the only bookstores you can find are Borders and Barnes & Noble.

Shellyfish - Me too! Haha, eggplant seems to have some loyal followers. :-)

I think I'm going to be learning how to live sans oven for a little while. I can't be that hard, I just love it. But, it'll cause me to be more creative, and at least, with supervision, we have the stove top. I think I'm going to be checking out your raw food posts too!

Rural Vegan - There are some veggies that we can just never get past. I feel the same way about celery. There are too many good vegetables out there to get hung up on a crappy one. Why waste your tastebuds? :-)

Thanks, I'm gonna need it. Got a spare leprechaun I can borrow? Perhaps a Genie?

Chile - In hindsight, yes it was. I had high hopes too, but I think we're going to be waiting.

Our CSA farmer was trying to grow eggplant too, but we've had a weird summer season this year and I don't think they panned out. There are a few other people who sell them at the farmer's market, so we never have trouble getting any.

I'm curious about your Indian dish, I've tried Indian food a time or two and it's never really "sent" me, but I did make it myself, perhaps I wasn't doing something right.