From the monthly archives:

February 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

by Michael on February 28, 2012 · 5 comments

in Main Dishes,Recipes,Vegetarian

Jan and Matt were off shopping early Sunday morning for breakfast goods. Somehow Matt was out of bed early agreed to go to the store at his Mom’s request. This in itself is a miracle.But he was apparently hungry. He came back with eggplant and  he wanted eggplant parmesan right then. But being the evil dad that I am, I made him eat an egg instead.

We love eggplant. The kids will eat it cooked just about anyway I can imagine. And, eggplant Parmesan was what sealed the deal with my bride. It’s the first dish that I made for her. The way to a girl’s heart is also through her stomach.

I used to make a fried eggplant for the dish but decided over time that was just too much effort and too many calories. I gave up the fry for the roast and never looked back – it’s actually better. I always thought that the breading added the weight to the dish, By reducing the moisture in the eggplant, it becomes the major component rather than the flour or breadcrumbs.

Make my basic tomato sauce and add at least two extra cloves of garlic. This is as simple as it gets. This is a perfect amount of food for 4 adults when served with a salad and bread. As my kids become teenagers, I’ll probably have to double the recipe.

 Ingredients:

2 large eggplants
1 batch of basic tomato sauce with extra garlic
¾ pound fresh mozzarella (or whatever you have)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Olive oil.

Directions:

Heat the oven to 400 and put the mozzarella in the freezer.

Make the sauce or reheat if already made.

Peel the eggplant.
Slice in ¼ inch disks. Remember to keep them the same thickness so that they cook at the same rate.
Place the eggplant on a baking sheet(s).
With a basting brush, lightly brush each disk with olive oil.
Lightly salt and pepper the eggplant.
Place in the hot oven for about 20 minutes until they just start to brown.

Remove the cheese from the freezer and slice into 1/8 inch slices.

Brush the bottom of a 9 x 12 glass baking dish with olive oil.
Spread a layer of the eggplant in the dish and cover with a light layer of tomato sauce.
Break up the cheese slices into shreds and cover about 50% of the layer.
Repeat this procedure twice. There should be enough eggplant to get three layers.
On the last layer, cover with about 75% mozzarella and then sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until it stars to brown.
Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.

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Cutting Up a Bell Pepper

by Michael on February 23, 2012 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized

I was watching a neighbor cut up peppers for a vegetable tray and every single slice was a different size and shape. Not to get too food nazi but that is one of the things that is a pet peeve of mine. The ability to cut things up in the same shape and size. Not only can it improve cooking consistency, it just looks better.

I idea around cutting everything up the same size it that they all cook the same way. A 1/2 inch piece of carrot will cook a lot longer than a 1/4 inch piece. It takes more than twice as long. Plus the smaller piece is over cooked.

So here is how I handle peppers as taught by Zeni in a kitchen on little Saint Johns about 20 years ago. Photo shoots sin the morning, catering in the evening.

1) Cut the ends off of the pepper.
2) Trim out the center seed pod.
3) You now have the barrel and the ends.
4) Slice the barrel up into same size strips and or pieces. Then chop off similar size pieces from the ends.

When buying the peppers, try to buy similar sizes and shapes. This was a stumpy little on bat that is all I needed.

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Shrimp with Red Peppers in a Smoked Paprika Sauce

February 22, 2012
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Back to cooking then. Well I wanted to make shrimp gumbo. But when I got home, there was no celery for the trinity of peppers, onions and celery that is the anchor of  creole food. I would have gone back to the store but I was also out of the okra I put up in […]

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Teach Your Children Well

February 13, 2012
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I am always surprised by the look parents give me when I tell them that they should let their kids cook. I am also surprised that they think I am crazy to let my 9 and 12-year-old children have access to the stove, mixer or even a sharp knife. They are always surprised at what […]

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A spoonful of salt helps the sugar go down.

February 7, 2012
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A little salt can help reduce the sugar in your food. The salt “helps” the sugar be sweeter by changing how your tongue works. How? Well, it depends on your point of view. One thought is that the tongue reacts to the added salt so it does not register bitterness. Things like coffee, lemon and chocolate […]

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Roasted Sesame Cauliflower Dip

February 6, 2012
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I always wonder what to do with cauliflower. Cauliflower dip? For some reason it keeps showing up in crisper. So I keep cooking it.  Basically, I don’t like it. I can’t believe it’s related to broccoli. Broccoli’s weird albino cousin that keeps showing at the strangest times. Like Superbowl Sunday. Until I write this statement down, […]

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Grandma Peggy’s Irish Chicken Curry

February 1, 2012

On Thursday, 14 January 2010 at about 5:20 my son asked if I could make Grandma’s chicken curry. We had just had it a month ago at my Mom’s house and he had a need. It’s meatloaf of your dreams good. Mom has been making this for years and her mom for years before that. […]

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