Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year's Resolution #239: Blog More Often

Wow. Two months later, we remember - we have a blog. Not that we completely forgot, but boy has it been easy to just stick a frozen pizza in the oven or go out to eat with the family or with friends. But, we now have high motivation to get back on track with the cooking: our grocery bill has notably risen, and let's just say those splurges on honey roasted peanuts or half-priced Christmas candy haven't helped our figures.
So, in celebration of my (Tamar) immune system shutting down for the second time this winter season, we present to you our first recipe of 2010: a hearty vegetable stew, greatly inspired by a good cook and friend of ours. It's simple, cheap, and - with enough spice - helped clear my sinuses for a heavenly 15 minutes.

Hearty Winter Stew (vegan)
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 eggplant, peeled if not organic (waxy? Yeah, that's from the chemicals) and diced
1 pint mushrooms, cut into mid-sized chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1.5 tsp dried basil
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Generous, but careful, amount of salt and pepper
Some white wine and some olive oil

Heat a large pot over medium heat, and pour two swigs of olive oil around the pan.
Toss in the onion, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and garlic, ensuring that all are coated with the oil; mix in some salt and pepper.
Let the vegetables cook for about 5-7 minutes over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Add in the spices (cumin, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano) and the liquid smoke and stir.
Pour in a little bit of white wine (we only had a tablespoon or two left in our bottle, so alas, that's what went in), turn the heat to high, and let the alcohol cook off for a minute or so.
Add the can of crushed tomatoes, plus about a can's worth of water, depending on what consistency you're going for.
Season with extra salt and pepper, place the bay leaf on top, and cover and let simmer over medium heat for 1 hour.

We ate this with a side of garlic bread - a mixture of Earth Balance and oregano spread on chiabatta bread, baked in the oven for a few minutes, topped with parmesan cheese, and broiled for an additional minute.