Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Food talk

Monday night I made a super yummy curried vegetable stew. I used a recipe from Fitness magazine, but souped it up (hahaha) with even more veggies. Here is my deluxe version (my changes and additions in italics).

Curried Vegetable Stew

1 tablespoon ground cumin (I used more)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used more)
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1¼ cup water (I used half chicken broth for more flavor, would have used broth entirely but I only had a bit)
3 tablespoons olive oil (may not need that much, especially if you have olive oil spray)
½ cup chopped onion (I used about a cup, can't have too many onions!)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (or more)
1 eggplant, diced
1 package of mushrooms, sliced, quartered or halved
1 delicata squash, peeled and diced, or any winter squash of your liking
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 zucchini, diced (I used one green and one yellow)
1 cup green beans, cut into pieces (or more, I used probably double)
1 can no-salt-added corn
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I used the whole can, why waste?)
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (I used about two cups, plus some cherry tomatoes for fun)
Raw spinach

  1. Stir spices, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the water/broth together in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat a little bit of olive oil, about a teaspoon, plus a generous spraying of olive oil spray in a large skillet, cookpot, or Le Creuset French oven over medium heat. Saute the eggplant, stirring frequently, and adding more olive oil spray or a little extra olive oil as needed, until it is a little browned and softened, though not overly well-done. Remove eggplant from pan and set aside.
  3. Add more oil spray and saute mushrooms in the same way; set aside with the eggplant.
  4. To prepare the winter squash, I roasted it in the oven at about 425 (stirring at least once) until it was browned and softened. In retrospect, I don't think the pre-cooking was really necessary, and the squash could probably just be added at the time of the cauliflower.
  5. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet/pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and spice mixture. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute, or until onion begins to soften.
  6. Add cauliflower, zucchini, and green beans; cook 2 minutes. Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water; bring to a boil. (I cooked the cauliflower in this manner for a couple of minutes first, before adding the zucchini and green beans. I would add the squash with the cauliflower if not pre-cooked.) Add the eggplant, mushrooms, and pre-cooked squash at this point also. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender.
  7. Stir in chickpeas, corn, and tomatoes, plus more cilantro if desired; simmer about 5 minutes more. Stir in a few handfuls of spinach until it wilts. (I ended up leaving it all simmering on very low heat for a longer time while I got the toppings together and heated some couscous.)
  8. The delicata squash may dissolve and become indistinguishable, but will still add flavor and some thickening. Don't worry if the liquid seems inadequate when you first add it to the cauliflower; the zucchini and tomatoes will add liquid and create a nice sauce.
Serve with couscous, if desired. (I luckily had leftover couscous from this Barefoot Contessa recipe! But plain couscous would be perfectly fine. The couscous is optional but I think this is best served atop some kind of grain. It also would be good, I think, on a baked potato or sweet potato—maybe I'll try that when I run out of couscous!)

Toppings: I topped with nonfat Greek yoghurt and a little bit of currants, raisins, and chopped cashew. Chutney would be good, and traditional with curry, but I didn't even think of it yesterday...tonight I did add a spoonful. I also topped with some chopped green onion.

The original recipe makes 4 servings with 205 calories each (not including couscous). My enhanced version probably makes 5 or 6 generous servings, and I would guess that the calorie count is not too much more because most of the vegetable additions are very low in calories (eggplant, mushrooms, squash), and just increase the volume so the higher calorie ingredients (garbanzo beans, corn, olive oil) are spread among more servings. I love the addition of eggplant and mushrooms; both add a richness and meatiness that you don't get with just the original vegetables. The toppings don't add too many calories (be generous with the yoghurt and skimpy with the nuts and fruit). With some couscous or other base carb, you have a great healthy meal!

Healthy (and skinny) enough to finish off with some of this!

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