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Posts tagged ‘eggplant’

Vegetable Lasagna And A Frittata

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Whenever I hear vegetable lasagna I think of that Seinfeld episode when Elaine is on a plane, sitting next to a guy she refers to as “vegetable lasagna” because thats what he ate. That show still makes me laugh. This is not a lasagna in the truest sense of the word, there is no pasta. Instead zucchini and eggplant are layered with ricotta, grated cheese, mozzarella and sauce. This is so good I really don’t miss the pasta, at all. This is me getting back on track, cutting carbs and sugar, trying to eat clean and light. I had some homemade marinara in the freezer, just enough, not having to make sauce made this a quick and easy dinner. This would also be delicious with a béchamel rather than ricotta.

The frittata is a wonderful for any meal, breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea, for lunch/dinner with a salad, it’s a light meal that satisfies. Fritatta is so simple to make and you can add whatever you like to make it your own. I used roasted tomatoes, zucchini and shallot along with taleggio and parmigiana. Please Note, the measurements of my ingredients are not exact. I don’t really measure but they are very close, I’ve gotten pretty good at eyeballing it and am usually really close. You can add more or less cheese depending on your personal taste.

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Eggplant And Zucchini Lasagna (senza la pasta)

Serves 4-6

2 zucchini unpeeled, washed and ends cut off

1 large eggplant

1 1/2 cup ricotta

1 egg

handful flatleaf parsley chopped

1/2 cup grated cheese (I used parmigiana, asiago and romano) for the ricotta mixture

8 oz mozzarella (fresh if possible) sliced thinly or grated

approximately 2 cups marinara sauce

more grated cheese used when layering

Heat oven to 375 degree’s.

Slice the zucchini in approximately 1/4 inch slices and lay on parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, turn and drizzle more so each side is covered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven until the zucchini starts to brown, turning after approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Save the parchment and keep the oven on.

Slice the eggplant with skin on in approximately 1/4 inch thick rounds. Rub or brush olive oil on one side, turn over and rub more olive oil on the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until lightly browned, turn and roast the other side. You want the eggplant and zucchini lightly browned. Removed from oven and set aside. Because eggplant absorbs the oil I recommend using a pastry brush and brush each side with oil to make sure it’s evenly coated.

Mix ricotta with egg, grated cheese, parsley and some salt and pepper.

Slice or grate the mozzarella. Now you are ready to assemble. Spread some of the marinara in the bottom of your baking dish. Layer some of the eggplant, add a few dollops of ricotta, spread as evenly as you can (doesn’t have to be perfect) add some of the mozzarella, grated cheese and a few spoon full of sauce. Next a layer of zucchini and repeat the layering. I used eggplant as the top layer, spread some sauce on top of the eggplant, sprinkle some grated cheese and put mozzarella on top. Bake uncovered on a sheet pan for approximately 45 minutes until browned and bubbly.

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Frittata

Serves 4

1 zucchini unpeeled, cut into thin rounds

1 shallot, sliced

8-10 (approx) small tomatoes, cherry, kumato, zima, whatever you can find that look good sliced in half

olive oil, salt and pepper

8 large eggs

3 tbs sour cream

approx. 1/2 cup grated parmigiana or blend of grateable cheese

approx. 1/3 cup taleggio grated plus a little more to sprinkle on top before baking.

Heat oven to 425 degree’s.

Place tomatoes, zucchini and shallot on parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil lightly coating both sides of zucchini and tomato, season with salt and pepper. Roast until the zucchini and onion are lightly browned and the tomatoes start to caramelize. Approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Add a little olive oil in a non stick skillet (cast iron is great) and heat on medium high heat. Meanwhile beat the eggs with a fork, add the sour cream, and grated cheese (parmigiana and taleggio) season with salt and pepper. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degree’s.

Pour into hot skillet (oven proof) and when you see the egg is starting to set on the edges move the eggs gently (I push towards the center) letting the liquid stream to the fill in where you have moved the eggs that have set. When the egg is cooked about a third of the way add the vegetables and sprinkle with the rest of the taleggio. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, cut the oven off and turn on the broiler. Cook for another 5 (or so) minutes until it’s lightly browned. Remove to serving platter or board and let cool a bit before serving.

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Beef And Eggplant Ragu

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I love a good meaty pasta dish, it’s rich and perfect cold weather fare. This recipe couldn’t be easier, and has a surprise ingredient, eggplant which adds an amazing flavor and texture, it’s similar to a bolognese but not your traditional recipe.  I have posted recipes from Windy before, well, it was a few years ago and I posted her recipe for turkey meatballs in a cream sauce.  She doesn’t have a food blog but I think she should. Her recipes are delicious, nutritious and budget conscience. Whether making this for one or a family (it tastes even better the next day) you should give this recipe a try. You can use whatever type of pasta you like, whether long noodles or a substantial pasta like rigatoni it is wonderful, gnocchi would be great as well.

Beef and eggplant ragu

Serves 4 generously

4 garlic cloves chopped
1 shallot chopped
1/2 small onion (red or yellow)
1 lb 80% Lean ground beef
1 small Eggplant  peeled and cubed
1 28 oz can Tomato Puree
1 cup red wine
Salt
Pepper
3 Bay Leaves
1 tsp sugar (optional)

Dice and sautée garlic, shallots and onion for about 3 min. Add ground beef. Cook until ground beef is browned then add eggplant and cook about 4 min longer. Add canned tomato, wine, salt, pepper, sugar and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for about 20-30 min.
Cook pasta of your choice. I used fettuccine. Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle pecorino Romano on top. Also good with a dollop of ricotta. 😋

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Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

Roasted Eggplant And Tomato Parmigiana

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This is not a traditional eggplant parmigiana, I used what I had a ton of tomatoes and one large eggplant. I usually bread the eggplant and fry it but not this time, it’s a little different. Yesterday I oven roasted 3 baking sheets of tomatoes that I got at the farmers market. I bought an eggplant that I thought I would try to spiralize, it was too big and spongy and the spiralizer didn’t work on it. Cleaning out my freezer I found a small bag of bread crumbs (about 1 cup) that I had made from homemade bread that didn’t get eaten. So if you can see where I’m going I used what I had in the refrigerator and freezer and created a delicious casserole. The eggplant was cut into about 1/4 inch thick slices and roasted in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.  Layer the tomatoes and eggplant with some ricotta and fresh mozzarella and there you have it. This is not really a recipe, I guestimated the amounts, with this type of dish you make it according to taste, it is open to interpretation, if you are watching your fat grams use less cheese or low fat/part skim cheese for example. I made two of them a little individual size for me and a larger one to take to my friends.  You don’t have to make everything at once, the tomatoes were roasted the day before and you can even make the whole thing and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Roasted Eggplant and tomato parmigiana

Made 2 casseroles one larger than the other

Roasted tomatoes (I guess I used about 2 cups of roasted tomatoes approximately)

eggplant (I used one very large eggplant)

1/2 shallot (1 lobe) chopped

1 large clove garlic minced

1 cup breadcrumbs

approximately 1/4 cup grated cheese plus more for the ricotta and casserole

ricotta (about 8 oz)

mozzarella cut into thin slices (I used most of an 8 oz fresh mozzarella)

4-5 basil leaves torn

Heat oven to 375, cut the tomatoes into rounds and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes just until they start to caramelize but are not dried out. Set aside. I made the tomatoes the day before.

Slice eggplant into rounds or quarters about 1/4 inch thick. Place on parchment (brush some oil on parchment sheet) lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 40-45 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil and a little pat of butter in a skillet, mince some garlic and chop 1/2 shallot, cook on medium high heat until softened. Add the bread crumbs and pan toast until golden brown. Spoon into a bowl and cool. Add some (if I had to guess about 2 tbs) grated cheese of your choice, parmigiana, romano, asiago or all of the above and some chopped parsley.

Beat an egg in a mixing bowl, add a little grated cheese and season with salt and pepper, add the ricotta and stir to combine.

Putting it together

I used a small rectangular pyrex and small oval baking dish. Layer some of the roasted tomatoes on the bottom of the pan. Place some of the eggplant on top, sprinkle with a little of the breadcrumbs, spread some of the ricotta on top and then continue to layer adding a few of the torn basil leaves in between each layer. You can make this however you like, my top layer was tomatoes which I sprinkled with a little more bread crumbs, some grated cheese and some mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 40-45 mintues or until bubbly and the cheese on top is lightly browned. Let sit for about 30 minutes to set before serving.

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Khoresht e Bademjan

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This is one of my favorite Persian foods, it’s a pretty broad statement really, because I can say the same thing about so many different Persian recipes but this is one I probably make more than any other, it’s so simple and tasty and although I made it with lamb it can easily be meatless using just the eggplant and it is just as delicious. I will be honest, posting a recipe for Persian Food makes me a bit nervous, mainly because there are some incredibly awesome Persian cooks who follow this blog, Fae and Azita as an example,  I often misspell the names of the dishes and am always insecure about my method or recipe. I did learn to cook Persian food from a friend of mine from Iran,  I also have found that like so many other countries, the recipes and ingredients and methods can vary depending on what city or region you are from.

That said this is my way of making this delicious stew or Khoresht. What really gives it the distinct flavor IMHO is the dried Persian limes. You can add lemon but using the dried limes give the stews a distinct flavor that you cannot replicate using any other ingredient.  I like to serve this with rice made the Persian way see recipe here and yogurt with cucumber, mint and lemon juice.

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Khoresht e Bademjan

Serves 6 depending on serving size

2 lbs lamb stew meat

1 onion chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 onion diced

1 6 oz can tomato paste

2 dried Persian Limes or juice of one lemon

approximately 3 cups water(enough water to cover the meat, eyeball it)

4 small Italian eggplant or 1 regular eggplant peeled (if you like) and cut into rounds.

salt and pepper to taste
Chop the onion, If you can find the dried limes poke holes with the tip of a knife (2-3 slits or holes)
Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan or dutch oven, add chopped onion cook until translucent, add the turmeric. Cook lamb meat until browned. Remove from pan and add the can of tomato paste and cook until paste starts to caramelize approximately 2 minutes. Add lamb back into saucepan, season with  salt and pepper, add the water and the dried limes or lemon juice.
Cook on medium heat for approximately 60-90 minutes or until the meat is fork tender and the.Sauce has thickened While the stew is cooking prepare the eggplant, Slice your eggplant into approximately 1/4 inch thick slices, salt and let sit on paper towels for approximately 30 minutes you will see the eggplant start to sweat.Rinse, pat dry and fry in oil until browned, set on paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil. Alternately you can bypass the frying and roast in the oven, lay eggplant slices on parchment, brush each side with olive oil and bake in 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. After 15 minutes turn each over they should be nicely browned and roast for another 15 minutes.
When stew is done add the eggplant and cook on low for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Khoresht e bademjan,saffron rice,yogurt.cucumber,mint salad

Khoresht e bademjan,saffron rice,yogurt.cucumber,mint salad

 

Uncle Steve’s Sauce, An Interview With Steve Schirripa And a Quick Delicious Meal

Uncle Steve's Sauce

Uncle Steve’s Sauce

I received no monetary compensation for this, I did however get 3 bottles of sauce. I volunteered to do this article and the opinion is 100% my own.

I don’t know about you but I watched every single episode of the Soprano’s up until the very last one. I went through withdrawal after it ended, there was a hole in my Sunday evening TV lineup. If you have watched the show you probably recognize Steve Shirripa aka Bobby Baccalieri, he was married to Janice, Tony’s sister played by Aida Turturro on the show.  A few weeks ago I was shopping at my local Whole Foods and had just gotten my salmon and was browsing and walking with my friend (also named Steve) and I had to do a double take, sitting there in the aisle was Steve Schirripa, he had a table set up with pots of his sauce and some of his entourage was there with him. When I saw him he told me to come over and taste the sauce, besides being star struck I was thrilled to have a taste. I will be honest, I don’t buy bottled sauce, I’m not a snob and I’m all for quick and easy but I really just don’t like the taste of the sauce I have tried. There is nothing wrong with it, really nothing wrong, it’s easy, and after a busy day at work opening a jar of sauce and having a bowl of pasta is a great thing, that is if you can find a jarred sauce you like. Up until that day I had not. I loved how they let you taste the sauce, dip a piece of Italian bread in, that was my favorite thing to do when I lived at home and my Mom made sauce. It immediately brought back very fond memories. Well, it is seriously good. There are three types, Tomato Basil, Marinara and Arrabiata. I bought a jar of the tomato basil which is the one I tasted, now one thing about me is that I am a little shy and become verklempt especially around celebrities so I just walked away thanking him and telling him I am a fan. My friend Steve went up to them and said that I had a blog, they called me over and I told them I would love to blog about his product, they also said Steve would be happy to do an interview and that I could contact them to set it up, I was thrilled. We exchanged cards and I was on my way. Fast forward, life got busy and I remembered I needed to email Steve’s team to set up the interview, I did and they immediately got back to me and asked if they could send me some sauce, the next day I got it. Look at how cute the packaging is and even a wooden spoon is included, you have to love that. Be sure to check out the website also for Uncle Steve’s products!!

So here is my interview with Steve Schirripa.  I really wanted to know more about his company and why he chose to get into the food business. The interview was conducted over the phone, I hope you enjoy I know I did. I have to say I was a bit nervous, he put me at ease and is the nicest most genuine person and really believes in his product. It was such a pleasure talking to him.

1. I know you are a very busy actor and wondered if you could tell us why you decided to segue into the food business.
Steve: My partner Joe Scarppinito had the idea to make the sauce as a tribute to my Mom who had passed away. Joe is an entrepreneur and said to me Lets do sauce!! So we set out to make the best sauce possible, I’ll be honest I don’t eat jarred sauce and we wanted to make a sauce that tastes good. The sauce is so good my wife makes it for me at home.

2.  There are many commercially prepared jarred sauces on the market, what sets your sauce apart from the rest.
Steve: Uncle Steve’s sauce is Organic, Gluten Free, Non GMO and it’s our goal to make the best sauce possible, it’s hard to find a good jarred sauce, with Uncle Steve’s what you see is what you get, you can see the list of ingredients everything is completely natural, no hidden stuff, it’s all good.

3.  I heard that this is your Mother’s recipe, I am sure that her sauce is delicious but that’s a small batch for Sunday supper. How do you maintain the same distinctive and delicious flavor when preparing this for mass production.
Steve: Our sauce is made in small batches and we have good quality control, as a matter of fact we have thrown out an entire batch if it doesn’t meet our standards. We cook the sauce a long time and thats what gives it it’s distinct and authentic flavor.
When I was growing up Mom stayed home and cooked, now days Moms and Dads both work and our goal was not for you to stop making homemade sauce but when you are busy we provide you with the highest quality sauce that actually tastes really good and you can feel good about feeding this to your family.

4.  People from all over the US and world follow my blog, tell us where we can buy your sauce, how many states is it available and what stores?  I met you in Whole Foods Brooklyn and know it’s there, can my friend in Long Island get it at the Whole Foods near her?
Steve: We are in over 2000 stores and are growing every day. It’s amazing really because we have only been in business for a year. If you don’t see Uncle Steve’s sauce in the store go to the website here and put in your zip code we can tell you where to buy but we also have an online shop where you can buy sauce and other Italian specialty items. We are in Whole Foods in the New York area including Long Island and also New Jersey, we are heading to the West Coast, are in Florida, Oregon, Idaho, Rhode Island, Texas, Wisconsin and other states also.

5.  I have to ask,do you stay in touch with fellow cast members from The Soprano’s? I never missed an episode and it’s still my favorite show of all time. Have they tried your sauce? Just curious.
Steve: Yes I stay in touch with fellow cast members, Michael Imperioli, I just had lunch with Lorraine Bracco, Tony Sirico. Michael loves my sauce, he is an incredible cook and actually won a celebrity Chopped.

6.  I see you have an online shop on your site can you tell us about some of the products available online.
Steve: The online shop has the sauce, Gluten Free Pasta, vinegar and soon will have olive oil. You can also get gift baskets.

7. I know you have a Twitter account @unclestevesNY can you tell my followers if there are any other ways to find you on social media (FaceBook, Instagram etc…)
Steve: Yes you can follow on Twitter and Facebook but I am not big at keeping up on Social Media.

8. Do you come from a traditional Italian family where Sunday’s were always dinner at Grandma’s house?  If so, what was your favorite Sunday Dish when you were growing up?
Steve: Yes and I remember the fried meatballs with pignoli and raisins, it was my favorite food and the smell was amazing I can still smell it. I remember we couldn’t eat them until we got home from Church.

Rigatoni With Eggplant And Uncle Steve’s Arrabiata Sauce:

I have been craving eggplant, I thought that it would go nicely with the Arrabiata sauce. I decided to make a quick and easy pasta dish using Uncle Steve’s Arrabbiata sauce, some eggplant and rigatoni, top it with a nice big dollop of ricotta and a generous grating of pecorino romano.  Previously when I bought jarred sauce I had to doctor it, you know what I mean, add some basil, garlic, olive oil, why not just make it from scratch then right? Well this sauce does not need to be doctored, it’s great right out of the jar, I did add a pinch of salt but that doesn’t count really. The meal took less than 30 minutes to make, and was delicious. I cut the eggplant into bite size pieces and roasted in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper after the eggplant was done I added to the sauce that was heating on the stove. when your pasta is done add it to the sauce and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Thats it, a quick delicious meal in no time and this is a product you can feel good about feeding your family. Note: Uncle Steve’s Arrabbiata is spicy, they aren’t kidding, love it!!

The entire meal was done in 30 minutes. Here is what I did:

Wash and cut the eggplant into bite size pieces, pre heat oven to 425 degree’s line a baking sheet with parchment. Spread the eggplant on the parchment, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

While the eggplant is roasting, put your water on for the pasta, salt generously and bring to a full boil. While the pasta is cooking check on the eggplant, remove when it’s lightly browned approximately 20 minutes.

Look at the ingredients, natural, simple and good

Look at the ingredients, natural, simple and good

Get out your saute’ pan and add the sauce and eggplant and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the pasta from the water when al dente (I used a spider utensil) added directly to the sauce, let the pasta cook in the sauce approximately 2 -3 minutes. Serve with ricotta and grated cheese.

A bowl of goodness

A bowl of goodness fresh, natural and delicious!

 

 

 

 

Italian Tapas For Fiesta Friday #32

Caponata

Caponata

Italian tapas, well it’s not really tapas in the truest sense of the word but it certainly can be eaten on small plates and it’s more of a prelude to the actual meal, I thought caponata, some good cheese and bread would be a nice addition to the party this week. Caponata is a Sicilian dish which is used as a side dish or condiment. I can remember my Mother serving on toasted Italian bread as a starter or appetizer. This is my version of my Mothers recipe, its less sweet and the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape.

Angie@The Novice Gardener is hosting this weeks event, she is always there for us and our co host is Hilda@along the grapevine. I hope everyone enjoys a little bit of Italy or Sicily. Buon Appetito!

Caponata

4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on. (Or use 1 large eggplant)

1 Medium size onion chopped

2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 Red bell pepper de seeded and chopped

4 Fresh tomato’s chopped (I used 1 very large heirloom tomato and 1 smaller heirloom)

1/4 cup capers rinsed, rough chop

1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives

2 tsp – 1 tbs organic brown Sugar (add 2 tsp taste and add more if needed)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with parchment brush a little olive oil on each half, both sides, place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don’t let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

Caponata, bread and cheese

Caponata, bread and cheese

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

Roasted Chanterelle’s, Baby Eggplant And Shallots

Ready to Roast

Ready to Roast

The other night I went to visit a very good friend of mine, her little pug had just had surgery and I wanted to visit and see how she was doing. When you go to the hospital to visit a sick friend you usually bring flowers, for this sweet little pug I brought a piece of pork tenderloin, she was happy with that.

While visiting they asked me if I would like some mushrooms and eggplant, they are friends with a Long Island Farmer and were given a windfall of delicious fresh chanterelle mushrooms and baby purple eggplant. Of course I said YES thank you!!

The mushrooms are beautiful and fresh and the eggplant is tiny, a couple of bites and you are done with it. I decided to oven roast, we all know oven roasting adds so much flavor to just about anything. So quickly cleaned the mushrooms removed the stems (kept them for stock) and eggplant, cut the little eggplant in half lengthwise, tossed in some olive oil, sprinkled on sea salt and generously peppered, added garlic cloves, shallots and some thyme sprigs. Baked in a 400 degree oven for 20  minutes stirring occasionally, remove from oven, cover with foil turn off the oven and put them back in, let sit for 15 minutes,  et voila!

I already have an idea of how I will use these lovely roasted beauties. Stay tuned!!

Roasted

Roasted

Caponata and Tomato Balsamic Jam

Caponata is a Sicilian dish which is used as a side dish or condiment. I can remember my Mother serving on toasted Italian bread as a starter or appetizer. This is my version of my Mothers recipe, its less sweet and the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape. It makes a wonderful sandwich with a sharp cheese, like aged provolone. I used peppadew peppers but you can use a red bell pepper instead, my Mother also sauteed the eggplant but I like to brush with olive oil and roast in the oven. I suggest having this on a thick slice of rustic Italian bread from the Solitary Cook. Tomato balsamic Jam is so simple to make and absolutely delicious. All you need are good tomatoes, olive oil, shallot or onion and balsamic vinegar, and you will have a tomato condiment that can be used in so many dishes. I spread on bread and top with a poached egg, or make a quick pizza, there are so many uses. Keep in a jar in the fridge it will last for at least a week or more refrigerated.

4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on.

1 Medium size onion chopped

2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

4 Peppadew peppers chopped (If you do not have these use red bell pepper)

1/2 Red bell pepper chopped (if using instead of peppadew increase to 1 cup)

4  Fresh tomato’s peeled and seeds removed, or 1cup canned tomatoes diced or 1 cup tomato balsamic jam

3 tablespoons capers rinsed, rough chop

1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives

2 teaspoons Sugar (add 1 tsp taste and add another if needed)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with aluminum foil brush a little olive oil  on each half, both sides, place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
  2. In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don’t let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,peppers, capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

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2 cups fresh tomatoes cut into pieces

1 shallot minced

1 tps sugar

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to coat pan

Coat your fry pan with olive oil, heat should be med/high. Add shallots and saute until translucent, add tomato, sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cook until tomato starts to caramelize but there should still be some of the juices from the tomato you don’t want it too dry. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook stirring frequently for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat,let cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

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