Lately I’ve been on a kick with making Veggie, or Eggplant Towers. Don’t ask me why, it just came to me. I used to make them when I worked in Banquets a few years back, but I lacked the level of inspiration I have now. Inspiration led me to add Quinoa and Daiya Mozzerella style Cheese. Try these with your favorite Salad, or serve them as the vegetable side with an entree like Orange Glazed Tofu, or Southwest Tofu Sticks (Recipe is coming, I promise).
Play with Your Food: Eggplant & Zucchini Towers with Quinoa and Peppers
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Yield: 4 each
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 Zucchini, sliced and roasted
1 Yellow squash, sliced and roasted
2 Eggplant, sliced and roasted
2 Red pepper roasted, peeled and cut into strips
2 Green pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into strips
2 Poblano/Pasilla pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into strips
1 package Daiya Mozzerella Style Cheese
Rinse and drain 1/4 cup quinoa seed. Bring to a boil 1/2 cup water. Add the quinoa, cook until quinoa opens up and is a bit sticky, about 15 minutes. (It's good if it's like sushi rice).
Pre-heat oven on Broil. Prepare all the vegetables. You want to cut them thick. 1/2 an inch is good. I usually get three slices per squash. and 4 out of the eggplant.
Coat with a little oil, assemble onto a baking tray (sheet pan). Roast until the peppers blister, the squash looks squishy, and the eggplant takes on a little brown color. It might be necessary to remove each vegetable type separately.
Cool the ingredients down.
To Assemble: Use eggplant as the base, then quinoa, then peppers, then the zucchini. I use two eggplants, with the squash in the middle. Add the mozzerella style cheese on the layer above the zucchini, and then put some on top of the last eggplant to give it that "broiled" look. Cook in the broiler for 5-7 minutes, or until the "cheese" browns!
Serve with a red pepper couli, or butternut squash puree.
Drain the quinoa and cook in 2 cups of boiling water until soft. Cool.
Sautee the veggies until they soften. Cool the veggies down. Add the veggies, spices, and quinoa flour to the quinoa seed and mix thoroughly.
To make the cakes: Using the palms of your hands, shape 1 inch (2 oz) balls of the quinoa mix, and set on a sheet tray. Stick in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
Heat up a sautee pan with sunflower oil. Drop the cakes into the pan. Let them “sear” (get brown) on one side. Using a spatula, carefully turn the cakes over, and let them cook on the other side. Remove from heat, and drain on paper towels.
You can serve these as Entrées, as a snack, or with salads.
There has been an abundance of eggplant here in the Valley of the Sun, so I thought I’d make a vegetable dish without using the cookbook. I followed steps I’ve learned, toasting the seed spices, soaking tamarind, and stacking flavors. I found a name for this recipe, and I think I like it. Let me know if you do.
You are probably wondering how to find some of the ingredients I use in this recipe. I have the advantage of having a Vietnamese Grocer several blocks from the house. I can buy some of the specialty items there, split mung beans and eggplant especially. For the bulk spices I go to the Herbalist down the street. They carry a decent supply of fresh herbs and spices. Their cumin is fantastic. When I need to find the exotic, there is a super chain called LeeLees that specializes in International foods. They have a great produce section as well as a selection of the Indian Spices I use. If you can’t find some of these ingredients in your market, check online, there are several reputable companies with reasonable prices. You can look into Chakra 4, they ship throughout the U.S, and to some other countries.
Soak the tamarind in hot water for 15 minutes. Break up the tamarind and strain. Reserve the tamarind Juice.
Heat a large heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the oil. Add onions and ginger, saute until onions become soft. Add sweet potatoes, saute for another minute or two. Then add eggplant, drumstick, and chilis. Cook until the vegetables become tender.
In another sauce pan, place mung beans and 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer. Cook until mung beans become mushy.
While vegetables and beans are cooking, toast each spice seed separately. Place in a skillet on low and toast for 3-4 minutes until seeds release their aroma.
Add the turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, coriander, amchur powder, and tamarind juice to the vegetables. Cook another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the spices are incorporated.
Serve hot over the Mung beans, with flat bread or crackers.
note I added cherry tomatoes to this recipe because I needed to use them up. You can use Romas or regular cherry tomatoes.