Friday, August 20, 2010

Awesome Sauce

Have you heard people use the phrase "awesome sauce" before? Sometimes it is used in reference to something cool or awesome. Sometimes it is used for literal food items. Please refer to the Urban Dictionary for several hilarious definitions. Here is their top one today:
Awesome Sauce: A beautifully assonant phrase which can and should be used on any occasion where joy and elation are expressed. the origin of 'awesome sauce' is probably from Strong Bad, although in that case he refers to a cleaning product with the trade name of Awesome Sauce. 'awesome sauce' has been adapted for use both as an exclamation or reserved sign of approval.

chel: i just got a hired at Big Lots.
macgyver: awesome sauce.
My cube mate at work suggests that I am "experiencing an unjustified amount of pleasure" from how funny I think this phrase is, but I digress. I have come across actual awesome sauce thanks to the Vegan Planet cookbook.
Wednesday night I tackled another recipe: Turkish Style Stuffed Eggplant with Walnut Sauce. It came out well, but the sauce was star of the show for sure! It's sweet and balances out the eggplant so nicely. I want to use this sauce in other dishes over and over! My first order of business is to use it with soy crumbles, seitan, tempeh or tofu to make sloppy joe's!! My mouth just watered a little.

Vegan Planet has been on shelves for a while now (followed by several other cookbooks I would love to have), so hopefully the brilliant Robin Robertson will not mind if I post the recipe. If anything, make the sauce. If it doesn't sell you on the book or trying some animal product-free recipes, I don't know what will. One thing that drew me to this recipe was its call for pomegranate juice. Recently the folks at POMWonderful did a little blogger seeding. I was one of the lucky benefactors and was gifted with a case of their 100% pomegranate juice. (I felt famous). They have several recipes on their website as well. I haven't tried any of those yet.

Vegan Planet's Turkish-Style Stuffed Eggplant with Walnut Sauce
2 eggplants, halved lengthwise
3 TB olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 c ground walnuts (I used 2/3 c grounds almonds I had on hand and 1/3 c crushed walnuts)
1 c veggie stock (I used a half cube of veggie boullion)
salt and pepper
2 TB tomato paste
1/4 c brown sugar (I used 1/8 of Splenda Brown Sugar-sweeter than normal sugar so I used less)
1/4 c pomegranate juice (POMWonderful)
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 c cooked basmati rice (I didn't have any so I used 3/4 c Near East Wild Mushroom and Herb Rice Pilaf and 1/4 c whole wheat cous cous-I had them leftover in my fridge-easy peasy)
2 TB minced fresh mint leaves (from my verfy own garden!)
2 TB minced fresh parsley

Bake eggplant face down on an oiled baking sheet (or pizza sheet if you are me and don't have one) at 400 for about 15 min.
When eggplants are cool enough, scoop out the insides, leaving 1/4-in shells intact. Coarsely chop the eggplant flesh and reserve. (My trick to chopping this quickly? I used CLEAN kitchen scissors. You're welcome!)

(Awesome) Sauce:
Heat 1 TB olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add half of the onion, cook until softened. Add turmeric, half of the nuts, stock, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer about 15 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.
In a separate bowl, combine tomato paste, sugar, and juices, and blend well.

Add to sauce and simmer on very low heat.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Saute remaining onion and bell pepper and cook until softened. Add eggplant and salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and combine with rice, remaining nuts, and herbs.
Place eggplant shells in an oiled baking dish and stuff the shells with the mixture. Bake about 15-20 minutes.
Top with walnut (awesome) sauce.
Freak Out. The ground nuts make this so meaty!

Please let me know if you try it!!

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