~ Eggplant Chickpea Tarts ~
Vegan Eggplant & Chickpea Tart
These tarts ended up absolutly beautiful. They were fragrant in smell and quite rich in taste. I always enjoy dishes that I can make with a variety of herbs and spices. Although I added onion and garlic to this dish, I really believe that the flavor began with the Bay leaf cooking in the olive oil before anything was in the pan. The taste of the “bay oil” was quite tantalizing.
The eggplant seemed as though it was best soft since the chickpeas hadn’t really softened to the point that they were breaking apart. James seemed to really like the vegan pastry that held the filling. Visually I thought that they looked fun and delicious. A single serving would be a great appetizer, a double serving a main entree. This is served with salad as an entree and served with olive tapenade sauce as an appetizer.
The best wine to pair up with this dish would be a fine Pinot Noir.
FOOD HISTORY TIME
The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) (also garbanzo bean, Indian pea, ceci bean, bengal gram, chana, kadale kaalu, sanaga pappu, shimbra, Kadala) is an edible legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Chickpeas are high in protein and one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.
The name chickpea traces back through the French chiche to Latin cicer (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). The word garbanzo comes from Old Spanish (perhaps influenced by Old Spanish garroba or algarroba) through arvanço which may be linked to the Greek erebinthos.
Domesticated chickpeas have been found in the aceramic levels of Jericho (PPNB) along with Cayönü in Turkey and in Neolithic pottery at Hacilar, Turkey. They are found in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BCE) at Thessaly, Kastanas, Lerna and Dimini. In southern France Mesolithic layers in a cave at L’Abeurador, Aude have yielded wild chickpeas carbon dated to 6790±90 BCE.
By the Bronze Age chickpeas were known in Italy and Greece. In classical Greece they were called erébinthos and eaten as a staple, a dessert or consumed raw when young. The Romans knew several varieties such as venus, ram and punic chickpeas. They were both cooked down into a broth and roasted as a snack. The Roman gourmet Apicius gives several recipes for chickpeas. Carbonized chickpeas have been found at the Roman legion fort at Neuss (Novaesium), Germany in layers from the 1st century CE, along with rice.
Chickpeas are mentioned in Charlemagne‘s Capitulare de villis (about 800 CE) as cicer italicum, as grown in each imperial demesne. Albertus Magnus mentions red, white and black varieties. Culpeper noted “chick-pease or cicers” are less “windy” than peas and more nourishing. Ancient people also associated chickpeas with Venus because they were said to offer medical uses such as increasing sperm and milk, provoking menstruation and urine and helping to treat kidney stones. Wild cicers were thought to be especially strong and helpful.
In 1793 ground roast chickpeas were noted by a German writer as a coffee substitute in Europe and in the First World War they were grown for this in some areas of Germany. Chickpeas are still sometimes brewed instead of coffee.
There are two main kinds of chickpea:
- Desi, which has small, darker seeds and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia, Mexico and Iran.
- Kabuli, which has lighter coloured, larger seeds and a smoother coat, mainly grown in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Afghanistan and Chile, also introduced during the 18th century to the Indian subcontinent)”
The Desi (meaning country or local in Hindi) is also known as Bengal gram or kala chana. Kabuli (meaning from Kabul in Hindi, since they were thought to have come from Afghanistan when first seen in India) is the kind widely grown throughout the Mediterranean. Desi is likely the earliest form since it closely resembles seeds found both on archaeological sites and the wild plant ancestor of domesticated chickpeas (cicer reticulatum) which only grows in southeast Turkey, where it is believed to have originated. Desi chickpeas have a markedly higher fiber content than Kabulis and hence a very low glycemic index which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems. The desi type is used to make Chana Dal, which is a split chickpea with the skin removed.
Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated.
The eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal (Solanum melongena) is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum. It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. As a night-shade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to India and Sri Lanka.
It is a delicate perennial often cultivated as an annual. It grows 40 to 150 cm (16 to 57 in) tall, with large coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (4-8 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2-4 in) broad. (Semi-)wild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft) with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. The fruit is fleshy, less than 3 cm in diameter on wild plants, but much larger in cultivated forms.
The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but are bitter because they contain (an insignificant amount of) nicotinoid alkaloids, unsurprising in a close relative of tobacco.
Eggplant is native to India. It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory but appears to have become known to the Western world no earlier than ca. 1500 CE. The first known written record of the eggplant is found in Qí mín yào shù, an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544 CE. The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, along with the lack of ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate that it was introduced throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages. The scientific name Solanum melongena is derived from a 16th century Arabic term for one kind of eggplant.
The name eggplant developed in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada because the fruits of some 18th century European cultivars were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs. The name aubergine in British English developed from the French aubergine (as derived from Catalan albergínia, from Arabic al-badinjan, from Persian badin-gan, from Sanskrit vatin-ganah). In Indian and South African English, the fruit is known as a “brinjal.” Aubergine and brinjal, with their distinctive br-jn or brn-jl aspects, derive from Arabic and Sanskrit. In the caribbean Trinidad, it also goes by the Latin derivative “melongen”.
Because of the eggplant’s relationship with the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, it was at one time believed to be poisonous. While it can be eaten by most people without ill effect, for some, consuming eggplant as well as other edible nightshade plants (tomato, potato, and capsicum/peppers) can be harmful. Some eggplants are bitter, and can irritate the stomach lining, causing gastritis. Some sources, particularly in the natural health community, state that nightshades, including eggplant, can cause or significantly worsen arthritis and should be avoided by those sensitive to them.
The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Salting and then rinsing the sliced eggplant (known as “degorging”) can soften and remove much of the bitterness. Some modern varieties do not need this treatment, as they are less bitter. The eggplant is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, allowing for very rich dishes, but the salting process will reduce the amount of oil absorbed. The fruit flesh is smooth; as in the related tomato, the numerous seeds are soft and edible along with the rest of the fruit. The thin skin is also edible, so that the eggplant need not be peeled.
The eggplant is used in cuisines from Japan to Spain. It is often stewed, as in the French ratatouille, the Italian melanzane alla parmigiana, the Greek moussaka, and Middle-Eastern and South Asian dishes. It may also be roasted in its skin until charred, so that the pulp can be removed and blended with other ingredients such as lemon, tahini, and garlic, as in the Middle Eastern dish baba ghanoush and the similar Greek dish melitzanosalata or the Indian dishes of Baigan Bhartha or Gojju. It can be sliced, battered, and deep-fried, then served with various sauces which may be based on yoghurt, tahini, or tamarind. Grilled and mashed eggplant mixed with onions, tomatoes, and spices makes the Indian dish baingan ka bhartha. The eggplant can also be stuffed with meat, rice, or other fillings and then baked. In the Caucasus, for example, it is fried and stuffed with walnut paste to make nigvziani badrijani. It is common in many Chinese dishes, like (hong shao qie zi), braised eggplant, and (qie zi mian), noodles topped with an eggplant sauce.
As a native plant, it is widely used in Indian cuisine, for example in sambhar, chutney, curries, and achaar. Owing to its versatile nature and wide use in both everyday and festive Indian food, it is often described (under the name brinjal) as the ‘King of Vegetables’. In one dish, Brinjal is stuffed with ground coconut, peanuts, and masala and then cooked in oil.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Studies of the Institute of Biology of São Paulo State University, Brazil (Instituto de Biociências of the UNESP de Botucatu, São Paulo) showed that eggplant is effective in the treatment of high blood cholesterol hypercholesterolemia.
It can block the formation of free radicals, help control cholesterol levels and is also a source of folic acid and potassium.
Eggplant is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant, with a concentration of 100 ng/g (or 0.01mg/100g). However, the amount of nicotine from eggplant or any other food is negligible compared to passive smoking. On average, 20lbs (9kg)of eggplant contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette.
~ Stuffed Pumpkin ~
Fall Stuffed Pumkin with Vegetable Root Stew
This is always an enjoyable one to make. All customers that have tried this dish have been quite happy. The sweetness of the pumpkin with the vegetables were great. The broth was bubbling when I brought it out of the oven and I thought it was quite aromatic.
Pumpkin and the various winter squash that come into season with the changing of the leaves are great bridges: they can be used in sweet or savory dishes, with hearty stews or lighter “cheeses”. This means they can also match with a variety of wines, which is a mixed blessing: there is no “go-to” wine for pumpkin as there is for asparagus (Sancerre) or foie gras (Sauternes). How the squash relates to other items on the plate will determine what wine will bring out its own flavors.
I saved the seeds from the pumpkin and will roast them tonight.
~ Tomato Bread Pudding ~
VEGAN TOMATO BREAD PUDDING WITH ROASTED GARLIC
This was quite a rich dish. The dish was all vegan and I roasted the tomatoes and garlic cloves for 1 hour before preparing anything else. Lots of Fresh Basil was added, as well as fresh organic french bread. Below I have given a breif history of bread pudding and it’s usual ways of being served. This is the second one that I made since I have had the clients that I am working with now. Before I would use cheese, but in my quest to be more humane toward animals, I have been making my bread pudding with tofu. The garlic was a nice addition to the flavor that this dish carried. I am hoping to fine tune this particular recipe a bit more. I have found that I will definitly add more tomatoes and add double the amount of roasted garlic.
As far as the wine for this dish, I think that I will add these few notes: — Cooked vegetables go better with wine than raw ones. With roasted tomatoes topped with toasted breadcrumbs, feta cheese, oregano and shallots, prefer to serve a Gruner Veltliner, but reds would also work well.
– Though white wine is the standard choice for simple vegetable dishes, certain cooking methods allow for broader pairing options, including reds.
Grilled or roasted bell peppers, for example, have a bit of char on them that matches the tannins in red wines. Those tannins can also help when cooking dishes with more oil or butter.
– Adding other elements, such as cheese, can expand wine choices.(Even vegan forms of “cheese”)
History of Bread Pudding
The history of bread dates back to prehistoric times; pudding (both sweet and savory) was first enjoyed by ancient peoples. Food historians generally attribute the origin of basic bread pudding to frugal cooks who did not want to waste stale bread. Since very early times it was common practice to use stale/hard bread in many different ways…including edible serving containers (Medieval sops, foccacia), stuffings (forcemeat), special dishes (French toast) and thickeners (puddings). In the 19th century recipes for bread pudding were often included in cookbooks under the heading “Invalid cookery.” Recipes vary greatly and are often influenced by the type of bread employed.
JUST A NOTE: The biggest problem with Mousse, Breas Pudding, Custard, Etc. is the consistency. I cannot use eggs and or any other animal product in Vegan Cooking. Vegan cooking is cooking that must be at a whole new level. No animal by product whatsoever. I used the tofu.