Tuesday, July 17, 2018

RECIPE: Eggplant Caponata

From https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/caponata This is a delicious and complex dish, sure to impress! Ingredients 1-2 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces\ 4 Tablespoons olive oil (2T / 2T, see below) 1 large onion, chopped 1 celery stalk, chopped ¼ cup chopped green olives 2 teaspoons capers 1 large tomato, chopped 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar ½ teaspoon sugar Recipe Preheat oven to 400.  Coat eggplant with 2T olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Roast, stirring at least once to prevent burning, in oven until brown, up to 30 minutes. Meanwhile on the stovetop, heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add 2T olive oil, and when oil is hot, add the onions, celery, olives and capers, salt and pepper, and cook slowly for 15 minutes.  Add ½ cup water, the sugar, and the vinegar and bring to boil then reduce to simmer until half of the liquid is gone, about 5 minutes.   Add the eggplant to the onion mixture and stir well.

RECIPE: Pasta with eggplant, sundried tomato, and goat cheese

A fun summer pasta dish that comes together quickly for a weeknight dinner!

1 eggplant
1 jar sundried tomato packed in oil
Goat cheese
1 box pasta (rigatoni is my favorite shape here)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut eggplant into 1-inch thick rounds and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit for 15 or so minutes… after 15 minutes, the eggplants will have sweat out some liquid.  Dry the liquid off and cut the rounds into small cubes. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and give a little spray of olive oil (if you have Pam or an expeller) or drizzle of olive oil.  Bake until golden brown, or about 20-30 minutes.

While the eggplant is baking, put the jar of sundried tomatoes, including the oil, in the food processor and pulse into a paste, adding additional olive oil if needed (I don’t usually need to add too much).

Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente (2-3 minutes less than the package calls for).  Reserve pasta water!

Heat up your sundried tomato paste in a skillet, and add pasta and about ¼ to ½ cup of pasta water (to start). The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce!

Add the eggplant to the pasta and the sauce.  Finish in the bowl with dollops of goat cheese (you can also mix this in for a creamier sauce).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

RECIPE: Garlic Chives Scrambled Eggs

- After washing well, cut 1 bunch garlic chives into 1” lengths.
- 4 Eggs
- Either 1 teaspoon soy sauce, or salt and pepper to taste

Scramble the eggs in a bowl and add either the soy sauce or salt + pepper.

Heat a pan on high heat.  Add 1-2T oil to the pan, allow the oil to get hot and coat the entire bottom of the pan, and then add the chives.  Coat in the hot oil and quickly fry before adding the eggs and turning down the heat. Cook the eggs until they’re just the way you like them.  Eat while warm and enjoy!

TIP: Garlic Chives

  • Cut off the ends and wash well.
  • Try to use within a few days.
  • Use in place of chives in your favorite recipe.
  • Add at the end of cooking or flavor will fade.

RECIPE: Easy Baked Zucchini and Eggplant

- 1 pound Eggplant, cubed
- ½ pound Zucchini, cubed
- Olive Oil, salt and pepper

Optionally, add any or all of the below:
- ½ pound fresh tomatoes
- 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped or smashed
- 4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 4 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oven to 350.  Cut eggplant and zucchini into 1” cubes.  (If using fresh tomatoes, cube them as well).  

Place in a large bowl, lightly cover in olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well.  (Add any of the other optional ingredients at this time. Taste a piece of zucchini to check seasoning and adjust as necessary.)

Put the veggie mix into a casserole dish and place into preheated oven.  After 20 minutes check the tenderness of the veggies, and if you want to cook longer, cover with tin foil.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

RECIPE: Zucchini, Snap Pea, and Onion Salad with Pesto

I’m always looking for a filling salad, that I can eat for dinner and not be hungry after!  This is a refreshing early summer meal that is easy to put together and that can be prepared ahead of time for a quick weeknight meal.

Zucchini, thinly sliced (either with a mandolin or a knife)
1 lemon
2 handfuls sugar snap peas, 1 onion, or any other veggies of your choice (roasted, quartered radishes would be great here, as would thinly sliced radishes)
Head or bunch of greens of your choice (lettuce, spinach, kale, or a mix are all great here)
2-3 tablespoons pesto (recipe below)

Season both sides of each slice of zucchini well with olive oil, salt, and pepper (I used a spray olive oil here, such as Pam, for a more even application).  Using a grill pan (if you have one) or large skillet, “grill” zucchini slices in a single layer (you can probably also roast the slices for a more hands off approach).. I personally like using the grill pan because I like the look of the grill marks.  Once you see these grill marks, flip the slices over and repeat on the other side. Transfer the cooked zucchini to a plate or cutting board and lightly squeeze lemon juice over it.

Slice the sugar snap peas in half long ways.  Roast the whole onion in the oven, tossed in olive oil, at 350 for about 35-40 minutes.  When the onion is cool enough to touch, peel and toss the outer layer (it will be harder), and cut into bite size pieces (I find that with a large onion, this is normally in 8-10 pieces).

Toss your zucchini slices, roasted onion pieces, and sliced snap peas in a bowl with your greens and pesto.

2 ounces basil
2 tablespoons toasted nuts (I like cashews here)
2-3 garlic scapes or 1-2 garlic cloves
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Combine your basil, toasted nuts, and garlic scapes/garlic cloves in the food processor.  While on low, pour in olive oil and white wine vinegar, tasting with each added tablespoon. Let the food processor run until your pesto is at your desired consistency.

Monday, July 9, 2018

TIP: 12 Tips to Cooking Faster

Spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your summer...
12 Tips to Cooking Faster

1. A Good, Sharp Knife...that you know how to use. Being able to chop up the loads of produce we get each week from the CSA in 10 minutes vs 60 minutes goes a long way towards saving you time in the kitchen. If you know you need to work on your skills, here’s a youtube video to give you a leg up: Here
2. Cut Food Into Smaller Pieces. Use those knife skills you just learned in suggestion number 1 and make sure you cut food small enough. Stir-frying is one of the best quick-cooking techniques because the proteins and vegetables are cut down into small pieces, so remember that the smaller the pieces, the quicker the cooking.
3. Load A Pan With Ingredients From The Pantry Or Fridge. This tip comes from watching television cooking competitions like Iron Chef or Top Chef. Contestants grab big, shallow pans, run to the pantry or refrigerator, and load up with as much as they can at one time so they're not constantly going back and forth. While a home kitchen is not a big TV kitchen studio, you can definitely make this concept work for you. Take a rimmed baking sheet or big bowl to the refrigerator and load it up so you only make one trip. You'll also know if you're missing or don't have enough of an ingredient right off the bat instead of halfway through cooking.
4. Get The Water Boiling Immediately. Get that pot of water for boiling or steaming onto the stove ASAP so you can prep while it's heating up. Heck, don't even take your coat off or open the mail before getting that pot going. Don't forget to put a lid on it; lids are your friends! Water will boil faster and covered food cooks faster, too. If you have an electric kettle, those can also be handy for getting water heated up fast.
5. Set Up Appliances And Heat The Oven. There's a reason why oven recipes always start with having you heat the oven! Get the oven on before you even pull food out or use your oven's delay start setting so it's already turned on when you walk in the kitchen. Using convection to heat the oven will also speed things up, and you can always switch it back to regular bake once it's heated. Also pull out any cookware or appliances you'll need so you're not scrambling in the middle of the recipe. You can also throw ingredients right into, say, the stand mixer or food processor as you measure and prep if it's already out. 6. Take One Minute To Mentally Walk Through What You're Cooking. Before you start cooking, taking just one minute to think through what you're about to do makes all the difference in the world. If you're making multiple dishes, you can pick out what takes the longest to cook and the exact order to prep and cook things, seeing where there are opportunities to prep things while something else is cooking. It's a lot more efficient to have a mental game plan so you don't hit any bumps, like forgetting to get water boiling. 7. Pan Cooked Pasta. Why have a huge stew pot full of a billion gallons of water that takes ten years to boil and the pasta still sticks out the top of when you could just use a pan wide enough to fit the length of the noodles? 8. Microwave Prep Veggies. This is actually from America's Test Kitchen on the episode about making homefries. After dicing potatoes, popping them in the microwave for about 3 minutes before finishing them by browning them in a frying pan (with onions and peppers) not only speeds up the process but results in less dried out homefries. They are perfectly fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. You can do the same with squash, pumpkin, and carrots too! 9. Use A Garbage Bowl. If your trash can or compost bin isn't located directly next to your prep area, try using a garbage bowl instead. A garbage bowl is a large bowl or container that you put right on your prep area to toss unwanted things into as you prep. This means you don't have to make multiple trips to the trash can or compost bin, and it also minimizes the chance of food scraps ending up on the kitchen floor since you're not walking around constantly. 10. Grate Your Butter So You Don't Have To Wait For It To Soften. Baking recipes often call for softened butter, but sometimes you don't have the time to wait for it to come to room temperature. A quick trick is to grate cold or preferably frozen butter on a box grater into nice flaky shreds; grated butter will soften in the same amount of time it takes to heat the oven! 11. Figure Out Your Prepping Order And Multitask. Well-written recipes list ingredients in the order they're used and are usually a great guide for the order your should prep things. While those just learning to cook should prep everything beforehand so they can fully focus on cooking, more experienced cooks can multitask. For example, onions take time to caramelize or brown, so chop your onions and get those cooking first before you measure and chop the other ingredients.
12. Clean Your Produce Efficiently. Trim your produce first if you can, like taking tops off root vegetables or cutting up the lettuce, then wash it after. This means there's less to wash, and you can then wash what you need in one go. Combining things in a colander for rinsing can also reduce water usage.