Tag Archives: main dish

“Fainting Imam” Turkish Braised Eggplant with Aromatic Yellow Rice (gf, vegan)

Turkish Braised Eggplant4|SpoonWithMe(1 of 1)When you think about swoon-worthy dishes, what comes to mind?  In Julie and Julia, it was the crunch of the olive oil-toasted bruschetta bread covered with juicy tomatoes.  Remy the rat has his first food-wakening when his foraged fromage, wild mushroom and herbs get flambeed by a bolt of lightning in Ratatouille.  In Chocolat, the swoon subject is obvious—No, not Johnny Depp, the chocolate for heavens sake!  My favorite food scene comes at the end of Big Night, where the restaurant guests bite into the Timpano.  And if you’ve ever seen Chef, I just have three words for you: Grilled.  Cheese.  Sandwich.

Fainting Imam|SpoonWithMe.com (1 of 1)

My friend Karissa and I enjoyed a swoon-inducing eggplant while eating at a fantastic Turkish restaurant in Houston.  The kind of dish where you revert to some kind of primal foodie language that consists of mmms, sloshy sounding consonants, and repeated “s’really good”.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Tomatillo-Veggie (or Chicken) Posole


I broke out my fall garb this week, and taught my students a valuable lesson while wearing a cozy wrap/scarf that the mister got for me in Amsterdam.  A scarf is just a socially acceptable way to wear a blanket to work or school.  You’ll see me wearing a lot of “scarves” in the coming days.  The Dutch have a specific word for all things cozy, inviting, friendly and warm: gezellig.  It’s one of those words that has no English translation.  Picture a cool misty fall day.  Gezellig is arriving home from work and snuggling up in a cozy knit blanket with a cup of tea, a book, and your favorite furry companion (canine, feline, or hey, even human).  It’s huddling around a fire with friends, steaming mugs of soup in hand. The leaves are swirling around, and it’s hinting at frost.  It’s gezellig time, so I thought I’d share my favorite after-work gezellig I meal to spread a bit o’ the cozy.  If everyone were just a bit more gezellig, the world would be a happier place.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Soups and Stews

Avocado Eggrolls with Asian Ginger Slaw and Sweet Chile-Lime Dipping Sauce

Staying in for the night with your honey, watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in your favorite spot on the couch?  There’s an app for that.  Going to a party at a close friend’s house for some New Years shenanigans?  There’s an app for that.  Hosting a party with small bites to be nibbled on throughout the night, accompanied by a bubbly cocktail?  I’m pretty sure there’s an app for that too.

Earlier in December, the mister and I hosted a pre-Christmas get-together for a small group of friends. I always make enough food to feed not only a small battalion, but an entire brigade as well (a trait directly inherited from my mother.  I don’t quite have mom’s Martha Stewart-like ability to tszuj a table yet, but that will come with time.)  We had coconut crusted gulf shrimp, bacon-wrapped dates, tortilla chips and homemade canned summer salsa, tortilla española with romesco aioli, and these avocado eggrolls, with sweet chile lime dipping sauce.  Oh–and this list doesn’t include the tasty assortment of apps that each guest brought.  Yes, I’d say we went a bit overboard.

The mister and I are going out dancing for New Year’s Eve this year, but I couldn’t resist making these eggrolls again this week, this time to be eaten as a meal over asian slaw.  My decision was partially inspired by the ending of holiday appetizer party season, and the fact that avocado season is in full swing–three for $1, anyone?    I was inspired to create these after I saw Elissa’s beautifully photographed avocado eggrolls on 17 and Baking.  Hers are absolutely delicious, but I decided to create my own version, packed with tangy lime, ginger, scallion*, and cilantro, with a sweet chile dipping sauce.  Kind of like an asian guacamole fried in a wrapper until crunchy and golden.  I always like eating fried foods with something fresh and healthy to balance out the texture and heat. This time, I tossed cabbage and carrot with a simple ginger-rice vinegar dressing and a squeeze of lime.

In the summer, there are barbeques to be held, and spring will be time for much lighter fare.  This, my friends, is prime time for hot, flavor-packed small bites, to bring people around the table.  Remember, there’s an app for just about anything, so I hope your New Year’s Eve is filled with tasty food and good company.  I’ll see you in 2012!

Ginger-Scallion Avocado Eggrolls with Sweet Chile-Lime Dipping Sauce and Asian Slaw

Makes 8 large eggrolls

The best eggrolls are served golden, crisp and hot, and these are no exception.  Plan on serving them immediately after frying, lest they lose their crispness.  The filling can be made a few hours ahead of time–just be sure to spread a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the avocado mixture to avoid browning.  Oh, and one more thing– Avocados take on a funny taste when over-mushed, so mush gently!

For the Eggrolls:

  • 5 large avocados
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 scallions, chopped (1/4 cup minced red onion works too)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 8 eggroll wrappers
  • Small dish of water, to seal
  • Canola or vegetable oil, to fill a medium pot (not nonstick) or dutch oven to 2 inches

Cut each avocado in half and remove the seed.  With a butter knife, score the inside of the avocado (kind of like tic-tac-toe), and scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a medium bowl.  With a fork, gently mash the avocado together with the lime juice and salt, leaving some texture.  Gently fold in the remaining ingredients until evenly combined.

To fill the eggrolls, lay out one wrapper with a corner pointed toward you, and place 1/4 cup of filling in the center.  Fold the corner over the avocado mixture.  Fold the left and right corners toward the center and roll. Dip a finger into the water, and trace it over the inside edge of the last corner, then seal it onto the eggroll.

Fill a medium pot to 2 inches with oil, and heat over medium-high heat until hot.  Test the heat of the oil by dropping a small piece of eggroll wrapper in.  The oil should immediately bubble, and the wonton should float to the top.  Working in batches of 2, gently lower in the eggrolls, and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Remove the eggrolls to a paper towel lined plate to cool slightly before serving.  Serve while hot with sweet chile dipping sauce.

*When I made these to photograph, I had forgotten to buy scallions, so I subbed red onion, which is what you see pictured…no harm done!

Sweet Chile-Lime Dipping Sauce

Really, just a slightly doctored up version of the pre-made Thai sweet chile sauce we all love.  Thanks, Epicurious!

  • 3/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce*
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Asian Ginger Slaw

  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (from about a quarter of a medium red cabbage)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (I used regular green cabbage, but napa would be good here as well)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned or grated
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil

Place the cabbage and carrot in a medium bowl.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the rice wine vinegar, lime juice, ginger, salt,  and oil together until combined.  Pour into the bowl with the cabbage and carrot.  Stir and toss well until well coated.   Let stand for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.  Toss again and serve.


Filed under Appetizers, Main Dishes, Side Dishes

Southwest Quinoa Salad with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette



Some recipes are good because you know you shouldn’t eat them very often, which makes them a treat.  Others are good because you can eat them as often as you’d like, with no guilt whatsoever. My food life is filled with foods from category two, and polka-dotted with treats from the first category.  Food should always be a delight, no matter from the first or second category, don’t you agree?

My favorite kind of cooking happens when categories one and two collide.  Making this quinoa salad is an indulgence in itself, and feels more like an art project than a chore.

The art project begins at the garden…or the farmers market…or at your favorite grocery store. Pretend you are reaching into your deluxe box of Crayons, and have fun choosing your colors.  My Crayola box is filled with black bean, limey green, purple power onion, electric habañero orange, and sweet corn yellow.  What about you?

Cooked and cooled quinoa (prounounced “keen-wah”)  is the perfect background to splash colors upon.  Not only does this little seed have a light nutty flavor and crunchy texture, but it is packed with all sorts of things that are good for you, like protein, iron,  and amino acids.  Lets suffice to say that if Popeye the Sailor Man were around today, he’d probably choose quinoa over spinach.

Now, it’s chop-chop time.  Here’s where a sharp knife will be your best buddy.  Layer your colorful veggies over your quinoa, drizzle your chile-lime vinaigrette, toss it all together, and then stand back to look at your work–a piece of (albeit abstract) art.

I’ll bet your mom would display it on her fridge if she could.  I think my mom will eat it instead.

Southwest Quinoa Salad


This is a Summer salad, through and through.  Choose an array of peppers, taking into consideration level of heat, sweetness and color.  I like to keep a big bowl of this salad in the fridge to eat for lunches.  Refresh with a splash of lime and a pinch of salt the day after you make it.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa (any color), cooked and cooled (see instructions below)
  • 1 or 2 avocados, peeled, pit removed, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • kernels from 1 cob corn, or 3/4 cup thawed frozen corn
  • About 1 1/2 cups diced mildly spicy peppers (a mix of bell peppers, anaheim, etc…)
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 small habanero, minced (optional, for heat)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Chile Lime Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3/4 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Quinoa:

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly  in cold water and drain.  Place 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until all all of the water has been absorbed.  When fully cooked, the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of each seed (a white circle).

If the water has evaporated, but the germ ring is not yet visible, add a splash of water, and simmer for a few more minutes.  Set aside until cool.

For the Vinaigrette:

Place all vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake until combined, or whisk in a small bowl.

For the Salad:

Put all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette, and gently toss to combine.


Filed under Main Dishes, Salads, Side Dishes