Happy belated Mid-Autumn Festival!
To celebrate, we went Greek. Which makes no sense if you don’t think about it–but if you do think about for just the teeniest bit, it starts to make a little sense.
…And if you do happen to find that nugget of sense, please let me know what it is, because I haven’t thought of it quite yet.
Last night I invited over the new recruits for our program (hooray, fresh blood!) who live in the same graduate student complexes as me. Mind-melting weather aside–a whopping 95 degrees in the dead of night–our motley crew really was a melting pot that made me glad I’d pulled my dishes so many different cuisines. We chatted over couscous and Kashk E-Badjemajan (a Persian eggplant and fried onion dip), Chinese garlic eggplant and honey “walnut” tofu (I used tempeh because one of the guys had a nut allergy), homemade sweet bread and cucumber salad. And of course, we had moon cakes.
Flour Power: I first ran into Kashk E-Bademjan in a Persian restaurant and just needed to make a copycat recipe…and now that I’ve done it, it feels great eating this scumptious dish in the comfort of my own kitchen! Next time you go out and have a great dish, go home and do some research, or go straight to your kitchen and give it a try if you’re feeling bold. You never know what you might come up with!
Do you know how absolutely terrifying it is cooking for somebody with nut and dairy allergies? I wouldn’t touch anything with nuts in them for the entire day (ever hear the story of the guy who died kissing his girlfriend, who had eaten peanut butter the day before? Holy. Cripes.), and I shoved anything with dairy in it to the wayyy back of my fridge so I wouldn’t accidentally, you know, use it.
That being said, I love challenges. It was a vegan sort of night in the household.
So when are you coming over so I can have an excuse to cook like this again? I’m already bored of the stuff in my fridge, and it’s only been…about 12 hours.
Although that might be because I’ve already finished all of the leftovers–they were pretty darn good.
I just realized I was going to offer you some, too. Sorry. None for you.
I think the highlight of my night was when one of the girls said we should do this often, and a guy responded, “We should do potlucks!”
A guy. In my department. Wants to do potlucks.
It’s like we’re blood siblings or something.
Oh, and they know what Sailor Moon is. And they want to watch the 2013 release of a new season with me.
I have a feeling I’m going to like this new crew very, very much.
What’s your go-to dish(es) when you have a potluck or dinner? Feel free to link me up!
Happy reading, and happy eatings!
Mediterranean Couscous (Vegan-Friendly)
- 1 cup dried whole wheat couscous
- 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine or apple cider vinegar (any mild or fruity vinegar variety will work well)
- 1 pinch ground cumin
- 1/2 large cucumber, diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup cashews or peanuts (optional)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring broth to a boil. Stir in couscous, then cover with lid and allow to steam for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and cumin. Add cucumber and tomatoes, and toss until completely coated.
- Fluff finished couscous with a fork, then add to the liquid mixture. Add raisins, nuts, and cheese as desired, then toss all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.
Kashk E-Bademjan (Eggplant Fried Onion Dip)*
- 1 large Japanese eggplant, diced into small chunks
- 2 small onions, thinly sliced
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 tablespoons soy yogurt (see note)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large frying pan, heat up oil and start frying onions. When they begin to brown, add eggplant and continue frying until eggplant is completely tender, and onions are caramelized. Set aside to cool briefly.
- Set aside some of the fried onion (for garnishing); place the rest of the mixture, as well as the soy yogurt, into a food processor. Pulse until the eggplant and onion is still chunky but relatively paste-like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop out from food processor and garnish with reserved onions, as well as a drizzle of yogurt. Serve warm and enjoy!
*Note: This appetizer traditionally contains whey, the liquid byproduct of yogurt. Since my friend is allergic to dairy, I substituted a small amount of soy yogurt for the whey.