It seems like everyone has some sort of dietary restrictions and/or preferences these days, and finding something that everyone can eat is often fairly difficult.
It’s a serious matter too: an allergy (such as peanut or shellfish allergy) can be life threatening.
A food intolerance is usually a less serious condition - in that it doesn’t involve the immune system - but still, it should never be taken lightly.
A food preference is different though.
Some people don’t like fish. Others eat no meat, egg or dairy. I, for one, am not a big fan of gluten or refined sugars — but I don’t get sick if I eat a slice of pizza or a bagel.
These are personal choices, but they should be respected nonetheless.
I consider myself a tolerant person and what a person does in their own living-quarters has always been entirely their own business.
For instance, I have a vegan friend who gets uncomfortable by the sight of people eating meat. He’s polite enough not to say anything, but I know how he feels.
So when I invite him over, there’s never meat in sight.
That said, I don't always cook 100% to everyone's issues, but I rather make sure that I have a few options everyone can eat.
If I know someone is allergic to nuts, then I won't put them in the salad, but I may pass them around for people to add — that type of thing.
I also do my best to avoid cross contaminating by using the same spoon to stir different foods.
Also, nutrition is one of those fields where there are a lot of strong - most of time conflicting - opinions.
I don’t want to spend a dinner discussing each person’s dietary choices.
When someone brings up the topic, I try to divert the discussion.
People can get very defensive and the conversation may easily get heated; best thing to do is to take the conversation away from that uncomfortable area.
It accommodates vegans, lactose-intolerants, cavemen, food combination dieters, and - more importantly - people who like delicious things.
I always feel a little mischievous when I make it, because I know I have a trick up my sleeve. It looks and tastes it takes a lot of time to make, so it’s fun to see the shock on everyone’s face I reveal that it’s made with few ingredients and it’s super simple.
It is actually so rich and creamy, no one can believe there's no cream or even dairy in it and that it’s completely healthy.
It’s sort of a perfect and delicious recipe, no one has ever complained about it!
1 large eggplant, cubed
3 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (13.5 oz / 400 ml) can full fat coconut milk (I used BPA-free Natural Value)
Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
When it’s sizzling hot, add eggplant cubes and saute’ for about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring every now and then. Once eggplant cubes have browned, transfer them to a plate. Set aside.
Return the skillet to the stove, add remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds, cover with a lid and let them pop for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Lower the heat, and add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Saute’ for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add onion and salt and saute’ for about 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent.
Add tomato paste, coconut milk and garam masala and bring to a boil. Add eggplant cubes and cook for 10 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken.
Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro.
One serving yields 305 calories, 27 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs and 5.5 grams of protein.