As I relayed in my last post, I made a big move last weekend.
In reality I guess it could’ve been bigger. Me, and all my stuff, simply switched neighborhoods in my current city of Philadelphia. But, it was a big upgrade from my last residence — especially in terms of the kitchen.
Without many tears, I said goodbye to slanted linoleum floors. A goodbye to minimal counter space. And a huge audios to my old ’70s-styled kitchen.
Ah. That felt good.
I will miss being steps away from the cheap, bustling, food-filled Italian Market of my former ‘hood. I will miss the park on my old corner. I will miss the 2-block walking distance of my favorite restaurant. I will miss a lot of things.
However, I am happy to report this recent life change feels better than expected. I’m realizing I lived in an entirely too small apartment for two years too many. No regrets though, right? It just means more things to look forward to, and more appreciation for this next change in life.
Anyway, to celebrate the move, I christened my new kitchen not more than a day after putting all the plates I brought with me into its cabinets. It happened to be a Sunday, and in my book, a Sunday not spent adventuring in a new place is then automatically destined to be spent with wooden spoon in hand. After the whole moving process, no trips were in store. So instead, a Sunday afternoon of cooking was planned. I was more than ready to put that new counter space to use.
The first culinary creation of my new house? This one, of course, filled with summer eggplant and a simple pairing of Asian flavors. A little salty – thanks to some soy sauce. Mildly sweet – thank you Hoisin. And of course, needed hints of freshness with the help of my friend, cilantro.
All of these favorite characteristics pair well with eggplant that gets cooked till its creamy, and broccoli that throws back a bit of crispness to this dish. Add some tempeh for a little nutty protein, and place it all over rice, and you’ve got one heck of a meal.
- -2 Tbsp. olive oil
- -1 onion, sliced
- -8 cloves garlic, diced
- -1 red bell pepper, sliced
- -1 med.- lg. eggplant, cut into strips
- -1 package of tempeh, cut into cubes
- -1 tsp. chili pepper flakes
- -2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- -2-3 cups chopped broccoli
- -2 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce
- -1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- -1 1/2 cups brown rice
- -Toasted sesame oil, to drizzle
- -Sesame seeds, to garnish, optional
- -Sriracha, optional
- Add rice and 3 cups of water to a pot. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and let cook 45 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, garlic and pepper, and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in eggplant, and continue to saute for another 5-7 minutes, until eggplant starts to soften.
- To the pan, add tempeh, chili pepper flakes and soy sauce. Continue to cook until eggplant is tender, stirring regularly. Then, add broccoli and Hoisin sauce. Cook 4-6 minutes, until broccoli is tender but still crisp. Stir in cilantro, then remove from heat.
- Divide rice among bowls. Drizzle with sesame oil. Then, top with eggplant/broccoli/tempeh saute. Top with sesame seeds and Sriracha, if using. Serve.