Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

January 26, 2011

Crispy Eggplant Spinach Parm

Eggplant. I repeat, Eggplant. Do not be scared of it! It is so delicious when prepared the right way. I promise.

Here, have a look for yourself…

Since Lauren and I prepared some Mediterranean-style, grilled eggplant sandwiches for work yesterday, we still had a large portion of the eggplant hanging out in the fridge. On occasion, the remaining eggplant half might just end up pushed to the back only to be found during an intense cleaning session, thus resulting in a mass exodus of forgotten leftovers. We tried to steer clear of this from happening (again), so it was time for an eggplant parmesan creation.

Here are a few rules of thumb when preparing Eggplant:

1) Make sure you pick a fairly solid eggplant; if it is squishy in spots or feels hollow, steer clear.

2) Cut thick slices (about 1/2 in.); if slices are too thin, then they will turn out soggy and mushy and you will be so sad.

3) Soak up moisture. Use an old towel to press each side of the eggplant slices, before breading them, which will ensure a crispy and firm baked eggplant result.

Note: this is a messy task, try to only dirty one hand.

For the Eggplant:

Prepare a dredging station consisting of the following:

  • bowl with a 1/2 cup flour
  • bowl with 2 eggs, beaten
  • bowl with breadcrumb mixture (2/3 cup Italian bread crumbs; 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, additional dash of oregano, thyme, basil)

Don’t be shy, smother eggplant slices in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Place on foiled cooking sheet and bake for around 10 minutes on each side in a 400 degree oven.

 

Meanwhile, start preparation For the Sauce:

1/2 Jar of  tomato & basil marinara

1 Mexican squash (zucchini is fine too)

1 Medium onion

6-8 Small crimini mushrooms

1 Can drained diced tomatoes

Handful of fresh spinach

Garlic powder, salt, pepper (to taste)

Directions: Saute onions for a few minutes. Add in the diced squash and mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients, except for the spinach, and let simmer for around 15 minutes, stirring occassionally. Turn off the heat and stir in a handful or two of spinach.

Now, for the layering!


Start with a base of sauce. About a cup covered the bottom of our casserole dish.

Then put first round of eggplant slices atop the sauce. Follow with a few handfulls of spinach and cheese (we cut back on the mozzarella this time, and used a pre-shredded, 6- cheese Italian mix, along with some grated Parmesan & Romano.

Now, its time for the last layer of crispy eggplant slices. Lastly, top with a thin blanket of shredded cheese (mozzarella or the 6-cheese blend that we used) and grated Parmesan.

Put it in the oven and let cook at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the top is looking golden brown. Remove, and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into it, so that its not so messy when dishing it up.

Seeeeeee... Eggplant is good enough to eat! (or scarf down, in our case...)

 

 

 

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

–Chrissy

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January 11, 2011

Chipotle Black Bean and Yam Soup

Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Cracker.

It’s a great time to indulge in some soup for the soul! Thanks for putting this event on!

It all started when Lauren and I were at Henry’s market, picking up some groceries for the meals we had decided on for the week. Everything was going as planned, and we found exactly what we needed, but we were in for a real treat that day. Yams, Garnet Yams, were on sale, and boy were they ginormous! Lauren and I look at them, wide-eyed, and start laughing. Although we didn’t have a recipe for Yam the Gigantor yet, we couldn’t pass up purchasing such an odd looking growth. Now that I think about it, I really should have taken a separate photo of Yam the Gigantor, whoopsies.

An extra squeeze of lime is an excellent option

Since we were in a soupy kind of mood and we found a copious amount of black bean and sweet potato recipes, we ran in that direction. Here was the dilemma: we had a yam not a sweet potato. Naturally, I got curious and set off on an expedition to clear up the confusion, which meant that I went straight to the source: Wikipedia (don’t judge). After learning about the difference between the two similar-looking vegetables, I decided that Yam the Gigantor would be an even better addition to the black bean and chipotle chili soup. A little curiosity pays off…sometimes. Here’s the scoop:

INGREDIENTS 

Yam the Gigantor is on the
right, but please note that the biggest part of his bod
wouldn’t fit in the frame.

  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1-2 jalapeños, minced & seeded (unless
    you want your mouth to burst into flames)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped (plus 1 Tbsp of the adobo sauce)
  • 1 Yam the Gigantor, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 4 cups (3 cans) canned black beans
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (we always love to use extra)
  • Salt & peppeh to taste
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS :

You can either throw all ingredients into the CrockPot for a few hours on High, or you can cook in a pot on the stove. We did a little of each to get the best of both worlds. In medium skillet, heat some olive oil, add onion and cook for a few minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, jalapeños, and chipotles with adobo and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Throw onion/chili mixture into the Crockpot and turn on high. Add yams, black beans, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and stir together. Then, cover with vegetable broth and nestle the bay leaves into the middle. Let cook  on high for around 2 hours, or until yams are tender, stirring occasionally to make sure they are cooking evenly.

Whip out your immersion blender (if you don’t have one, well, get one! We just did and it is a kitchen essential!) and blend until desired texture is achieved. We left it a little bit on the chunky side.

Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in scallions and cilantro. Dish up into bowls and serve with the option of more hot sauce! (Since we had company over for dinner there weren’t as many leftovers as we had hoped, so I guess this means we will be making this dish again soon!
Little Yellow Note: We stirred in some yogurt to the small amount of leftovers and whad’ya know, it doubled as bean dip!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

–Chrissy

December 7, 2010

Ratatouille isn’t just a Disney movie with a cute rat in a chef hat.

But it did get us thinking… If a little rat can make such a dish, why can’t I? So tonight…we did!

It really is that easy, especially when you talk your pal, the Crock Pot, into helping out. (Note: It’s easiest to talk Crocky into it when he knows that there will be wine involved, and for this recipe, there is). Traditionally this dish is cooked over the stove, but for those days when you just want to throw things in a pot and let someone else do all the work, the Crock Pot is the way to go.

Here’s your shopping list:

Eggplant                                                                Garlic

(2) Zucchini                                                            (2) Cans of Diced Tomatoes

Yellow Crookneck Squash                                      Olive Oil

Onion                                                                     White Wine

Green Bell Pepper                                                   Salt & Pepper

Swiss Cheese (we subbed in Gruyere since it was in the fridge)

Dried Herbs/Seasonings: Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Red Pepper Flakes

Ready to go!

 

First, we cubed a mid-sized eggplant (skin and all), two zucchini, a large yellow crookneck squash, a large onion, a green bell pepper, and minced 4-5 cloves of garlic. Drizzle the bottom of the crock pot with olive oil and add in the mixture of chopped veggies along with two (15 oz) cans of diced tomatoes. Add a hardy pinch of the following seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and red pepper flakes (do so according to your desired level of spice). Once everything is combined, its time to add in some wine, about 1/2-3/4 cup. By using a sweet white wine we cut out the (1 Tbls) sugar that other recipes called for and got the same great flavor.

Now, time for the waiting game. Turn your Crockpot on low and let the flavors marry for 7-9 hours…

…Or, if you are like us and just know that you won’t be able to hold out for that long, you can cook on low for 4 hours and kick it up to High for 1-2 hours. Hey, we all have our weaknesses, so no judgments if you decide to take the short route.

Ready to eat!

Lastly, shred ½ cup of Gruyere or Swiss cheese and mix into the Ratatouille. Serve over your favorite pasta or by itself, it will be delightful either way! Garnish with fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and a sprinkle of cheese. After trying both the stove and the Crockpot recipes, we truly found the Crockpot version of Ratatouille to be the most delicious.

Yum... Enjoy!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

Chrissy

December 6, 2010

When was the last time you ate brussel sprouts?

Did you know they grow on a stalk? They do look strange and have developed quite a bad rep. A friend of ours literally cringed at the sound of it, but we disagree….

After eating far too much Costco peppermint bark as an after-work snack we decided to eat something delicious and nutritious for dinner. We had been staring at a giant pomegranate in our fruit bowl for a week afraid to bust into it for fear of all the hard work in peeling it. Fear not! We came up with a fabulous pomegranate, walnut and yes, brussel sprout recipe that we couldn’t help but try.  We halved 15-20 brussel sprouts, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and then baked them to a crisp (about 25 minutes) before adding the other ingredients. One thing you should know about us is that we don’t usually measure ingredients, unless baking. Therefore, please add as many toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds as your little heart desires (we added about 2 handfuls of pom seeds and ¼ cup warm, toasted walnuts). Mix it all up with a pad of butter and its ready to eat! You will find that the pomegranate seeds are the perfect addition to this dish as it gives an extra crunch and subtle sweetness.

Voila!

Pomegranate-peeling: For those of you who have no idea which is the best way to go about harvesting pomegranate seeds, here is the easiest way to do so, without sacrificing half of the fruit for the cause.

Get a big bowl and fill it up half way with cold water. Basically just go at it and peel everything into the bowl. You will find that the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the white pulp floats to the top! Now all you have to do is scoop the pulp off the top, strain seeds, and enjoy chilled pomegranate seeds.