Monday, March 30, 2020

Eggplant Parmesan

This Eggplant Parmesan recipe is the very first recipe I ever created on my own and I am quite proud of it.  I basically adapted it from my mother's lasagna recipe and substituted eggplant for the lasagna noodles.  The type and quality of the ingredients has changed over the years (the original recipe called for cottage cheese as we did not even know that ricotta cheese existed, and the parmesan cheese came from that green shaker) but the base has remained the same.

You can make the tomato sauce up to three days ahead (or more, if you freeze it).  Some people salt their eggplant and leave it to macerate for a while to remove any bitterness but I have not found that to be necessary.  Your mileage may vary.

The recipe is also versatile.  Don't have or don't like eggplant? You can use zucchini or potatoes instead.  Sometimes I'll throw mushrooms on top of the eggplant.  And if nothing else, you can use pasta and call it lasagna!

It is a great dish to make for a large group.  I always get compliments when I serve it.  You will, too!

Home Cooking v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
EGGPLANT PARMESAN
1 batch Italian Style Tomato Sauce
1 large eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/8" thick
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb mozarrela cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmigiano regiano cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Spread a large spoonful of the sauce on the bottom of a 15" x 9.5" baking dish. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer over the sauce. Spread one third of the ricotta mixture over the eggplant and then spread one third of the tomato sauce over that. Repeat two more times, with the top layer being the shredded mozarella cheese.

Cover and bake for one hour. Remove the cover and sprinkle the parmigiano regiano over the top and bake uncovered for another half hour, or until the cheese is golden and the eggplant is completely tender.

3/29/2020
Exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (http://www.mountainsoftware.com/)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Italian Style Tomato Sauce

I have been making this tomato sauce for years but I have never posted the recipe.  What makes it special is the grated carrot that I add.  It gives the sauce a little more body and sweetness that makes folks wonder what there is about it that makes it so good.  At some point a few years ago I got lazy about grating the carrot and stopped adding it.  The sauce was still tasty, but not as good as it could and should have been.  So lately I have been adding it back in and all is right with the world.

This sauce can be used for anything but it is especially delicious when used in casseroles like lasagna and eggplant parmagiana.  But it is equally delicious over pasta with a generous sprinkling of Parmigiana Reggiano over it.  It can be refrigerated for several days and freezes especially well.
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: My Recipes
ITALIAN STYLE TOMATO SAUCE
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, grated
6 oz can tomato paste
24-1/2 oz jar passata or tomato sauce
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomato
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook for aminute, then add the garlic. Cook until the onion is just translucent. Add the grated carrot and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, stirring constantly, then add the passata, tomato, and the spices. Add a cup of water and stir everyihing together. Bring to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened and turned dark, for at least an hour up to two hours. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste.

1 March 2020

Exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (http://www.mountainsoftware.com/)

Monday, March 09, 2020

Mediterranean Style Baked Tofu

I've been baking with a lot of tofu lately, mostly with an Asian profile.  As soon as I got the idea to try it with Mediterranean flavors I knew I was on to something.  It's rare that I get a new recipe right on the first try but I pretty much hit it out of the ballpark with this.

The key to the dish's success, as with most tofu dishes, is to be sure to marinate it for at least a few hours before you make the dish.  The longer it marinates, the more flavor soaks up into the tofu.

If you're looking for new ways to enjoy you should give this a try.  I think you will be quite happy with the results.
Home Cooking v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
MEDITERRANEAN STYLE BAKED TOFU
For Marinade:
1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 13.5 oz cans artichoke hearts in water
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon crushed dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1 to 2 cups Castelvetrano or other green olives with pits
1/2 large fennel bulb, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, sliced
2 large shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste


Combine the first nine ingredients in a large plastic bag and make sure everything is well coated with the olive oil and spices. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least a few hours or overnight.

Remove the tofu mixture from the refrigerator about half an hour before you are ready to get started and preheat the oven to 375° F.




Combine the rest of the vegetables in a large bowl and add the marinated tofu and artichoke hearts. Add the olive oil and sat and gently mix everything together until everything is well coated with the mixture from the marinated tofu and artichoke hearts. Pour into a 13 x 9 inch pan (you might also need an additional smaller pan depending on how big the vegetables were). Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and lower the heat to 350° F. and bake another 30 minutes, until everything is tender.



 2/20/20

Exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (http://www.mountainsoftware.com/)

Monday, February 03, 2020

Braised Red Cabbage and Pasta Bake

I found this recipe in a vegetarian pasta cookbook that was lurking in my sister-in-law's cookbook shelf and decided to try it.  It turned out well.  The pine nuts and raisins add an unusual dimension to the flavor profile and the melted cheese brings it all together.



You can cook the cabbage and onion mixture ahead of time.  Just leave out the raisins and add them with the pine nuts just before baking.

It works as either a main or a side dish.  If I am feeding a lot of vegetarians I will double the recipe.  And the leftovers are equally delicious so you can't lose either way.


Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Grains Pasta and Potatoes
BRAISED RED CABBAGE AND PASTA BAKE

1/2 pound any short pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp thyme
1 medium head red cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2-1/4 cups grated cheddar or gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and raisins and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until the cabbage is shiny and well coated with the butter and oil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for another ten minutes until the cabbage has softened. Add the ditalista and the pine nuts and mix well.

Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 12 baking dish. Top with the grated cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese has browned. Serve immediately.

Note: The cabbage and onion mixture can be cooked up to twoe days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook the pasta and assemble the dish.

Exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (http://www.mountainsoftware.com/)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Eggplant and Cinnamon Pasta Sauce

I first made this Cinnamon Eggplant Pasta Sauce back in 2016.  It is a lovely departure from pasta with a more Italian style tomato sauce.  I adapted it from a couple of recipes I found online.  It comes together quickly and makes a hearty dinner for those weeknights when you don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen but want something that will stick to your bones.  It also freezes well.

I served it over linguine here but it also goes well with orzo, and any other pasta for that matter.
Home Cooking 7.96 Chapter: Appetizers Spreads Dips Sauces
EGGPLANT AND CINNAMON PASTA SAUCE
1 medium chopped onion
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1 medium eggplant, quartered and sliced 1/4-1/2" thick
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the eggplant and salt and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, cinnamon and rosemary. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove cover and allow liquid the to reduce, about 20 more minutes.

Serve over pasta.

09/03/2016

Exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (http://www.mountainsoftware.com/)

Monday, January 06, 2020

Red Lentil Dal with Cumin Seeds


I made my first red lentil (masoor) dal almost a decade ago.  It was delicious and flavored with many of the spices I have come to associate with Indian food.

In the interim years I have fallen victim to the idea that every Indian dish I make should have all of the spices I associate with Indian food in them.  Everything I have made is delicious, but it has all tended to taste the same.  So when my friend @virg.o121 on Instagram offered me her recipe for dal I must admit I was skeptical, as the only spices in it were turmeric, red chili, and cumin seeds.

But she was kind enough to share it with me, so I decided to make it.  And am I glad I did!  This recipe brought home to me how less is often so much more when it comes to food.  The lentils have a simple but surprisingly complex flavor and the cumin really shines!

It went together well with cilantro lime rice and would also be good with chapatis or roti.  And it comes together quickly for a fast weeknight meal.

Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
RED LENTIL DAL WITH CUMIN SEEDS
1 cup red lentils
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove grated or crushed garlic
1 medium tomato, chopped, or 1 Tbsp tomato paste
cayenne to taste
salt to taste
1/3 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the red lentils with enough water to cover by three inches in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over medium-low heat until tender, about 20 minutes.

When the lentils are done heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium sized skillet. When the oil is hot add the cumin and let sizzle for about a minute, until it starts to crackle. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and golden.

Add the tomato/tomato past along with the salt, cayenne and turmeric. Saute for several seconds to bloom the spices.

Add the onion and spice miture to the red lentils and let it simmer until it reaches the desired consistency, adding water as necessary. Keep in mind that it will thicken once removed from the heat.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped cilantro.

recipe by instagrammer @virg_o12

exported from Home Cookin v.9.76 (www.mountain-software.com)

Monday, December 23, 2019

Vegetarian Pinto Bean Sloppy Joes

This Vegetarian Pinto Bean Sloppy Joe recipe hits all of the buttons for a hearty satisfying cold weather comfort dish for both vegetarians and meat eaters.  The flavor profile is spot on and it has the same luscious consistency as the original beef version.  It's the perfect dish for these cold winter months.

I won't lie, there is a lot of chopping of vegetables involved.  But once you get into the dicing groove it goes pretty quickly, and once the carrots and onions are in the skillet you can start working on the garlic and red peppers, and so on, so much of the work is done during the cooking process.  And the end result is well worth the effort.
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
VEGETARIAN PINTO BEAN SLOPPY JOES
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 medium carrots, diced
1 large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
4 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp date or brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups cooked drained pinto beans
12 oz passata or tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (thawed)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minuts. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cabbage and cook for another minute or two until the spices are evenly distributed.

Add tomato paste and cook for a minute, then add the water, apple cider vinegar and passata. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Add zucchini and bring back to a simmer then cook for 5 minutes. Add corn and beans and cook until heated through.

adapted from this Eating Well Magazine http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/vegetarian_pinto_bean_sloppy_joe s.htmlrecipe found at Eating Well Magazine

exported from Home Cookin v.9.76 (www.mountain-software.com)

Monday, December 16, 2019

Baking Class: Sourdough Focaccia

I found this recipe for sourdough focaccia a few years ago and have been making it regularly ever since so I figure it's about time that I share it with you.  It is thicker, softer, and more bread-like than the Focaccia de Luciano I posted about here.  Both are delicious and I will sometimes make that one and sometimes make this one.  The Focaccia de Luciano is thinner and more crisp.  I think because of that it goes stle pretty fast and is best made when there will be enough people to eat it in one sitting.

This focaccia lasts a bit longer so it can be made when you know you might have leftovers on hand for a few days.  Both are delicious as is, or topped with herbs and/or cheese and other goodies.
Home Cookin v.9.73 Chapter: Breads and Muffins

SOURDOUGH FOCACCIA
Sponge:
275g (1-1/2 cups) active starter
1 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
120g (1 cup flour)

Dough:
Sponge
1/4 cup olive oil
480g (4 cups) flour
2 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus about 2 Tbsp more for spreading over the top before baking

Combine the ingredients for the sponge in a large bowl.  Cover and let rise for a few hours until it is quite bubbly.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed.  The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.  Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into a rimmed half-sheet size (or two quarter size) baking sheet(s) and spread it evenly across the bottom(s).  Gently punch down the dough and then press it into the pan as evenly as possible.  Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 450° F.  When the oven is ready, dock the dough lightly with the tips of your fingers.  Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing it from the pan.  Let it cool on a rack to your desired serving temperature.

Adapted from http://flouronmyface.com/2014/01/step-by-step-how-to-make-sourdough-focaccia.html

exported from Home Cookin v.9.76 (www.mountain-software.com)

Monday, December 09, 2019

Baking Class: Basic Buttermilk Biscuits

I have posted a biscuit recipe before but was never fully satisfied with it.  Although it made flaky biscuits, they were missing that quintessential biscuit texture and flavor but I did not know why.  And then I was recently looking for recipes to make them with my baking companion and I discovered that the recipe I had been using had eggs in it and many that I was seeing online did not.  So I tried it without the eggs and boom - there was that beautiful biscuit flavor I had been missing for so long.

These biscuits are easy to make and delicious.  I also learned a new trick for making them even flakier than I was getting with the folding method.  Instead of being folded they get cut into three pieces, stacked, rolled or patted, and then cut and stacked again two more times before being cut into biscuits.

If you are looking for a simple, classic biscuit recipe then look no further - this is the one!
Home Cookin v9.76 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
BASIC BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup cold buttermilk

Cut the butter into 32 equal pieces and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, baing powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the cubed cold butter and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter is the size of petite peas.

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the cold buttermilk. Gently stir to combine until everything just comes together.

Place the dough onto a floured surface and work it gently into a ball. Pat it out into a rectangle approximately 1/2-inch high. With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into thirds crosswise and stack the three layers. Pat it out into another 1/2-inch rectanble.

Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently work it together with your hands. Pat the dough into a rectangle and fold it in thirds. Turn the dough, gather any crumbs, and flatten back into a rectangle. Repeat this process two more times.

Cut out the biscuits with a 2.5- or 3-inch biscuit cutter, making sure to push straight down without twisting to ensure that they will rise. Place on a rimmed baking sheets so that they are touching each other.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned, turning the tray in the oven about halfway through. Start checking after about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

adapted from recipe found at https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/easy-buttermilk-biscuits/

exported from Home Cookin v9.76 (http://www.mountainsoftware.com/homecook.php)
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