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Fall Cooking: Utilizing Seasonal Vegetables to Create MAGIC

Curry Roasted Eggplant Stew

Created by Ashleigh Rose

Eggplants are one of those fall vegetables that people either adore or loathe. An eggplant diehard myself, I’m always down to change someone’s mind (or palette?) in favor of it. When prepared correctly, eggplants become delicate and melty, encased by a perfectly blackened shell. Mixed into cardamom and ginger-spiced coconut milk and topped with the freshness of cilantro and mint? Yes please. The roasted textures and smoky flavors will leave you more than satisfied. 

Cooking is one of my absolute favorite art forms, especially when for friends. I love providing others with nourishment, and I love the chance to practice mindfulness through doing so. As a vegetarian, eggplants are my number one go-to when I’m cooking for a group and wanting a hearty meat substitute. I first created this stew for the Fayettechill family, while on a creative retreat in the Ouachita Mountains. While this stew is comforting for nights at home or around the holiday dinner table, it was especially warming around the campfire after a long day of hiking and exploring the Arkansas forest.

Eggplant can be a bit finicky to prepare. But by slicing at an angle, salting, and massaging in olive oil, they thrive. Because I was camping, I cooked the sliced eggplant in a covered pan over the fire, creating a steam-filled oven-like contraption. If preparing from home, just turn your stove to 400 and cook the eggplants for 20-25 minutes, flipping them once.

The collaboration of spices used for the curry are pungent in flavor and perfectly balancing. It utilizes spices to boost the immune system and to generate warmth in the body as cold weather approaches. Enjoy!

CURRY ROASTED EGGPLANT STEW:
(serves six)
Ingredients: 
  • 1 lb. roasted tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 lbs. / 8-10 slender eggplants
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 2 T coriander powder
  • 1 t cardamom 
  • 1 t black peppercorns
  • 1 small chili pepper (choose your heat)
  • 1 T turmeric
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • 1” fresh ginger, peeled and shaved into thin strips
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • Several handfuls of cilantro leaves
  • A handful of mint leaves, slivered
  • 2 c rice, I prefer black forbidden rice
  • 1 t salt

Instructions: 

  1. Chop eggplants diagonally, about one inch thick. Add olive oil and massage with hands to coat. Lightly salt and set on fire top or in a 400 degree oven. Cook, flipping several times for 20-25 minutes or until innards of eggplants are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, begin cooking the rice. I love to use forbidden rice, an antioxidant filled black rice, but any will work. Boil 3 1/2 c water, add 2 cups of rice, then reduce heat to low and cover.
  3. Okay, are you ready to become a multi-tasking god(dess)? Double-meanwhile, in a large cooking pan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and then add chopped onion, cardamom, and chill peppers. Cook covered and stir occasionally until golden brown. 
  4. When onions are soft, add black pepper, turmeric, garlic, and ginger and allow the spices to toast for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, water, and your glorious, now roasted eggplant.
  6. Increase the heat so liquids come to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and half-cover, stirring occasionally. When finished, the eggplants will still hold form and the sauce will be thick and stew like. The longer you let the stew sit, the thicker the sauce will become. 
  7. While stew simmers, fluff rice and lightly salt. Place at the bottom of bowls as a base for your curried stew.
  8. Serve curried eggplant stew on top of rice. Top with cilantro, mint, and greek yogurt if you’re a fan. 

 

PACHAMAMA’S PUMPKIN DELIGHT

Created by Sadie McDonald

I am so excited to share with you one of my most favorite, heart-warming fall meals to date. For me, I believe that cooking is alchemy. Being able to transform seasonal produce into nourishing meals is an art form that is rarely practiced in our fast-paced world.

The inspiration behind this recipe came on a cloudy Sunday afternoon from the attitude that a Sunday well spent, is a week of content. This story began when I went to the Farmer’s Market to buy some pumpkins for my front porch-- little did I know that the next day they would end up in my belly…

Side note: During pumpkin preparation, I removed the seeds and drizzled them with olive oil and seasoning then roasted them on a baking tray for 20 minutes.  Bam, you have a healthy snack or a great additive to a salad!

PACHAMAMA’S PUMPKIN DELIGHT:
(serves four)
Ingredients:
  • 1 medium-sized pumpkin
  • 2 cups of brussel sprouts
  • 1/4 c. tahini
  • Handful of dried cranberries
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 2 T tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 lemon
  • cayenne or heat of your choice
  • quinoa

Instructions:

  1. Using a serrated knife (bread knife will do), cut the stalk off the pumpkin. Cut off all the skin from the pumpkin, then slice into cubes. Half each of the brussel sprouts, slice the onion, and toss on a baking tray. Put in the oven at 425 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.
  2. While that is baking, start creating the Magic Tahini sauce. Stir together the tahini, nutritional yeast, tamari, cayenne, the juice of half a lemon, and a half cup of filtered water until the texture is smooth. To thicken, more nutritional yeast may be added.
  3. After mixing the sauce, you can now start cooking the quiona. Ratio is 1 cup of quiona to 2 cups of water. Bring water to a boil and then turn it to low for about 15 minutes or until craters appear in the pot, and water has evaporated into the quinoa grain. 
  4. After the pumpkin dish has roasted for 15 minutes, remove and add the cranberries and garlic cloves on top. Place the mixture back into the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes. 
  5. When the brussel sprouts have turned a golden color, you can be certain the dish is ready. Serve over quiona and drizzle the magic sauce on top. Enjoy!