Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Nod to Egypt and North Africa

Who knew Facebook and Twitter would propel a Revolution? All eyes have been on Egypt and the amazing events of the past 2 weeks and rightly so. It gives one hope for the possibility of serious change in that area of the world. I have just joined a group of women who participate in a meditation for world peace very, very early on Saturday mornings. As we left last week someone said..."look what is happening in the world." Everyone smiled. Every little bit helps don't you think?

This week I found a recipe for Lamb and Eggplant Gratin with North African Spices. Ah, a vehicle to try one of those meat substitutes. I chose Gimme Lean to replace the lamb and a soy cheese to replace the feta that was called for. I think it works quite well. Like a moussaka but less work and a fabulous amount of spices to really give it a kick.

I had made a gratin of yukon gold, sweet potatoes, granny smith apples, onions and garlic for dinner on Sunday. Are you seeing a trend here? I put that in a sauce pan, warmed it up and whipped it to make a perfect mashed potato accompaniment. Steamed broccoli rounded out the dish.

1 1/2 lb Eggplant cut into slices

Preheat oven to 350. Olive baking sheet and roast eggplant until they are soft and pliable. 30 mins.


1 lb Gimme Lean
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 TB ground cumin
1 TB ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water (i used 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup chopped parsley

In a large saute' pan cook Gimme Lean with a small amount of water, breaking up lumps until it is brown. Remove to bowl. Put 2 TB olive oil in the pan and add the onions and cook over medium-high heat until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 min. Add spices and cook until fragrant. Return Gimme Lean to pan and stir. Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil and then lower heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

2 cups soy cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 TB chopped parsley
1 Tb olive oil

2 TB chopped fresh mint
2TB chopped fresh cilantro

Combine topping ingredients and toss with olive oil. Set aside.

Assemble in a gratin dish sauce, eggplant, topping, repeat layers. Place on baking sheet and cook until hot and bubbly and topping is crisp. About 20-30 minutes. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh mint and cilantro.

This dish is very flavorful and the Gimme Lean worked well but I must admit I would like to try it with the lamb and feta from the original recipe. Banjo thought the broccoli was especially good.


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