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Tempura Tex-m-pura Baby Eggplants

tempura-texmpura-baby-eggplants-yes-more-please

This might be the ultimate way to eat baby eggplants.
Besides the great classic recipes used for bigger eggplants, like ratatouille, caponata, Baba ghanoush, grilling, stuffing or roasting them( which I love) I feel these dainty two-three inches nightshade gems deserve a more delicate approach. I’m always looking for a contrast in texture when eating something so custardy and creamy like the way the eggplants become when they are cooked. The solution for my craving for these tender and sweet eggplants: tempura batter.
I know you have seen eggplant tempura at your favorite Japanese restaurant. They mostly use the large eggplants, which are delicious but not near as delicate in  flavor as these babies. Wait until you try this dainty two bite goodness.
These Tempura baby Eggplants are an exhilarating bite. Imagine a bite that combines a light and crispy fried tempura coat with a warm custardy buttery eggplant interior. A beautiful object to be dipped on a tangy, salty, spicy, sweet sauce. Yes, all in one bite.
Are you with me? Or did you lose it at tempura coat?…
There are a lot of tempura recipes out there yielding different textures and results. After experimenting with different amounts of flours, egg, eggless, water, cold fizzy water, I think I found the formula and proportions that work for my tempura dreams. By far this tempura recipe is the one I find it has the right balance of flavor and texture, for me, tempura has to be extra crispy and light with a flavorful batter. This is what this tempura coat is all about: crispy and flavorful.

tempura-baby-eggplants_texmpura_yes-more-please
Now lets make this tempura recipe our own. My spin is a hint of spice and using an Ale instead of the fizzy water. Texmpura, its what I call this, using one of my favorite Texas beer, “The Naked Nun” from Adelbert’s Brewery, an Austin, Texas …a local beer, this is all you need to transform this Tempura into a beer batter Texmpura that is flavorful, light, and extra crisp. If you can’t get Adelbert’s where you are I recommend a bright citrus beer, or a dos equis mexican beer instead. I’m sure by now you are as excited as I am, about eggplant season. Eggplants are available all year around, but the peak of eggplant season runs from July to October and baby eggplants are best found at local stores or farmer’s markets. If you are in Austin Tx, you can find these babies at Mueller Sunday’s Farmers market, Springdale Farms, Wholefoods or Central Market.
Now, my friends, please, do not limit yourself to eggplants, bring on the carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, green onions, mushrooms, beets, radishes, kohlrabi, parnsnips, squash, zucchini, Yes, please! bringing these vegetables along with baby eggplants to the party! That’s a must, although
Once you tried this Texmpura Baby Eggplants, its kind of a one vegetable party…
Have fun, Enjoy!

tempura-ingredients

Tempura Tex-m-pura Baby Eggplants

Serves 4-6 people

24 Baby eggplants, any kind will work, I used graffiti baby eggplants.
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1- 1 ½ cups grape seed oil or peanut oil to fry.
½ teaspoon sesame oil (optional), if you have it great it will give more flavor to the oil.
For the batter:
½ cup flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 egg
¼ teaspoon korean chili powder
1 pinch of salt
If making tempura: ¾ cup cold topo chico or any mineral water of your affection.
OR
If making tex-m-pura*: ¾ cup cold Ale I used “the naked nun”from Adelbert’s Brewery. Use any other citrus-y ale beer of your affection.
For Tex-mpura, substitute the fizzy water for a ligh or ambar beer of your affection. My suggestion, I love Austin, Adelbert’s Brewery its a local beer and my choice for this recipe will be “the naked nun” why well, as they described their beer: “THE ALE:  This ale has a well-rounded aroma of citrus notes, clove, and apple. It is refreshing and soft, with balanced hints of bitter orange peel and coriander”.

For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoosn honey
2 generous pinches of korean chili powder to sprinkle on the baby eggplants when serving.

Preparation method:
1. Cut the baby eggplants in fourths leaving the steam on, being careful not to cut all the way trough.
2. In a large bowl toss eggplants with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

how-to-cook-baby-eggplants
3. Make the dipping sauce by combining all ingredients. Set aside.
4. Prepare the tempura batter: On a medium size bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, chilli powder and salt, whisk. Add egg and fizzy mineral water OR the beer and whisk until just combined. Place batter bowl over a bowl with ice, and refigerate for 5 minutes, while your oil comes to temperature. One of the secrets for crispy tempura is to keep the batter chilled.

tempura-tex-mpura-batter-yes-more-please
5. In a small tall pot add the oil and heat it up to 350F/ 175C use a frying thermometer for best results.
Once the oil has reached the temperature, test your oil by dropping some batter into the oil. It should come afloat immediately. Now, take each eggplant by the steam and dip it on the cold tempura batter, promptly and carefully, gently drop the eggplant on the oil. With the help of a fork, drizzle on fast zigzag motion some of the batter on top of the eggplant that is on the oil. This will give extra bits of crispy batter morsels. Wait 1-2 minutes, and using some wood chopsticks or a spider skimmer and  flip the eggplant to the other side, wait 1 more minute, until its beautiful and light golden brown, take it out and place it on a wire rack.
Depending upon the size of your frying pot, you can fry 2-3 at the time, monitor the oil temperature every time you start a new batch. Too hot oil will scorch the batter, too cold oil will yield oily tempura.
Once you find your frying rhythm this process goes really fast!

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Serve immediately, eat while is warm, dip munch, crisp, repeat… enjoy!

Music Pairing: 17 Hippies “Saragina Rumba” Live in Berlin

5 from 1 vote
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Tempura Tex-m-pura Baby Eggplants

www.yes-moreplease.com

THis might be the ultimate way to eat baby eggplants, crispy and creamy tender inside.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine FUSION, Japanese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 ninja-tex

Ingredients

  • 24 Baby eggplants, any kind will work, I used graffiti baby eggplants.
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, for dusting the eggplants
  • 1- 1 ½ cups grape seed oil or peanut oil, to fry. to fry.
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil (optional), if you have it great it will give more flavor to the oil.

For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 pinches korean chili powder, some to use in the batter , some to sprinkle on the baby eggplants when serving.

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Instructions

  1. 1. Cut the baby eggplants in fourths leaving the steam on, being careful not to cut all the way trough.

    2. In a large bowl toss eggplants with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

    3. Make the dipping sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

    4. Prepare the tempura batter: On a medium size bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, chilli powder and salt, whisk. Add egg and fizzy mineral water OR the beer and whisk until just combined. Place batter bowl over a bowl with ice, and refigerate for 5 minutes, while your oil comes to temperature.

    5. In a small tall pot add the oil and heat it up to 350F/ 175C use a frying thermometer for best results.

    6. Once the oil has reached the temperature, test your oil by dropping some batter into the oil. It should come afloat immediately. Now, take each eggplant by the steam and dip it on the cold tempura batter, promptly and carefully, gently drop the eggplant on the oil. With the help of a fork, drizzle on fast zigzag motion some of the batter on top of the eggplant that is on the oil. This will give extra bits of crispy batter morsels. Wait 1-2 minutes, and using some wood chopsticks or a spider skimmer and  flip the eggplant to the other side, wait 1 more minute, until its beautiful and light golden brown, take it out and place it on a wire rack.

    Depending upon the size of your frying pot, you can fry 2-3 at the time, monitor the oil temperature every time you start a new batch. Too hot oil will scorch the batter, too cold oil will yield oily tempura.
Once you find your frying rhythm this process goes really fast!

    Serve immediately, eat while is warm, dip munch, crisp, repeat... enjoy!

Recipe Notes

 

*For Tex-mpura, substitute the fizzy water for a ligh or ambar beer of your affection. My suggestion, I love Austin, Adelbert's Brewery its a local beer and my choice for this recipe will be “the naked nun” why well, as they described their beer: "THE ALE:  This ale has a well-rounded aroma of citrus notes, clove, and apple. It is refreshing and soft, with balanced hints of bitter orange peel and coriander".

Hello! That's what I want on my batter!

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Cheesy Eggplant Flautas

Cheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_Yes,-more-please!-scrumptious

Roll e’m up, folks! These Flautas ~a.k.a~ rolled tacos are scrumptious! They are filled with quickly sauteed eggplant and a strip of Oaxaca stringy cheese in a thin flour tortilla. THis recipe is quite different from your regular eggplant recipes. The eggplant marries to the cheese inside of the crunchy warm rolled-up flour tortilla, making the filling into utterly creamy vegetable goodness.
They are best served on a bed of crisp fresh lettuce, drizzled with some liquid sour cream or Mexican cream. You can make my fabulous Tomato-Cinnamon sauce for dipping it is slightly spicy and sweet, the cinnamon warms up the tomato flavor is a match made in heaven with the eggplant. A Salsa Verde  also works divine… you choose, or make them both, why not?!

I struggle to find a great variety of quick dishes for eggplant. Cheesy Eggplant Flautas are a great way to utilize those extra eggplants and a fun vegetable option that makes for a great, simple and delicious entree.

Don’t feel like frying?…then brush the rolled flautas with some vegetable oil and bake them!…

Now, get those eggplants rolling. Have fun!

Cheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_EggplantsCheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_ingredients

Cheesy Eggplant Flautas

Makes 8 Flautas

1 large eggplant cut into thick strips.
½ pound of Oaxaca cheese.
8 thin flour tortillas
4 cups of corn oil for frying.
1-2 cups of finely shredded Romain lettuce.

For the Tomato – Cinnamon salsa:

1 large red tomato such as red prudence or 2 Roma tomatoes will do too.
¼ cup fine diced sweet onion.
1 pinch of ground clove
1 pinch red pepper flakes or one dry chile de arbol
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 small glug of grape seed oil or mild olive oil.

For the Salsa Verde click here

Preparation Method:

1. Make the Salsa

Cheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_tomatoe&cinnamon-salt
2. Boil the tomato and puree it.
3. In a small pot add oil and saute the onions until soft and translucent.
4. Add the spices and salt stir until well combined and fragrant.
5. Add the tomato puree and the sugar and cook for 3-5 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat and add the apple cider vinegar, adjust seasonings.

Make the Flautas:
1. Saute the thick eggplant stripes using a little olive oil, season salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_eggplant-sauteed
2. String the cheese into a thinner stripes.
3. Slightly warm up the flour tortillas, place one or 2 eggplant stripes and some cheese strings roll it tightly and secure the end with a wooden toothpick. Proceed with the rest.

Cheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_rolling
4.  In a medium size heavy bottom pan add the 4 cups of oil and warm up until your thermometer reaches between 350-375 degrees.
NOTE: Take care while frying to avoid any skin contact with hot oil. Watch the pan and carefully monitor the temperature. Avoid all distractions since these flautas cook very quickly.
5. Fry the flautas until evenly golden brown around 2-3 minutes or less. Watch them at all times.

Cheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_fry
6. Pull them out on a cooling wire rack

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7. Serve immediately on a bed of lettuce, drizzle the crema, dip into the salsa roja or verde…. bite, dip-bite-repeat. Enjoy!

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Where did I get this amazing Eggplants?…

At my favorite Urban Farm in Austin: Boggy Creek Farm

Hurry up and get yours before they are gone!

Cheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_Green-Eggplants-Boggy-Creek-Farm

Music Pairing: Tina Turner – Proud Mary

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Summer Eggplant Parmigiana

 

Summer-Eggplant-Parnigiana_Yes,-more-please!Eggplant-Parmiggiana_Ingredients

The first days of summer are arriving in Texas, and with them an incredible vegetable abundance.
This weekend eggplants at the Farmer’s Market grabbed my attention in such a way that I bought too many!… That’s the the way my crave of cooking works, with my eyes. I’m a very visual person and I believe good, healthy, fresh vegetables have to look good and smell good. Being visually inspired at the farmers market helps me create and translate my cravings into recipes. When I saw these eggplants I immediately thought of eggplant parmigiana. I love eggplant parmigiana, although to be honest sometimes the delicate eggplant flavor gets lost in the breading, frying , melted cheese, and marinara sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I love all these components, but maybe in Autumn or winter…

With this memory of flavors in mind, I started to think of how could I transform a classic into a more simple and Summery version. I came up with this Summery eggplant parmigiana recipe. A lighter version in which instead of breading and frying the eggplant I cut them lengthwise and roast them in the oven. Eggplants when roasted this way, develop a buttery flavor almost like a vegetable custard contained in it’s own skin. That’s why Im skipping the melted cheese on these recipe. Believe me you have to try them, you will be enjoying the delicate eggplant flavor. To add texture and contrast to this custard I added a combination of panko bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. If you have a gluten allergy these can easily be replaced with ground pecans,or almonds instead of panko breadcrumbs which it will be equally or even more delicious.

Instead of the warm marinara sauce, I made a warm tomato salad with a garlic oil dressing combining the first sweetest cherry and sun gold tomatoes of the tomato season. These little tomato marbles are incredibly flavorful, I never feel like cook them I almost eat them like grapes, as a snack in the afternoon. That’s one of the reasons this simple warm salad enhance their great qualities.

This summer eggplant parmigiana version will warm your heart. It is easy to make, light, and comforting.

Welcome to the summer, and enjoy!

Eggplant-Parmiggiana_beauty-ingredients

Summer Eggplant Parmigiana

Serves 4

2 large eggplants
1-2 glugs of grape seed oil
sea salt and Black pepper

For the topping:

1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated.
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.
fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
A pinch of red flake peppers (optional)

For the warm tomato salad:

2 cups of a combination of cherry and sun gold tomatoes.
2-3 sprigs of fresh Basil
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Seasoned Rice Vinegar.
(Rice Vinegar goes so well with the sweetness of the tomatoes. Since this little tomatoes are so sweet, you need to balance the acidity , and the seasoned rice vinegar pairs fantastic , bringing all the notes together, sweet, salty and tangy.)
salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

Preparation method:

1. Preheat the oven 450F/ 230C
2. Cut the eggplants length wise and score them with a pairing knife.Rub the eggplants with some olive oil or grape seed oil, season them with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
3. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast them for about 15-18 minutes.

Eggplant-Parnigiana_-how-to-bake-it
4. Mean time, in a bowl combine the Panko bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper until well combined and the mixture resembles moist sand. Set a side.
5. Start making the warm tomato salad, by cutting the cherry and sun gold tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on size. Chifonade the basil. Combine them in a bowl, toss them with the rice vinegar, salt and pepper.
6. In a small pot add the extra virgin olive oil along with the thinly sliced garlic and using the lowest possible heat on the stove, start warming up the oil. This will infuse the oil with the garlic and the thin slices of garlics will start turning golden brown.

Eggplant_Parmigiana_tomatoe_salad_ingredients

7. Check your Eggplant, take out of the oven top each half with a generous amount of the panko mixture. Place them into the oven for another 5 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Eggplant-parmigiana-baked_panko-crust
8. Mean time check your garlic and olive oil. Once the eggplants come out of the oven, remove the warm oil from the stove and add this to the cherry and sun gold tomato salad toss well.
The warm oil will gently warm up the tomatoes,the garlic chips will add flavor and aroma to the tomato salad it is a fantastic!

Eggplant_Parmigiana_tomatoe_salad

Eggplant-Parnigiana_-out-of-the-oven
9. Once your eggplants are ready out of the oven transfer them onto a platter, and top with the warm tomato salad, grate a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil. Enjoy!

Summer-Eggplant-Parnigiana_Yes,-more-please!ready-to-serve!

Summer-Eggplant-Parnigiana_Yes,-more-please!eat-me!

Welcome the Summer!

Music Pairing: Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Summertime

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Roasted Vegetable Napoleon with Spicy Bolognese

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_Vegetables

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_Bison-Chauvet-Cave,-France

What a crazy title! I think it took me more time to name this dish than to make it. What the title really should say is: Roasted Vegetables stacked with a Bison spicy Bolognese. The “napoleon “part is just a fancy name to say stacked, and this dish by any means is “fancy”…

Well, this was dinner yesterday. They say not to live in the past, always in the now, but memories are important and this meal was one of the memorable ones.

When our carnivorous crave knocks at our door: Lamb, Pork or Beef?… Bison!

Here in Texas that’s what every carnivore should be eating because its extremely remarkable in beef flavor due to its high Iron content. Bison has 80% less fat and 49% less calories than beef. Lets say Bison is the Better Red meat. Just make sure to look for the USDA approval triangle on the front label and look for 100 percent natural-grass feed-hormone free. Keep in mind that you’ll get what you pay for. Tender, flavorful bison costs more to raise, thus it costs a bit more, but one bite and you’ll never go back!… it is indeed a great option.

This is why: Bison spicy bolognese works great because it makes the bolognese sauce lighter yet richer in flavor. And because Bison cooks faster than beef, this 30 minutes spicy bolognese can change your life. You can make a double batch and freeze it for a fast pasta dinner during the week.
Half inch sliced vegetables, roasted at 475 F temperature for 25 minutes can be magical, all the flavor of the vegetables just seems to concentrate and develop their natural sweetness and caramelization.
All in all this is a great recipe, You can serve it with a green salad on the side, a piece of crusty bread, and a glass of wine… Enjoy!

Vegetarian & Vegan suggestions:

Now, I do think on my vegetarian friends and it is such an easy way to transform the recipe, using a combination of bottom and cremini mushrooms instead of meat.
Or if you are fan you can use texturized soy protein.
For the cheese, a walnut sauce is always a great substitution. Here is the link to a previous post where you can find the recipe.

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_raw-vegetables

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_roasted-vegetables

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Roasted Vegetable Napoleon with Spicy Bison Bolognese

Serves 2 with room sauce for 4 or you can freeze the rest of the sauce for another night.

1 egg plant
1 green zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 medium large portobello mushroom
3 sweet red peppers
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Assiago
1/2 cup Fontina cheese shredded

For the Mirepoix:

1 cup chopped sweet onions
½ cup carrot small diced
½ cup celery small diced
3 garlic cloves
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Spicy Bison Bolognese

1 pound of grass feed-hormone free-Ground Bison (or beef or turkey or texturized soy or cremini mushrooms)
2 cups Red wine (Cabernet-or a rich tempranillo)
1-12 oz. canned San Marzano tomatoes (this is my only exception to the rule on canned products)
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha* the odd ingredient but it is so good!
Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of butter optional*

Directions:

1.-

Start by making the sauce;
In a Medium- Large sauce pot, saute the mirepoix ingredients in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until onions and celery are translucent. Add the ground Bison saute for 3-4 minutes with the help of a wood spatula making sure you incorporate everything avoiding big lumps of meat. Add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate for about 3-5 minutes. Add the can of diced San Marzano tomatoes, the balsamic, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha sauce, and adjust salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for about 15-20 minutes or until the excess juices have evaporated. You want a slightly thick consistency. Cover with a lid and keep the sauce on low. At this point you can decide to add 1 or 2 tablespoon of butter this will round off the flavors on the sauce.

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_MirepoixRoasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_red-wine-bison-bolognese-

2.-

Once the sauce is ready, preheat the oven at 450-475F  / 230-245 C
In a large Baking pan lined with parchment paper, arrange the vegetable slices in one single layer. Drizzle some Olive Oil seasoned with salt and pepper. Roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables have a golden -to dark brown on the edges.
In two oven Ramekins of Pyrex, start layering the vegetables alternating with the sauce and grated cheese. You can add some fresh herbs like basil, parsley or rosemary. Make sure the last layer is cheese and broil in the oven for about 5-6 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and melted. Serve placing the ramekins in a flat plate for safety.

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Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_How-to-make-a-vegetable-napoleon

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 Roasted Vegetable & Spicy Bolognese Napoleon..ready to serve!

 

 

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