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Savoury Sunday: Eggplant Parmesan

Aubergines from http://www.usda.gov/oc/photo/9...
Aubergines from http://www.usda.gov/oc/photo/98c0468.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ah yes, it’s the time of year when we reap the bounty of our harvest.  Coming from the country, I delight in the fresh food that is now available to us to create savoury creations.

Yesterday I was asked by a few people for my Eggplant Parmesan recipe. Today I’m posting it for you so you can enjoy it any time you like. I make homemade tomato sauce from scratch, and use lots of fresh basil and a little more garlic than the recipe calls for.

As always, you can pair this with a delicious, red wine, fresh bread, and some wonderful music.

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients

2lbs ( approximately 2 large eggplant)

salt

1 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes (I use fresh)

1 clove minced garlic

Olive Oil ( I use grape seed oil)

Black Pepper

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup dine dry breadcrumbs

4 large beaten eggs

1.5lbs fresh mozzarella sliced 1/4″ thick

1 cup grated parmesan cheese’

1 cup packed basil leaves

Method

1) Cut eggplant length wise into 1/4″ slices ( I cut mine to 1/2″), and arrange evenly in the bottom of a colander. Sprinkle  each slice with salt.

2) Weigh the eggplant down with a heavy plate.

3) While eggplant is draining, prepare tomato sauce.

4) Combine tomatoes, 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor, season with salt and pepper and set aside. ( I also use more fresh basil leaves in the sauce, and add 1/2 teaspoon of oregano and a splash of red wine)

5) When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water.  Wipe off with a paper towel to remove salt.

6) Combine bread crumbs and flour in a flat bowl or on a plate.

7) On another plate, beat eggs in wide, flat, bowl.

8) Place large skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 of oil.

9) Dredge eggplant in crumb mixture, and then egg. Fry until golden brown on each side.

10) Place layer of tomato sauce in bottom of a casserole dish, add eggplant,, top with grated mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place basil leaves evenly on top of mozzarella. Repeat to make a second layer.

11) Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered until top is browned ( approximately 30 minutes)

 

For your musical, kitchen-boogying delight I offer you the Archies;

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Savoury Sunday; Breakfast in Bed

Ever thought of planning an impromptu sleepover with that long-time love interest sans jammies?

Romantic Bed & Breakfast
Romantic Bed & Breakfast (Photo credit: visit~fingerlakes)

If you’ve dreamed of a waking up next to your delicious lover AND a sumptuous breakfast to stoke the fires of sunrise amore, I hope this recipe helps.

You think your true-love may not be of the same mind? Have you ever thought about forwarding this little post to your lover to remind them that you are a precious gem worthy of great care?

Surprise your sweetie with breakfast in bed, complete with a mimosa based on Les Etoiles bubbly from one of my favourite home-grown Canadian wineries. It’s a bit pricey compared to my usual Segura Viudus, but doesn’t your first sleepover demand a little pomp and ceremony my sweet, dreamy, darling? Add a little orange juice and voila – good lovin’ in the morning guaranteed.

Almost.

You may also need to prepare your love a pot of joe, just in case they need some internal motivation.

My suggested breakfast in bed also gives you baking time to freshen up while it’s baking.

I present to you ladies and gentlemen – Abbracciando le Uova Pomodori (or, as we say in English, eggs in a tomato).

 

Ingredients

4 large beefsteak tomatoes (fresh from the garden is always best)

4 eggs

2 tbsp. fresh basil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

4 thickly sliced pieces of fresh bread (sourdough and pumpernickel are both  yummy)

1 halved clove of garlic

2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2) Cut the top off of tomatoes and scoop out seeds and  pulp.

3) Place the tomatoes in a lightly oiled baking dish.

4) Break an egg into each tomato. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Add basil and sprinkle with the cheese.

5) Bake for about 20 minutes until the egg whites are set and the yolk is still runny (or longer if your true love prefers the yolks solid).

6) Rub the garlic clove over the bread and drizzle each piece with oil. Bake under broiler watching closely until the bread is golden.

7) Place each tomato on a slice of bread .

***You get luscious lover points for brining breakfast in bed.

You get triple points for arranging it on a tray with the mimosa, coffee/tea, the daily news and a beautiful flower.***

***

May I suggest an appropriate song for my delicate morning doves?

 

 

 

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Savoury Sunday; Veal & Marsala

Time to get back to the kitchen my love. Yes, that’s right. This week take advantage of any rainy nights by preparing this simply delicious treat.

A Special Occasion: 14 of 365
A Special Occasion: 14 of 365 (Photo credit: Close to Home)

What’s that you say? Wine? Of course. Try Villa Pozzi Merlot, a wine that loves food and won’t break the bank. It will charm you with it’s voluptuous flavor to make you forget all the reasons you stayed single for so very long.

You could serve this with mashed potatoes or a fresh green salad.

Don’t forget some fresh bread and cheeses to follow the meal.

Below the recipe you will find a tune to help inspire a fun ambiance and second or third bottle of vino!

Ingredients

4 veal cutlets (1/8″ thick)

2 tbsp. all purpose flour

3 tbsp. olive/grapeseed oil

salt and pepper to taste

Parsley (chopped)  to garnish

Method

1) Season the veal with salt and pepper and coat with flour.

2) Heat oil in large pan, adding veal cutlets and cook on high heat for one minute per side.

3) Add wine to the pan with the veal and let it cook for a minute.

4) Serve warm with pan juices spooned over the veal.

***

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Savoury Sunday: Crevettes a la Grecque

Glasses
Glasses (Photo credit: Simon_sees)

It’s been a while darlings. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about you, I’ve just been terribly busy, pre-occupied, and frankly, enjoying the simple pleasures of the barbecue.

Alas, I am back with a delicious recipe for you to enjoy while dining al fresco under the stars after the sun has set and the humidity is blown away by  the cool evening breeze.

Shrimp in Mediterranean sauce is simple, easy and delicious; the way that food should be prepared and served. With a few fine quality ingredients and lots of love, you can enjoy this simple dish with your true-love without having to spend hours slaving over the stove.

Add a glass or five of Joseph Cattin Pinot Gris spritzed half and half with ice-cold club soda and a wedge of juicy lime. Be sure to have a baguette and fresh salad of baby greens with a simple vinegraitte, and you’re all set.

Don’t worry darlings, I haven’t forgotten the  ambiance. Please see my preferred selection below the recipe.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup olive oil

2 large garlic cloves (thinly sliced NOT crushed)

1 small red onion (finely chopped)

1 large lemon with finely pared zest

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. coriander seeds (lightly toasted)

1/2 tbsp. ground pepper

20 large shrimp or equivalent smaller shrimp

Fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped for garnish)

Method

1) Combine wine, water, oil, garlic, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, coriander seeds, pepper into a pan and bring to a boil.

2)Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

3) Add the shrimp and simmer for approximately 3 minutes or until the shrimp (depending on size) turn pink. Remove from pan and place in serving bowl.

4) Bring the liquid back to a boil and reduce it by half (approx. 5 minutes)

5) Pour over shrimp and serve warm, garnished with parsley.

***

What would a romantic dinner be without a little music?

I’m going to suggest a summery-remix of one of my favourites;

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Savoury Sunday: Antipasti III, Calamari Ripieni

Italian garden
Italian garden (Photo credit: cynicalview)

The final of three sumptuous Antipasti dishes sure to delight as we welcome the spring sunshine renew all that is wonderful and fresh about ourselves and our relationships.

This week’s recipe, Stuffed Squid,  is perfect for grilling on the BBQ, making sure you get the most of the outdoors this weekend.

A recent recommendation of Las Moras Reserve Chardonnay  from Billy’s Best Bottles could be paired with any of these three Antipasti’s.

Be sure to check out my music selection below….

 

 Stuffed Squid/Calamari Ripieni

Ingredients

1) 10 tbsp. olive oil

2) 1.5 cups chopped onion

3) 4 minced cloves of garlic

4) 12 medium squid, cleaned and tentacles chopped

5) 1.5 cups bread crumbs

6) 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese (optional)

7) 2 tsp  lemon zest

8) 5 tbsp. lemon juice

9) 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

10) Salt and pepper

11) 3 tbsp. capers

Method

1) Heat 3 tbsp. oil over medium heat in a pan. Add onion and cook through (~10 minutes). Add garlic and chopped squid tentacles. Add 1 cup to 1.5 cups of the bread crumbs to make the consistency more firm and less wet.  Continue to cook for ~ 5 minutes to cook through.

2) Remove from heat and add cheese, lemon zest and 1 tbsp. of the lemon juice, parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3) Once the stuffing is cook fill the squid and secure the ends with a toothpick.

4) Whisk together 5 tbsp. of olive oil, 4 tbsp. lemon juice and capers to use as a dressing for the cooked squid.

5) Place squid on skewers and brush with remaining olive oil. Cook directly on the grill for ~ 3 minutes on each side until the squid and stuffing is cooked through (squid will be opaque). *** If you are using your oven broiler, place squid on broiler pan or tray, turning once)

6) Transfer cooked squid to serving tray, and coat with dressing. Serve hot.

***

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Savoury Sunday; Antipasti II Croquettes

Arancini
Arancini (Photo credit: L.Richarz)

I’m back just like I promised last Sunday my sweet little darlings. This is the second of three Antipasti Savoury Sundays. Last week I gave you a delicious shrimp and pea puree recipe. This week I send out all of my culinary love and have decided to share a Croquettes recipe that we enjoy.

No mater where I go, there is always a local version of croquettes – the perfect savoury food to pop in your mouth, with just enough staying power to get your through a long, lingering afternoon of sunshine and friendly frolicking.

This is a long, slow recipe to make, so turn on some music, enjoy a nice glass of wine, and look forward to sharing these with your friends.

A recent recommendation of Las Moras Reserve Chardonnay  from Billy’s Best Bottles could be paired with any of these three Antipasti’s.

Be sure to check out my music selection below….

Arancine Rice Croquettes

Ingredients

1) 3.5 cups water

2) 1/2 tsp chopped saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot water for 15 minutes.

3) 1.5 tsp salt

4) 2 cups Arborio rice

5) 2 eggs

6) 2/3 cups grated parmesan cheese

7) 1/4 tsp ground  black pepper

For the filling;

1) 3 tbsp. olive oil

2) 5-6 oz  ground beef/pork or a mixture of the two

3) 1/2 onion

4) 1 small carrot peeled and diced

5) 1 small celery stalked finely chopped

6) 1 cup tomato sauce

7) 1 tbsp. tomato paste

8) 1/4 cup cooked peas

9) 1 cup flour

10) 1 cup fine bread crumbs

11) 2 eggs

12) Olive oil, or preferred oil for deep-frying ( I prefer grape seed oil).

Method

Rice Mixture;

1) In a saucepan combine the water, saffron and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil.

2) Ad rice, stirring well. Turn heat down to low, covering pan to cook rice until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through (~15 minutes).

3) Cool rice mixture for a few minutes, and then add eggs, cheese and season with remaining salt and pepper.

4) Spread rice on baking sheet and cool until cold, but do not let it harden (1-2 hours)

Arancine Filling;

1) Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Saute meat, onion, carrot and celery until cooked through (~15 minutes)

2) Add tomato sauce and paste. Cook until thick (~30 mins)

3) Remove from heat and stir in the peas.

4) Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Putting it all together;

1) To shape the croquettes, use a spoonful of rice to make a 1-2 inch ball.

2) Make an indent in the rice with your finger, and add some Arancine filling.

3) Smooth the rice over the filling.

4) With bread crumbs, flour, and lightly beaten eggs  in their own, separate bowls, dip the croquettes one at a time first in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Place croquettes on lined baking sheet and refrigerate  for at least two hours, and up to a day. This makes frying easier as the raw croquettes are much more firm and don’t fall apart when frying.

5) When you’re ready to fry the croquettes, line a baking sheet with paper towels, and heat up your oil in a sauce pan.

6) With a skimmer, place the croquettes in the oil, and let them fry until golden brown. A few times during the frying process, lift the croquettes from the oil. This allows the inside to cook without over cooking the outside. Place fried croquettes on lined baking sheet and slip the sheet into the oven to keep warm.

***

 

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Savoury Sunday: Antipasti I Shrimp & Pea Puree

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy (Photo credit: zilverbat.)

Insufferable foodies be damned, one of my favourite meals is informal, with lots of delicious, healthy nibblies set out among chilled bottles of wine. Delicious food and wine paired with excellent company cannot compare with any other dining experience on the planet.

Today, for savoury Sunday, I offer up a the first in a trio of Antipasti recipes sure to please. Intended to be savoured  during long, winding, conversations at least one of these will be guaranteed to please.

A recent recommendation of Las Moras Reserve Chardonnay  from Billy’s Best Bottles could be paired with any of these three Antipasti’s.

Be sure to check out my music selection below….

Shrimp with Pea Puree

Ingredients

1) 3 cups water

2) Salt

3) 1 cup fresh or frozen shelled  peas

4) 4 tbsp. olive oil (plus some more for drizzling if you like)

5) 16 medium to large peeled and deveined shrimp ( ~3/4 lb)

6) Flour for dredging shrimp.

7) 1 minced garlic clove

8) 1/2 cup dry white wine

Method

1) Bring water to a boil  and add salt to taste.  Add peas, reducing heat to medium and simmer until tender.  Drain peas, reserving the cooking liquid.

2) In a blender or food processor add peas, 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and 2 tbsp olive oil.  Blend until smooth. Add more cooking liquid if needed and add salt and pepper to taste.  (this puree can be made ahead of time and can be gently reheated prior to serving. You may need to add more liquid if reheating.)

3) Dredge shrimp in flour to coat.

4) Warm remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute or two without browning. Add the shrimp, and cook until they turn pink (2-3 minutes). Add the wine and let it come to a simmer.

5) Divide pea puree in small glass bowls. Place two or three shrimp on top of pea puree. Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley if desired and drizzle with olive oil. Serve Immediately.

***