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February 22, 2012: Grilled Eggplant Soup

February 22, 2012

Just about anyone I know as a friend, has contributed foodstuffs to me during these difficult times, so as I created this recipe from donated foods, it was no wonder that I lapsed into my best Joe Cocker imitation (and by “my best” I mean “the world’s absolute worst!”) singing “With a Little Help From My Friends.” It’s good, sometimes, to live alone and not have to worry about embarrassing anyone. One “Don’t Try This at Home, Kids” caveat: if you are going to try the full spastic genius that is Joe Cocker while making this recipe, you DO risk getting soup all over the kitchen, the computer, pets, etc.

This recipe for Grilled Eggplant Soup has been made possible by the kind contributions of Lisa (udon Noodles, furiake); Carolyn (sesame seeds); Yoshio (wakame,  konbu) and Regan (Mushrooms.) Even if you don’t see yourself credited in this particular recipe, I hope that all my friends see themselves in just about every article of the blog. You are there: between every photo taken, ever step of every recipe, every word written.

Toast at least 4 Tblsp. White Sesame Seeds in a non-stick pan, turning often with a wooden spoon, until a caramel color. Crush well in a mortar and pestle.

Grilled Eggplant: Take a small eggplant and slice into 1/4″ slices. Wash with H2O and salt well. Let sit for at least 20 minutes [to remove the bitterness of the eggplant], wash again, drain and blot on paper towels to dry. On grill pan (or on outside grill) over medium-high heat grill eggplant slices in 2/3rds corn-1/3rd sesame oils. Remove to paper towels.

Vegetarian Dashi:  [a slight variation of my veggie dashi from my article Fox Noodles] Bring 1 Qt. H2O +2 Tblsp. Sal de Mer to a boil. As it approaches boiling add 4 medium-sized dried shiitake mushroom, 2 pieces of 6″ kombu; 1, 6″ piece of each wakame and smoked dusle. When the H2O comes to boil, remove mushrooms and cut in quarters. Return to stock. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain veggies from stock and return to medium heat. Add 2 Tblsp. each mirin and shoyu. Leave cover off and reduce until 1/3rd stock is gone.

Add udon noodles and bring dashi to boil for about 10 minutes. In the final minute add 2 C. baby spinach. Serve dashi,  and spinach in a bowl. Top with grilled eggplant, furiake, and ground sesame seeds.

Fat white udon noodles in a dark veggie stock, crisp purple eggplant and bright green spinach with a smidge of crunchy sesame. Healthy and yuummm!

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