Tag Archives: Fix This

FIX THIS: ROASTED VEGETABLE MOUSSAKA

I am continuing on in the world of eggplant, although maybe it is no longer eggplant season in America.  Meh.  It seems like it is always eggplant season in the Middle East, so if your world is now devoid of glorious purple orbs, give a little sigh and bookmark for next year any future recipes that seem interesting.

I’m not sure I’d recommend this be a recipe you rush to come next August, although I think it has potential.  It’s from a cookbook called Perfect Mediterranean, one of those little cookbooks that probably has companion versions like Perfect Italian and Perfect Asian.  I think this book concentrates very heavily on the north Mediterranean coast, and this moussaka is definitely closer to the Greek versions than any of the Arab versions I have ever had.

We liked this dish okay but I would make a few changes next time.  My main complaint was that the sauce-to-vegetable ratio was way off; you can see from the pictures the difference between my dish and the cookbook.

In the book...

In my kitchen.

The pieces of vegetable were also annoying large to me, so I’d probably go for chunks rather than slices.  I am going to give you the recipe as is but would suggest doubling the sauce.  I also would add more garlic, because I like garlic, but I would add it to the roasting pan halfway through the process, as leaving it the whole time resulted in burnt garlic.  And I might add potatoes, which are often part of the Arab moussaka, to give it a little more substance.  What would you try to improve this dish?

ROASTED VEGETABLE MOUSSAKA

(from Perfect Mediterranean, Parragon 2008)

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced thickly
  • 2 med. zucchini, sliced thickly
  • 2 onions, cut into small wedges
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped coarsely
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ¼ c. strained plain yoghurt
  • 14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes in juice (I used fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 oz. feta cheese

Put the eggplant, zucchini, onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a roasting pan.  Drizzle over the oil, toss together, and then sprinkle over the thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a preheated oven, 425 F/220 C, for 3-35 minutes, turning the pan halfway through the cooking, until golden brown and tender.

Meanwhile, beat together the eggs and yoghurt and season with salt and pepper.  When the vegetables are cooked, reduce the oven temperature to 350 F/180 C.

Put half the vegetables in a layer in a large ovenproof dish.  Spoon over the tomatoes and their juice, then add the remaining vegetables.  Pour over the yoghurt mixture and crumble over the feta cheese.  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown.  Serve hot, warm, or cold.

FIX THIS: POMEGRANATE POUND CAKE

Although my birthday started out in a very American fashion, I had more fusion-oriented ideas for dinner and my cake.  Dinner was scrapped when one of our neighbors offered me a ride to the surprise dinner party Hungry Husband was planning for me (not realizing that it was supposed to be a surprise—poor sad Hungry Husband).  But I was really excited about my cake idea and made it before we left that evening so that it would be waiting for a late-night treat.

Unfortunately, this is one of those thoughts that was better in my imagination than real life, and I’m giving it to you for a challenge.  The primary issue was a lack of flavor, as the pomegranate did not seem to contribute the way I expected.  The seeds also turned weirdly hard and nubby after baking.  What would you change to ramp up the flavor and accentuate the pomegranate-ness?  Any ideas on how to prevent pomegranate seed hardness?  The original recipe follows; leave your suggestions in the comments!

Pomegranate Pound Cake

  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • ¾ c. buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Beat the butter and sugar until well combined.

Add the eggs and egg white, one at a time, to the butter and sugar.  Beat well.

In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, lime, vanilla and baking soda until thoroughly blended.

In another bowl combine the flour and salt.

Alternately add the milk mixture and the flour mixture to the eggs and butter until well blended and without lumps.  Stir in the pomegranate seeds.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.