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Archive for the ‘Vegetable’ Category

eggplantparm

I can count on one hand the number of times Brandon has requested eggplant for dinner…that would be zero. So imagine my shock when last week he said, “We should have eggplant parmesan for dinner sometime soon.” That was all the encouragement I needed. It was on the menu for dinner this week. I was extra lucky because I went to visit my parents last weekend in Atlanta and came home with great looking Japanese eggplant from the Delkalb Farmers Market.

Now, my greatest problem with eggplant paremesan is how unhealthy it is. The breading and eggplant soak up so much oil if you saute it. I decided to make it my mission to make a tasty baked eggplant parmesan. I think it turned out really well. The breading was crispy and the eggplant was cooked perfectly. Also, it didn’t take too long. I skipped the step of double baking (baking the prepared eggplant with the sauce and cheese). Instead I just added the cheese to the top of the eggplant the last few minutes it was baking and heated sauce on the stovetop and spooned it over the eggplant.

I served Brandon’s over pasta but had mine on its own along with a salad. Both serving methods were great!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

2-3 Japanese eggplants or 1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs, whisked together
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs (I used a mixture of regular and panko)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces mozzerella cheese, sliced thinly
2 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

If you’re using Japanese eggplant, cut in half horizontally and then cut each half into 3-4 strips (about 1/4 inch thick). If you’re using traditional eggplant, slice into rounds (about 1/4 inch thick). Place sliced eggplant into a large colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes (eggplant will “weep” some of the water it is holding).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil and placing a wire rack on top. Spray rack with cooking spray.

Heat marinara sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

Wipe salt off of eggplant. Line up three shallow dishes on workspace. Place flour in first dish. Season with salt and pepper. Place eggs and water in second dish. Place bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and shredded parmesan in third dish.

Dredge each eggplant slice in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs. Arrange on prepared baking sheet with rack. Brush tops of each slice with olive oil.

Bake for 15 minutes. Flip eggplant slices and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Eggplant should be tender and easy to pierce. Add cheese to top and continue to bake for about 5 more minutes. If needed, broil cheese for a minute or two to brown.

Remove from oven. Serve over pasta or on its own. Spoon marinara sauce over eggplant slices.

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Caramelized Onions

caramelizedonion

Last Saturday we hosted a baby shower for our friends Cristen and Graham (see the awesome cake I made them in the post below). The theme was a cookout – too bad it was freezing, rainy and ended up snowing three inches the next morning! We decided to stick with the cookout theme and everyone had fun anyway – we just stayed inside except for some of the brave guys who went out to grill the burgers.

I wanted to put a new spin on the burgers so we decided to do fun toppings. We had bacon, caramelized onions, blue cheese, sharp cheddar, pepperjack, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, mustard and ketchup. Everyone loved the “make your own burger bar” and the caramelized onions were a big hit.

These are a staple and I wanted to share my method for no-fail caramelized onions. These will keep in the fridge for a week or so. You can make them ahead of time or make a batch and use them as you need them.

Caramelized Onions
(Recipe source me!)

Ingredients:

White, yellow or sweet onions (as many as you’d like to cook – remember they cook down a ton. Make more than you think you need)
Salt
Sugar
Olive Oil

Directions:

Slice onions thinly. Place in a medium bowl and sprinkle with sugar and salt. Toss and let sit for a little while – anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours.

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan (like Le Creuset) or in a cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until they begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking onions for about 10 to 15 more minutes until they are golden colored. Watch them carefully and stir frequently to prevent burning.

Remove from heat and serve or store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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butternutcurry

I love anything with red curry paste. I also love trying new meatless main dishes. If it weren’t for my meat-loving husband, it’s possible I would be a vegetarian. I try to plan a meat-free dinner at least once a week and I don’t usually eat meat with breakfast or lunch.

I came across this recipe in Gourmet a couple months ago. I have really been getting a lot of inspiration from Gourmet lately. I’ve found that they have a lot of recipes that are possible on a week night and don’t call for too many special/expensive ingredients.

I was really intrigued by this combination – spicy curry and sweet winter squash. I was really excited to try it. While this isn’t something that I would add to the regular rotation, I will definitely be making this one again.

Butternut Squash Curry
(Adapted from Gourmet)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (do not stir), divided (I used light coconut milk and it turned out fine)
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1/3 cup water
5 ounces baby spinach (5 cups packed)
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup salted roasted cashews, chopped
Cooked jasmine or brown rice
Lime slices, for garnish

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté squash with cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet and cook onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk from top of can and cook, stirring, until fat starts to separate and look glossy, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add squash, water, remaining coconut milk and simmer, covered, until squash is tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook, covered, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in fish sauce. Sprinkle with cashews.

Serve over jasmine or brown rice and garnish with lime slices.

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