You can’t possibly ask me to go without having some dinner. It’s absurd. I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that.
~ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde wasn’t quite right. Vegetarians (and people like that) don’t go without their dinners either (most of the time), but I imagine some people don’t consider a vegetarian meal a true meal in and of itself (and would probably walk away from the table hungry because they don’t consider it a true meal). The other thing he didn’t mention is that some vegetarians forget all about photographing their meals and find themselves nearly finished eating before they do remember. Ooops. Too late.
This is my newest food addiction. Huevos Rancheros. Eggs and beans and tomatoes and chiles. Did you notice the potatoes in there too? These are not your typical (or traditional) Huevos Rancheros. I had to put my own twist on them. Necessity was the mother of invention in this case.
We are having a breathtakingly beautiful autumn day here in the Bogs. Mostly sunny, breezy, with an almost perfect temperature of 67 degrees. The days have not turned crisp yet, but they are beginning to crackle with energy.
I don’t typically think of stews as a summertime meal. However, Vegetable Stifado from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day is one of my favorite dishes to make this time of year. Almost everything in it can be found locally grown and freshly picked or, better yet, in my garden.
I vary the recipe a little in that I like to add extra tomatoes, peppers, and squash. I use a zucchini and a yellow squash, and 2-3 different colors of peppers (green, red, and yellow were on the menu when I made this the other day, but I’ve also used orange and purple). I leave out the optional okra (because I am not a fan). The potatoes I used when I made this the other day were small, thin-skinned new potatoes so I scrubbed them well and left the skins on. This stew freezes well. The potatoes might get a little mushy but it’s a stew so it works out okay, even thickening it a little. The recipe calls for it to be served over rice. I’ve been known to substitute couscous for the rice.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large potato (about 2 cups cubed)
- 1 medium eggplant
- 3 cups undrained canned tomatoes (28-ounce can)
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary (1 scant teaspoon dried)
- 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 cup frozen sliced okra (optional)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (1 teaspoon dried)
- ground black pepper to taste
- grated feta cheese
In a large stewpot, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil over medium heat until just softened. Cut the potato into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the pot. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Add the eggplant and the juice from the tomatoes, setting aside the tomatoes. Stir in the water, salt, and rosemary. Bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, the stew can be simmered uncovered.
While the stew simmers, cut the squash into 1-inch cubes and the bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. When the potatoes are just beginning to soften, add the squash and bell pepper and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Coarsely chop the reserved tomatoes and add them to the pot, along with the okra, lemon juice, and dill. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add black pepper to taste, and remove the rosemary sprig if you used the fresh herb.
Serve topped with feta cheese.
Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day is one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks. There are a lot of good recipes that don’t take nearly as much time as many of the recipes do in Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant (Cookery). Sundays At Moosewood has some fantastic recipes but they can be complicated and/or time consuming. Moosewood Cooks at Home was a great cookbook to have while I was working (outside of the home) because most of the recipes don’t take that long to prepare and/or cook.