Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

 

I try to abide by my #MeatlessMonday promise when I can and am always looking for ways to use more vegetables in my diet so this weekend, I found beautiful mauve round eggplants that I prepared two ways – meat-stuffed and vegetarian.

These single-serve eggplants are great to fix on the weekend to bring for work lunches during the week. They’re also beautiful served as a starter at a dinner party and a breeze as they can be made in advance and reheated in time for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked Spanish rice, homemade or commercial (I used Goya brand Arroz con Tomate)
  • 4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
  • ½ tsp. dried mint
  • 2 Tbsp. golden raisins
  • 4 Tbsp. Easy Greek Vinaigrette
  • Two small mauve round eggplants (or any small round eggplants)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the rice, Feta, mint, raisins and 2 tablespoons of Greek Vinaigrette. Set aside.
  3. Using a paring knife and a teaspoon, remove the very top of the eggplants and then remove most of the pulp from the interior being careful not to pierce through the outer skin. See photo as reference.
  4. Rub the sea salt on the inside of each eggplant.
  5. Fill the cored eggplants with the rice stuffing then drizzle with the olive oil.
  6. Place the stuffed eggplants in a Pyrex baking dish with tall sides. If the eggplant won’t stand up straight, use a crumpled piece of foil to create a small “stand” for them.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes and either serve hot or at room temperature with a drizzle of the remaining vinaigrette.

Serves 2.

Easy Greek Vinaigrette

Easy Greek Vinaigrette

Greek VinaigretteIf you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I LOVE Greek food. As such, I make this simple vinaigrette all the time and literally use it on everything.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. each salt, pepper and Oregano

Directions:

In a glass jar with a tight-fitted lid, add the ¼ cup of oil, the vinegar, the mustard and the remaining salt, pepper and the Oregano. Close the lid and shake vigorously. Alternatively, whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate for up to 3 days if not using right away.

Cheers,

Veronique

Easy Vegetable Tian

Easy Vegetable Tian

Cooked TianI participate in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program (see details on my Bracco Farms CSA experience) where the basic idea is that a farmer grows for a group of members who have purchased “shares” in the harvest. Every two weeks, I get a box full of incredibly-fresh, organic, non-GMO produce that I’ve been having a lot of fun cooking with.

Last week, I received three beautiful summer squashes that were gigantic in size. I decided to make a completely meat-free dish with them to help celebrate #MeatlessMonday.

A vegetable tian can really incorporate a wide variety of fresh produce….tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, squashes, eggplants…the list goes on. This version is very simple – onions, squashes and yellow tomatoes from my garden. With just a grating of Parmesan at the end of the cooking process, this tian can be served on its own as a light dish or with a salad, piece of fish/chicken/meat.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  2. 1 medium onion, thinly-sliced
  3. 1 garlic clove, minced
  4. 1 large yellow squash, thinly-sliced
  5. 1 green squash, thinly-sliced
  6. 2 large tomatoes, thinly-sliced
  7. ½ tsp. each salt, pepper and oregano
  8. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  9. 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. You could use any shaped oven-proof dish here.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil then add the onion. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic to the cooked onion and continue sautéing for an additional minute. Place the onion-garlic mixture on the bottom of the pie plate.
  4. Arrange the squashes and tomato slices in a spiral pattern over the onions and garlic, alternating between each vegetable.
  5. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and oregano over the vegetables then drizzle with the olive oil. Place the dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the dish from the oven, turn the broiler on high and sprinkle the Parmesan over the vegetables. Place the dish under the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables have browned. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for two minutes, then serve.

Makes 4 generous servings.  

Arugula, Pear, Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Salad Bundles

Arugula, Pear, Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Salad Bundles

Proscuitto RollsLast weekend, I was hosting a casual outdoor party and was looking for hors d’oeuvres that were easy to pick up and eat without utensils.  A salad I enjoy serving is a baby arugula salad with the traditional pear and blue cheese combo. I perused Pinterest for interesting salad serving ideas and ran into an idea where the salad is rolled in a slice of Prosciutto – brilliant and very portable.

After seeing the concept, I ran with the idea with my own ingredients and the results were pretty darn tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. each salt, pepper and oregano
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 8 slices Prosciutto
  • 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut in thin slices
  • 2 Tbsp. good quality olive oil

Directions:

  1. In an airtight jar, add the mustard, half cup of oil, vinegar and salt, pepper and oregano. Shake well to combine and create a creamy dressing. This dressing is great on most things and can be stored in the sealed jar for a week.
  2. Within an hour of serving, place the arugula in a medium bowl and add 4 tablespoons of dressing. Toss to coat the greens.
  3. On a clean work surface or a plate, place the slices of Prosciutto. Divide the dressed arugula into 8 portions and place a portion to one end of a Prosciutto slice. Repeat with the rest of the arugula. Top each portion of arugula with a bit of blue cheese and with two slices of pear. Roll the Prosciutto over the salad in a tight bundle.
  4. Place the salad bundles on a serving platter and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Makes 8 arugula salad bundles.

Easy 4th of July Starters

With so many “lists” out there of tasty-sounding 4th of July recipes, it’s difficult to pick which are best for your own get-together.

Below are 5 easy yet delicious, tested recipes that are sure to get the festivities started on the right foot!

Cheesy and Garlicky Pull Apart Bread
Easy Pimento Cheese Dip
Green Goddess Dip
Hasselback PotatoesMemorial Day Flag
Pork Belly Deviled Eggs

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Veronique

Almost Guilt-Free Individual Eggplant Parmesan

Almost Guilt-Free Individual Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant ParmesanSometimes, when I’m in the grocery store, produce just speaks to me. On this last trip, eggplants screamed for me to take them home (well, seemed like they were screaming).

While I love breading and flying eggplant for eggplant Parmesan, I wanted this version to be less indulgent and lighter so I grilled sliced eggplant and made individual servings.

This technique of making single servings guarantees we won’t overeat, well, unless we decide to have a couple of servings.

The use of my Basil-Packed Marinara Sauce keeps this dish fresh and is a good use of basil and tomatoes as crops are plentiful.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large, medium girth eggplant, sliced in 8 thin disks
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. each salt, pepper
  • 3 cups Basil-Packed Marinara Sauce (could use store-bought)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese   

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil each side of the eggplant disks then salt and pepper them. Heat a grill to medium-high heat and grill the eggplant disks for 3 minutes on each side. Alternatively, use a grill pan to cook the eggplant.
  3. Place 4 ramekins on a baking sheet. Add a tablespoon of marinara sauce to each ramekin and top with a grilled eggplant disk. Top each eggplant disk with ½ teaspoon Parmesan and 1 teaspoon Mozzarella. Add a tablespoon of marinara, another eggplant disk and top with the remaining cheeses.
  4. Cook the eggplant Parmesans for 10 minutes, turn the broiler to high and cook an additional 4 minutes or until the cheesy tops have browned.
  5. Serve as a starter or as a side dish alongside grilled Italian sausages with the remaining marinara sauce.

Makes 4 side dishes.

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower HeadI’ve been roasting vegetables every Sunday this winter to use for various meals during the week. While I have favorites, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and beets, cauliflower is also delicious roasted, as I’ve come to find out recently.

The wet ‘rub’ below can be altered to suit your own personal tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, about 2 pounds
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
Cauliflower Florets & Rub

Cauliflower Florets & Rub

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut cauliflower into florets, removing thicker stems. Place the florets in the lined baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, smoked paprika, ground cumin, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the wet rub over the cauliflower and toss to coat using your hands.
  5. Roast the cauliflower, turning occasionally, until it is browned and tender, about 20 minutes.

Yields 2 side dishes.

Fluffy Quinoa 101

Fluffy Quinoa 101

Fluffy QuinoaMy bestie, Gloriann, has been a fan of Quinoa for a long time and kept telling me what a fab kitchen staple is it. Once I tried it, I was hooked. It’s great as a simply side dish served like one would serve rice but is versatile enough for a salad or other mainstays like stuffing for a squash or eggplant.

Quinoa provides all nine essential amino acids and is a gluten-free protein source, so good for you!

Success in making Quinoa is to be sure you rinse it very well for about 3 minutes under cool running water to remove the saponin, a bitter-tasting coating that some people might be sensitive to.

I typically cook my Quinoa in a cup of chicken broth and a cup of water but if you prefer a completely vegetarian version, just use two cups of water.

Makes about two cups of cooked Quinoa.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth or water (or one cup of each)
  • ½ tsp. each garlic powder, salt and pepper
Cooked Quinoa

Cooked Quinoa

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the broth/water, garlic powder, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the rinsed quinoa, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until water has evaporated.
  3. Leaving the cover on the pan, let the Quinoa stand for five minutes.
  4. Uncover, fluff the Quinoa with a fork and either use right away or cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

10 Easy Thanksgiving Sides and Starters

Yorkshire Puddings

Yorkshire Puddings

Okay, there are so many “lists” out there of yummy-sounding Thanksgiving recipes that it’s difficult to pick which are best for your holiday table.

Below are 10 easy yet delicious, tested recipes that are sure to enhance your traditional turkey day table.

  1. Cheesy and Garlicky Pull Apart Bread
  2. Corn and Lima Bean Succotash
  3. Duck Fat and Bacon Fingerling Potatoes
  4. Easy Pimento Cheese Dip
  5. Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  6. Fail-Proof Yorkshire Puddings
  7. Green Goddess Dip
  8. Hasselback Potatoes
  9. Pork Belly Deviled Eggs
  10. Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Sage Brown Butter

Cheers,

Veronique

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Cumin Yogurt Dressing

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Cumin Yogurt Dressing

Scored Eggplants

Scored Eggplants

Last week, my Bracco Farms CSA was beautifully filled with various eggplants. I love eggplants but don’t cook many meals with them besides the old eggplant parmesan favorite.

While looking at delicious-looking photos of eggplants on Pinterest (are we connected there?), I found this uber simple yet delicious recipe that will now become part of my repertoire.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil for brushing
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper

Eggplants with Yogurt DipDirections:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the eggplant lengthways. Using a sharp paring knife, score the cut side of the eggplant in a diagonal crisscross pattern – don’t cut though skin.
  3. Place the eggplant halves, skin side down, on a baking sheet and brush the scored sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 minutes or until nicely browned.
  4. While the eggplant is roasting, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, adjusting the seasonings to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Plate the roasted eggplant halves and spoon dipping sauce on them. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil can also be added, but is optional.

Makes 2 starters or 1 entrée.

(Inspired by this recipe).