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).

World’s Best Fried Mac and Cheese

World’s Best Fried Mac and Cheese

Fried Mac & Cheese

Fried Mac & Cheese

One of the dishes I made for this year’s FryFest is a new recipe – fried mac & cheese. I used my Cabot Creamery Seriously Sharp Cheddar Mac N Cheese recipe as the base for this decadent dish. I know these treats are tyically served in a ball shape, but since I was also doing Arancini, rice balls, I opted for squares and really liked the look of them.

Was it the healthiest food option? Clearly not. Is it okay to sample a piece or two once a year? I believe so – all in moderation. The crunchy, deep golden exterior is a perfect match to the creamy, cheesy interior. I served this dish with a simple marinara sauce for dipping, but it’s delish on its own.

Ingredients:

  • Cut Mac & Cheese

    Cut Mac & Cheese

    ½ stick (4 Tbsp.) butter

  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. each, ground nutmeg, salt and pepper
  • 4 cups whole milk or light cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups freshly grated Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 pound tubular pasta (I use Delverde Tortiglioni) boiled 2 minutes less than directed on the packaging, drained
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
Mac & Cheese Components

Mac & Cheese Components

Directions:

  1. Place butter in a large, heavy saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add flour and cook for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  2. Stir the milk (or light cream) and the heavy cream into the butter/flour mixture and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
  3. Add the cheese, a handful at a time, and stir until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and mix well.
  5. Add cheesy pasta to a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish, cool, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight (what I did).
  6. Using a wide spatula, unmold the cold mac and cheese from the pan and place the rectangle on a cutting board. Cut the mac and cheese into 2-inch squares, place on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs.
  8. In a shallow dish, combine both bread crumbs.
  9. Dip squares into the egg mixture then dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
  10. Fry mac and cheese squares for 3-4 minutes in 350 degree oil in either a large Dutch oven or in an electric fryer in batches. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Makes about 24 squares.

2nd Annual FryFest

2nd Annual FryFest

Fried Mac & Cheese

Fried Mac & Cheese

The second installment of FryFest is behind us. Much like the 2013 FryFest, this year’s all-fried event was held on a beautiful late summer day.

This year, we fried a few of last year’s favorites along with new items. Here’s what my brother-in-food, Danny Chin of Eat with Dan, and me served our 13 guests:

Finger Food

Corn Dogs – Veronique

Arancini (Rice Balls) – Veronique

Spring rolls -Danny

Fried Ravioli – Veronique

Poutine – Veronique & Danny

Fried Onion Rings – Veronique & Danny

Danny Chin Making Spring Rolls

Danny Chin Making Spring Rolls

Entrée

Fried Chicken – Danny

Fried Mac & Cheese – Veronique

Dessert

Fried Oreos – Veronique & Danny

Fried Candy Bars – Veronique & Danny

Zeppolis – Veronique

The corn dogs were super with a light batter of flour and corn meal giving the dogs a slight crunch with a hint of sweetness.

The Arancini might have been my favorite with a creamy risotto interior and golden brown crunchy exterior. Perfect way to use up leftover risotto.

Danny’s spring rolls are always a hit and I loved watching him roll over 60 rolls in less than 30 minutes.

Fried raviolis, or as my St Louis friends call them, toasted ravs, were a nice munchies, especially with homemade tomato sauce.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

For my poutine, I know this will be sacrilegious to my folks in Quebec, I ordered cheddar cheese curds from Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Wisconsin. More on those folks in a future post. My handcut fries were double-fried for a perfect balance of creamy inside and crispy outside – yum.

Fried onion rings were a bust this year, bad revision to last year’s yummy rings.

THE fried chicken – absolutely delicious. My pal Danny smartly chose drumsticks, thighs and some tenderloins. For me, it’s all about dark meat and the overnight buttermilk bath combined with the seasoned flour coating made for a juicy, flavorful and crispy delicacy – well done my friend!

Fried mac & cheese – yes, it’s slightly irresponsible, health-wise, but so darn tasty. I made my extra cheesy macaroni and cheese recipe for this and will do full instructions in a future post. Guest at the dinner who works with local restaurants told me I should help out some restaurants with their version after tasting mine!

Fried Oreos and bite size candy bars went into a simple, slightly sweet batter. Super tasty and a recipe will come soon – I promise.

Fried Oreos

Fried Oreos

I’d made my super easy Zeppolis last year and made them again as they were a hit. For a fun touch, I used brown paper sandwich bags, added powdered sugar to them and place 2-3 hot Zeppolis inside for each guest to shake and eat without sharing.

It was a fun night which is now followed by tons of dieting and exercise, of course. I couldn’t have done it without Danny and my friend Lisa who was a huge help with the a la minute frying.       

Have you liked Eat with Dan on Facebook? Have you followed him on Twitter? Do it now for drop-dead gorgeous food photos.

Cheers,

Veronique