Hello! I'm sorry more than a whole week has passed since I've posted. Last week I took my re-certification exam in sports dietetics and I have been studying like a mad woman to prepare. It's over now and I won't know the results for several weeks, but my brain power is returning and I'm able to focus on some other normal things.
The wait is worth it as today my student intern, Noor, is bringing you a super delicious Middle-Eastern dish with rich family history. (I know it's tasty because she brought me some to try.) This is a quick, super healthy dinner that uses eggplant. She posted it as proof that there is more to this veggie than just parmesan. We've been talking about writing a series on "Why I eat ...(fill in the blank)" and this is a good way to kick it off. Give this recipe a try and leave Noor some love in the comments if you like it.
Prior to writing this, all I knew about eggplants was they were put on my plate all the time as a kid. I wasn’t allowed to leave the dinner table till I cleared my plate so there was only one route eggplants could take. I’m now discovering, my parents may have had a few reasons behind what seemed like a random selection of vegetable at the time. Eggplants are wonderful.
Contrary to popular belief, eggplants aren’t always purple. They can also be green, white, or striped. I am telling you this for two reasons. 1. I’ve never thought of eggplants as anything other than purple and I’m completely fazed by it. 2. Eggplants are a great way to add color and variety to your plate.
Eggplants are low in calories, fat free and a great source of fiber. This is wonderful for people trying to lose weight, trying to eat more for less calories or people just trying to stay healthy who love eating the maximum amount of food possible(as I do). Eggplants are also a good source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, thiamin, potassium and folate, in addition to many more, all the good things that make your doctor proud.
As a kid, I never understood words like fiber or minerals. But I do now. So thank you Mom and Dad for always making me eat my eggplant.
Remember, anytime you’re consuming you’re consuming vegetables, you’re doing your body a favor. Vegetables contain natural antioxidants and can aid in the prevention of disease.
My adventures in the kitchen go as far as my knowledge of football (not very far at all). I only started baking a few months ago and it was more for the challenge of something new than it was for the product. As it turns out, I do love to bake. I’ve made it a goal to bake one new thing a week (in this process, I am learning there are many ways of making banana bread).
So this was my first experience in the kitchen without the presence of flour. My mother set aside some time to show me how to use a pan and shared her secret recipe (the one that made me magically not hate eggplant as a kid). It's called Mesakaa (try saying that one) and it's a popular eggplant based dish in the Middle East. I ate several variations of this while I was living in Syria but I always go back to my mothers.
1 green pepper
less than 1/2 lb of lean ground beef
2 teaspoons of ground allspice
1 teaspoon of salt
1 can of tomato paste
1. Cut eggplant, green pepper, onion and tomatoes into slices. Keep the slices thin so they cook faster.
2. Put the beef in a saute pan and begin cooking on medium-high heat. Mix in salt and allspice and continue cooking, ensuring the beef is split into small pieces. Once the beef is almost completely cooked, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set it on plate layerd in paper towels to drain.
3. Wipe out saute pan of nearly all the fat and keep it off the stove burner. Layer the eggplant at the bottom, then cover with green peppers and onion. Spread the already cooked meat over it. Top it off with tomatoes.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the tomato paste with half a cup of water and stir. This makes the paste thinner. Then pour in to the pan.
4. Cover the pan, return to burner, and turn heat to high, cooking until it reaches a boil. This should take about 10 minutes.
5. After it has reached a boil, turn the temperature down to low. Simmer, covered on low temperature for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Serves four people. I love eating it with rice.
This is a dish I have grown up on. I hope you enjoy this on your plate as much as I always have. - Noor