Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine’s Day Recipes: Menu 3

Menu 3: Note: I am assuming you have coconut butter as a staple - If you don’t have any - buy a very small jar which will cost around $6.99 and you will need less than an eighth of it.
Also we will make some Harissa Spice Mix for the stuffed Eggplant. You should really double or quadruple the spice amounts and make a staple of it. It keeps nicely in the fridge and will dress up future meals for cents.

Appetizer: Salad of Beet-greens, Feta and Hazelnuts in a Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette
Main Event: Moroccan Stuffed Eggplant over Cous-Cous
Dessert: Real Red Velvet Cupcakes with Coconut Icing

Salad of Beet-greens, Feta and Hazelnuts in a Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Salad:
1 bunch beets with tops
2 tablespoons feta cheese
½ tablespoon hazelnuts

Staples you should have on hand:
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
olive oil

How to:

Separate the greens from the beets - set the beets aside to boil in a pot with water - you will need them for the cupcakes. Trim the greens from the stalks and wash both thoroughly. Cut or tear the leaves for the salad to bite size pieces and chop the stalks finely as you would celery.
Make your vinaigrette by mixing vinegar, mustard and olive oil and taste. Add more of any ingredient to suit to your liking.
Toss everything together in a large bowl and serve immediately.

Moroccan Stuffed Eggplant over Cous-Cous:

First set up your cous-cous with three times its volume of water. Bring to a boil and put a firm lid on the pot and set aside.
Then let’s make the harissa.


This is a beautiful North African Spicemix with endless variations. In countries such as Tunisia and Morocco it is served as a condiment much as our ketchup or mustard. But it can also be used as a rub for seitan, tofu or eggplants.
This is enough to make two cups worth to keep in your fridge - or you can also make only enough for this recipe. Adjust the amount of chili to your liking - from the picture above you can tell that the traditional harissa is very hot - but you don’t have to miss out on its fabulous taste just because you don’t like the heat - just make it milder and enjoy!

1 cup olive oil
½ cup mild chili powder
1 tablespoon mint, dried or fresh, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried garlic powder or 3 cloves finely minced
½ tablespoon ground caraway
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground coriander
½ tablespoon salt

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

Pour half a cup of olive oil in blender and add wet ingredients (garlic and/or mint). Blend thoroughly. 

Add dry ingredients and blend slowly. Scrap sides of blender so nothing gets stuck and slowly add rest of the olive oil.

Transfer to a clean glass jar. Put a layer of olive oil on top. Keeps up to 6 months in fridge: Yield: 2 cups Time:10 minutes

If you’d like to make only enough for this recipe use:
1 teaspoon each
dried mint, garlic powder, caraway seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt
dash of chili powder and follow directions above.

Moroccan Stuffed Eggplant for two:

You will need:
2 small eggplants
1 small can diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup brown rice- cooked and drained - leftovers work fine
½ cup couscous
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350º. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Heat two tablespoons olive oil and brown eggplant on both sides over medium heat, covered for 8 minutes. Scrape out the insides with a spoon and chop the pulp coarsely.

Heat more oil and saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the eggplant pulp, rice and half of the drained diced tomatoes, parsley and harissa and cook for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Grease an ovenproof dish and arrange the eggplant halves - fill with the rice - vegetable stuffing and arrange the rest of the tomatoes around them. Season with salt, pepper and honey/agave nectar and bake for about 40 minutes.
Serve over the couscous and a mint yogurt sauce ( just mix a dash of mint into two tablespoons of yogurt with a pinch of sea salt).

Real Red Velvet Cupcakes with Coconut Icing

Red Velvet Cakes and even cupcakes were all the rage about a year ago. I think the version with all the artificial coloring is going to go out of fashion really soon and we will look back at this time in years to come and think - “Where we ever this young?” This version however, using the natural coloring in beets and benefitting immensely from the nutritional punch they add, is a keeper.

½ cup cooked mashed beets
( you already bought them for the salad)
⅔ cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 eggs
¼ cup whole milk yogurt (or soy or coconut)
1 organic lemon (has to be organic - we will
need the peel)
6 cupcake liners

¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup agave nectar or honey
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350º.
Cook beets by either boiling or steaming them. You should not peel them since so much of their nutritional benefits are in the peel. Just scrub them well and half each and make sure they are well done = nice and soft. Let them cool down and then puree them in a food processor or blender. Add the coconut oil, lemon juice and eggs and mix until you have a heavy batter.

Transfer into a large bowl and add the the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and the yogurt. At the end, mix in the cocoa powder, sugar and agave nectar. Add a touch of water if the batter seems to heavy or dry.

Fill the cupcake liners set in a cupcake pan until each liner is about ¾ full - the cupcakes will expand as they bake. Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Let cool before icing.

To make the icing:


¼ cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon coconut butter
1 tablespoon milk - any kind
2 drops vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon coconut butter

In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Slowly add the milk and beat until the mixture is nice and creamy - add the vanilla and the rest of the ingredients and chill.
Spread the icing over the cooled cupcakes.

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