Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Normally reluctant when it comes to preparing vegetables I gave up in my early teens. Eggplant was just never one of those vegetables that fared well with my palette, but these days I’m all about giving certain foods a second chance, and this time, I’m so glad I did. This hearty eggplant is a healthy take on the usual comfort food, and its ability to absorb the savory flavors of the sauce make it quite ideal. Turns out this fruit layered between some non-fat ricotta, mozzarella, homemade sauce, and a few layers of pasta isn’t so bad after all, especially when paired with a glass of dry red.
Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Lasagna
adapted from Saveur Magazine, Serves 6-8
1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
1 shallot, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, and some for garnish
1 tbsp. chopped oregano
1/2 tbsp. chopped thyme
1/2 tbsp. chopped rosemary
1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 cups whole canned tomatoes, crushed
9 sheets of lasagna noodles
1/2 cups grated parmesan
3 cups low-fat mozzarella
16 ounce non-fat ricotta
Grease a 9″x 13″ baking pan with 1 tbsp. butter. Cover dried tomatoes with 1 cup boiling water; soak for 20 minutes. Drain. Chop; set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the eggplant and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden and tender. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with the remaining oil and eggplant. Add dried tomatoes, garlic, parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and tomato paste; cook 3 minutes. Add canned tomatoes. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set sauce aside.
Pre-heat oven at 375˚. Cover the bottom of a a 3 qt. or 6×9 in baking dish with 2 cups of the sauce, creating a thin layer. Then place lasagna noodles over the sauce. This will be the base of your lasagna. Now, begin the layering process. Top the base with 1/4 (4 ounces)of the ricotta, 1/4 of the eggplants, 1/4 (1/2 cup) of the mozzarella, 1/4 of the tomato sauce (doesn’t have to be in that order). Then another layer of noodles. Repeat this process 2-3 more times, finishing the top layer with cheese, and making sure to leave 1/2 an inch at the top to insure that lasagna doesn’t boil over. Bake covered with foil on a baking sheet for 1 hour. Remove foil; raise oven to 500˚. Bake until golden, 15 minutes.
Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan and parsley.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
There aren’t many things that can come between me and my savory snacks, especially those of the spicy variety. And with the holidays just weeks away, I thought I’d share this simple recipe as an alternative snack to the usual cocktail nuts. You can make a large batch of these ahead of time and serve them with the customary flow of holiday cocktails and beers.
adapted from BonApetit Test Kitchen, serves 6-8
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 15-oz. canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained, patted very dry
2 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
Combine paprika and cayenne in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, add chickpeas to skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden and crispy, 15–20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chickpeas to paper towels to drain briefly. Place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle paprika mixture over; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt. Toss with parsley and serve.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
A few weeks ago, Zach took me to The Smith for a romantic meal and some Friday night cocktails. It was one of those memorable nights – the best of company, great conversation,and delicious food and drinks. One of my favorite dishes we tried was the chicken pot pie, and since then I decided I’d try my own rendition. I put together this very simple recipe, adding a little spice (some curry I purchased last year in Thailand). The result was a perfect blend of creamy, with a bold kick.
Curried Chicken Pot Pie
2 chicken breasts
1 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Puff pastry, thawed
Salt and pepper
COOK CHICKEN – Preheat oven at 375. Lightly season chicken with a drizzle of olive oil, 1 tablespoon curry powder, a few (2) pinches of salt and pepper, then place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
PREP FILLING – While chicken is roasting, heat olive oil, garlic, and onions in a saucepan on medium-high for 1 minute. Add vegetables, celery seeds, 1 tablespoon curry powder, and cook for 2 minutes. Drop heat to medium-low, and stir in chicken broth and heavy cream, add flour, and stir for about 2 minutes until thick. Cut roasted chicken into cubes, and place into vegetable mixture, and cook for another minute.
BAKE - Two options - 1) Divide mixture into 4-6 different oven-proof bowls, OR 2) place in one large oven-proof bowl/ skillet (like I did). Cut puff pastry to the size of the bowl, brush rim of bowl with eggwash, place pastry over bowl, then sprinkle a pinch of salt over pastry. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, serve.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I never really experienced the full effects of Fall until I moved to the east coast 4 years ago. Seeing the Fall foliage was one thing, but meeting my boyfriend and going back to his parents’ and tasting east coast Fall flavors, was whole another. Though my own mom always cooks up amazing homemade spreads (seriously, a feast every time I go home), she never served pumpkin pie. So through my lack of trying, I always thought I didn’t like the taste of pumpkin. But after a visit to Zach’s hometown a few years ago where I tried his mom’s home-baked pumpkin pies, I was immediately hooked.
So, since both Zach and I live a good distance away from our families, I put together this little treat to remind him of home, family, and also to celebrate the beginning of his favorite season. And even though we’re (now) both pumpkin-lovers, we would never consume an entire pie, so I broke down a few different recipes and came up with these pie bites, where each bite has a crust (my favorite part), and then I compartmentalized the recipe below so it can be easily stored in the freezer for future use.
Mini Pecan Pumpkin Pies
Makes two dozen
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Easily, one of the most straightforward desserts to make. Prepared this for an afternoon tea session for two, that eventually segued into an evening with wine on the rooftop. If you’re looking to do some last-minute entertaining that’s impressive and mess-free, this recipe is the way to go. Baked in ramekins or a baking dish, and best served topped with a generous serving of fat-free frozen yoghurt.