Roasted Eggplant with Roasted Chickpeas and Tahini Sauce

roasted eggplant and chickpeas with tahini sauce - trustinkim

I have seen a number of recipes for roasted chickpeas lately, but I wasn’t very interested in making them because of a bad experience with some chalky store-bought roasted chickpeas. For some reason I decided to give them a try, and was really happy with the result. They come out just the right texture, not too dry, not too soft. I love the bit of saltiness topping off the creamy eggplant and tahini sauce. Add the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds and you’ve got a pretty perfect vegan meal.

This dinner is quite simple to make. Most of the work is done by the oven, roasting the eggplant and the chickpeas, and while it is roasting you just have to whip up a quick sauce.

I made this a few months ago, and I didn’t actually measure the sauce ingredients, so this is my best estimate of the amounts I used. I cobbled this recipe together from ideas I’ve seen in various cookbooks, most notably the Ottolenghi (drool) cookbooks.

What you need:

  • 1 – 540 mL can chickpeas
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 3 – 4 long and skinny, or 8 small eggplants
For the sauce:
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup water or more as needed
  • parsley to garnish

Optional:

  • pomegranate seeds, of they are in season. Chopped dried sour cherries might be nice too.

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
  2. Rinse the chickpeas and pat them dry with a clean towel. Toss them in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then toss with salt, pepper and cumin. Spread out into a single layer on a baking tray.
  3. Wash the eggplants and slice them in half lengthwise. Place them cut-side up on a baking tray and brush them with olive oil.
  4. Roast the chickpeas and eggplants for 30-40 minutes, tossing the chickpeas halfway through the time. The eggplant should be very tender when you poke it with a fork. The chickpeas should be slightly crunchy, but not hard. It’s a good idea to test the chickpeas a few times in the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
  5. While the oven is doing its thing you can make the sauce. Whisk together the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Slowly add the water to make a pourable yet still thick sauce. Taste and add more salt or lemon if needed.
  6. Plate the eggplant, drizzling the sauce over them, and then top with the chickpeas. Garnish with chopped parsley and optional pomegranate.

Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs – to die for!

red wine braised short ribs - trustinkim.com

I made these delicious red wine braised short ribs on Christmas Eve for my good friends, John and Dale. We enjoyed some great conversation, music, wine, and of course the food! After they went home I fell into a deep sleep with a belly full of good food. That night I woke up many times smelling the delicious aroma of this meal, and fell happily back to sleep each time thinking about our evening and all the amazing foods I’ve eaten, that night and others before . . . 

It’s definitely a special meal (the photo doesn’t do it justice – sometimes we just want to eat and not wait for a good photo for the blog), and a bonus is that my whole apartment and the hallways were filled with the amazing scents of it while it was cooking – I’m a bit surprised that no neighbours invited themselves over. When John and Dale arrived they said they could smell it all the way down the hallway, and they had their fingers crossed it was my cooking that they were smelling.

I’ve eaten this meal at a friend’s place before, and have seen many recipes for similar meals. This is my version – you can’t go wrong with a long cooking time in lots of red wine and beef stock (even better if you have a homemade beef stock) and the flavouring of the mirepoix.

To make the beef short ribs they are first browned in butter, then the mirepoix is added, then a whole bottle of red wine and some beef stock. It needs to spend a few hours in the oven before it becomes fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth tender and tasty. I served it on buttermilk mashed potatoes with glazed carrots (brought by John and Dale). So delicious! 

While the ribs are cooking you can be free to attend to other dinner preparations. The ribs can be made a day ahead of time and then reheated in the oven, if you need to save time on the day of the meal.

This recipe should serve at least four people, but it’s also really nice to have leftovers.

For the potatoes I just boiled them and added some heated buttermilk and butter. After draining, I mashed the potatoes by hand with a masher (not an electric mixer) in the pot they were cooked in, with some salt and pepper and the heated buttermilk and butter. I made sure I didn’t over-mash them -they become gluey with too much mashing.

You need a deep covered baking dish for this. If you don’t have one you can cover any oven-proof deep dish in foil. I try to avoid using foil since it it not recyclable, but if you need to, that’s what it’s there for.

If you enjoy this recipe or others on Trust in Kim, please let me know. I write this blog as a hobby, and work full time as a teacher. I’d appreciate feedback as I’m not sure if I will continue writing these recipes; it takes a lot of time and some cost to do this and also keep it ad-free.

What you need:

  • 3 lbs bone-in short ribs
  • butter for browning
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small leek
  • 1/2 small onion or a few shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bottle red wine (something you would like to drink)
  • 4 cups beef stock (homemade or a better quality one with no MSG – I used —–)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour for the gravy

What you do:

  1. Salt the beef generously, on all sides, a few hours or a day before cooking.
  2. Prepare your mirepoix by chopping the carrot, celery, leek and onion. Also mince the garlic.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  4. Place a French oven or other heavy lidded baker on medium high heat and add some butter. Make sure you wait until the pot is hot enough, then add the beef and brown it on all sides.  The beef will “tell you when it is done” by releasing from the pan – you should not have to pull it off. Turn the beef until each side has browned – you may need to do this in two batches. Place the beef on a dish to be added again later.
  5. After removing the beef, lower the heat and add the mirepoix to the pan and cook for about two minutes; it should not brown, just cook slowly. Add the garlic and cook briefly, then add the red wine and beef stock. Bring the liquids to a boil and cook until in has reduced by about 1/3.
  6. Add the beef back to the pot, making sure it is submerged. Place the lidded baking dish in the oven and cook for about 2 & 1/2 to 3 hours. Now… enjoy a glass of wine and get the rest of your dinner ready. You may even have time to sit down…
  7. After spending that long time in the oven, the beef has become very tender, and you have magically prepared everything else you need including the mashed potatoes. So now you just have to get the gravy ready.
  8. Remove the beef from the pan and place in another lidded dish to keep warm. Strain all the vegetables from the pan and save the liquid to make the sauce. Place the pan back on medium heat and whisk the 2 tablespoons of flour into 1/4 cup of water. Add to the warm pan, whisking until it is smooth. Add the reserved pan juices and bring to a boil to thicken them a bit.
  9. Enjoy the beef with the mashed potatoes and sauce, and hopefully some nice veggies on the side. Oh, and a glass of red wine! Enjoy!

Shortbread Cookies

shortbread - trustinkimThank you Tante Betty for sharing your amazing shortbread recipe with me!

I have made a few shortbread recipes over the years, but none were ever good enough to post on my blog. I finally asked my Tante Betty if she would share her recipe with me, and she was kind enough to send it.

Apparently there are two camps in the shortbread game. Some people feel strongly that just three ingredients make the best shortbread: butter, sugar and flour. The others prefer to also include cornstarch. I’m sure they’re all great, but to me this recipe with three ingredients (well, two types of sugar) makes the best traditional shortbread.

The only change I made to Tante Betty’s recipe was to cut the recipe in half. I want to make a few different kinds of cookies in smaller batches, so I decided to halve a lot of the recipes. Feel free to double the recipe to make the full four dozen. 

One caveat with this recipe: when cutting the cookies into your desired shapes, stick to a cookie cutter that is not too intricate. I tried making some awesome reindeer cookies, but they broke apart when I tried to put them on the cookie sheet.

So, here’s the recipe:

What you need:

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

What you do:

  1. Prepare baking pans by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars with an electric beater. This will take 4-5 minutes to get it nice and fluffy. The sugar should become a lighter colour when you are done.
  3. Add the flour to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. You can do this the before if you want. Just take it out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to roll it out.
  5. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to less than one centimetre thick. Use floured cookie cutters to cut into your desired shapes. Place the cookies onto the cookie sheets.
  7. Bake two pans at a time, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, for about 20 minutes (or less – check at around 15 minutes – they should not become brown). The back of the oven tends to be hotter, so if you flip the pans around they will bake more evenly.
  8. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool. They should be stored in an airtight container, and can be frozen for a few weeks.

shortbread - trustinkim

“Carrot Cake” Bran Muffins

carrot pineapple bran muffins - trustinkim

These moist and delicious muffins are a slight alteration of my previous favourite version.  They still have grated carrots, to give them moisture, and some raisins for a pop of sweetness. For this recipe I’ve chopped up some pineapple instead of apple, which adds to the carrot-cakey flavour. I’ve used pecans here instead of walnuts, and on the top I sprinkled a little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, just for that extra hit of flavour and some crunchiness.

On busy mornings I appreciate having some of these in the freezer. I warm one up a bit and enjoy it with a cup of tea, and it gives me some energy to start my day.

The recipe makes 12 large muffins, or 14-16 smaller muffins.

What you need:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups All-bran Buds cereal
  • 1 & 1/4 cups buttermilk (or add a tablespoon of vinegar to regular milk to make your own)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • 1 pineapple, chopped (canned is fine if you drain the liquid)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a few tablespoons of brown sugar mixed with some cinnamon

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, soak the Bran Buds and raisins in milk for 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a dozen muffin tins with paper liners.
  3. Add the egg, oil and vanilla to the Bran Buds and stir it in. Stir in the grated carrots and pineapple, and at the last minute stir in the nuts.
  4. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet bran mixture until it is just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins; it makes quite large muffins. Sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake immediately for 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes insert a toothpick into the muffin; if it comes out clean, the muffin is done. If not bake for a few more minutes and test again.
  7. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then allow to cool on a rack. You can eat them before they are cooled, but allow them to cool completely before freezing.

Herbed Cheese-Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

herbed cheese stuffed mini peppers - trustinkim

These beauties made a tasty little appetizer. Super easy too.

The type of cheese and herbs you use is up to you and your taste preferences, or what you’ve got on hand. I used a combination of Tofutti “Better than Cream Cheese” along with some goat cheese, and mixed in some basil and parsley.

These can be made vegan by using cream cheese and parmesan non-dairy substitutes.

What you need:

  • mini bell peppers
  • cheese of your choice: goat cheese, cream cheese, Tofutti “Better than Cream Cheese,” or a combination of cheeses
  • chopped fresh herbs (your choice: basil, oregano, or dill, or…) Green onions are another option
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • parmesan cheese

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Save one pepper to chop up for a garnish. Roast the peppers in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the herbs, soft cheese, salt and pepper, then spread it into the cavity of the peppers. Top them with a bit of parmesan cheese, then pop them in the oven just long enough to heat them up, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chopped pepper and a few herbs. Enjoy!

Turkey Meatballs Marsala with Egg Noodles

turkey meatballs marsala with egg noodles - trustinkim

As soon as I saw this recipe in Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Every Day I knew I would have to make it soon – and I know it will be one of my regular dishes. It’s got that great comfort food feel to it, and it was liked greatly by all the tasters. It smelled so good that I didn’t even take time to get a better photo!

I made a few changes to the recipe: It was written as a chicken recipe, but I used turkey; I find it easier to get good quality ground turkey at my grocery stores, plus in my opinion turkey has a little more flavour. I substituted non-dairy milk and cream since I have a lactose sensitivity. I wrote the recipe up with the option of using a non-dairy butter substitute, but I still used butter because there’s really no substitute for the flavour, and I’m willing to suffer a bit for that goodness. The chicken stock I used is homemade; I store it in the freezer for times like this, because I haven’t found a store-bought stock that tastes nearly as good. For the seasoning, next time I would add the salt and pepper to the sauce at the last minute, rather than before adding the meatballs as the recipe specified. I found that the meatballs contributed to the flavour of the sauce, and it was slightly over-salted. 

This meal serves four, and I served it with some gorgeous tomatoes from my Uncle Arnie’s garden, just with some salt and pepper cracked on top, and a little olive oil if people wanted to drizzle that on. Red wine too! All in all, a super delicious meal!

What you need for the meatballs:

  • 450grams (1 lb) lean ground turkey or chicken (I used turkey)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the onion
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk or water
  • freshly ground black pepper

What you need for the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala, sherry, or Madeira (I used Gonzalez Byass Oloroso Nutty Solera sherry)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 3/4 c chicken stock or broth (I used my homemade stock)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (I used Silk Coconut Coffee Cream – doesn’t taste like coconut)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you need for the noodles:

  • 340 grams (12 ounces) wide egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoons butter 
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh chives

What you do:

  1. To make the meatballs, begin by heating a large frying pan and adding half the olive oil and butter. Once that is hot, add the minced onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes; the onions should become a deep golden brown when they are done. Remove them from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Put all the meatball ingredients in a bowl, including the cooled onions, and stir to combine, not overmixing. Using wet hands, form the meatballs using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Place them on a plate.
  3. Using the same frying pan, heat up more of the olive oil and butter, and place the meatballs in the frying pan. Don’t be tempted to turn them until they have sufficiently browned or they will fall apart! Once one side has browned, roll each meatball, and keep doing this until they are browned all over. Place the cooked meatball on a plate – they will not be cooked through; this will happen later. I had to do this step in multiple batches so I that didn’t overcrowd the frying pan.
  4. Now is a good time to start boiling a large pot of water; if it’s ready before you need it, you can always turn it off and bring it back to a boil later.
  5. To make the sauce, add the Marsala/sherry/Madiera to the frying pan and let it boil, scraping all those tasty meatball bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid has almost disappeared. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and allow it to melt before adding the flour. Cook this mixture, while stirring, for one minute. Add the broth slowly, whisking it into the flour the whole time; make sure it boils before adding more. Add the cream, bring it to a simmer, and then add the meatballs. Reduce the heat and let the meatballs simmer for 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Taste the sauce to see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  6. Towards the end of the sauce and meatball cooking time, cook the noodles in the salted water, according the the package instructions. I like to start testing the doneness after 5 minutes of cooking time, to make sure I don’t overcook them. Nobody likes a soggy noodle!
  7. Place the drained noodles in a large serving bowl or platter and toss them with some butter. Pour the meatballs and sauce over the noodles and garnish with the chives.
  8. Enjoy!

Manchego Cheese Appetizer

manchego cheese appetizer - trust in kim

My friend Sarah shared this with me the other day, along with a nice glass of red wine. It’s really simple, just some beautiful cheese with a bit of honey and some hand-ground coffee beans . . .  but it is a gorgeous combination of flavours.

Manchego is a Spanish cheese made with sheep’s milk. It is not a pungent cheese, but it’s got a great flavour. The sweetness of the honey and the bitterness of the coffee beans somehow pair perfectly with this cheese.

Sarah found the recipe in a Jamie Oliver cookbook.

What you need:

  • a wedge of Manchego cheese
  • honey – whatever you have in your house, or something fancy
  • coffee beans (don’t use pre-ground beans)
  • baguette (optional)

What you do:

  1. Remove the cheese from the fridge at least an hour before serving
  2. Use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder to grind the coffee beans finely, then make a little pile of them on a decorative cutting board or plate.
  3. Pour some honey into a small bowl, and place it on the board along with the cheese and coffee grounds.
  4. To serve, cut a slice of cheese, then dip it in the honey, and use your fingers to sprinkle on a little coffee. So delicious!