Vegan MoFo 2012: Conquering my cooking fears

Yes, October! For many there’s excitement because fall starts getting into full swing, (though not here in the PNW with its 70-ish degree days and sunny skies – but I’m not complaining) and pumpkin everything is everywhere,  and for others there’s the impending fall activities such as apple picking, cider pressing and obviously – Halloween. But for us vegans, there’s MoFo.

Last year I participated in Vegan MoFo for the first time ever, and I was so happy that I did when the month was over. And this year isn’t very different, all except for the fact that oh yeah, I started grad school last week.

Full-time work and full-time school, plus new school blog and this blog and some semblance of a social life and trying to be a good cat owner = I don’t know, I hope some shreds of sanity?

In light of my new crazy schedule and life, I’m going to have to scale back majorly in terms of MoFo this year. Last year I successfully posted each weekday for the month, making that 20 full posts. Now I just shake my head at the idea of having that much “free” time.

This year, my goal is so low, it’s silly: one post per week, more if I can. One of the greatest things about Vegan MoFo is you can truly do what you want with it and make it your own month. So thankfully, I think I can handle that. I’m hoping there will be some weeks where I find extra time to dedicate to killer posts here, but I’m not counting on it.

For 2012, I have a central theme: cooking the foods that scare me. This was inspired by a few posts from last year’s MoFo, where I successfully cooked both acorn and butternut squashes. There’s still a whole lot of food out there that scares me for a few reasons, a few of which are: because I’ve attempted cooking them before and it came out horribly, because I’ve never cooked it myself, or because I’m just plan scared to try. Also, Halloween, boo, scary? Horrible joke, but I had to try. I often find myself cooking the same things because I know I make them well and they’re delicious, but every once in a while I need to kick myself out of my ruts and find new favorites. That’s what this month is all about for me.

And the first food that scares me for VeganMoFo 2012 is…eggplant!

I love eggplant. I love it in the spicy Indian dish Baigan Bharta, grilled, in creamy baba ghanoush, and any other way it can be prepared. The thing is, I’ve only had these amazing dishes in restaurants, and not in my home. I tried to roast eggplant once, and it was a sad, sad, attempt. Rubbery, dry and not at all appealing, I wouldn’t have fed it to an enemy. Pretty and bearing one of my school’s colors, I figured this vegetable a great place to start.

So tonight, I made the Eggplant-Chickpea Curry from Appetite For Reduction – a book that I love and utilized a ton during last year’s MoFo.

I didn’t remember what it was like to cut into an eggplant (rough, hard to slice through, squishy?), but thankfully the two I picked up from Central Co-op were perfect – not too hard, not too soft, and I sliced through them with ease.

Adding in some of my favorite all-time spices – garam masala, curry, cumin – tomatoes and a few other ingredients, my apartment started to smell pretty wonderful.

Tasting this dish for salt, I called it a success. The eggplant cooked down softly and created a sauce with the tomatoes and veggies. It was the perfect Monday night dinner for us when paired with some brown basmati rice and steamed kale.

Verdict? Eggplant accomplished.

7 Responses to “Vegan MoFo 2012: Conquering my cooking fears”

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  1. Ooh, nice theme! And yes, I hear you with the limited blogging goals. Maybe this is what will finally teach me to write shorter :)

  2. Catherine says:

    Your eggplant looks delicious–well done. =) Brinjal is beloved here in India but not the easiest veggie by far.

    I feel your pain on the cooking front. I categorized myself in the “entertainment” category of MoFo because I too am quite afraid of vegan cooking.

    Can’t wait to read about your other concoctions this month!

  3. I have flat-out disdain for eggplant. I salute you–either that or I’ve lost all respect for you.

  4. Laryssa says:

    Yum!!! Congrats on starting school – you are one busy lady!

  5. Joy Clendening says:

    That’s a good theme! I cooked eggplant for the first time ever last week, also I think the first time I had ever eaten it. I should send you the recipe if you like eggplant, you’d love this stew.

  6. Helen says:

    Oh, man — I need to try that recipe (it fits in my theme too, heh)! I’m a huge, huge eggplant fan, but it is totally intimidating and like that nursery rhyme: when it’s good, it’s very, very good and when it’s bad it’s horrid. Nothing worse than undercooked eggplant. Yours looks like it turned out awesomely, however, so way to conquer fear #1!

  7. Cheers for conquering fears! (Hey, I rhymed!) I’m always terrified of cooking eggplant, too… once made a horrible version of baba that was inedible. :/ This looks mighty tasty!

    Miss you much and can’t wait to see you in, like, 7 months!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

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