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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Eggplant with Miso Sauce

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eggplant in basket

 

Eggplant with Miso Sauce

 

2 medium Japanese eggplant: the long thin eggplant

½ cup Sake

2 Tbs. mirin

½ tsp sugar

3 Tbs. light soy Miso or any Miso will work.

1 Tsp. toasted sesame seeds

¼ tsp sesame oil

 

  1. Slice the eggplant into ½ slices and fry in olive oil until brown and cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, Bring the Sake, mirin, and sugar to a boil and boil for 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the miso a spoon at a time, incorporating well. Miso should not be brought to a boil. The mixture should be  slightly thickish.
  4. Add the sesame seeds and sesame oil. Taste and add more sugar or sesame oil according to your taste preference.
  5. The sauce can be made ahead and heated in the microwave (not boiled). Serve drizzled on the eggplant.

 

 

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Bread and Butter Pickles

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I took the bread and butter pickle recipe from Recipe Girl and made a few adjustments.

 

They were good to eat a few hours later.

pickles 1

bread and butter pickles, adapted from Recipe Girl

Yield: About 4 cups of pickles

Prep Time: 20 min + marinating time

Cook Time: 5 min

Ingredients:

 (2-3 pounds) sliced (1/4-1/2 inch) unpeeled and washed cucumbers
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
2  teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

Directions:

1. Dissolve salt and cold water in large bowl and add sliced cucumbers. Let sit for an hour or two. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl.

2. Combine sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add cucumber and onion mixture and bring back to boil. Pour into canning jars and let sit on the counter for a few hours.  Cover and refrigerate . Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

 

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Garlic Dill Pickles

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Bolstered by my success with the bread and butter pickles, I searched online for a dill pickle recipe and found one on Epicurious which I adapted only slightly.

 pickles 1

Fast Favorite Garlic Dill Pickles, adapted

Epicurious  | © 2001 by Eleanor Topp and Margaret Howard

Makes 4 pint (500 mL) jars or 2 quart jars

Often called kosher-style dill pickles, these are quick to make. Use either small whole cucumbers or cut larger ones into quarters or slices. For an additional interesting flavor, tuck a small dried hot red pepper into each jar.

ingredients

·         8-10 small pickling cucumbers or sliced larger pickles (about 3pounds/1.5kg)

·         2 cups (500 mL) white vinegar

·         1 cups (500 mL) water

·         2 tablespoons (25 mL) pickling salt

·         4 heads fresh dill or 4 teaspoons dill seeds (20 mL)

·         4 small cloves garlic or slice several large garlic cloves and add to each jar

preparation

1. If using larger pickles slice into ¼-1/2 inch slices or for medium sized, cut into quarters lengthwise

2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

3.  Add cucumbers and bring back to boil

4.. Place 1 or two sprigs of fresh dill and  1 or more  cloves of garlic into each jar; pack in cucumbers. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers.

 

I do not process the cucumbers so they need to be kept in the fridge and eaten within a few weeks.  It will take a few days before they are at their peak of flavor.

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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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CUCUMBERS WITH DILL AND FETA

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CUCUMBERS WITH DILL AND FETA

Stay simple with cucumbers and don't salt them until the last minute.  This Greek preparation combines small cubes of cucumber and the same size cubes of good quality Feta cheese and chopped dill.  Right before serving add the salt and toss with a really good olive oil.

 
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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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GREEN GAZPACHO AND THAI CORN CRAWFISH CHOWDER

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 TWO GREAT SOUPS USING SUMMER BOUNTIES

 

Corn and Cucumbers.  Both ready for harvest and both are the main ingredients for these two great soups.  The hot chowder is great as the main meal with only a salad and crusty bread to complete the feast.  And the cold green gazpacho is a an usual combination of ingredients that is much more than the sum of it’s parts.  No one has yet guessed the two mystery ingredients to this refreshing soup.

  

 

Green Gazpacho

 

For this soup you will need a really strong blender such as a vita-mix.  The quantities are just approximate.  This is a “taste and adjust” recipe since there are many factors at play.  You will need to let it rest in the fridge for a day and then taste and further adjust the vinegar, salt and olive oil.

 

2 cups (about a pound) cucumbers (which only need peeling if the peels are thick and  only needs seeding if the seeds are big)

1 cup,(about ½ pound)  seedless grapes green or red

1 cup raw almonds

1 shallot

1 medium garlic clove or more to taste

1 TBS chopped dill

1 cup water

1 TBS sherry vinegar (or other wine vinegar)

¼  buttery olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

Blend together in vita-mix or other very strong blender until totally smooth.  Taste and adjust for seasoning and then refrigerate overnight and taste and adjust seasoning before serving.  Serve with a swirl of olive oil and a little chopped dill in each bowl.

 

 

 

Thai Corn and Crawfish Chowder

 

4 ears corn shucked

1 TBS butter

Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped into small cubes

4 cups chicken broth, seafood broth or lobster broth

1 can coconut milk (14 ounce)

1 TBS Thai red curry paste

1 pound cooked crawfish tail meat (comes frozen) or shrimp, crab or lobster

Salt to taste

 

1.       Fry the corn kernels over high heat in a frying pan with no oil and after 3 minutes add butter and when melted continue to cook for another 2 minutes of high heat before setting the corn aside.

2.      Fry the onions in olive oil until soft and beginning to caramelize and then set aside

3.      Defrost the crawfish and fry over high heat with some butter and olive oil in two batches for 5-6 minutes each and set aside.  IF using other seafood skip this step if the seafood is already cooked.

4.      Place the shucked corn cobs in the broth and boil together for 20 minutes to infuse the broth with the corn flavor.  Then remove the cobs and discard.

5.      Mix the red curry with 1 TBS of the coconut milk until thoroughly combined.  Then add to broth along with the rest of the coconut milk and bring to simmer.  Add the onion, corn and crawfish and bring to simmer again.  Simmer for 10 minutes and taste for seasoning.

This chowder can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for the next day.  If using lobster or shrimp do not add the seafood until right before serving and then add it to the simmering broth and simmer until warmed through.  It is important not to overcook the seafood.

 

 

 

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STRAWBERRY RHUBARB TAPIOCA PUDDING

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                                                                                      strawberry rhubarb tapioca pudding

 

                          

 This is a quick and easy way to enjoy strawberries and rhubarb without having the fuss of making a pie. 

1 quart strawberries cut in half or quarters

1 lb. Rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/4 cup small pearl tapioca

1 cup apple juice or other juice

3/4 -1 cup sugar depending on how sweet you like it

1.  Mix the tapioca and 1/2 cup juice in fridge and leave overnight

2. Add 1/2 cup juice, put the tapioca and juice in saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally so the tapioca doesn't stick to bottom of pan. Add more juice or water if the mixture gets too thick.

3. After 15 minutes of gentle boiling add the rhubarb and sugar.  Cook together uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has broken down and is no longer distinct pieces:  about 15 minutes.

4.  Add strawberries, stir them in and bring to boil.  Then turn off the heat.  This keeps the strawberries bright red and in distinct pieces.  Serve warm or cool to a thicker consistency.  This is wonderful served with vanilla ice-cream.

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