Monthly Archives: June 2011

Banana Biter Biscuits for Tots

  “Where did you go….Maaaaaax?  OH MY! (Max grins –  a very proud moment of autonomy for him) How did you get up there?!?!  Oh dear.  Climbing, now, oh boy.  Well…you are good at climbing.  So there’s the bright side.  That’s fun…on top of teething too.  Well, you’re an official toddler, now aren’t you? Where does the time go?”

That’s me, talking to myself as I chase around Max, now 14 months old.  He’s quite the handful now that he’s at that ‘Curious George’ phase of life.  Figuring everything out (“How does this work?  Can I eat that?  Oooh, shiny!  LET’s GO….RUN! Then I’ll eat stuff off the floor when the mommy lady turns around..and…Oh..I bet I can get up there..that’ll totally freak mom out!”).  It’s funny though, I admit.  It kind of reminds me of me.  I still get distracted by shiny things, so you know…I totally get it.  I’m of like mind with my fourteen month old.    

 You now understand the lack of usual, standard, excessive posting on my part.  Chasing baby means I haven’t had a whole lot of time to write and photograph, etc.  I have however, been spending these last few days perfecting a few recipes for my tiny tots.   Now that I’ve finally used the fruit purees that were in my freezer after he outgrew them, I was cleaning out my pantry and noticed I still had a box of baby oatmeal.  Max was never really a fan of baby food.  He’s a fan of frittatas and specialty pasta with peas.  He’s been on table food since he got his first two teeth and hasn’t really been a fan of the packaged toddler food that Trey once loved. 

Did I mention Max isn’t just teething?  Plain old teething.. I can handle that, no problem.  We’ve been doing teething since he was 6 months old.  But these teeth are different..(insert ominous music here)..his first molars.  Yeah, that’s not very fun at all.  However, these cookie biscuits definitely distract both of us for a few minutes here and there inbetween milk and park and zoo trips and Tylenol and frozen teething treats…these biscuit cookies ‘for baby’ come in very handy in my life.     I started making these when he was about 8 months old, though it took a couple of trials and errors to make them perfect.  They’re very soft by nature.  However, when toasted, they get a very rough crunchy exterior, perfect for teething, while still maintaining a soft interior.

Yep, they’re so tasty that I eat them too.  They’re actually quite delicious, honestly.  I’m not sure that you’d serve them to only adults.  However, I bet if you did, they’d all be asking for the recipe.   They just might be a little off-put if you tell them there is baby cereal in them. 

They’re my son’s favorite “cookie” they’re sweet biscuits flavored with banana, vanilla, peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choice) and nutmeg.  They’re delicious with berries and cream for a quick shortcake.  Packed with vitamins from the cereal, which is always a bonus.  You can use something other than white flour if you’d like.  You can also adjust the sugar level to your liking.  It all depends on how sweet the banana is and how sweet your tot likes things and how you like them to like things  (the moms know what I’m saying, here). 

Banana Biter Biscuits

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 cups baby oatmeal cereal
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1 Tbsp. nut butter (almond, hazelnut, peanut, etc)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar  (adjust to mom’s liking)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking pans with parchment paper.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baby oatmeal, baking powder and baking soda) in a medium bowl and set aside.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt one stick of butter and add in the banana.  Whisk until smooth. Add in one tablespoon of nut-butter (any kind) and the vanilla extract and nutmeg.  Whisk to merge ingredients evenly and remove from heat to cool.  Bring to room temperature and add egg, sugar and cream.  Whip with electric mixer with whisk attachment until light and smooth.  

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three additions, mixing after each addition.      

Place spoonfuls  (large enough to not choke – about 4 inches in diameter) on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake until golden brown (about 25 minutes).

For Teething Toddlers:  I recommend toasting these.  These biscuits are very soft and crumbly and perfect for baby’s just starting table foods.  However if you toast them lightly in the toaster oven, they have a very hard exterior, that’s fabulous for teethers on the go, while still maintaining a soft interior.

Posted in All, Breakfast, Dessert, For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Vegan Family Meals: Review and Giveaway!

 

 

   I have been an ovo-lacto vegetarian since the age of eleven.  I decided one day that I was never eating meat again.  For whatever reason… (my older brother told me where veal came from) I stuck to it.  Here I am almost 20 years later and I still have yet to eat meat.  One time I tried shrimp, but the texture freaked me out.  I never bothered trying to go back to meat again.  I’m not opposed to meat-eating, honestly, as long as it’s done with respect and knowledge.   It’s just a personal choice, for me.

  My boys all eat meat, but in general we’re an “all in moderation” family.  I must say that our rustic and down-home style was not at all ruffled by introducing the recipes from the cookbook “Vegan Family Meals”.  The dishes featured in this cookbook are elegant and classy, yet simple and healthy.  These recipes are perfect for summer as some are rich and decadent without being heavy, others are perfectly light.  

 I can imagine this book will easily transition through fall, particularly with the extensive soup recipes included. Yes, 14 soups if I counted correctly. Fourteen soups?! I love that! Soup is one of my favorite things in the world and one of the first things that I perfected in the kitchen.  Making soup is how I learned contrast and balance of flavor (texture too but not as much as flavor) at its most basic element.  I love soup.  It’s hearty and satisfying without bulk.  Soup can hide vegetables and disguise them for your children, which I love.  Make some bread or biscuits and you have yourself a meal.  Not to mention it (soup in general) freezes amazingly well, which is always handy.   I definitely identified with Ann as she described soup as, “…what your kids will miss when they’re away from home.”  My kids have yet to leave home, but I will always remember the day my son, Trey (now 4 years old – pickiest age ever) sat down with me and asked me for some of what I was having…it was a vegan escarole soup with simple root vegetables in the dead of winter.  He gobbled the whole thing up in a matter of seconds and my jaw dropped and I smiled, staring at him as he guzzled down not one, but two bowls of what I called at the time, “nothing soup”.  I can imagine I’ll be replaying that moment in my head as he grows into a young man and eventually leaves the nest.  Family is in the title and family is at the core and heart of this book, which I love.

As for the men in your life…

  My husband picked up the book and I made a “yep” face at him then smiled and continued cooking.  He sifted through the pages and chose a soup.  I informed him it was ninety degrees in the kitchen.  Then, I saw the picture of the soup and honestly, drooled a little …just to myself. Then…I looked at the soup again later just to read and confirm…it’s a winner.  

My point:  That soup will be made…soon.  

All the recipes are vegan, healthy and family friendly.  You don’t have to be a vegetarian or a vegan to want this book.  It’s practical and helps you introduce a lighter approach to cooking and eating with your family, which I love.  It’s perfect if you’ve toyed with the idea of going vegetarian or vegan or even if you just want to try having one or two meals a week that are meatless.  She (Ann) helps you understand the reason for veganism without preaching or depriving you of indulgence. I am a fan of unpreachiness…she nailed that spot on.  This book educated me on veganism and vegan recipes without shaming me, which I fully respect, acknowledge and appreciate. 

If you’ve never heard of Ann Gentry before, you are missing out!  You can read her blog and her site and find out all about her.  I love that she is a pioneer of healthy, organic, vegan cooking and is aiming her focus on family and home at the moment.    With home cooking on her side, she will be an unstoppable force in the vegan movement, which I admire.   This opportunity to share one of her recipes with you is an honor.   Kale chips.  

Don’t make that face at me.  Yes.  I said “kale chips”.  Here’s why they’re awesome.  They can be eaten as is, or they can be ground into a fine powder….yes I said powder.  A powder that can be sprinkled in just about anything you add salt to.  Mhmmmm.   You know your picky eaters to eat kale?  They do now. It’s fast, simple and easy.  It has three ingredients, not including parchment paper. 

 I must admit that I was skeptical, but these are actually, surprisingly delicious on their own.  I expected I would grind them and then sprinkle them into pizza sauce for my boys  (not to sound like  nay-sayer).  However!  I am now officially converted!  Convenient and an easy way to add more vegetables to your family’s diet (with or without their knowledge).  Amazing. 

   Kale is dark, leafy and packed with good stuff.  When something goes from a leafy green vegetable to a chip…I am a fan.  They taste amazing on their own.  The crispy texture is odd, but addictive.  There’s no weird bitter taste at all, which is what I had expected.  They’re earthy, salty, and deliciously guilt free.    There are several different variations for flavor in the book too.    Absolutely delicious and so child-friendly too. 

Now, the giveaway:

I loved this book so very much that I bought a copy to give to you readers too, you deserve it.  

1.  REQUIRED FOR ENTRY: Comment on this post below for the chance to win

2.  SUGGESTED: Follow this link to Ann Gentry’s site just to check her out for yourself, perhaps leave a comment. 

3.  FOR AN ADDITIONAL ENTRY: If you haven’t already, you can like my facebook page then write in the comments that you already like the page or that you just liked the page.  You’ll get two entries in the giveaway, rather than one. 

  Will end on Wednesday, June 29th at noon.  Any comments made after this time will not be eligible for the giveaway.  I will use a random number generator to choose the winner.  One entry per person unless you “Like” KfS on Facebook for an additional chance to win the book, as stated above.  This giveaway is only for the continental US, sorry guys on the other side of the world.  Maybe when I make it big-time, I can afford that shipping fee, but I just can’t do it today.  Hang in there, though.  If you don’t win, don’t worry, you can buy the book yourself, which I recommend (if you couldn’t tell).  It’s listed on Amazon for a discount at the moment.  I love discounts, don’t you?  Yeah, discounts are groovy. 

  baked kale chips

Adapted from: “Vegan Family Meals” By Ann Gentry

  • 8 ounces Kale
  • 1/4 Tsp.  Sea Salt (fine ground)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

You need parchment paper to cook it on.  I love parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Remove the stems/spine from the leaves and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the kale, sprinkle with sea salt and spread it out on the parchment lined baking sheet. 

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes  

 That’s it.  Not really difficult.  Such a wonderful, healthy treat!  Great for your family and mine.

As one of Babble’s Top 100 food mom bloggers,  I received a wonderful opportunity.  KfS readers, subscribers and clickers voted for me on babble and because of that,  I get to review Ann Gentry’s newest cookbook, “Vegan Family Meals”!   For this,  I am truly thankful to you, my readers.  
Posted in All, Dessert, Dinner, For Kids, Lunch, Vegetarian | Tagged , | 23 Comments

Not Just A Sandwich..

Ok, well…technically it is just a sandwich.  But, this sandwich is my favorite salad on a sandwich and my lunch.  It’s crisp, fresh romaine and english cucumber slices with fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and balsamic cherries.  I had some of that semolina bread I make, on hand.  I lightly toasted the bread for some extra crunch and put a bit of garlic rosemary infused olive oil too for flavor.  Then, I topped it with some shaved parmesan for a salty, rich quality.   The balsamic reduction soaked cherries I admit, are the superstar of the sandwich.  So tangy and sweet.  This sandwich would be nothing…nothing I tell you without them.  Of course, how you choose to make your sandwich is your business.  So, I’ll stay out of it.

Great for a picnic lunch on a beautiful sunny day, like today.

Balsamic Cherries

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh cherries

Directions: Simmer ingredients in small saucepan over medium-low heat until vinegar reduces to a thin syrup-like consistency.  Remove the cherries from vinegar  and drain on a paper towel before dressing the sandwich with the fresh balsamic cherries.

You can use both  the vinegar and cherries if you prefer.

Garlic and Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

  • One clove of garlic, smashed and peeled
  • One fresh sprig of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Simmer ingredients in small saucepan over very low heat until fragrant and delicious.  Remove garlic and rosemary from the olive oil and discard.

My Favorite Salad ..as a sandwich

(Quantities of ingredients are up to you.  Sandwiches are a personal matter.)

    • Semolina bread
  • Garlic and Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Cherries
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Fresh Mozzarella Slices
  • Thin Slices of English/Seedless Cucumber
  • Shaved Parmesan

Toast Bread, lightly.  Make the balsamic cherries. Make the garlic-rosemary infused olive oil (recipes above).

Brush (with a pastry brush) the infused olive oil on both top and bottom of bread.

 Place mozzarella slices and basil on bottom bread.  Top with cucumber slices, balsamic cherries and shaved parmesan.

Summer Blogger Bash:  Link Up!  Hop Around!

Ann Gentry: Vegan Family Meals: Review and Giveaway

Posted in All, Lunch, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes

 

I had the craziest dream the other night.  I normally don’t remember my dreams, but this one was particularly weird.  My dreams are generally pretty boring, about deadlines and people being mad at me because I forgot to do something.  Pretty boring, like I said.

This dream I had the other night though, was oddly action-packed and star-studded.  First of all, I was diffusing a bomb that Chuck Norris had apparently set, though I never saw Chuck Norris and I’m pretty sure that he had some sort of evil bad guy name like Dr. Doomsday or something like that.  Kim Kardashian played his evil side kick.  MacGyver (and Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon) were there, thank goodness, so ..you know…phew!  Then, Tina Fey and I went out for ice cream and she told me I needed to try Cherry Vanilla.

Then we proceeded to eat ice cream.     Weird, right?

So these are inspired by my super weird dream I had the other night.  Did I share too much?

I adapted Thomas Keller’s recipe for cupcakes that he has in Ad Hoc. This is a fusion of his white cupcake and carrot cupcake recipes, then I added cherries (where the carrots would go).

The buttercream is fool-proof.  It’s part buttercream and part whipped cream.  I added cream instead of the standard milk that one would typically add to buttercream to fluff..i..fy  (suuure, that’s a word for ‘put more air into’)  the frosting a bit.

All I know is that they taste darn good and that now I know why I rarely make cupcakes. I eat a scandalous amount of them!  Seriously…zero self control. Next week, I’m making kale chips.

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes

Cherry Cupcakes

 

  • 3 cups cake flour + more for coating cherries
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar + more for coating cherries
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup whole Milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh whole cherries

Preheat the oven to three hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit and line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.   Sift together flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl, stir in the salt and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cinnamon and sugar at medium speed, then increase to medium high-speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add one egg at a time, mixing for one minute after each egg is added. Stop mixing when mixture is pale and thick, which is about 5 minutes, total.  Reduce speed back to medium and add vanilla and one-third the dry ingredients.  Then add half the milk and another third of the dry ingredients. Add the last half of the milk and the last third of the dry ingredients.  Pit and chop cherries into halves. Drop chopped cherries in equal parts flour and sugar to lightly coat and then fold in the cherries, gently. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.  Bake in preheated oven until cake springs back to the touch, about 20 minutes.

Vanilla Butter Cream

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 stick butter (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for spreading consistency (chilled)
  • 2-3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In stand mixer bowl, combine 3 cups confectioners sugar and 1 stick of room temperature butter.  Mix on low.  Add about 1/4 cup cream.  Mix on medium speed and add more cream until it reaches spreading consistency.  Add vanilla and beat for one minute more.  Frosting should be whipped and light.

 

Cake adapted from Thomas Keller, “Ad Hoc At Home”

Posted in Dessert, For Kids, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 31 Comments

Blueberry Pancakes!

 

 

This is not one of my research projects. It’s just pancakes.  You’ve probably made them before.  However, I have a few tips to share with you.

1.  Never chop up your berries.  I know they’re a little bulky, but when they heat in the batter on the pan, and then hit your mouth they burst open with flavor.  If you chop them up you’ll lose all “bursting” potential.

2.  Melted butter.  Don’t be shy.  You know those pancakes you get at that awesome place you love?  Their secret is probably obscene amounts of butter.  No restaurant makes low-fat pancakes.  There’s a reason for that.  Low fat pancakes don’t taste very good.  I’d rather have “just coffee”, than low-fat pancakes.  If you’re not making these every day, use real butter and lots of it.

3.  Don’t let the butter smoke.  This means you either need to clarify the butter first, or use a very low flame when making pancakes.  If making multiple batches of pancakes with unclarified butter, you must cool the pan down between batches.   If the milk solids in the butter start to brown, you won’t have an unblemished product in the end.  Brown butter is good, but should always be intentional.

4.  Smaller and thinner is better, in my opinion.  Not crepes, but thin enough to see lumps of purple berries under the batter.

6.  Powdered sugar and additional berries on top.  I recommend it.

7.  Don’t add the berries to the batter, add them to the pancake. This way, each bite gets at least one berry.  I find that 5 berries to a 4 inch pancake is perfect.

Blueberry Pancakes!

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (plus more for thinning, if needed)
  • 1 stick of butter (half for pan half melted in microwave for batter)
  • 1 cup blueberries (plus more for garnish)
  • Powdered sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder and sugar.  Add the egg, the milk and the melted butter.  Whisk together thoroughly (adding more milk if needed)  while preheating a large pan over medium heat.  Drop remaining butter into preheated pan.  Pour batter on pan.  Using your hands, arrange/drop blueberries into pancake. Flip when pancake starts to bubble.  Remove from heat when golden brown.

 

Posted in All, Breakfast, For Kids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

All Spiced Up: Chicken and Rice

I’ve just started the annual Summer Blogger Bash. If you’d like a permalink to my site, check it out.  Will go until October 1, 2011.  Now, onto the food.   I will share with you today, what I made for dinner yesterday.  Chicken and Rice. Sounds boring, but it’s not.  Here’s a picture.  It looks pretty good, but it tastes even better. 

I researched gazpacho for a few days and decided that my family probably wouldn’t go for the “cold soup” thing.  It’s quite a leap and I can already imagine their response, so I’m going with another angle.  They might accept gazpacho if I were to make it a sauce.  Yes!  And, what if I added the boys’ most favorite food in the world…chicken tenders?  Perhaps..everyone might eat it.  Yes! 

So, this chicken and rice is not boring it at all.  In fact it’s downright exciting, spicy and fresh.  I “fancied it up”  with some spanish, summery, spicy notes, just for you, my wonderful, readers.  To make it vegetarian I just omit the chicken while plating it and I add some cooked lentils with the garnish of roasted peppers and tomatoes, offering a fast vegetarian..no, wait… vegan!  Yes, this is vegan.  I wasn’t even trying to go vegan, but look at me all vegany, today.

 If you come from a blended family like ours, I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian and my family of ravenous boys are all meat eaters, this way of cooking everything separately comes in very handy.  Adjust the heat level to your liking.  My family eats it as it’s written, but if you want to omit some of the spices, I encourage you to do so.  The little ones will need the heat level adjusted if they want to eat the sauce, most likely, unless of course, you have a kid who likes a little kick in their food.  In which case, that’s pretty awesome and I’m a little jealous of you. But, I digress.  I’ll take this one as a complete win. I made one meal and everyone ate it, which is fantastic.  

In fact, the boys and Mike especially raved about it.  That is my ultimate reward.         

Chicken and Rice with Gazpacho Sauce 

For the Gazpacho Sauce:

  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves roasted and then smashed
  • 2 cups chopped, peeled and seeded tomatoes
  • 1 large roasted green pepper (or red or yellow pepper, if you prefer) , seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns freshly ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon piment D’espelette
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note: Roast and prepare all vegetables ahead of time. Roast, peel and rough chop the bell pepper.  Blanch, peel, seed and roughly chop about 6 tomatoes.  And, roast, peel and smash garlic cloves.  Place vegetables in air tight container and place in refrigerator the day before you make this dish, making it a fast and easy option with amazing, well developed, flavor.

To roast veggies:  Turn on the broiler.  Wash tomatoes, chop in half with top removed and place on baking sheet seed side down.  Wash green pepper, slice in half and remove stem and seeds.  Wrap head or cloves of garlic in foil to roast.  Place all veggies on pans (insides down), in preheated broiler and roast for about 6 – 10 minutes or until skin gets blistered.  Remove from heat and place tomatoes and peppers in large, glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the garlic cool in the foil. When cool enough to handle remove skins of everything (tomatoes, peppers and garlic) and give everything a quick, rough, chop.  Place together in air tight container and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before use.

Place medium saucepan over medium-high heat.   Add prepared vegetables to hot pan.  Add salt, pepper, kosher salt black peppercorns (freshly ground), piment D’espelette, cumin.  Stir and taste.  Add red wine vinegar and additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Blend for smooth texture.

 

 

For the Rice:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups white, long grain, rice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, roasted, peeled and smashed (about 1 teaspoon if you roast your garlic in large batches)
  • 1/2  teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  In a large pot on medium high heat add olive oil and rice.  Toast rice, stirring once every 2 minutes or so, for about ten minutes, or until rice is golden brown.  Meanwhile, a separate medium pot, combine vegetable stock, bay leaf and roasted garlic.  Also the cumin and lentils if you’re using them (both are optional) bring the stock mixture to a boil. When rice is toasted and stock has boiled, add stock mixture to toasted rice. Remove bay leaf.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for another 15 -20 minutes and remove from heat leave covered until all the liquid is absorbed.  Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. 

For the Chicken

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon

Directions: In a large air tight container or bag, place refrigerated chicken with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Seal bag and leave it alone, to bring to room temperature.  When chicken is at room temperature, add breadcrumbs and chopped tarragon.  Shake to evenly coat all chicken tenders.

Preheat broiler (for broiler) or grill pan (for stove top method, if you prefer) that has been brushed with extra virgin olive oil.  Place chicken on preheated pan and grill or broil for 5 minutes.  Turn all tenders over and grill for 4 minutes more, or until done (not pink).   

 

For the Garnish: chopped peppers and tomatoes

  • 1 cup chopped, green bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes.
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup cooked lentil beans (optional)

Directions:  Place all ingredients in baking dish and place in preheated broiler or grill pan and cook on high for 8-10 minutes, just to gently roast the vegetables to maximize flavor.

 

Note: Assemble plate with sauce on bottom, then rice and top with chicken. Garnish with additional peppers and tomatoes.

Posted in All, Dinner, For Kids, Lunch, Vegetarian | 10 Comments

Rollatini di Melanzane Parmigiano

 

Eggplant is a tricky bugger of a vegetable.  It has a bit of an attitude problem which needs to be adjusted via salt and rolling-pin beat-down.  I bought this new cookbook that I am in love with and I want to share with you, the only classic eggplant rollatini recipe that I will ever use for the rest of my life.   A bold statement?  Yes, it is.  I mean every word of it.  It’s that good.   I follow this one to the letter, which means it must be good.   Well, ok..I added cheese at the end.  But, still, for me…that’s pretty darn close.  I rarely follow recipes.  I follow this one.  You should too.

All the comforts of home in one amazing recipe.

Rollatini di Melanzane Parmigiano

Adapted from Eggplant Rollatini p. 32  of My new favorite cookbook
“Cooking from the Italians of Newark, New Jersey an Ethnic Experience” by Elizabeth Barone Callahan

(Eggplant Rollatini Parmigiana)

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cups mixed breading – Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and flour (1 cup each)
  • 3 eggs + one more for ricotta mixture (4 eggs altogether)
  • olive oil for frying (as much as necessary)
  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (plus more for garnish)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella (fresh, smoked, if you prefer – which I do)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan for top.

1.  Slice eggplant lengthwise, into 1/2 inch slices and lay on cooling rack placed over paper towels or baking sheet to trap water that will drip from eggplant.

2.  Generously sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of the eggplant and let it rest on the cooling rack for 15 minutes to draw out any excess bitterness (eggplant water is bitter, salt removes water, thereby removing bitterness).

3.  Next, take each slice of eggplant and place between paper towels or clean dish towel.  Using a rolling-pin and pure muscle, squeeze any excess moisture from the eggplant slice, by rolling over it with a rolling-pin.  Place each eggplant slice on a plate.  They’re ready to be breaded.   Repeat this step for all eggplant slices.

4.  Crack three eggs in a bowl and whisk them.  Place dry breadcrumb flour mixture in another bowl.  Drop each eggplant slice in eggs and then in breadcrumb mixture and then place on a “ready to be fried” plate.  Continue to do this for each of the eggplant slices.  Grab cooling rack with more paper towels or baking pan under it.  Place next to stove (for eggplant after frying).

5.  In a large, deep skillet (mine was 12 inches wide and three inches high) place 1 inch of olive oil.  Turn on the heat to medium high.  When oil starts to ripple, drop eggplant slices in the hot, rippling oil one at a time, carefully and slowly (not to splatter or lower oil temperature –  that would be very bad).

6.  Fry eggplant slices on both sides until golden brown (takes about 2 minutes on each side – very fast, so stay close). When eggplant slices are golden, remove from pan and place on cooling rack with paper towels (because some of the oil will drip off while cooling).

7.  Continue to fry in batches until all eggplant slices are done and on cooling rack.  Turn off heat.

8.  In medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta, 1 egg, salt and pepper and parsley.

9.  Prep baking dish (I used a 13 x9) by spooning half the marinara into bottom.

10.  When eggplant is cool enough to handle, place a couple spoonfuls of ricotta mixture on the bottom edge of eggplant slice and wrap and roll the eggplant slice up towards the top around the ricotta mixture.  Place on prepared baking dish.

11.  Repeat previous step (10.) until all slices of eggplant are rolled and in baking dish

12.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top rollatini with remaining marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan (and additional parsley for garnish, if desired).

13. Place rollatini in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden on top.  Let it rest for 10 or 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8.

Posted in All, Dinner, For Kids, Lunch | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments