recipe

The Eggplant Demystified – Health Benefits, Grow Tips & Recipe

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips, Lifestyle, recipe

     The eggplant (aka aubergine) is perhaps one of the most misunderstood foods of all time. The staff at SD Hydro harvested these four gorgeous eggplants at our Bay Park location a few weeks ago. No one really knew what to do with them so I decided to take them home and turn them into a delicious dish.

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables along with tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.  They are extremely high in fiber, magnesium and potassium; making them an excellent choice for a heart healthy diet and for aiding digestion. The skin of the eggplant is especially rich in nasunin, an antioxidant that helps to protect brain cells from becoming damaged.

Eggplants are quite easy to grow; they thrive in conditions similar to those favored by tomatoes. This means they grow top heavy (so a tomato cage may be necessary), need lots of sunlight and a soil that drains water well. In San Diego, eggplants will grow mid spring all the way though until early fall.

Eggplant is a highly versatile cooking ingredient; it can be stuffed, fried, rolled, mashed, baked and who knows what else. The recipe I decided to try is a traditional Georgian dish called Badrijani. Badrijani is usually served as a side dish or appetizer (though from personal experience it is also a tasty late night snack).

Eggplant Rollups

Walnut, Garlic & Pomegranate Eggplant Rolls (Badrijani)

Ingredients:

  • 2 small – medium sized Eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • 1.5 cups Walnuts
  • 1 cup Cilantro
  • 4 Cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs. Pomegranate seeds
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Serves 4 -6

Directions:

1. Cut the tops and the bottoms off the eggplants and cut lengthwise into 1/2″ slices.

2. Fill a bowl with water and add a generous amount of salt. Place the eggplant slices into the salt water mixture and let sit for 30 minutes. This step will draw out bitter flavor from the vegetable.

3. Meanwhile, combine the walnuts, cilantro, garlic and 1 tbs of water into a food processor. The end result should be a paste-like consistency. Add more water if necessary.When the mixture is the proper consistency, fold in the pomegranate seeds. Set aside.

4. Next, remove eggplant slices from water and pat dry with a paper towel. Add 2-3 tbs of olive oil to a frying pan and turn stove to medium heat.

5. After the oil has heated, place the eggplant slices into the frying pan and fry both sides until golden brown. NOTE – the eggplant will absorb the oil very quickly. You will need to continually add oil throughout the frying process. After each slice in done, set aside on a paper towel to cool.

6. When the eggplants pieces have cooled to room temperature, take one and evenly spread the walnut mix onto one side; roll  into a spiral.Repeat this step with each piece of eggplant.

7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

RECIPE: Munchie Bites (gf, raw, vegan)

Lifestyle, Newsletter, recipe

This recipe introduced me to dates and I am in love. They are nature’s candy. So amazing! (And inexpensive-but full of sugar so be careful.) I was overwhelmed by how many different varieties of dates were offered at the store but at  $1.99-3.99 a pack (each container has enough for two batches) I was happy to try a few. I’m certain that any of the dates would work for this recipe-but I noticed the softer and larger dates were easier to de-pit and sweeter so that’s what we used for the recipe. These bars are a sweet treat that are packed with fiber (click here for detailed information about the health benefits of the ingredients we used).

Munchie Bites Recipe
(gf, raw, vegan, energy bars)
*makes 12 bites or 6 snack size bars

1 cup raw cashews (try hazelnut or walnuts!)
½ cup pitted dates (try substituting other dried fruit: cherries, figs or prunes)
1/3 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
2 T chia seeds (bulk spice section of People’s Organic Food Cooperative)
1 T honey (or agave)
1 T hemp seeds (buy in bulk from the coolers at People’s Organic Food Cooperative)
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (bulk section of People’s Organic Food Cooperative)
¼ cup raw pepitas (bulk section of People’s Organic Food Cooperative)

Food Processor or Blender
Parchment paper and hemp twine
9” x 5 “ loaf pan

We bought all the ingredients from People’s Organic Food Cooperative in Ocean Beach but you can get everything from any natural/health food store.

 

1. Blend 1 cup raw cashews (or other nut) in the blender or food processor for 20-30 seconds.

2. Add ½ cup dates (after removing the pits) , 1/3 cup almond butter, 2 T chia seeds, 1 T honey and 1 T hemp seed into the food processor and blend with the cashews until everything is well combined.

3. Line a 8” x 4” or 9” x 5” loaf pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides.

4. Transfer the blended mixture into the loaf pan, using a spoon to press, flatten and smooth it out.

5. Sprinkle and gently press pepitas and coconut into the surface of the bars.

6. Fold the sides of hanging parchment into the loaf pan, use your hands to press down and even out the surface of the bars one last time.

7. Refrigerate 1 hour (or freeze for 20 minutes) before pulling the wax paper lining out of the loaf pan to slice the bars.

8. Wrap each bar in parchment paper (we just re-purposed the sheet we lined the loaf pan with) and secure with a piece of hemp string.

9. Refrigerate the remaining bars.

Energy Dense Super Foods

Glossary, Lifestyle, recipe, Uncategorized

Below is a list of ingredients full of fiber, that if worked into your diet, will add that extra punch of energy you need to be energized all day long. Each ingredient has its own benefits but we used all of them in one awesome energy-packed snack bar. Check out this recipe for our Munchie Bites if you’d like to try them for yourself!

 

 

Dates: for extra energy in thirty minutes eat a date. Rich in vitamins and minerals they have the added benefit of fiber (dates are a solution to both constipation or diarrhea. Versatile!) They do have a lot of sugar in them-which is a great natural sweetener so don’t overdo it.

Chia Seeds: a complete protein that provides energy and a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, good for weight loss, hydration, balancing blood sugar, feeling full and fiber. (also got information from here)

Hemp seed: they carry many of the same benefits of Chia seeds-also being one of the few complete plant based proteins-(meaning it contains all 8 essential amino acids that your body needs to ingest and cannot produce), they contain essential fatty acids and are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Coconut Improves digestion, boosts energy and endurance while killing viruses, bacterium and fungi. It relieves symptoms and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and inflammation.

Cashews Rich in omega-3 fatty acid, raw cashews lower the risk of cardiovascular disease; they have healthy monounsaturated fat which is linked to lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.

Almonds: The protein, folic acid, mono-saturated fats and potassium in almonds aid in a healthy heart, blood pressure regulation and an uncomplicated pregnancy (folic acid reduces risk of birth defects). Almonds also boost energy levels, contains nutrients for brain development and are good for hair and skin.
(caution: those with kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating almonds)

Pepitas: Loaded with essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids, carbohydrates and healthy fatty acids such as Omega-3 which reduce inflammation, while lowering risks of heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Pepitas also produce chemicals associated with improving mood, sleep, anxiety, depression and appetite.