Layered Eggplant Fattoush

eggplant fattoush

All summer long, I have been obsessing over the stunning eggplants at the farmers markets. Beautiful shades of light and speckled purple, striped and red and blank white. I never picked up a single one because I was totally uninspired as to what to do with them. Then I saw Sarah’s beautiful Heirloom Tomato Eggplant Caprese Stacks.  They looked bright and summery and craveable and reminded me of a strained yogurt and spicy tomato eggplant thing I used to make. I don’t know what it was called, or even where I got the recipe, but I do recall that it was of Middle Eastern origin. And I had recently acquired a generous amount of sumac, my favorite all-time Middle Eastern spice. I think I like sumac even better than I like thyme.  So sumac + eggplant + farmer’s market whatever = fattoush something.

eggplant fattoush

I used these pretty Dancer eggplants, shining in a lovely amethyst hue.  After roasting, they were so creamy, almost melting on my tongue. I never want another supermarket eggplant again. But I’ll probably change my tune once the farmer’s market closes for the season and I’m huffing around the Kroger produce section, kicking at the wheels of my cart. I actually like Kroger produce, but nothing can ever compare to fresh-from-the-dirt. There is a nice tomato-headed kid who always helps me out, showing me cotton candy grapes and such. Digging up the plumpest Brussels sprouts when he catches me poking at the bruised brown-leaf ones. So I guess going back won’t be so bad. Maybe.

Since I love sumac so much, I made a pseudo-hummus out of lemons and chickpeas and sumac. A little garlic and salt. It really brings makes the Middle Easter flavor spark, like a hot hum of the last days of summer.

eggplant fattoush

 

Layered Eggplant Fattoush

Yield: 2 main, 4 side

I used beautiful Dancer eggplants, a gradient white-lilac variety known for their low bitterness. If you use darker eggplants such as Nadia, Galine, or Traviata, you may want to increase the salt-and-sit time to 20-25 minutes.

Ingredients

  • about 2 lbs worth of eggplant (This was 5 medium eggplants for me)
  • 8 oz cherry tomatos, sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, or 1.5 smaller cucumbers
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup parsley, minced
  • 6 green onions, top parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 scant tsp microplane grated garlic
  • 1 1/4 tbsp sumac powder, plus more for sprinkling
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle both sides with salt and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450.
  3. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Lightly drizzle the slices with olive oil as well. (very lightly)
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for 10 more minutes
  5. While the eggplant is baking, blend the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, and sumac, into a smooth paste. Add salt to taste.
  6. Place a single layer of slightly overlapping eggplant slices in a square (about 8x8) This will be about half of the eggplant slices
  7. Spoon on a layer of the chickpea-sumac paste and delicately spread.
  8. Add layers as follows: cucumber, radish, sprinkle of parsley, sprinkle of green onion, tomato, sumac paste, cucumber, radish, parsley, green onion, tomato, sumac paste, and then top it all off with the remaining eggplant.
  9. Sprinkle with sumac and garnish lightly with additional radish, parsley, onion, and cucumber.
  10. Serve with pita or soft corn tortillas.
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Lemony Smashed Potatoes with Okra, Tomato, and Purslane

or……what Annie found at the farmer’s market this week. Minus the lemons, duh. Those came from the grocery store.

Smashed Potatoes with summer produce

What I really wanted to make this week was this dish, minus the potatoes and add squash blossoms. But nobody at the farmer’s market had squash blossoms, and the German butterball potatoes just looked too good to pass up. I ended up loving my choice because it was hearty and easy and cheap and I didn’t have to stand over the burner sauteeing squash blossoms. I’m not ruling out those big orange flowers for future posts, though.

The folks at the market also had some nice purslane. I’ve been foraging my own wild purslane, and it’s delicious. But the farm-grown greens are even better. Sweeter and lemony and meatier. I usually eat purslane sauteed with a little garlic and onion, but the farm-grown stuff is good raw. Also, sauteed purslane looses its color in like five seconds after it hits the pan and I like my food bright. I’ll still eat the foraged kind because it’s free and plentiful, but for this recipe, I used the farmed shoots.

smashed potatoes with summer produce

I was super excited for the okra because I haven’t had any this summer. I just love how the little seeds pop in your mouth when you bite in.  This is kind of like fried okra, only not fried. I used aquafaba to get the breading to stick to the okra. Just be sure to shake off excess moisture, or the breading will get soggy even after baking. Yuck.

The guy at the potato stand had three different kinds of midsummer tubers, and I had the hardest time choosing. Finally I decided on the German butterballs because the dude said they got the best golden crust when roasting. In truth, they were a little mealier than I like, but not by much. Little viking potatoes or red bliss or whatever small potato you can find will work just fine.

Smashed Potatoes with Summer Produce

Lemony Smashed Potatoes with Okra, Tomato, and Purslane

This recipe calls for coconut oil, but you can certainly substitute olive oil if you wish. For an extra golden crisp, drizzle a little bit more oil over the lemon coating.

Ingredients

  • 18-20 German Butterball potatoes
  • 8 oz multicolored cherry tomatoes
  • 12 oz of fresh okra
  • 1 cup of purslane leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil, plus a little more
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp microplane-grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Okra breading
  • 2 1/2 cups of corn Chex or generic equivalent
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • aquafaba from 1 can of chickpeas

Instructions

  1. Scrub the potatoes and boil them in salted water (uncovered) over high heat until the yield to a fork -- about 15-20 min.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, the coconut oil, the lemon zest, the garlic, the salt and the pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cut the stem and the tip off the okra and slice in half lengthwise. Set aside.
  4. Cut the tomatoes in half or quarters.
  5. Place the corn cereal in a blender and pulverize. Combine with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 and grease 2 pans with coconut oil
  7. Once the potatoes are done boiling, allow them to cool. Quarter the larger ones (so you get more "smashed" surface area) and then place them on one of the pans. Smash flat with a cup.
  8. Carefully pour the lemon mix over top of the potatoes.
  9. Bake the potatoes for 25 minutes, until nice and golden. Sprinkle with more salt the second they come out of the oven.
  10. While the potatoes are roasting, dip the prepared okra in the aquafaba, shake off excess, and roll in breading. Place them on the second pan. Put them in the oven 10 minutes after you've started the potatoes, but remove them at the same time. (okra bakes for 15 minutes)
  11. Combine the orka and potatoes in a big serving dish. Toss in the tomatoes and purslane leaves.
  12. Serve right away, with lots of love.
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lemony smashed potatoes with summer produce easy cheap vegan

Amazing Vegan Chickpea Fritters

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In the summer, I often find myself happily overwhelmed by all the fresh-from-the-dirt produce. Sometimes I eat so much green, juicy stuff that I fail to consume anything else.

Which at the end of the day, leaves me peckish and making bad choices. I spiral down into the chip bag, or the chocolate chip bag, or deep into the freezer for something frozen and fatty.

Clearly there needs to be a middle ground, and that’s where these come in. These have a lot of summer flavor, but are so very hearty. They were inspired by one of Jason’s favorite sandwiches, the pan bagnat. Of course, at the end of my experimenting, it only had a few of the elements of that sandwich left. But damn, these were so freaking tasty– listen to this.  Fresh basil. SUMMER TOMATOES. purple onions, creamy avocado. Just the best kinds stuff.

You start out with smashing up some chickpeas with a fork.

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Do not use a blender, okay? The coarse chickpeas give these so much texture.  Then add in some onions and avocado and bright basil.

And of course you need some summer tomatoes.

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You mix them up together with the basil and onions and avocado and some lemon zest. As a binder, you use aquafaba and oats…it works just like an egg would. It holds everything together and when it hits the pan it creates a golden crispy crust on each fritter. Perfect.

These taste awesome on their own with a little lemon juice and salt, or with (gasp) ketchup, or in a taco, or over a salad, or whatever the heck strikes your fancy.

 

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Amazing Vegan Chickpea Fritters

Yield: 18-22 fritters

i made a patty mold out of an pop can, to allow the patties to form nicer circles. I used tin snips to cut the can (a cross section of the can), but a careful hand can also manage with plain scissors.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas (keep the aquafaba!)
  • 1 avocado, finely diced
  • 2 cups basil (not packed)
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes (about 20 grape tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced purple onion
  • 2/3 cup aquafaba
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, ground to flour
  • 1 tsp micropane-grated garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • just a little lemon juice
  • about 3 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Drizzle the avocado with just a tad of lemon juice
  2. Smash up the chickpeas with a fork.
  3. Shred up the basil with scissors.
  4. Combine the chickpeas, the basil, the onion, the tomato, and the avocado. Be careful not to smash the avocado. This is important because they create wonderful creamy pockets.
  5. Combine the aquafaba, the oat flour, the garlic, the flax meal, the lemon zest, and the salt. Let it rest a bit to allow the oats to soak up the liquid some.
  6. Carefully stir the aquafaba mix into the chickpea mix. Make sure to distribute the aquabafa mix evenly, as this is what will bind the patties together.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 3/4 tbsp coconut oil. Allow oil to warm.
  8. Scoop 2 tbsp worth of mix into pan and smash lightly to form a patty. Repeat and repeat.
  9. Allow patties to cook for 4 minutes on each side, then remove to paper towel to drain.
  10. Continue until mix is gone, working in batches of about 5 -6 (5-6 patties at a time in the pan, replenishing oil as needed. I only used 3 tbsp of oil for the whole recipe)
  11. Serve hot with a little more lemon juice and salt. Also makes great tacos.
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Chilaquile Pizza! (tecolote pizza)

chilaquilepizza2

I feel like many of us know what chilaquiles are. (111, 336 instagram hashtags)

But there are fewer folks who know what molletes or tecolotes are. (11,849 and 1,395 insta hashtags, respectively). So if you’re one of the folks who do know what they are,  just skip over this mini vocab lesson.

Molletes: large Portuguese rolls, sliced in half lengthwise. The bottoms are slightly buttered and the tops are slathered with refried beans and sprinkled  with cheese. Toasted till golden and melty, often served with pico.

Tecolotes: Molletes, but with chilaquiles in between the beans and the cheese. No pico.

Tecolotes are what you wish you’d had in college, after long nights of hedonism and revelry. Tecolotes are the ultimate Mexican mashup food.  Tecolote is also a Spanish word for owl, btw.

Even though this is technically a tecolote pizza, my SEO is happier with it being a chilaquile pizza. My husband, who has never had chilaquiles (does that make me a bad wife?) called it a Nacho Pizza.

Even though this looks labor intensive, I guarantee it’s actually simple. The hardest part is making sure the oven-baked tortilla chips don’t burn, but I’ll tell you exactly how to prevent that from happening.

Otherwise, it’s just stacking ingredients.

  • Pizza crust
  • Black beans
  • Tortilla chips
  • Salsa
  • Cheese

The crust is made from Bob’s GF Pizza dough mix (was not paid to say that). I’ve sampled a few GF pizzas, and this is by far the best dough. It is the one that comes closest to that mom-and-pop pizza parlor crust. I can’t wait to make rolls with this.

The beans came from a can (they were put there by a man……🎶)

I usually make my own salsa, but for this recipe, I just purchased some from my favorite local Mexi place. I called a few days ahead and told them how much I wanted to buy, and that I would be bringing in my own containers. I feel like if you do this, they’ll be more than happy to sell you some, even if it’s not on the menu (it wasn’t at mine). But please please please do not used canned salsa, please. Just like with a regular pizza, the sauce one of the key elements to success.

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And then I just grated up a block of sharp cheddar. You can use a Mexican or Nacho cheese blend if you like, but I just LOVE authentic salsas with sharp cheddar.

Imagine what a hero you’d be at your Superbowl Party/Puppy Bowl Party 🐶 🐺 ❤️/your friend Janice’s bachelorette party/ your nephew’s baptism…..if you strolled in carrying a pizza with freaking CHILAQUILES on top.  I mean, that’s why we’re all at the party, right? The food. Well, I guess friends and family aren’t so bad either…..’long as they share the pizza.

Chilaquile Pizza! (tecolote pizza)

Chilaquile Pizza! (tecolote pizza)

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Bob's GF pizza crust mix
  • plus - ingredients required by the mix: 2 eggs, olive oil, warm water
  • 15 white corn tortillas
  • 8 oz of sharp cheddar OR 8 oz or shredded Mexi cheese blend
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 2 cups of salsa verde or salsa roja, or a mix of the two. I used 1 1/2 cups verde + 1/2 cup roja
  • a little olive oil and salt

Instructions

    for the chips
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line two cookie sheet with foil and grease them lightly with olive oil.
  2. Cut the tortillas into quarters. Sprinkle with lightly with salt and divide them evenly among the two cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring about every 5-7 minutes so they don't stick to each other. Some of them will be done before the others, so be sure to remove the darker-looking ones from the oven so they don't burn all the way
  4. While the chips are baking, prepare the pizza crust according to the package directions, and allow it to rise. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven now so that it's good and hot by the time the dough rises. It's also a good idea to grease the stone.
  5. While the dough is rising, grate your cheese. Blend the black beans to a paste, seasoning with a little garlic if you wish.
  6. Turn the oven up to 425
  7. Once the dough is done rising, gently spread it out onto the pizza stone.
  8. The package instructions say to bake the crust for 7-9 minutes, place your toppings, and then bake for another 15-18 minutes. IGNORE THIS! for this particular recipe, you want to do the exact opposite. Aka, bake for 15-18 minutes, place your toppings, and then bake for another 7-9 minutes.
  9. To place your toppings, spread the black bean paste over the pizza. Add a layer of chips, then salsa and cheese, another layer of chips, cheese and salsa, chips, salsa, cheese, and so forth until the chips are all on the pizza.
  10. Serve while hot and melty.
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