Friday, December 30, 2016

Eggplant Parmesan

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit and just had to try it.
 It starts by making a wonderful oven roasted tomato sauce.

 This cooks down for hours.

 Then you puree it.  It can be made a day or two ahead.

 Then you slice 4 eggplants, salt them and weigh them down.

 Set up a breading station.

 And begin to fry the eggplant.

 Layer it with the sauce and cheese mixture.


 And bake it.

 This is quite the production.  It's not difficult but it does take time.

 I was half hoping it wouldn't be very good so I would never have to make it again.

 Unfortunately, it's the best eggplant parm I've ever tasted.  The Blog Tech agreed. He went so far as to say it's one of the best things he's ever eaten.  So, I'm sure I will be making it again and again.  If you are brave enough to try it, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

12 Servings

Marinara

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves crushed
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup torn basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt

Eggplant and Assembly

  • 4 pounds Italian eggplants (about 4 medium), peeled, sliced lengthwise ½–¾ inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups finely grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1⅓ cups olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped basil and parsley, plus basil leaves for serving
  • 6 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, grated (about 1⅓ cups)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preparation

Marinara

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large heavy ovenproof pot over medium. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add onion, anchovies (if using), and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your hands, and their juices; add basil and oregano and stir to combine. Swirl 1½ cups water into one tomato can, then the other, to rinse, and add to pot; season with salt. Transfer pot to oven; roast sauce, stirring halfway through, until thick and tomatoes are browned on top and around edges of pot, 2–2½ hours.
Let sauce cool slightly. Pass through the large holes of a food mill or process in a food processor until mostly smooth. Taste and season with salt.
Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Eggplant and Assembly

Lightly season eggplant slices all over with salt; place in a single layer on several layers of paper towels inside a rimmed baking sheet. Top with another layer of paper towels and more slices; repeat as needed. Top with a final layer of paper towels, then another rimmed baking sheet; weigh down with a heavy pot. Let eggplant sit until it has released excess liquid, 45–60 minutes. This step gives the eggplant a creamy texture when baked.
Meanwhile, pulse panko, oregano, pepper, and ¾ cup Parmesan in a food processor until very finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place flour in another shallow bowl and eggs in a third shallow bowl. Working one at a time, dredge eggplant slices in flour, then dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Coat in breadcrumbs, packing all around, then shaking off excess. Place on wire racks.
Heat ⅔ cup oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook as many eggplant slices as will comfortably fit in pan, turning once, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and immediately press with more paper towel to absorb oil. Working in batches, repeat with remaining slices, adding remaining ⅔ cup oil and wiping out skillet as needed. Let cool. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Toss chopped herbs, low-moisture mozzarella, and remaining ¾ cup Parmesan in a medium bowl. Spread 1 cup sauce over the bottom of a 13x9" baking pan; top with a layer of eggplant slices (trim as needed). Drizzle 1 cup sauce over and sprinkle with one-third of cheese mixture. Add another layer of eggplant, followed by 1 cup sauce and half of remaining cheese mixture. Repeat layers with remaining slices, sauce, and cheese mixture. Cover with foil and bake on a rimmed baking sheet until eggplant is custardy, 45–60 minutes.
Remove from oven and arrange fresh mozzarella over eggplant. Increase oven temperature to 425° and bake, uncovered, until cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, 15–20 minutes longer. Let rest 30 minutes. Top with basil leaves just before slicing.
Do Ahead: Eggplant Parmesan can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover with foil and chill. Reheat in a 350° oven, uncovering halfway through, until bubbling gently at edges.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Crab Cakes

 I made these crab cakes for my family the other day.  This is an old photo from when I made them another time because they were eaten so fast I didn't get a finished shot.  My fam loves crab cakes.

 In a bowl, combine 3 C. of crab meat, 1/4 C. mayo, 2 beaten eggs, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/4 C. diced parsley, 3 T. minced onion and 1 C. panko or cracker crumbs.  Form them into patties and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  You can cut the top and bottom off of the crab meat can to use as a form.

 Fry them in a combination of oil and butter.

You will see them turning golden around the edges when they are ready to be flipped over.                                    

Cook for an equal time on the other side.  Drain them on paper towels and the place them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Serve them with some homemade tartar sauce:

1 C. mayo
2 tsp. diced parsley
3 T. capers
1/3 C. diced dill pickles
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 C. minced onion
4 T. diced tart apple
salt to taste

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mushroom Rice

This is a bowl of comfort food if ever there was one.
And it can be made easily in one pot.      

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

 Saute' the onion and garlic in the olive oil until it becomes translucent.  Add the mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and worcestershire  sauce and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

 Add the rice.

  Then the broth and bring to a boil.

 Then turn it down to a simmer.

 Cover it and cook on low for 30 minutes.

 Stir it around.

 Add the butter and stir until melted.


Sprinkle with some fresh parsley before serving.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Another Christmas Present

 Can you imagine, someone bought ME maple syrup for Xmas!   And what special maple syrup this is.
 I love the name.  When maple syrup runs, it does rather runamok.

 The packaging is beautiful.

 The bottles are gorgeous.

 The etching on the glass matches the flavor of the syrup.

I can't even imagine what the hibiscus infused syrup will taste like.  I'll find out soon when I whip up some fat sparrows or hoe cakes to serve it on. A much appreciated present!

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Best Christmas Present

 Ever since my kids were small, they heard their father tell them that he is going to eat a 'little bowl of cereal' each morning.  It became the family joke.  His 'little bowl of cereal' is a small bowl which he loads to overflowing with 3 different cereals.  We've never figured out why he just doesn't use a larger bowl.  He's weird. My kids got him this for Christmas.

 The cereal killer bowl is covered in blood splatter.

It came wit a spoon that has cereal killer stamped on it.  Too funny.  Will he use it?  Will we finally get to see him eating a normal bowl of cereal without trying to balance a ginormous amount of cereal in a tiny bowl?  We shall see! 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas!  This is a cheese ball I made for a Xmas party last night.  I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Blog Tech and Santa

 I got an early Xmas present yesterday.  Every since my kids were little, I always asked them to take pics with Santa for me. During their teenage years it was a struggle but The Blog Tech always came through.

 In 2004, he really went for it.

 He visited every Santa in the area.

 He didn't quite sit on their laps because that just would have been weird.

 Not that it wasn't weird.  I'm pretty sure people grabbed their kids and held them tight and walked circles around him.


 Occasionally he got his sister to join in.

 But he persisted.

 Sometimes he looked like Santa's auditor.

But Santa and I both gave him the hugs he deserved.  What a guy!  Hey Blog Tech...you can get off the Santa hook if you give me a grandchild!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sandwich Rolls

My kids are running around doing last minute Xmas stuff since they are finally off of work for a few days.  I decided to make them some sandwiches so they can eat on the fly.  I tried this new recipe for rolls this morning and they look really good.  Homemade rolls make a good sandwich great.
  • 2-1/4 tsp. rapid rise yeast
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1⅓ cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Mix all of the ingredients and kneed until you have a smooth ball of dough.  You might add up to 1/3 cup more flour.  Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.

 Remove the dough from the bowl and cut it into 6 pieces and shape into small loaves.  Cover them and let them rise for about 30 minutes.

Bake them in a 425 degree oven with a small pan of water to produce steam.  After 10 minutes, turn the oven to 400 and continue to bake for about 15-20 more minutes until they look like this.  Cool on a rack.


*  I wanted to mention..the after school kids had a blast yesterday.  They ate and danced and sang for hours.  They said it was the best Xmas party ever.  Yay!