Friday, August 31, 2007

Vegetarian Taquitos

Taquitos is a funny word. So tonight we made taquitos for dinner. According to the oh-so enlightening description for the recipe, from the May 2007 Cooking Light, "'taquito' means 'little taco'." Thanks, CL! It's still a funny word. The description also says the filling can be made the night before and refrigerated, but let it return to room temperature before using it. I didn't do this, but I might next time I make it (and I will make it again!) to speed up prep time. We really liked our little taquitos.

Changes: I subbed jarred jalapeno slices for the canned green chiles for spiciness, used a Mexican blend of cheese, and dipped the taquitos in sour cream and salsa.

Vegetarian Taquitos

1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups veggie ground round (such as Yves Veggie Cuisine) (Note: I used Morningstar Farms Soy Crumbles)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained

Remaining ingredients:
2 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
16 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Cooking spray

To prepare filling, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add veggie ground round and next 4 ingredients (through chiles); cook 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, carefully dip tortilla into broth for 2 seconds using tongs; place softened tortilla on a paper towel. Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling across lower third of tortilla; top with 2 teaspoons cheese. Roll up; place rolled tortilla on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly spray roll with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, filling, and cheese.

Bake at 425° for 13 minutes or until rolls are crisp.

Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuna Everything Bagel

Tonight we needed a nice low-key dinner! Enter a Tyler Florence recipe for a nice little tuna salad on a bagel. It was simple and good. I did use fresh dill - more points for me for the week! We liked it ok but it would probably be better for a lunch than for a dinner. But it was good.

Tuna Everything Bagel
Tyler's Ultimate, on Food Network

Tuna Salad:
3 cups good quality canned tuna (packed in water), drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 cornichons, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste

2 everything bagels, sliced and toasted
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced crescents
1 vine-ripened tomato, sliced
1 seedless cucumber, sliced
4 Bibb lettuce leaves

Begin with the tuna salad. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Take cut bagels and toast under a hot broiler until golden brown. While still hot smear the bottom with the cream cheese immediately. Top with a scoop of the tuna salad and then layer with red onion, tomato, cucumber and lettuce. Add the top half of the bagel and serve.

Yield: 2 servings

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dinner tonight

Tonight we made 'Prosciutto' and Egg Panini, except a really half-assed version, because the nice rolls I'd bought had gone bad and the veggie bacon I thought we had in the freezer had mysteriously disappeared. Oh and then I burned the sandwiches. But it's ok. Tater tots made up for it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Stuffed Zucchini with Potatoes and Peas

We are usually successful with Indian-inspired dishes and tonight was no different. This recipe, from the April 2003 issue of Cooking Light, was excellent. It had a nice, spicy potato-y filling in a cool, salty zucchini "boat" that was a really wonderful combination. We substituted a habanero for the serrano which upped the spice factor quite a bit, which was fun. We liked it a lot and would definitely make it again.

Oh and I used fresh cilantro, which wins me more fresh herb points this week. I'm getting better!

Stuffed Zucchini with Potatoes and Peas

6 medium zucchini (about 3 pounds)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 1/2 cups diced peeled baking potato
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 serrano chile, minced
2 tablespoons chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour (Note: I used whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Place zucchini halves, cut sides up, in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Cook potato in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.

Heat butter and oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and chile, and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through cumin). Cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, potato, peas, and cilantro.

Pat zucchini dry with paper towels; spoon about 1/3 cup potato mixture into each zucchini half. Cover and bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Braised Lebanese Eggplant with Chickpeas

Tonight's dinner came from the September 2007 issue of Vegetarian Times. I haven't picked up this magazine in years, but the cover of this issue appealed to me so I bought a copy. I found a lot of tasty-sounding dishes. I picked this recipe to begin with because it reminds me of the Lebanese eggplant dish I had at Lebanese Taverna so many years ago that I have unsuccessfully tried to replicate so many times. Once again, I failed, but this wasn't too bad. It was kind of bland, but the mint was nice (yes, I used fresh mint! I'm getting better about fresh herbs!) and the eggplant cooked to a lovely texture. I added some pine nuts, too, which was great. We both wished it was more flavorful, but it wasn't bad. I probably wouldn't make it again though.

A note about cooking directions: I don't have a Dutch oven that can be transferred to the oven (though I might register for a Le Creuset one now, haha!) so I made the stovetop part in a stockpot, and then transferred it into a casserole dish that I'd been heating in the oven while prepping everything else. It worked out very well.

Braised Lebanese Eggplant with Chickpeas

Slow-cooking eggplant in tomato sauce makes it incredibly silky and tender. Choose a marinara sauce that has few ingredients as possible so the flavors don't overwhelm the eggplant.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
6 medium Japanese eggplant, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 cup marinara sauce
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 large mint sprigs, plus 2 Tbsp chopped mint

Preheat oven to 325. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and saute 7 minutes, or until soft. Stir in eggplant, and cook 5 minute or until beginning to brown. Add garlic, allspice, and cumin, and cook 1 minute more.

Stir in marinara sauce, vinegar, and 2/3 cup water, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Lay mint sprigs on top of eggplant mixture, cover, and transfer pot to oven. Cook 45-50 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Remove mint sprigs, and stir in chopped mint. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings

Fair Food

While dinner is in the oven, I thought I would make a post about the deliciously horrible food we had at the county fair last weekend. The most amazing of all was this delicacy, which I had never seen before:


Fried oreos! Deep fried in funnel cake batter and covered in powdered sugar. I ordered some and got this:


Oh my goodness, words cannot describe. So horrifically unhealthy, and Gibby made me stop eating them because he was appalled that I could eat more than one of the sugary, fried morsels, but they were just so yummy!!!!! I can't wait for next year, when I can have them again.

He ordered a fried Snickers bar, because it sounded interesting. It came out looking like this:

It kind of looked like a powdered sugar covered corndog. It didn't taste very good. It was kind of weird. We would not order that again.

We also had grilled cheese sandwiches, fries, and lemonade. The fair was wonderful. Fair food is wonderful. It's a time for indulgence, wasting money, and looking at funny animals.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mint Chocolate Brownies

Yay, my 400th post! That's cool.

This week, Steve came to visit from Connecticut. Naturally, I must welcome him with baked goods, so Sunday night I prepared some brownies. Not just any brownies (of course), brownies with a layer of peppermint patties in them. They are not healthy but they are quite delicious. Very rich, since there is a minimal amount of flour. But they are very tasty and were enjoyed by all. We would make these again.

Mint Chocolate Brownies
from Everyday Food, 12/06

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
25 small (1 1/2 inch) peppermint patties (12 oz. bag)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter foil. Set aside.

2. Place chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally just until melted, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar and salt until smooth; whisk in eggs. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa powder just until smooth (do not overmix).

4. Spread 1/3 of batter in prepared pan. Arrange peppermint patties on batter in a single layer, leaving a narrow border on all sides. Top with remaining batter, and smooth surface. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached (check earlier than this! mine were done at 35 minutes using a 9 inch pan!), 45 to 55 minutes.

5. Cool completely in pan. Use foil to lift from pan; peel off foil and discard. Cut into 16 squares (4 rows by 4 rows).

Yield: 16 servings

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chiles Rellenos Gratin

We both decided this was pretty much a perfect dinner. It was beautiful, delicious, and pretty healthy (even though we doubled the sauce - which I would recommend you do if you make this). We loved it and will definitely make it again. It is a little time consuming but is worth it.

Substitutions: I put in panko instead of standard breadcrumbs, used a Mexican blend of shredded cheese instead of queso fresco, and, as I mentioned before, doubled the amount of white sauce. I like my changes. You may notice I did not omit the cilantro. That's right. I used fresh cilantro! Gasp! Haha.

OK so one more week and then we're back to a normal cooking schedule!!!

Chiles Rellenos Gratin
from Cooking Light, May 2003

Unlike traditional stuffed chiles, this dish is baked like a casserole. The chiles are smothered in a creamy, spicy white sauce and topped with a cheese-rich breadcrumb mixture that crisps as it cooks.

8 poblano chiles
cooking spray
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled queso fresco, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, divided
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and divided
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% low-fat milk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

Preheat broiler.

Place chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil 3 inches from heat 8
minutes or until blackened, turning after 4 minutes. Place in a zip-top
plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and discard skins. Cut a
lengthwise slit in each chile; discard seeds, leaving stem intact.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat.
Add bell peppr; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add corn, onions,
nuts, and garlic;
cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup
cheese, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper.

Place half of beans in a bowl; mash with a fork. Add mashed beans and
whole beans to corn mixture. Spoon about 1/3 cup bean mixture into each
chile; fold sides of chile over filling. Arrange stuffed chiles in an
8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray; set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; add 1/8 teaspoon
ground red pepper, cumin, and nutmeg, and stir with a whisk. Cook 30
seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add flour and stir with a whisk;
cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk. Stir with a
whisk until blended.

Increase heat to medium. Cook milk mixture 8 minutes or until thick.
Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and lime juice. Pour milk
mixture over stuffed chiles.

Combine remaining 1/4 cup cheese and breadcrumbs; sprinkle over milk
mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.

Preheat broiler.

Broil 1 minute or until top is golden brown.

Yield: 8 servings

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice

Tonight's dinner was a disaster from the very first second we added the curry paste to the pot: immediate smoke, followed by intense burning of our noses and lots and lots of coughing, which did not cease during the entire rest of the cooking process. Whoever decided it would be a good idea to add curry paste to hot oil was not thinking straight. So much smoke! Oh my goodness.

Anyhow, so we continued with the recipe, but the damage was already done. By the time food made it onto our plates, everything tasted like burned spices or burned oil. I am not sure whether this is our fault or the recipe's fault. I don't think the recipe would have been delicious even without the burning aftertaste. It was a big disappointment. This is what I get for taking a chance on a vegan recipe!

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice
From The Post-Punk Kitchen

You will need a medium sized wok, a metal spatula to stir-fry with, and a covered sauce pan to steam some rice in.

3 cups white or brown short grain rice
pinch of salt
3 3/4 cups of water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 crushed garlic clove
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cashews
3 green onions cut in 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper cut into 1" strips
1 small head of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
4 oz. extra firm tofu cut into 1" slices
3 garlic cloves minced
1" piece of ginger minced
8oz. light coconut milk
4 tsp. sriracha hot sauce
8 oz. can pineapple tidbits drained
2 tsp. peanut oil
1-2 tbsp. red curry paste (Thai Kitchen is a brand readily available, a little goes a long way)
1 tsp. turmeric
10 basil leaves

If possible, steam the rice an hour before you stir-fry it. In a medium sauce pan bring the water, rice, and salt to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and steam the rice for about 20 minutes (40 min. for brown rice). Let it cool to room temperature.

While the rice is steaming, prepare the marinade and other ingredients for the fried rice.

For the marinade:
In a small bowl, add soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed garlic, sugar, and 2 tsp. sriracha sauce. Whisk well, add the tofu and let it marinate while you prepare the rest, stir occasionally.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger and curry paste and cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly. Add the green onions, bell pepper, raisins, cashews and broccoli, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Add the tofu and marinade, stir a few minutes more. Add the rice and stir until well heated through and starting to color. Add 2 tsp. sriracha sauce and turmeric to the coconut milk, mix well, add it to the rice and stir for several minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the pineapple, stir for a couple minutes, add the basil and stir until it begins to wilt.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tomato Chickpea Curry

I'm still here! Don't worry! Only two more weeks of class and then normal cooking schedule will resume!!!!

Tonight we made Tomato Chickpea Curry. Gibby said he was in the mood for something spicy with chickpeas, so there you go. I didn't like it as much as the chana masala we made awhile ago, but it was still very delicious. We ate it with some garlic naan from Trader Joe's. Probably not a make-again, but still very good.

Tomato Chickpea Curry
Cooking Light, October 2006

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion (1 small)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in garam masala, mustard seeds, and red pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in coconut milk and remaining ingredients except cilantro; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta, and Green Onions

What I am discovering is that feta cheese travels very well. It is excellent for lunches (and in my case, dinners). It goes nicely in all kinds of salads and recipes. This week I made Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta, and Green Onions, from a column Giada de Laurentiis did for Epicurious.

It has been very very yummy. However, the extra dressing did not last (somehow it solidified...) so I had to make some more for yesterday's meals. I used some beautiful multi-colored heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe's and fat-free feta, and it was really good. I would make this again.

Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta, and Green Onions

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil

6 cups chicken broth (Note: I just boiled it in water!)
1 pound orzo (or riso)

2 cups red and yellow teardrop or grape tomatoes, halved
1 7-ounce package feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Bring broth to boil in large heavy saucepan. Stir in orzo, reduce heat to medium, cover partially, and boil until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Transfer to large wide bowl, tossing frequently until cool.

Mix tomatoes, feta, basil, and green onions into orzo. Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Add pine nuts; toss. Serve at room temperature.

Yield: 8 servings

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

For some bizarre reason I was craving some kind of seafood taco for dinner, so I pulled out this recipe from the March 2007 issue of Cooking Light. It has shrimp, and spicy, and plus we got to use the food processor (always fun).

We didn't make many changes. I omitted the cilantro out of habit, which was a mistake. Definitely include the cilantro. We used extra avocado, extra cayenne pepper, a jalapeno instead of a serrano (couldn't find a serrano), and flour tortillas instead of corn (I don't really like corn tortillas).

It was fantastic! It came together really nicely. We made the salsa while the shrimp were marinating. The salsa makes a large amount, so you may want to halve it. I wish I'd doubled the amount of shrimp though - I wanted seconds!!!

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 pound tomatillos, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 avocado, peeled
1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

To prepare shrimp, combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; sauté 4 minutes or until done.

To prepare salsa, place tomatillos and next 9 ingredients (through serrano) in a food processor; process until smooth. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Divide shrimp evenly among tortillas. Top each with about 1/4 cup salsa; fold in half.

Yield: 4 servings

World Peace Cookies

I have seen this recipe popping up all over the internet lately, particularly on other food blogs and forums. Everyone loves these cookies! So of course, I had to make them. They use ingredients most people have on hand (don't worry about the fleur de sel - just use salt or sea salt instead). I had some issues, as usual, with the rolling it into logs. I don't know why I am incapable of rolling or kneading dough. I always have problems with it. Regardless, we got about 24 big cookies out of it. They are delicious! Surprisingly thin and flat, so I'm not sure what happened there. But they're very yummy and we would definitely make them again. They would also be good with some mint chocolate chip ice cream....yum.

World Peace Cookies
Originally from Baking From My Home To Yours
Yoinked from Desert Culinary

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and baking soda.

In a large mixing bowl, add butter and beat until creamy. Add sugars, salt and vanilla - beat until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined - it may be a little crumbly. Add the chopped chocolate and mix just until combined.

Scoop the dough out onto a counter and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into 9" long rolls. Place the logs in saran wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and unwrap. Using a sharp knife, slice the rolls into 18 even-sized cookies, about 1/2" thick. The dough may crumble or crack as you slice, but just press them back together when you place them on the baking sheet. Place the cut pieces of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12 minutes. Remove and place on the baking sheet on a wire rack - let the cookies cool on the baking sheet until they are just warm to the touch. Enjoy the cookies warm or move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 3 dozen (?)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Red Onion and Aioli

It usually takes me a little while before I make a recipe from a recent magazine (at least a month or two), but immediately after reading the most recent issue of Cooking Light, I knew I wanted to make this sandwich. So I did. It wasn't as quick as I'd thought, since I somehow missed reading the step where you drain the eggplant, but it was still pretty quick as a whole. We both agreed that it was absolutely fantastic, and we loved it!!! I used romaine instead of arugula and only put tomatoes on mine. The aioli is delicious, though I'd double the amount they list or else you won't taste it (luckily, I doubled it!). The grilled onions were wonderful and the eggplant was very subtle but delicious. It is a definite make-again for us!

Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Red Onion and Aioli

Use a sliced loaf of good-quality Italian bread; its dense texture stands up to grilling. Sprinkle eggplant with salt; let it stand, applying pressure periodically, and rinse before grilling to leach excess moisture and bitterness.

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced

1 (1-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Cooking spray
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices red onion
8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices Italian bread
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
2 cups lightly packed arugula leaves

To prepare aioli, combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill.

To prepare sandwiches, arrange eggplant in a single layer on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant with salt; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Rinse eggplant with cold water. Drain and pat dry.

Prepare grill.

Combine thyme, parsley, and rosemary in a small bowl, stirring well. Lightly coat eggplant slices with cooking spray; sprinkle with herb mixture.

Arrange eggplant and onion on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Remove from heat, and keep warm. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 1 minute on each side or until toasted.

Spread about 2 teaspoons aioli over 1 side of 4 bread slices; divide eggplant and onion evenly among bread slices. Place 2 tomato slices on each sandwich; top each serving with 1/2 cup arugula. Spread about 2 teaspoons of remaining aioli over 1 side of remaining 4 bread slices; place on top of sandwiches.

Yield: 4 servings

Photo added 7/14/2012:

Friday, August 03, 2007


Tonight I tasted alligator, in the form of beignets, at The French Quarter Cafe, and it was good.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Whole-wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese

On the whole, this recipe is pretty good for lunches. It holds up well for a couple of days, tastes good cold, and is easily transportable. I liked it. It's nothing spectacular and I probably won't make it again after this week, but it's good.

Whole-wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese
From Food Network's Ellie Krieger

8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli or other spiral shaped pasta
1/2 cup walnut pieces or halves
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, rinse it under cold water, and put it in the refrigerator to chill.

In a dry saute pan, toast the walnuts over a medium-high flame until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set the walnuts aside to cool then chop them coarsely.

In a large bowl, toss together the chilled pasta, walnuts, feta cheese, onion, and spinach. In a small bowl whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic and mustard. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 4 servings