Saturday, August 28, 2010

This is where the magic happens people


Chris spent so much time renovating this kitchen so that I could have an awesome place to cook and entertain. We're on the CB2 website up for best design. Please click the link and vote for Chris' uber functional and totally awesome renovation of our glorified galley kitchen.




Sunday, August 22, 2010

Homegrown Eggplant | ATK Light Eggplant Parm

Home Grown Eggplant

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is nothing better than grocery shopping in your own back yard. Grabbing three eggplants, some fresh basil, fresh tomatoes and making this.

Light Eggplant Parm

It is a rather involved recipe start to finish, but so amazingly good. I would however suggest that you double the sauce in order to make the dish a little less dry overall. I will also say that I would not limit this recipe to just eggplant, if garden is producing eggplant, zucchini, squash, etc. I would use slices of each of those and make a big vegetarian parmesan dish that would be a knockout for any dinner occasion.

Here's how to do it.
ATK Best Light Recipes | Eggplant Parmesan

2 medium globe eggplants (1 pound each) ends trimmed cut crosswise into 1/3 inch thick rounds
Kosher salt
1 1/2 C panko 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ounce Parmesan cheese grated (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
1/2 unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
ground black pepper
3 large egg whites (I used egg beaters)
1 tbsp water
vegetable oil spray
5 C Quick Tomato Sauce for Eggplant Parm (recipe follows) warmed
8 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese shredded (about 2 C)
2 tbsp minced fresh basil leaves

1. Toss half of the eggplant with 1 tsp salt then place in a large colander set over a bowl. Repeat with the remaining eggplant and 1 more tsp salt, and transfer to the colander with the first batch. let sit until the eggplant releases about 2 tbsp liquid, 30 to 40 minutes. Spread the eggplant slices on a triple thickness of paper towels. Press firmly on each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, and wipe odd the excess salt.
2. Adjust the oven racks to the lower middle and upper middle positions and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the breadcrumbs into a shallow baking dish and let cool slightly; when cool, stir in the 1/2 cup Parmesan. Combine the flour, garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp pepper together into a second shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.
3. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and coat with vegetable spray. Season the eggplant with pepper. Lightly dredge one side of each eggplant slice in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the floured side of the eggplant into the eggwhites and then coat the same side with breadcrumbs. Press on the crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the eggplant, breaded side up on the baking sheets in a single layer.
4. Lightly spray the top of the eggplant slices with the vegetable oil spray. Bake until the top of the eggplant are crisp and golden, about 30 minutes, rotating and switching the backing sheets halfway through.
5. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer in half of the eggplant slices, breaded side up, overlapping the slices to fit. Distribute 1/2 cup of the sauce over the eggplant , sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Layer in the remaining eggplant, breaded side up, and dot with 1 cup of the sauce, leaving the majority of the eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp; sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and the cheese is browned, about 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan.

Quick Tomato Sauce for Eggplant Parm
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
4 medium garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 C minced fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Process the tomatoes with their juices in a food processor until mostly smooth, 15 to 20 pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes. Off the heat stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

Eggplant Parm Nutrition Information: Cal 330; Fat 9g; Sat Fat 4g; Chol 15mg; Carb 40; Protein 22g; Fiber 6g; Sodium 1529mg

Tomato Sauce Nutrition Information: (1/4 cup serving) - Cal 25; Fat 0g; Sat Fat 0g; Chol 0g; Carb 4g; Protein 1g; Fiber 0g; Sodium 220mg

Rating = So Damn Good

PS - If you have left over baked eggplant they make for an awesome eggplant panini melt the next day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tonno e Fagioli (Tuna and Bean Salad)

So, if you have already checked out the new Cooking Channel, then you probably have seen one of there shows, David Rocco's Dolce Vita. I'm in love with this show strictly for the scenery and the easy Italian recipes that he showcases. Chris hates this show because the way they shoot the show, camera wise would give anyone with the most remote inner ear issues vertigo. I tape the show and watch when I have time. Recently I watched an episode where David made Tonno e Fagioli, Tuna and Bean salad. I ran to the pantry, tuna: check, beans: check, fresh herbs in the garden: check. I made it slightly different than he did, in that I didn't use an obscene amount of olive oil in mine and used whatever herbs needed a little cleaning up in the garden, and I used to kinds of beans, not just one. Here's what I did.

Tonno e Fagioli
1(15oz) can Cannellini Beans (drained, rinsed)
1 (15oz) can Garbanzo Beans (drained, rinsed)
2 cans tuna (use whatever you like, dark or light, in oil or in water)
Fresh herbs - I think I used sage, parsley, thyme and rosemary (see how I wouldn't list them in the order the song puts them in)
olive oil (drizzle however much you want to put on to coat the beans and tuna)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for a couple hours. Mmm. This is a great dish to bring to a cookout because there isn't any mayonnaise to worry about, plus its chock full of great protein to make you strong like bull.

Rating = Damn Good

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mango Salsa

I think the thing I miss most about being young now that I'm married, and an adult is that you don't get your own bedroom anymore. Remember when the bedroom was all yours, and you could decorate it however you felt, shake your ass to the radio while singing in front of the mirror, and just spend time in a space completely dedicated to you. There are not too many things I miss about growing up, but that for sure is one of them. Maybe I really don't miss the actual having my own bedroom part, maybe I miss the luxury of spending time in the bedroom, without the strappings of responsibility found throughout the rest of the house. I really only use the bedroom to sleep - remember when it was so much more, it's where your friends hung out, where you did homework, wrote in your journal. I now spend most of my time in the kitchen, and if my younger self could look at me now, I think she'd be amazed that I know where the kitchen is, let alone make creations in it. So, now, I guess the kitchen is my bedroom, it's where I spend most of my time, sing to the radio, spend time with friends. How we change.

Mango Salsa
I got the inspiration for this recipe from Simply Recipes and yes, I used my very own home grown jalapenos and cucumbers in the recipe.

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1 1/2 cup) 
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 JalapeƱo chile, minced (include ribs and seeds for a hotter taste if desired)
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (as always, I always include the zest of the fruit)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot or acidic for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.

Rating = Damn Good