Fried Eggplant

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eggplant in basket

Fried EGGPLANT 

 

This is my version of eggplant parmesan that I adapted from the traditional style where you cover the breaded, fried eggplant with tomato sauce. I always love to eat some of the freshly fried eggplant so crispy and delicious before baking it when it all softens up. So this is the unbaked, crispy version:

 

  1. Use any quantity of peeled, globe eggplant which is 4-5 inches in diameter and cut into ¼ inch slices.
  2. Dip the eggplant slices first into an egg that has been beaten.
  3. Then dip the eggplant slices into seasoned breadcrumbs. You can use dried bread and make your own breadcrumbs or use unseasoned ready-made breadcrumbs and season them yourselves. I use a combination of Italian seasoning, extra basil and a pinch of fenugreek (optional). I also add salt. I don’t use a lot of seasoning here. For one cup of breadcrumbs I would use 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and ½ tsp of basil.
  4. At this point you can store the breaded eggplant slices in the fridge to fry later or fry them right away but they must be eaten right after they are cooked. 
  5. Fry the slices in olive oil over medium high to high heat watching carefully and turning them over frequently so they don’t burn. Add more oil when needed. They should be golden brown and very soft in the inside. They take about 10 minutes to cook. Drain them on paper towels and put them in an hot oven to keep warm. If they get soggy then refry them.
  6. These wonderful treats can be served as an appetizer alone or with some tomato sauce on the side for dipping. I made a great sauce out of my cherry tomatoes. I cut the tomatoes in half, sprinkled them with sea salt and baked them in a 400° oven (convection on if you have one) for 10-15 minutes until the bottoms were starting to blacken. I then let them cool and put them through a food mill and this made a wonderfully rich sweet tomato sauce. Garnish the top with shaved or grated parmesan cheese.

 

 

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Eggplant Carpaccio

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The next recipe is an adaptation of a very popular appetizer served at my cousin’s wonderful restaurant in Tel Aviv called RUSTICO. The recipe is called Eggplant Carpaccio but it is not raw eggplant. Again, this is a recipe to play around with according to your preference. It is a very simple dish to prepare and an instant hit.

 

carpaccio

 

Eggplant Carpaccio

 

  1. 1-3 medium eggplant. Quantity does not matter.
  2.  Poke a couple holes in your eggplants and throw them on a very hot grill (400°-500° Cover the grill and walk away. After a few minutes check on the eggplant. If it is beginning to burn then turn. Continue with this process until the eggplant is slightly charred and well cooked. It should be mushy feeling when touched. Remove carefully and set aside.
  3. At this point you can cool them and thrown them in the fridge until you want to make this appetizer. Or, cool them and then peel off the skin right away. 
  4. Put the eggplant pulp in a food processor with a tsp. olive oil and salt to taste, and pulse a few times until an even consistence and quite smooth but not so much to be soupy. It still has to have a distinctive eggplant texture. 
  5. The quantities of the following garnishes are up to your taste preferences and how much eggplant you have prepared. Spread the eggplant very thinly over a large serving plate, or individual appetizer plates if you want to this as a first course. 
  6. Sprinkle the eggplant evenly with the following:

    • Toasted pine nuts
    • Finely chopped scallion or red onion
    • Finely chopped parsley
    • Sea salt
    • Zatar (Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme and sesame seed which is available at Wegmans)
    • A drizzle of high grade olive oil

         7. Serve with pita or crackers.

 

 

 

 

 

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Goat Cheese Pesto and Sundried Tomato Terrine

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This appetizer is my creation:  a pesto, sundried tomato and goat cheese terrine.  It is very easy to make and everyone wants the recipe.  Exact quantities aren’t that important.  I always have a jar of sundried tomatoes in the fridge and pesto in the freezer.  And since I often also have goat cheese on hand I can make this up easily.  It does need a day or so to set but could come together right away in a pinch.  

 

GOAT CHEESE PESTO AND SUNDRIED TOMATO TERRINE

Ingredients

·         ½ cup sundried tomatoes

·         4 oz. cream cheese

·         5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature

·         2.5 ounces pesto (66 grams)

·         3 ounces goat cheese

Preparation

1.    Line a small loaf pan (6"x3") with plastic wrap

2.    Mix together sundried tomatoes and cream cheese in food processor until well incorporated.

3.    Fill lit into the bottom of the plastic lined terrine, making sure it is evenly distributed into the loaf plan and making sure it is pushed into the corners. Smooth the top and stick into the fridge for a few hours or into the freezer for 30 minutes or until firmed up enough to take another layer.

4.    Smooth the room temperature goat cheese over the tomato layer.  Soften the goat cheese in the microwave for a few seconds if it isn’t spreading easily.  Put the terrine back into the fridge or freezer to firm up.

5.     Mix together the pesto and 3 ounces of goat cheese  in the food processor until fully incorporated and spread evenly over the firm goat cheese layer.

6.    Fold the plastic wrap over the top and refrigerate over night until firm. 

7.    Unmold carefully onto a platter and serve with crackers.

Note:  you can make this replacing the goat cheese entirely with cream cheese or vice versa.

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LAYERED BEAN DIP

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 I often bring this appetizer to “dish to pass” occasions.  This layer bean dip is pretty routine but I add a few touches to make it special.  It is always a crowd pleaser.  I like to serve it with the Tortilla Lime chips.

 

 

 

 

7 LAYER BEAN DIP

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 -16-oz. can refried beans (spicy or regular)
  • 1 ½  cups sour cream
  • ½ -1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed
  • 2 TBS salsa
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend  cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced or ½ can petite diced tomatoes (thoroughly drained of liquid)
  • tortilla chips

 

 

PREPARATION

1.     Spread beans in the bottom of a 13"x9"  (or similar sized oblong) clear glass dish, add  ½ cup of shredded cheese and cook in microwave just until  cheese is melted, then stir in the cheese and set aside.

2.    .Mix avocados, lime  juice, salsa, garlic, and salt to taste; layer over beans

3.     Combine sour cream and seasoning mix; spread over avocado.

4.     Sprinkle with cheese; top with onions, olives and tomato.

5.    Serve with tortilla chips.

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EGGPLANT WITH PLUM SAUCE

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 Eggplant with Plum Sauce

 eggplant in basket

 

  1. Slice small (3 inches or less) eggplant in half lengthwise, spread with olive oil and salt and grill over barbecue until browned on both sides and barely cooked. Salt and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile make the sauce: Mix together

          ¼ of plum jam,

           3-4 skinned plums if you have nice fresh, ripe plum

            2-3 Tbs. soy sauce

            I Tbs. grated fresh ginger

            !-2 Tbs. minced garlic

            1 tsp Asian chili garlic sauce (optional)

      ¼ cup Iron Chef Sesame Garlic Sauce : NOTE: I have to defend using a ready  made sauce but I have to say it really kicks it up significantly. This sauce is all natural with no preservatives and not particularly high in sodium.

3. Boil these ingredients together for 5 minutes until the flavors meld and it is slightly  

     reduced.   

  1. Put the cooked eggplant in an oven or grill proof dish and cover with the sauce. I add more garlic since I love garlic. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes in hot covered grill (300°-400°). It should be boiling hard so that the sauce thickens.   But check to make sure it is not burning.  

 

  

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EGGPLANT CAPONATA

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This is the Italian version of ratatouille and at least as good when made properly. This can be made and stored in the fridge for several days and just gets better with time. This is my version which brings rave reviews every time I serve it.
 
 

Caponata
 
  • 1 medium eggplant (approximately ¾ lb.)
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1-15 ounce can small diced tomatoes (well drained of juice)
  • 1 Tbs capers
  • 1-2 Tbs vinager
  • ¼- ½ cup green olives stuffed with pimento
  • 1 Tbs sugar
 
  1. Peel and cube the eggplant into approximately a ½ inch dice. Fry in olive oil over high heat stirring often until brown and cooked. Set aside.   
  2. Cut the celery into small dice and cook with a little water in microwave until cooked but still quite crunchy. Don’t overcook. The crunchy texture is very important. Set aside.
  3. Chop onion into small cubes (about ¼ inch) and fry in olive oil until soft and beginning to brown. Set aside
  4. Chop olives so that the pieces are of similar size to the celery and eggplant.
  5. If you have the time, fry the drained tomatoes in a little olive oil until all the remaining liquid is gone and they are just beginning to brown.
  6. Mix all the cooked vegetables together and add the tomato, the sugar and the vinegar. Cook together for 5 minutes until everything is blended.
  7. Remove from heat and add capers and olives.
  8. Add salt to taste and check for seasoning. You may want it a little more sweet or sour. But the tastes really meld together after the caponata sits for at least a day. I keep it at room temperature for a few hours and then refrigerate. Check the next day and adjust the seasoning.
 
Serve caponata as an appetizer with thin slices of bagette or as a side salad to a summer meal.
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ISRAELI EGGPLANT SALAD

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ISRAELI EGGPLANT SALAD
 
2 medium sized eggplants
2 medium or one large onion
¼ to 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (my husband prefers cider vinegar)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
 
  1. Slice unpeeled eggplants into 1/4  inch slices.
  2. Fry them a few at a time in a fair amount of olive oil on both sizes until lightly browned and cooked through. Set the cooked eggplant aside in a bowl and as oil collects in bottom of the bowl, add it back to the frying pan. The eggplant soaks up lots of oil, so more oil has to be frequently added.
  3. When all the eggplant has been browned, add vinegar and salt.
  4. Thinly slice the onions and either add them raw if they are sweet or fry them quickly over high heat in the olive oil and then add them to the eggplant. Check for seasoning and for best results marinate the salad overnight in the fridge.
 
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BAKED RATATOUILLE

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NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE RATATOUILLE WITH ALL LOCALLY GROWN  INGREDIENTS!!

 

 

 

Ingredients for the RATATOUILLE

 

The bell peppers were from our garden, the zucchini and onions were grown by Full Plate CSA and the plum tomatoes and baby eggplant were bought from Mandville Farm at the Farmer’s Market.

 

I decided to do something new with the ratatouille that would allow people to pick and choose their vegetables.  I sliced and fried the onions in olive oil until they were well cooked, brown and caramelized.  The onions were then evenly spread in an ovenproof 8X12 or so dish.

I then cut the peppers into 4 or 5 strips lengthwise and cooked them also until they were slighly charred and well cooked.  They were then spread over the onions in a neat row. 

Next I cut the eggplant in half lengthwise(no need to peel or salt or anything fussy) and fried them also until they were almost cooked and slightly brown. They were also attractively laid over the onions in a neat row.

 I cut the zucchini into think slices widthwise and made nice rows of with my two medium sized eggplants.  I didn’t precook them since I like them to be a little crunchy.

Finally, I skinned the tomatoes by putting them briefly in boiling water and then removing them and skinning them.  I cut them in half lenthwise and arranged them attractively on or around the vegetables.  Make sure all the vegetables are properly salted.

I used dry bread to make breadcrumbs and mixed about 1/2 cup with 1 TBS of dijon mustard, 1 or 2 crushed large garlic  clove and 2-3 TBS olive oil.  I did this in my mini food processor but you can also do it by hand.  Spread this over the vegetables and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until beginning to brown. 

This is best made the day before, refrigerated and reheated.  You can serve this room temperature or bring it to room temperature and then warm it up briefly under a broiler. 

The beauty of this presentation is that the eggplant haters or those of us that can’t eat peppers can partake only of their favored parts of the ratatouille. 

 

 

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INDONESIAN PILAF SALAD

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INDONESIAN PILAF SALAD

 

(adapted from KASHI™ recipe)

I happened upon this recipe when browsing through magazines at Hairy Canary getting my hair cut.  It looked really enticing and prompted me to go and buy the ingredients on my way home.  Since then, a couple weeks have passed and I’ve already made this salad three times with great reviews from family and friends.  I’ve simplified it so this is a modified version still made with Kashi™ Whole Grain Pilaf which comes in a box and can be found in Wegman’s health foods section  The box holds three packets each with about a cup of pilaf.  It’s a chewy flavorful blend of whole grain oats, brown rice, rye, hard red wheat, triticale, buckwheat, barley and sesame seeds.  In case you don’t know what Triticale is, (and I didn’t) the Kashi folks explain that it is “a natural cross between durum wheat and rye with higher protein than both.  A ½ cup serving contains 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.

 

 

 

 

Indonesian Pilaf Salad

Created by Kashi™  and  Adapted by Celia Clement

For original recipe go to: http://www.kashi.com/recipes/8

Ingredients

  • 1 packets of Kashi™ 7 Whole Grain Pilaf
  • 1 cup whole roasted peanuts
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4  teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 cup organic currants
  • 3 medium carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup organic red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mirin or other sweetener such as honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes (I omit this but add it if you like it spicy)
  •  

Directions

  1. Cook Kashi Pilaf according to directions on the package and set aside. The directions are: for each packet which holds 1 cup, boil two cups water and then add the pilaf.  
  2.  Add the cumin and coriander and salt to the rice mixture as it cooks.
  3. Add the carrots for the last 10 minutes of the pilaf cooking time.
  4. Cover and cook about 25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped cabbage, scallions, currants, cilantro,  and peanuts with cooked Pilaf mixture,  and mix well.
  6. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger root, vinegar and cilantro, whisk together, add to pilaf mixture, stir well and taste to adjust the seasoning. Enjoy.
  7. This is best made ahead of time to let the flavors harmonize.  

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MULTI GRAIN BREAD

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MULTI-GRAIN BREAD
 
 
Craving comfort food? I love this standby recipe for multi-grain bread that I’ve been making for a couple of years. It’s very easy if you use a bread maker. I always remove my bread dough before the second rising and bake it in the oven. This bread tastes better a day or even two days later. It’s such flavorful bread that it doesn’t need any butter. The secret is adding scallions that have been fried briefly in olive oil.   And the other secret is using Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Cereal. 
 
 
 
4 scallions chopped up or about ¼ cup
2 Tbs olive oil
1 package instant rise yeast
1/2 cup 8 grain cereal (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1  cup graham or light whole wheat flour or bread flour
2 Tbs. toasted wheat germ
1 Tbs. ground flaxseed
Salt to taste
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. molasses
1 cup warm water
 
1.       Briefly fry the scallions in olive oil to soften but don’t brown them. Let cool.
2.      To the bread maker add the rest of the ingredients starting with the yeast and ending with the water. Add scallions before the water.
3.      Switch on the bread maker and let it go through the first kneading and rising cycle. If you’re an experienced bread maker you’ll know what the consistency of the dough should be. It may need to be adjusted with a little more water or flour. It should come together in a ball that is went enough that when you squeeze it with your fingers, it is just a little sticky.
4.      After it has risen to about double (one hour), punch down, remove from the bread maker and put into a loaf pan that has been liberally spread with olive oil. Grease the top of the bread with olive oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Put in warm, draft free spot to rise.
5.      After 45 minutes start your oven heating at 400 ? 
6.      After the bread has risen for an hour check to make sure it is nicely risen above the rim of the loaf pan. (See picture below).
7.      Carefully place in hot oven and reduce to 375 ?. Bake for about 30 minutes or until beginning to brown and fully baked.
 
 
 
 Risen bread right before baking
 

 

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