Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thai Eggplant Stew with Tomato Salad and Pina Colada

Over medium heat, I sauteed half of an eggplant, cut into half lengthwise then 3/4" slices, in a cast iron pan while in a stainless steel stockpot, also over medium heat, I sauteed half of a package of seitan cut into large 3/4" or so pieces. When the seitan was showing signs of getting brown, I added about 4 or 5 stalks (not leaves - my wife enjoyed them with her lunch earlier) of Swiss chard cut into 1/4" slices, as well as 4 or 5 very small cloves of garlic (equivalent to one or two regular cloves, I suppose) and a little bit (1/2 teaspoon or so) of diced ginger; we are, alas, out of jalapeno, but I would have liked to have added some at this point.

After a few minutes, I transferred the eggplant, lightly brown, into the pan and added a little over half of a can of organic light coconut milk (I used about half of the remainder to make pina coladas - see below), maybe another 1/2 teaspoon diced ginger, a big handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped into halves or thirds, about a quarter bell pepper cut into 1/2" or so chunks, and a few stalks of garlic chives cut into 1" lengths. I also added some paprika and a little salt. I simmered for a few minutes and served.

We're also out of rice noodles, but I did have two packages of Ramen noodles, so heated one package and used that to accompany the eggplant. As a side, I made a simple version of Thai tomatoes by dicing most of a large tomato and mixing in 1 teaspoon or so of Ume plum vinegar, a few dashes of a vinegar-based hot sauce, and some alder-smoked salt (I wish I had Indian "kala namak" ("black salt" - really pink in color), and let it sit for as long as possible. I sprinkled the liquid and then some sesame seeds over the noodles, before serving the tomato.

I cut a fresh organic pineapple and put about half of it, roughly cut into chunks, into the VitaMix blender. One thing nice about this blender is that the pineapple core can be used, as I did. I also put in a little bit of ginger (!), half of the remaining coconut milk, maybe 3T of raw cashew pieces, 3 dates, and a few ice cubes, and blended. I rarely drink alcohol, and wonder what this would taste with a touch of rum, but in any case the drink came out well and went well with the Thai dinner.

I thought dinner was fine, but this turned out to be one of the only times that my wife said the food was "okay". I wish that I had had more of the ingredients that I had wanted for the main dish and noodles!


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