- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tired of turkey? How about creating a lighter, meatless entree to balance out that turkey dinner and all those leftovers. Here’s an idea that can double as an appetizer or a main dish. I’m talking about a large platter of broiled, marinated eggplant, bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, tofu and red onions, arranged artfully with a complex and delightful apple-miso-honey-nut glaze sauce on the side.

These vegetables are always seasonal yet impart an autumnal spirit. The two-step, no-cook glaze requires some pouring, mashing and stirring and little else. No doubt, you are tired of cooking by now.

This great entree takes care of the three most common after-Thanksgiving complaints: lack of cooking enthusiasm, lack of refrigerator space and lack of stomach space.

No problem. If you can find your broiler and know how to turn it on, you’re halfway there. If you can find some great vegetables, which don’t require refrigeration, that takes care of another objection.

This entree is light enough for even weary diners. You might even have room for pumpkin pie.



Make broiled eggplant, portobellos, tofu and red onions a couple of hours ahead of time, if you wish, and leave it at room temperature until serving. This will give you time to retrieve all those leftovers from the fridge to serve too. Or not.

Broiled eggplant, portobellos, tofu and red onions

Shiro miso is a light-colored, mild-flavored variety available at Japanese or Asian groceries.

You can also use a light miso from a natural foods store. You will need to broil the vegetables and tofu in shifts, so start this recipe early. It’s straightforward and uncomplicated, but it does require your attention.

You can easily make a double batch of the glaze if you like a lot of it on the vegetables.

APPLE-MISO-HONEY-NUT GLAZE:

1 cup apple juice

½ cup shiro miso

3 tablespoons cashew or almond nut butter

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon light-colored honey

Crushed red pepper flakes

VEGETABLES AND TOFU:

Nonstick cooking spray for the pan

1 cup (possibly more) vinaigrette dressing, homemade or commercially made Italian or oil and vinegar

2 (1-pound) globe eggplants, unpeeled and sliced ½-inch thick

2 medium-large red onions, cut into sixths lengthwise

3 to 4 medium-sized bell peppers in assorted bright colors, cored and cut in thick strips

4 4-inch portobello mushrooms, quartered

1½ pounds very firm tofu, in 2-inch squares, ½-inch thick

To make apple-miso-honey-nut glaze, heat apple juice in a small saucepan until just before boiling. Meanwhile, combine miso, nut butter, garlic and honey in a medium-sized bowl.

Pour in a little of the hot apple juice and mash with a spoon until it becomes a uniform paste. Then slowly stir in remaining juice, mixing with a whisk or small fork until smooth. Add crushed red pepper to taste and set aside.

Preheat boiler to 500 degrees and move oven rack to highest position.

Line a baking tray with foil and spray generously with nonstick spray. Pour about ½ cup of vinaigrette dressing on a large platter and set aside.

Arrange slices of eggplant and chunks of onion in a single layer on the tray and broil on each side for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fork-tender and nicely browned. When eggplant and onion are done, transfer directly to dressing on platter, then sprinkle a little additional dressing on top.

Continue broiling the eggplant and onion until all are done, then begin broiling bell peppers and portobello quarters in shifts, as needed. (Same procedure.

You can decide when they’re done.) You might need to change the foil and reapply nonstick spray if it becomes too blackened.

Transfer broiled peppers and portobellos to the same platter, arranging them artfully, and dress them lightly with a few additional tablespoons of vinaigrette.

Broil tofu for about 10 minutes or longer on each side, until golden and moderately crisp.

Transfer to platter and dress with vinaigrette as was done with vegetables.

Serve everything at room temperature with apple-miso-honey-nut glaze in a small bowl for spreading or spooning alongside or on top. Makes 10 or more servings.

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