Friday, January 25, 2013

that's what a dollar can get you

Spicy Eggplant Pizza
Eggplant has been on sale for the past two weeks for $1 each. What a deal! Last night was pizza and last week we had a baked 'n stuffed eggplant Parmesan dish.

1 large eggplant (without dry or bruised skin - look to see if the stem is very dry, if so it was likely picked quite some time ago)
3 tablespoons EVOO (for eggplant broiling)
roughly 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 cup red sauce (I used an Arrabata sauce) 
1 ball whole wheat pizza dough (I used store bought)
flour for dusting
corn meal for under pizza
Cut eggplant into 1/3-inch-thick rounds and sweat in a colander for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle liberally with salt. This will help bring the moisture out of the eggplant. Press pieces of eggplant with paper towel to dry. Arrange in 1 layer on a foil-lined large baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides with oil and season with fresh ground pepper. Broil 2 to 3 inches from heat until golden brown and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Roll out dough on floured surface. Dust hot pizza stone with cornmeal. Assemble pizza (on preheated pizza stone); sauce, eggplant, cheeses. Heat oil in a small skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic and red pepper, stirring, until just fragrant, 30 to 40 seconds. Spoon evenly over eggplant. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until crust is crispy. Serve with salad - so good! 
Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan
1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

1 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Italian)

2 tablespoons EVOO

1 (25 ounce) jar pasta sauce (I used a spicy red)
 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 container Light Garlic & Herb Alouette cheese
Sweat the eggplant as noted above. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix Parmesan cheese with bread crumbs. You need the eggs in a bowl, then breadcrumb mixture next to it. Season eggplant with pepper. Coat eggplant slices with beaten egg, then bread with crumbs. Spread oil on baking sheet and place eggplant slices on it in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes, flip and bake another 10 minutes. Remove all eggplant slices. Lightly Pam an ovenproof baking dish, and spread a bit of sauce on the bottom. Assemble one layer of eggplant. Dollop Alouette cheese on each piece of eggplant and then place another eggplant slice on top. Cover with sauce and top with mozzarela and sprinkle some additional Parmesan.Bake until the cheese melts and turns golden in spots, about 25 minutes. Top with fresh chopped parsley.
 This dish also freezes well and can be reheated slowly in the oven (at about 350 degrees).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

a winter brunch

On Saturday, I volunteered at Salud Cooking School in Whole Foods. We had a delicious menu! Some recipes are here and others will come when I recreate at home.
Smoked Salmon Canape (on a cream cheese spread atop pumpernickel rounds)
Citris & Fennel Salad with Mint
2 pounds fennel bulb
3 to 4 oranges (blood oranges would be great)
1/4 cup EVOO
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons, chopped mint
2 ounces arugula
S&P to taste
Remove the fonds (tops) of the fennel bulbs. Slice bulbs in half, remove cores. Slice into thirds and then slice very thinly. Peel oranges and slice into wedges, removing white pith. Whisk EVOO, juice, S&P - whisk well and add mint. Place fennel slices, orange and arugula in dressing and coat. Assemble on a platter, garnish with more mint and fennel fonds for decoration.
Felt like spring on Saturday - 70 degrees!

Trim asparagus ends, roast in a baking sheet at 425 degrees for about 8 minutes (dot with butter and salt to taste before roasting). Remove asparagus and top with 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese and zest of a lemon. Serve room temperature.
Egg Cups with Prosciutto and Wild Mushrooms
3/4 pound wild mushrooms (bunapi, oyster, shitake, chanterelle), chopped
1/4 cup shallot finely shopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons creme fraiche, sour cream or plain yogurt
12 slices of Prociutto to line tins
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
large eggs
S&P to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sautee shallot in butter and when butter is hot, add mushrooms and cook liquid out (at least 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in tarragon and creme fraiche.
In Pammed cupcake tins (or buttered ramekins), assemble prosciutto in base and sides of cups. Divide mushroom mixture into the cups and crack an egg in each. Bake in middle of oven for about 10-15 minutes, until whites are set but yolks are still runny. Season with S&P and remove to serving platter, garnish with parsley.
Sausage & Stone-Ground Grits Souffle

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NYE 2013

Vance and I had toyed with the idea of going away for New Year's - and after much thinking...we decided to just stay home. relax. do nothing. it was wonderful.
We did (obviously) eat well. For New Year's Eve we had a nice salad to start and then crab cakes, roasted brussels and potatoes rosti
Adpated from Ina Garten's recipe - these crab cakes were delicious.
1 small onion, diced
2-3 small celery stalks, diced
 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 tablespoon capers, drained
few dashes of Tabasco (depending on how much spice you like)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay
1/2 pound lump crabmeat, drained and picked to remove shells
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
S&P to taste
For frying - 3 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup olive oil

Place onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley, capers, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes (cook in a bit of butter and EVOO). Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, break the lump crab meat into small pieces and toss with the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the cooked mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into bite-sized crab cakes.

Heat the butter and olive oil for frying over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the crab cakes and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a 250 degree oven and serve hot with tartar sauce.
Potatoes rosti is a Christmas Eve tradition for the Clark's. It is simple and delicious. Just boil peeled, quartered potatoes, drain and allow to cool for a bit. Shred the potatoes and assemble in Pammed saute pan. Press the shredded potato into the pan and place something on top to act as a weight (typically a small plate with the tea kettle on top). Keep pan on medium-low heat and allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes. Flip the pan onto a plate and slice like a pan. One side golden, one side soft and delicious!
Bing Crosby Cherry Salad
Pit about a cup of fresh cherries and poach in 1/2 cup of Port wine until soft. Reserve wine.  Assemble salad on chilled plates; mixed lettuces, cherries, roasted purple onion, goat cheese, S&P. 
To make the dressing, dice a shallot and in a blender, mix reserved wine, 1/3 cup EVOO, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar. Add S&P to taste.