Tag Archives: dinner

Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

29 Sep

Eggplant parmesan is a dish that is a little involved, but by no means difficult. You have to batter and fry the eggplant (I’ve tried skipping this step, and let me tell you from experience that it is there for a reason; you NEED it!) before you layer the dish (like lasagna) which is why it takes longer to make. If you have an extra hour for dinner, though, it is totally worth it. I made marinara from scratch (see my previous post about the Great Tomato Invasion of ’09) but you could just as easily use canned tomatoes, or a jar of pre-made sauce.

You’re basically getting two recipes for the price of one in this post, because I’m going to give you my recipe for marinara sauce. Marinara is a critical component-too little and the whole dish is too dry, but you don’t want too much either or you end up with more of an eggplant sauce than an eggplant parmesan.

In short, do not be afraid of multi-step dishes! They are easy, I swear it. Make this for your Mom the next time she comes over for dinner. She will be so impressed that not only can you cook, but that you eat your veggies. Mothers love that shit.

Eggplant Bit.

1 medium to large eggplant (see picture below)

1 C (ish) breadcrumbs

1 C flour

2-3 eggs

2-4 C of cheese, mozzarella, jack, provolone, one or all three. Whatever you have or prefer.

1-2 C Parmesan

This is an eggplant.

Cut your eggplant into 1/2″ (ish) slices.

Now you’ve got to drain the eggplant (annoying, but necessary) in a colander for 1-2 hours. Layer the eggplant in a strainer, putting a single layer of eggplant, salting the layer, topping it with more eggplant and salting again.

Put something heavy on it and leave it for at least an hour.

While you wait for the eggplant to catch up, make the sauce.

Sauce bit.

I forgot to take picture of the sauce bit, so I hope you will forgive me!

Marinara Sauce:

1.5 – 2 lbs fresh tomatoes

OR

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

OR

1 jar of pre-made pasta sauce

½ medium or 1 small onion, diced

3-5 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt

Splash of dry red wine (you can leave this out if you want)

Ground pepper to taste

¼ tsp sugar

1-1.5 TB fresh basil, sliced, or 2 tsp dry

Olive oil

If you are using fresh tomatoes:

Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. It has to be big enough to contain all of the tomatoes under the water. Take each tomato and cut a shallow X onto the bottom of each. When the water starts boiling, slowly put the tomatoes into the water and allow them to boil for 30 seconds. Allow the tomatoes to cool by plunging them into an ice bath. When they are cool, peel them and squeeze the seeds and juices out. Chop up the rest of the pulp and put aside for now.

Pour 2 TB of olive oil into a pan and heat. Add the onion and the garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the wine and allow it to boil for a minute before adding the tomatoes, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and sugar. If you are using dry basil, add it now. If you have a stick blender or a potato masher, blend the sauce up a bit to give it a thicker consistency. If you don’t have either of these things don’t worry about it.

Your sauce will be kind of thin, especially if you used fresh tomatoes.

Simmer it for at least 20 minutes. The sauce will thicken and should look more like this.

If you are using fresh basil, add it after the sauce has simmered.

Ta da! Marinara sauce.

Put the sauce aside, you are going to use it later when you assemble the parmesan.

Right now (if the time is up on the eggplant draining) you are going to batter and fry your eggplant.

Take out your eggplant slices and line them on paper towels, patting them dry as you go.

Get two wide, shallow bowls and put the eggs in one and the breadcrumbs and flour in the other. Mix up the flour and breadcrumbs and scramble the egg but don’t add anything.

Get a deep frying pan (cast iron is the best but just use what you have) and fill it with 1/2″ of canola (or veggie) oil. Heat the oil over medium-high until it shimmers. Another way to check is if you drop a bit of the breadcrumb mix into the oil it should start to fry immediately and then rise to the surface.

Once the oil is ready, you are going to take an eggplant slice. Dip both sides in the egg, then coat it with the breadcrumb mix and slowly put it in the oil. Fry on both sides for about 45 sec, until it is golden brown. Layer between paper towels to drain (layer of eggplant, layer of paper towels, repeat). You can fry about 2 slices at a time, but not too much more than that. If you over-crowd the pan the temperature of the oil will actually lower and you don’t want that.

Repeat for the rest of the slices.

Preheat the oven to 350˚, and you are going to layer some more! Get a glass baking dish, the one I used was rectangular, I think 10×15.

Put a layer of sauce, layer of eggplant, layer of cheese, layer of parmesan. Repeat until all the ingredients are gone, making sure that you end with a cheese layer.

Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melty and slightly browned on the edges.

Let cool for 15 minutes, then cut and serve.

NOM NOM NOM!

❤ Stef

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The BrokeAss Gourmet Good Vibes Giveaway Post: Recipe: Asparagus with Lemon, Parmesan and Prosciutto and Rolled Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

23 Apr

I am so very, very excited to have won! You can read all about the contest and the prize at both BrokeAss Gourmet and at Good Vibes. OMG!

Anyway, I wanted to write a more detailed post about my submission. So, here you have it! The step by step instructions, pictures included, of how to make my winning 3 course sexy locavore meal! (Well, 2 courses, anyway. The Molten Chocolate Cake has already been published in my blog. You can find the recipe here.)

Oh, and just a quick note, I have the recipes listed here in order of course, but if you actually make all 3 courses you should make the lasagna first, pop it in the oven, then start on the asparagus. If you plan on making dessert, I’d cook the cakes halfway then put them in the oven after you eat the asparagus so that by the time you’re done with dinner, the cakes are ready to go!

Asparagus with Lemon, Prosciutto and Parmesan

Ingredients:
1 small bunch asparagus tips
1/2 lemon
2 thin slices prosciutto, chopped into big pieces
1-2 TB parmesan, to top
salt
pepper
1 tsp olive oil

Cut the very bottom off of the asparagus, but leave whole otherwise.
Cook in a shallow pan with 1″ of water for 3-5 min, just until bright green. This is about what 1″ of water looks like.
This is what they will look like when you need to turn off the heat. Bright green! See the color difference?
Strain the water. Add 1/2 lemon of juice and about 1/4 tsp salt and a few turns of a pepper mill. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, until asparagus is cooked as you like it. (I like mine crisp, so I would cook for about 3 min, but you may like yours more well done.) Remove to a plate. Crisp prosciutto in the pan for about 1 minute. Top the asparagus with the prosciutto, parmesan, cracked pepper, and the olive oil. Serve. Yes, it tastes as good as it looks!

Rolled Lasagna with Bechamel

Ingredients:

Lasagna Rolls:
1/3 C chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 C ricotta
1/2 C jack cheese
1.5 C uncooked chard, leaves and stems
2 oz prosciutto (3 thin slices)
6 lasagna noodles
1 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pepper

Sauce:
1 TB butter
1 C milk
1 TB flour
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
pepper

Rolls:
Set oven to 400. Cook noodles according to package directions, cutting the cook time by about 1/4. We don’t want the noodles to be cooked all the way, because we will be finishing the dish in the oven.
Mix together ricotta, jack cheese, salt and pepper.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. When translucent, add chard and 1/4 C water.
Cook until reduced by half. Add more water throughout cooking if needed. Cut the prosciutto pieces in half lengthwise. When the chard and noodles are done, you’re ready to roll. (Ha!) Lay the noodles on a flat surface.
Divide all ingredients by 6; there should be about 1 TB for each noodle. Smooth 1 TB of cheese, 1 TB chard, and a piece of prosciutto on the noodle.
Gently roll and place in an oiled casserole dish seam
side down.
Make sauce.

Sauce!:
Melt 1 TB butter in a pan. Add 1 TB flour; whisk to make a roux.
Slowly add 1 C milk, allowing ingredients to incorporate before adding more. This is what the sauce will look like when you add the milk.
Then you should whisk to fully incorporate the milk, and it will look like this.
Then add some more milk, and repeat until you’ve added all the milk. When you’ve added all the milk, add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. When adding the nutmeg, remember, a little really does go a long way! Don’t over do it or the sauce will taste like Christmas, which isn’t what we’re going for here. 🙂
Allow sauce to simmer for about 5 min. You want the sauce to be thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
Turn off heat, pour sauce over noodle rolls. Top with parmesan.
Bake for 20 min. After 20 min, turn heat up to broil and bake for another 5 min to brown the top.
Yum! Serve, and enjoy!
I adore lasagna rolls. They feel so much more fancy than normal lasagna, and they are actually really easy (and cheap!) to make.

Thanks again to everyone heading over from BrokeAss Gourmet and Good Vibrations Magazine. If you had any questions about the recipes, please don’t hesitate to email me at sefarros at gmail dot com.

Happy Eating!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Chicken Pho

3 Apr

I am a Pho lover. LOVER. I eat mine with hoisin, basil and lots of lime. I typically get the rare beef stuff when I get it out (because I like my meat to be nearly raw) but I make chicken pho when I’m at home.
This isn’t my recipe, sadly. It is the first one I found when I looked up “Chicken Pho Recipe” on google a few months ago. You can find the original on Food and Wine’s website.
I want to mention a few things about this recipe before I get into all the messy stuff. First, you have to be prepared to spend at least 3 hours on this recipe if you follow the instructions and make the broth from scratch. You don’t have to do it that way, in fact I usually don’t. If you decide that you are lazy, you can use regular chicken broth and simmer it with chopped boneless, skinless chicken, the roasted veggies, salt, and sugar for like 30 – 45 minutes.
Second, if you decide to go all out and make the chicken broth, you will need either a whole chicken or a whole chicken already cut into pieces. If you don’t have very good knife skills, don’t have sharp knives, or are altogether unfamiliar with chopping up whole chickens, I suggest you buy the chicken already in pieces or have your butcher chop it up for you. Eventually I’ll write a blog about knife skills, but until then, I’d prefer if no one loses a finger. Capiche?
Good.
Ingredients:
2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
3 1/2 inch thick slices of ginger, smashed
4 qt water
One 3.5 lb chicken
1 TB salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 C fish sauce (do not be afraid of fish sauce!)
1 lb dried rice noodles
Garnish (all of this stuff is optional):
mung bean sprouts
basil leaves
lime
jalapeno
chili-garlic sauce
hoisin sauce
First quarter the onion and smash the ginger, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, quarter the chicken (if you need to). First remove the chicken insides from the cavity. The chicken insides include the liver, heart, and neck, among other things. There they are, in the bowl in the back!
Now cut the entire chicken in half lengthwise. Yeeeah, raw chicken insides, woo!
Now cut each of these chicken halves in half again. I find it easier to flip them skin side up for this part.
There should be a picture of this, but I forgot and by the time I remembered the chicken was already boiling away. Oops.
Remember to always wash your hands when you handle poultry!
Now we are going to make a chicken insides bundle using cheesecloth and the chicken innards. This will be awesome for the chicken broth. First cut a length of cheesecloth.
Put all of the innards into the middle of the cloth. If you have any frozen innards from previous chickens, use those too. Yes, I save chicken giblets. You should, too.
Wrap the cheesecloth around the innards to make a bundle. I use thread to stitch it up very loosely, but kitchen twine or anything like that would work just as well.
Take the roasted veggies from the oven. Mmmm, don’t they look amazing?
Put all of the veggies, the chicken pieces, the innard and cheesecloth bundle, the salt, the sugar, and the water in a big soup pot and put it on the stove over medium high heat for 30 minutes. The idea is to cook the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the skin and the bones.
Put the skin and the bones back into the pot, and the meat in the refrigerator. Simmer the broth for 2 hours. Strain the broth using a colander and a very big bowl. This bowl was not big enough. I burned my finger. Use a very, very big bowl. And your common sense.
Return the strained broth to the soup pot and set to boil for a further 20 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce. Bubbly bubbly.
While you wait, soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15 minutes. This time may be different, depending on the noodles that you bought, so make sure you read the instructions on the box.
After the noodles are done soaking, drain the water, and add new salted water to the noodles. Bring the noodles to a boil, and then allow them to boil for about 3 minutes. Drain them.

Shred the chicken into the broth and simmer until heated.
Serve by putting a big bunch of noodles into a bowl, and then pouring the broth and the chicken over the noodles. Serve the soup with your choice of condiments listed above.
Yum! The best thing about making this recipe is that you have pho for days. Just make sure not to mix the noodles with the broth when you store it, otherwise the noodles will get all soggy.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Cheese Tortellini with Lemony Chicken and Asparagus

19 Mar

I usually post Fridays, but I am flying to Seattle this evening for an interview with Seattle Pacific University. I didn’t want to deprive you of my culinary genius for a whole 24 hours, so I thought I would just list my recipe early this week. 😉
This recipe is very easy and super delicious. I tend to cook a lot of pastas and soups, for a few reasons.
1. I’m broke.
2. They are easy to make, and require minimal clean up.
3. My boyfriend is much pickier than he would have you believe.
I elected not to use a cream sauce for this dish, because I am trying (half-heartedly) to eat healthier and lose some weight.
This recipe can very easily be made vegetarian. Just use a whole pound of asparagus and eliminate the chicken, and substitute veggie broth for the chicken broth.

Ingredients:
12 oz cheese tortellini. I used fresh; you can use dried or frozen, whatever. The only thing it will impact is your cooking time.
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 lb asparagus tips
1 TB crushed and chopped garlic
1/3 C chicken broth
Juice of 1 small lemon, approximately 1/8 C
1/2 tsp flour
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper
grated parmesean, to garnish
Instructions:
Set a pot of water to boil for your pasta. While you wait for the water to boil, you will be making your sauce.
First, chop your veggies and the chicken. You want to slice the chicken into little strips.
Chop the asparagus into quarters.
Next, crush the garlic with the flat of your knife and chop into tiny pieces.
Heat 1 TB of olive oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until slightly brown, but not burnt.
At this point, add the chicken and cook until half cooked. This is what partially cooked chicken looks like.
Add the asparagus, chicken broth, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. It is important to add the asparagus while the chicken is only halfway cooked because you otherwise run the risk of overcooking the chicken. Dry chicken is just as bad as undercooked chicken. Perhaps worse, actually, because once it is overcooked it is difficult to talk down from the ledge.
Yum yum yum. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir. Allow to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Add the chicken and the asparagus to the cooked tortellini, reserving the sauce in the pan.
Next, you are going to reduce the sauce by half. Boil the sauce over high heat for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Bubble bubble bubble.
Be sure to watch the sauce, or it will reduce too much and you will have too little sauce! This is just about perfect, but even then I think I reduced it just a little too much.
Not exactly the most flattering picture, but tasty just the same.
Add the reduced sauce to the tortellini, chicken and asparagus. Stir to coat and serve with lots of parmesean.
Mmmm. Doesn’t this look lovely? The end result is slightly lemony, which is perfectly complemented by the parmesean.
I should note that this recipe is me
ant to serve two people. You could probably serve 4 if you don’t eat very much. My boyfriend and I polished off the whole thing ourselves, but we had seconds. We’re eaters.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Winter Chicken Pot Pie

6 Mar

Oh no! I nearly forgot all about my weekly DinnerLove recipe post. Lucky for you I have remembered just in time!
I call this “winter” chicken pot pie because I use a wintery vegetable mix of leek, carrot and potato instead of your basic pot pie veggies like corn and peas. This is yet another recipe of mine in which cream sauce plays a vital role. I’m telling you, all you need is a basic cream sauce recipe and you can make nearly anything.

1 pre-made pie crust (say what you will. I use pre-made crust because it is EASY.)
1/2 LB skinless, boneless chicken, light or dark, depending on your taste
2 small or 1 medium leek, cleaned, split and chopped
1 C chopped carrot, around 2 large carrots
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 large clove garlic, or enough for 2-3 tsp, chopped
2 tsp salt
ground pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 TB butter
1 TB flour
1 C milk

Pre-heat the oven to 350˚.
Melt the butter in a pot on the stove. Add the garlic and leek, saute 5 min. Add the potatoes, carrot, and about 1/4 C of water. Lower heat to medium, cover, and cook for 10 min.
While you wait for the veggies to cook, dice the chicken. Add the chicken, rosemary, and thyme. Cook for 5 min. Add the flour, stir to coat, and add the milk. Let the sauce thicken at medium heat for about 5-10 min, until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add the salt and the ground pepper. Pour the mixture into a pie plate (or a medium-sized casserole dish) and cover with the pie crust. Flute the edges and cut several vents into the top of the crust. Put into a 350˚ oven for 40 min.
The crust should be golden brown and slightly crispy. Make sure you let the pot pie sit for at least 10 min before you cut into it because it is going to be very hot. If you can’t wait (I never can!) just be very careful. Getting your mouth (or hands) burned is no fun at all. Other than that, enjoy!

If you have any questions about this recipe, feel free to contact me!

Recipe: One Pot Roasted Chicken & Potatoes

27 Feb

This is an awesome one pot meal idea. My boyfriend always yells at me for using multiple pots when I cook (in my kitchen, I cook and he cleans!) so I created this specifically to use only one pot. The chicken is first seared in the pan and then finished in the oven with a liquid. I use beer–but you can use broth if you don’t want to use alcohol.
A quick note about chicken–I used boned and skinned legs and thighs for this recipe. You can use any chicken cut that you like, but be aware that the cooking and searing times will be lessened if you use a skinless and/or boneless cut. In addition, white meat cooks much faster than dark meat. So, for example, if you were to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you would want to cut the searing and cooking times in half. I would sear the breasts for 1-2 minutes, remove to a plate, cook the veggies as directed for 30 min in the oven, and then add the chicken breasts when you add the flour and cook another 30 min.

Ingredients:
– 2 legs and 2 thighs, with skin and bones
-Small yellow potatoes, cubed, enough for about 1-1.5 C
-2 medium to large carrots, cut into sticks
-1 TB olive oil
-2 tsp rosemary
-1 tsp thyme
-1 TB crushed garlic
-1/2 C of beer, an ale, I used Newcastle
-1 tsp salt
-pepper to taste
-1 TB flour

Directions:

Heat oven to 350˚.

You will need a pan that can be used both in the oven and on the stovetop.

Put the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic in a dutch oven on the stove. Turn heat to medium and saute the garlic. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and sear for 5-10 minutes. We want te skin to get nice and crispy!
While the chicken is browning, cube the potatoes and the carrots. Add to the chicken, along with the rosemary, thyme and beer. Turn off the heat. Cover the dutch oven and put in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take out and uncover. Add the flour and stir (as much as is possible, we just want to evenly distribute the flour). Put back in the oven uncovered for another 30 minutes. Take out of the oven, check seasonings, plate, and enjoy!

Recipe: Avoglemeno Greek Wedding Soup-Originally Posted 1.16.09

29 Jan

My first soup recipe!

I originally got this recipe from Rachel Ray-her Greek Wedding Soup. I changed it just a little, added chopped kale and I made it avoglemeno. Avoglemeno is a traditional Greek sauce made of eggs and lemon that is added to soup. Avoglemeno soup is usually made with chicken and rice (that’s how my Dad used to make it for me when I was little, anyway) but the sauce itself can be added to any soup that you like.

Ingredients:
5 cups of chicken stock (or beef, whatever you have on hand)
1/2 lb of ground beef
3/4 C orzo pasta
1 C chopped Kale (or other leafy green veggie, like spinach, chard, or collards)
2 eggs
1 lemon
1/2 C of breadcrumbs
1 tsp Parsley, dried
1 tsp Oregano, dried
2 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Drizzle some olive oil (about 1 TB) into a pot large enough to hold 5 cups plus of liquid. Remove the inner stem (unless you’re using spinach) from the leafy green of your choice and chop into small pieces. Saute the greens for about 5 minutes, and add the orzo. Saute for another few minutes, until the pasta starts looking like it is toasted (5 minutes max!). Add the stock and turn the heat to high. While you wait for the liquid to boil, make the meatballs.

Meatballs:
Mix together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, 1 egg, garlic, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Once the stock is boiling, turn the heat to medium so that the liquid stays as a simmer. Form the meat mixture into balls with your hands and drop them one by one into the simmering liquid. Then, start on the avoglemeno.

Avoglemeno:
Crack the remaining egg into a medium to large sized bowl, and scramble. Add the juice of 1 lemon and scramble again. Next is the tricky part. If you have ever made egg drop soup, you will know that if you add egg to a hot liquid the egg will curdle. That is NOT what we want. So the trick is to mix the lemon and egg sauce with one hand while you carefully add little bits of hot stock, about a 1/4 cup at a time. I usually use a big soup spoon, or a small ladle. Continue to add the hot stock a little bit at a time until you have added at least a cup of stock (I prefer to add 2 cups just to be sure) to the egg mixture. Then, turn off the heat to the soup. While the heat is off, stir the soup with one hand and add the avoglemeno and hot stock mix with the other. Once the two have combined, turn the heat up again to about medium and let the soup come to a boil, stirring the entire time.

Turn the heat off and check the seasonings, adding more pepper, salt, lemon, what have you. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!