Chickpea & Eggplant Kibbeh (with a Humm-ish Dressing)

I shouldn’t even call this a Kibbeh. It’s rather inauthentic, but I share it now because it was delicious. Like, really really good. I’ll admit that before making this dish I had never had Kibbeh, and knew not what it was. Of course, having now done my research, a Kibbeh is typically a non-vegetarian dish. Often something of a pie, or sometimes a bit like a corndog, this is a popular dish in the Arab world. The bulgar provides a nice crunch to the outside, while the inside is a delectable mash with a hint of North African spice (cinnamon, cumin, allspice, etc.). Mine was filled with caramelized onions and sauteed eggplant. 
To start with, I made a sauce for this by blending all of the ingredients for hummus, and then adding some peanut butter and agave syrup. Sounds odd, I’m sure, but it was quite nice.
Humm-ish Dressing

Blend the following until smooth:
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/3 cup tahini
1 tsp garlic powder
Squirt of lemon juice
Dash of salt
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp agave syrup
The dish itself was derived from a recipe I found in the book Vegan Planet, with a few minor adjustments. Instead of pine nuts, which are crucial if you’re going for authenticity but which I didn’t have on hand, I used a combination of walnuts and pistachios. This substitution worked very well. Everything else was done according to the instructions. The recipe makes enough for about 4 servings, which means we get two meals out of it. Now if you’ll excuse me, leftovers are calling.

Slow Cooker Cholent

I love my slow cooker.  There is nothing like coming home after a long work day and being greeted by warm and inviting aromas coming from your kitchen.  Today, this wonderful Jewish stew seemed to fit the bill.  Traditionally, this dish is begun in the slow cooker the evening before the Sabbath (as Jewish law prohibits cooking on the Sabbath), and kept warm until lunch time the next day.  I think of it as Jewish chili.  It is so flavourful and hearty – really stick-to-your-ribs.  It makes great leftovers, too; the flavours continue to meld together and become even more yummy.

…but it doesn’t photograph very well.

Yeah, yeah.  It’s not attractive, but the taste more than makes up for it.

Slow Cooker Cholent

1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
3 red or yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 1/2 cups mixed dried beans (atleast 3 different kinds of beans, lentils or peas), soaked for 8 hours*
1/2 cup bulgur
vegetable bouillion cube
12 ounces dark beer
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoons tarragon
2 teaspoons thyme
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Turn the slow cooker on high and add onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, beans and bulgur.  Add a crumbled boullion cube and enough water to cover beans and vegetables.  Add in the beer, spices, pepper, soy sauce – everything but the salt.  Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours.  Stir in the salt after cooking, and adjust to taste.

* If you use kidney beans, please drain the beans after the soak, put in a pot and cover with water, and boil for atleast 10 minutes.  Kidney beans can be toxic if not prepared properly.

– Crystal