Thursday, April 7, 2011

Simple Eggplant Parm

A lot of people are afraid of eggplant.'s a little...well, odd.

Eggplant parm is always my go-to when I can't think of what to do with my eggplant. Sounds boring, but last night, my sister-in-law told me that she tries eggplant parm at restaurants quite often, but whose is the best? Mine. That's right. I can't take all the credit mom has taught me well. There is nothing very special about my eggplant parm...except maybe the luscious and spicy marinara, the crispy yet still moist texture of the eggplant (both fried and baked), or the way the mozzerella melts into the baked dish...Ok--maybe it's special afterall. :)

Here goes:

1 large eggplant
1 1/2 c. flour
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 c. italian bread crumbs
2 c. shredded mozzerella cheese
1/3 c. olive oil

3 large tomatoes - chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 c. water or vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion
1 1/2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano

For sauce: place all ingredients in pot and let simmer on medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add water if sauce is too thick.
When sauce starts to bubble, it is ready!

Peel and slice a large eggplant...slices should be about a 1/4 inch thick.
Create an assembly line of eggplant coating: 1 bowl: white or wheat flour, 1 bowl: 2 beaten eggs, 1 bowl: italian bread crumbs [to do this homemade--crumble stale bread mixed with healthy tablespoons of parsley, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.]

Coat all eggplant pieces with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs (in that order)

Warm up a shallow pan coated with olive oil on medium heat. Wait a few minutes. Then, place eggplant in pan. When sides begin to brown, turn over.

Pre-heat over to 375 degrees.

Take glass baking pan and coat bottom with tomato marinara. Then place eggplant in two straight rows. They can overlap a little.

Pour thin coat of sauce over top of the eggplant rows.

Sprinkle mozzerella on eggplant pieces.

Cover with foil and bake.

When you see the sauce and cheese bubbling, your eggplant parm is ready! This usually takes about 25 minutes.

Serve with a hearty green salad, or vegetable! :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

a trio of lemony ideas

I bought a family pack of lemons this week at the store. I thought, "what the heck will I use 16 lemons for before they go bad?" I contemplated giving a few of them away, until I realized that I had plenty of ideas for lemons--I just needed to use them! ( well--besides allowing little Noa to trace them :))
My first idea: a natural sweetener for my water... As I work towards a non-processed foods/drinks diet, cutting out juices/soft drinks is a definite must. I decided that because water is so not my drink of choice, it may help to just add a hint of juiciness. What I ended up with was a tupperware container of lemons in my fridge. My hope is that when I open my fridge for a drink, I will remember those little yellow slivered gems and forget about my V8 Splash, root beer or mango iced tea. (not likely, but it will help I hope!)

Idea #2: Hummus! Hummus is a great treat to have around my house. Not only for our snacking, but for a great protein for my not-so-meat-loving daughter. She seems to like it the spicier the better, which leaves me the liberty of creating a flavorful snack or lunch. The recipe I use is adapted from the book: Feeding the Whole Family (actually both #2 and #3 lemon-y ideas are from this recipe book!) I have however adjusted it a bit and especially added more spices. The fresh lemon juice really makes a difference compared to the packaged stuff!

2 cups cooked/canned chick peas/garbanzo beans
3-4 cloves of garlic
5 tbsp. tahini
1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. parsley

Blend in food processer--garnish with paprika!

Idea #3: Lemon/Cranberry Scones - I followed the recipe from the book listed above pretty much to a tee. I don't suggest straying--except I did exchange 1/2 of the wheat flour for white flour. I tend to like more white flour than wheat for pastry items.
I refridgerated the dough overnight, to make sure that first thing in the morning...while the coffee is brewing and we are all waking up, I could quickly pop these little triangles in the oven and come out with the freshest product possible! Boy were they good. :) 14 made yesterday and we are down to 4 left! HA!

What are your favorite ideas for lemons??