It’s more or less accepted that Portland is the Food Cart Capital of the nation, right? Naturally, I get a lot of inspiration from the highly evolved food truck fare around here. My most recent inspiration came from the cart called Gonzo, which specializes in Israeli and Mediterranean street food. Their falafel, made from dried and soaked chickpeas, is by far the best I’ve ever had – and I consider myself at least a casual authority on the matter after eating it from various sources nearly daily during the second trimester of my pregnancy. (I was a tad obsessed.)
So it was the falafel that pulled me in, but another menu item kept me coming back – a cold eggplant salad with a fantastic, mildly smoky slow-roasted flavor. I set out to make it right away, but the thought of keeping a pot on the stove for hours during July temperatures was less appealing, even if the result was a cool salad. Solution: Slow cooker, of course! I tried this two ways: once sauteeing the onion and peppers first and then transferring them to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients, and then a second time just throwing it all together at once. Honestly, the difference was negligible, so I say go with option 2 if you need to save time.
The overall flavor results were terrific – and a good reminder to me to make more regular use of the slow cooker in the summer. Read the rest of this entry →