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sticky teriyaki eggplant w/ herbed cashew + coconut rice


Putting food on the table is an obvious highlight point of the day for someone like myself and no doubt someone like you as well if you find yourself here with frequency (waves hi). Even if it’s just for me, I enjoy the passage of raw product from thought to nourishment, however long it might take. Actually, I enjoy it with a special heightened sense of gratification if I’m cooking for myself. In these stickier and brighter days, the ratio of effort to ultimate pleasurable experience is approached with a touch more consideration though. There is much to do in the long daytime hours of summer and the heat seems to pull at our focus on most days. The vegetables require less effort when they rise up out of our own dirt and we like to cut to the chase as far as meal semblances go anyway. The season is bright, it warms us to the bone, and it provides immensely, but it is also here and gone like a flash of lightning.

I’ve been working on all manners of things with intensity as of late–at the restaurant and on some creative projects. It feels like I’m always frantically jotting something down so that the next step/movement is easier. It keeps me in the realm of the future-possible and I’m all the lighter for it. My love and I have been planning his birthday weekend (oh lordy can’t wait), as well as a very rustic camping trip for the beginning of August and I caught myself uttering something to this effect: “Well yeah, it’ll be your birthday and then there’s a week of stuff, we go to that concert and then we go camping and then summer’s basically over.” And I mean… that isn’t true of southern Ontario as far as actual weather is concerned. September is stunningly beautiful here. But that feeling, the way we carry ourselves with less weight because it all just comes together, it seems to blow over like the intensity of a summer storm. Once in the thick of it, blinding light + black everywhere, and then the quiet of a movement gone.

It seems even more important to feel your feelings and wrap yourself up in what’s happening within arm’s reach.

So in terms of an actual meal and day-to-day living, this means that I’m relying on strong, very flavourful + easy sauces, as well as trusted techniques for more basic foodstuffs. Flicks of the wrist, a few chops and retrievals from the fridge are enough for dinner out of necessity. They have to be. Sauce at the ready, good vegetables, tasty staples and 10 minutes at the grill is the long and short of this particular dish. I had been thinking about homemade teriyaki and some charred-up eggplant for a while, but many recipes for the much-loved sauce are all salty soy and brown sugar (and sometimes starchy filler things). I love salt (like, true love 4 ever kind of love) and sweet things, but I wanted this to be a bit higher vibe with all of the punchy flavour still intact. I consulted a few books and rustled up this balsamic + honey/brown rice syrup-based mix that fills the role pretty wonderfully. Not authentic. Not even concerned. Just tasty. The rice that I serve it with is all herb-flecked with lots of delicious summery add-ins. Lime, chilies, shallots, cashews, scallions, sesames and more importantly, it’s cooked with a knob of coconut oil for that tropical fragrance. This is a strategy I always fall on for lovely brown rice. The aroma is lush and the fat helps to separate the grains a bit. The confetti tangle of garnishes really makes this dish for me.

So just like that, with a scrap of somewhat scattered forethought, dinner is ready in the great outdoors. We’re full, but still vibrant because of it. Hope you’re all savouring these days, staying hydrated and being kind to yourselves and each other. xo


vibed-out teriyaki grilled eggplant w/ herbed cashew coconut rice recipe
serves: 4
notes: Tofu, tempeh, portobellos and any other protein/highly absorbent vegetable you could find would be equally good in place of the eggplant.

teriyaki sauce:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey/brown rice syrup/maple syrup/agave nectar
splash of GF tamari
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
white parts of 2 green onions, roughed up with the back of your knife a bit (save green parts for the rice)
black pepper
1 tsp miso
1 tsp mirin

eggplant + herbed cashew coconut rice ingredients:
2 eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
sea salt
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 slice of fresh ginger
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil + extra for the grill
fat pinch of sea salt
2 cups filtered water
juice of 1 lime
drizzle of grapeseed oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
green parts of 2 green onions, thinly sliced
2-3 sprigs basil, chopped
2 sprigs mint, chopped
1/3 cup toasted cashews + extra for garnish, chopped
small handful black sesame seeds
1 chili, thinly sliced (optional)
more salt + pepper
handful of sprouts/micro greens (optional)

Make the teriyaki sauce: combine all of the sauce ingredients except for the miso and mirin in a smal saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the miso and mirin until the miso is fully dissolved. Set sauce aside to cool.

Place the eggplant slices in a large colander. Season the slices liberally with salt and toss them around to ensure even contact with the salt. Let the eggplant drain in the sink for about 10 minutes. Pour out any excess water and place eggplant slices in a ceramic dish. Cover the eggplant with 1/2 of the teriyaki sauce and allow it to marinate while you prepare the rice.

Place the brown rice, ginger slice, coconut oil, salt and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the rice to a boil and simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Scrape rice into a large bowl and allow to cool for a bit. Once adequately cool, toss the rice with all of the remaining herbed cashew + coconut rice ingredients, reserving some of the herbs, shallots, cashews and seeds for garnish. Check the mix for seasoning and adjust. Set aside.

Preheat your grill to high and brush it with some coconut oil. Place the marinated eggplant slices on the grates. Allow them to develop char, about 3 minutes, and then flip the slices over. Brush the grilled sides with extra teriyaki sauce. Once the other side is charred, flip the slice sover once more and quickly brush the other side with teriyaki sauce. Remove slices from the grill and serve with herbed cashew coconut rice. Garnish with remaining herbs, nuts and sprouts.

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Kathryn10/07/2013 - 4:41 am

Love what you say about savouring these days; this looks like the perfect dish to do just that.

Emma10/07/2013 - 4:50 am

I’m exactly the same- I adore the whole process of putting food on the table, whether it’s just for me or for family and friends. It’s so grounding somehow.
This dish looks spectacular. I love Ottolenghi’s soba noodle dish with teryaki aubergine (eggplant) and mango so am already a fan of aubergine done sweet and sticky style.

Harriet10/07/2013 - 5:32 am

Teriyaki eggplant sounds like just the right thing, and that tricked out rice looks amazing! Mint and basil paired together are so good. Perfect summer meal.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar10/07/2013 - 7:53 am

LOVE this! It screams summer!

Leah10/07/2013 - 9:51 am

Ah — the Canadian approach to summer! So fast to come and go. Each September, no matter how beautiful, is a heartbreaker.

I love coconut rice, but have tended to use coconut milk — I’ll have to try the oil on for size. Thanks for sharing!

Suzanne10/07/2013 - 10:34 am

This looks too good to be true! Can’t wait to try it :)

Kankana10/07/2013 - 1:57 pm

I love pan fried eggplant with plain steamed rice but teriyaki eggplant with coconut rice sounds SO good!

Lauren10/07/2013 - 11:34 pm

I am definitely making this- it looks AMAZING! And so different from any other eggplant recipe that I use.
Thanks for sharing!!
xo,
Lauren

e / dig in hobart11/07/2013 - 1:07 am

i’ve been neglecting brown rice lately for the fluffy healthiness of quinoa. but i’m drawn to your flavoursome way of cooking the rice, and all that green herbiness is very fresh!

Charul @ Tadka Masala11/07/2013 - 1:23 am

Your pictures are oh-so-delicious! Yum!

Chelsea11/07/2013 - 10:34 am

YUM! Pinning this to try later. I love cooking with eggplant and cashews! I just made some vegetable pockets with them. So delicious.

Golubka11/07/2013 - 11:20 am

I love your words about cooking and enjoying the summer. The dish looks delicious, especially as I adore eggplant in every possible prepared way.

Lindsey11/07/2013 - 2:14 pm

I’m really looking forward to trying this teriyaki sauce out. I usually stay away from the store bought kind becasue of the sodium overload, and like you said, the fillers. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Laura!

Kris11/07/2013 - 5:33 pm

I just put a spoon of coconut oil into this evening’s pot of rice. Can’t believe I never thought about this before! Genius.

SouthernSpoonBelle15/07/2013 - 7:34 am

This looks incredible, we have really been loving eggplant right now– putting it in Indian curry, mediterranean fish dishes, anything we can think of. This is being bookmarked for the next bbq meal. Thanks, and happy summer to you!

Stacy15/07/2013 - 10:21 pm

I’m so quick to say something along the lines of what you said to your fellow – rattling off the list of what’s ahead and then the fact that when that’s done, summertime is over. You’re spot on with your reminder to savor it. I think, too, that when we obsess less about the timeline and the quickness of the season, focusing instead on just savoring and enjoying, it doesn’t feel so short after all. Wishing you many bright and simple meals and a deep enjoyment of all of it!

Julia16/07/2013 - 7:21 am

this is SO what i need now!!!! just returned home from a trip east.. where we ate & drank merrily. need to get back to some CLEAN eating. so looking forward to trying this eggplant dish! thanks Laura ;)

kelsey17/07/2013 - 11:20 pm

Things I like, not in order of importance.

a) The phrase “high vibe,” I’ve seen you drop that little number a few times now and I’m a super fan. Going to try it on my friends. Probably not cool enough, but we’ll see how it goes over.

b) I’m relieved you like eggplant. I’m suspicious of people who do not.

c) I’m really enjoying Mark’s instagram. Yes. I’ve taken it to a new level. I noticed all these blog readers following Shaun for some BTS action and I was like AHHHAAA! I know whose boyfriend/life partner I need to cyberstalk.

d) Your respect for sauce. I mean, really. You are a sauce queen, dear. I’m thinking a “Laura’s Own” would be, ahem, a pretty sweet branding “opportunity.” That’s what the PR folks say, at least. ;)

xo

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val01/08/2013 - 4:53 pm

This=delicious, thanks!

Meredith05/08/2013 - 3:33 pm

Just made this for dinner with an organic aubergine (I’m British ;-)) and it was amazing! So easy to make and I think that sauce world work in other recipes like stir fries etc. Lovely to have something different on our plate on a Monday evening! Thank you!

Laura Wright05/08/2013 - 8:16 pm

Hey Meredith! Aubergine does have such a lovely ring to it. Glad you were digging it :)
-L

Amanda Paa (@amanda_paa)06/08/2013 - 9:11 pm

I just made this and we loved it – so hearty and satisfying. I think grilling other vegetables the same would be wonderful as well. Thank you!

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