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Sunday, August 10, 2008

PCC8 - Plum Squares and Roasted Eggplant with Tofu and Olives

Today I present my entries for Platinum Chef Challenge #8: Plum Squares and Roasted Eggplant with Tofu and Olives. I really enjoyed hosting this round, be sure to look for a wrap up of all the great entries towards the end of the week!

I tried a few different ideas that kind of flopped, and eventually found two great recipes that I was very happy with. The plum squares turned out a little different than I was expecting, but I was really proud of my first attempt at making fruit preserves. They were so good! I chose eggplant as an ingredient because I had never cooked with it before. I had a great time experimenting with it! The final dish came together with great flavor and would be great with either rice (as I served it) or pasta.

Roasted Eggplant with Tofu and Olives

~1 small eggplant
~about 1 tbsp olive oil
~3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
~1/3 cup diced onion
~12 oz firm or extra firm tofu, chopped into cubes
~about 20 kalamata olives, chopped
~1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (I used homemade ones!)
~1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
~1/2 cup white wine
~1/2 cup chicken broth
~1/2 tsp chili powder
~1 tsp dried thyme
~1/2 tsp dried oregano
~1/2 tsp coriander
~pepper to taste
~juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Dice the eggplant into 1" cubes. Place in a colander in the sink and salt well. Let drain for one hour, then rinse the eggplant well and dry by pressing between paper towels. Prepare a pan (jelly roll works fine) with a little olive oil or cooking spray. Place eggplant on pan in a single layer and roast at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until golden.

When eggplant is done, heat olive oil in a large pan. Saute garlic and onions 1-2 minutes, until onion softens. Add tofu, olives, sundried tomatoes, and artichokes to the pan and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add white wine, allow to reduce by half. Add chicken broth and spices, allow to reduce by half, stirring to coat other ingredients. Add eggplant and toss to coat and heat the eggplant through. Add lemon juice, toss to combine. Service over rice or pasta.

Plum Squares
Makes 16 squares

For the plum preserves:
~12oz plums (about 3)
~4oz of cherries (about 10) (or an additional 4 oz plum)
~2 tsp lemon juice
~5 Tbsp sugar
~1/8 cup water
~pinch salt
~1/2 tsp vanilla

For the bottom crust:
~1 1/4 cup flour
~3/4 cup oats
~1/4 cup brown sugar
~1/4 cup white sugar
~1/2 tsp cinnamon
~1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
~1/8 tsp baking soda
~1/8 tsp salt
~8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

For the upper crust:
~1/2 cup oats
~1/2 cup brown sugar
~1/4 cup flour
~1/2 tsp cinnamon
~1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
~4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

To make the plum preserves: Wash and pitt the plums and cherries. Quarter the plums and halve the cherries. Combine with other ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 45 minutes, until fruit is soft. Blend into a puree with a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. Set aside to cool slightly.

To make the squares: Make the bottom crust by combining the flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk to mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, until there are pea sized bits. (Alternately, use a food processor). Press into an 8x8 pan that has been prepared with a baking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the top crust. Combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, until there are pea sized bits. (Alternately, use a food processor).

When the bottom crust is done, spread the plum preserves over the bottom crust. Sprinkle the top crust over the plum preserves. Place back in the oven for 30 minutes more. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut squares once fully cool.


Joelen said...

Wow - both of these recipes look great Stefany! I'm especially digging the eggplant w/tofu & olives :)

That Girl said...

The plum squares look so good and wholesome

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, that eggplant dish looks amazing! TOTALLY up my alley! and the plum squares...well you KNOW I'm a fan! They look incredieble!

Amy said...

Wow...those plum squares are awesome!