Showing posts with label eggplant and shiitaki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eggplant and shiitaki. Show all posts

Monday, June 13, 2011

Eggplant -- all the flavor, none of the guilt

Back in the days when I lived in the city, Chinese takeout was often on the menu.  One of my favorite dishes was eggplant.  It was always full of flavor, if not very pretty.  Most of the time, it was also full of oil, but hey, it was a vegetable so that made it okay, right?

Anyone who has ever cooked eggplant knows it will absorb as much oil as you give it.  Most of us are trying to cut back on fats, but eggplant seems to demand it.

So the other day, when my grocery store had these adorable eggplants, I couldn't resist.  For some reason, I had Chinese eggplant on my mind, although Chinese eggplant is long and thin.  I looked through a few eggplant recipes, discarding them due to all the oil, and then, suddenly -- there it was when I least expected it -- steamed eggplant!  Why didn't this ever occur to me?  Of course, I had to try it.

Instead of attempting a Chinese eggplant dish, which I suspected I would never get exactly right, I decided to mix the eggplant with shiitaki mushrooms.  They're supposed to be a nutritional and immune powerhouse, and they have a wonderful rich flavor, too.

Easy enough, I steamed the eggplant and cooked the shiitaki mushrooms separately, merging them at the very end.  Turns out that eggplant steams perfectly!

I've made this twice now, once with white wine vinegar and once with raspberry balsamic vinegar.  If you're into the tartness of vinegar, use 2 tablespoons.  But if you like blander food, then reduce the vinegar to 1 tablespoon because it packs a punch.  I prefer the sweeter balsamic vinegar in it.  If you're after a Chinese flavor, substitute sesame oil and a Chinese vinegar.  And if you like your veggies with a kick to them, add some flaked hot pepper to the mushrooms when they're cooking.

My mom says we have to give this dish a decent name because she doesn't know what to call it. Any suggestions?

Unnamed Eggplant & Shiitaki Dish

4 small eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 generous cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 cup sliced shiitaki mushrooms
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Slice the eggplants lengthwise, and slice those pieces lengthwise again.  Cut crosswise in 1/2 inch slices.  Place in a steaming basket and steam until soft, approximately 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium low heat.  Add the garlic first, then the mushrooms.  Pour in the soy sauce and vinegar, and add sugar.  Turn gently.  Cook until the mushrooms are soft.  Add the steamed eggplant and mix well.  Serve over rice.

Wow, we've had so many wonderful new books released this month!  Congratulations to Julie, Wendy, and Riley!

Read on to order books or enter contests!

Congratulations to Riley Adams (aka Elizabeth Spann Craig) on the release of Finger Lickin' Dead, the 2nd book in her Memphis BBQ Mystery series (and does it have great recipes!)
Click here to read a review of Finger Lickin' Dead from Mason Canyon's Thoughts in Progress. Click here to read Diane's review at the Book Resort.

Click here to purchase the book.

Click here to enter Riley's contest!

Congratulations to Julie Hyzy on the release of Grace Interrupted, the second in her Manor House Mystery series.

Click here to read a review from
the Chicago Sun-Times

Click here to order the book.

Congratulations to Wendy Lyn Watson on the release of A Parfait Murder, the third in her Mystery A La Mode series.

Click here to read a review from A Criminal Element.

Click here to purchase the book.

Click here to visit Wendy's Web site and
read on to learn how to enter her contest!

Wendy Lyn Watson's
new mystery
A Parfait Murder features a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant. To celebrate, Wendy's giving away a little cowboy couture: a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a "rodeo queen" keychain.

Eligibility: This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada. One entry per person, please.

How to Enter: Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book), by e-mail to Put the words "Parfait Giveaway" in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17. Wendy will randomly select one entry and announce the winner here on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog on Saturday, June 18. She will contact the winner via e-mail. If she does not receive a response within 7 days, she will draw a new winning name.