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The Vegetarian

Make a Hearty Stew Out of Fresh Seasonal Produce

October 15, 1987|DIANA SHAW | Shaw is a free-lance writer in Los Angeles.

Shopping for groceries in Los Angeles after spending six months in the Northeast was like stepping out of a closet into the glaring sun. I'd become so used to lusterless produce that the array of radiant fruits and vegetables at my West Hollywood supermarket was blinding.

Upon my return to Los Angeles, I was overcome by a combination of appetite and avarice. I bought everything and ate everything, including my Seasonal Stew. Serve this stew over couscous or rice and top with yogurt. This is one of the more flavorful ways to make a meal out of this season's produce.

SEASONAL STEW

1 large onion, chopped

1/4 cup oil

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

Cayenne pepper

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

4 new potatoes, quartered

1 head cauliflower, broken into flowerets

1 large eggplant, sliced and quartered

1 bunch collard greens or spinach, washed and torn into bite-size pieces

Couscous

Plain yogurt

Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic and ginger and stir to blend. Add mustard seeds and stir until they pop. Add cumin, paprika and cayenne to taste and stir.

Add tomatoes and cook over medium heat until they break down. Stir in potatoes and cook 5 minutes. Add cauliflower and eggplant, stirring to mix. Continue cooking 3 minutes. Add collard greens and stir with other vegetables to coat.

Transfer to baking dish. Cover with foil and bake in 350-degree oven 20 to 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Serve over Couscous or rice topped with yogurt. Makes 6 servings.

Couscous

1/2 cup couscous

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts

Pour boiling water over couscous. Cover and let stand 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Fluff with fork.

Add raisins and nuts. Fluff with fork again and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Couscous is available in the grain or gourmet food section of most markets and at health food stores.

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