Eggplant Parmesan…my way!!

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As I have mentioned in a recent post my Dad has a garden and so another vegetable that has been a plenty is Eggplants.
Most of the summer, I would grill them or just roast them in the oven, and a couple of times I made Eggplant Parmesan.  I would post my pictures on facebook and of course my friends say tell me the recipe.

So this last time I tried to remember as making it to take pictures of the process and what I do 🙂

First I used my homemade tomato sauce that I made out of the tomatoes from my Dad’s garden and I love using Fresh Mozzarella 🙂

So enjoy!!

First I peeled, sliced then sprinkled slices with salt in a colander
for 30-40 minutes, then pat each slice dry with paper towel. 
(LOL of course the first picture of that I forgot to take)
Then place them on a baking sheet 

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I took panko bread crumbs and fresh grated Parmesan Cheese

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Mixed in some Sandwich Sprinkle from Penzeys
(coarse salt, garlic, black pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram)
you can add Italian seasonings as well

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Put about 2 Tbsp. on mixture on top of each slice

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with your hand press down crumb mixture

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Then I sprayed each piece with PAM – Olive oil spray
of course you could drizzle with olive oil if you wish too.

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Then bake in a 385 degree oven until tops are brown

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Sauce you can use any you like, so pick your favorite
I used my homemade sauce and I added
some of the Sandwich Sprinkle to the sauce

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I have some Fresh Sliced Mozzarella

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In a sprayed baking dish, place a eggplant down
and top with sauce

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Then top with a slice of mozzarella

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Place another piece of eggplant and repeat
with sauce and cheese

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I topped the final piece of cheese with the rest of the sauce

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I had crumb mixture leftover

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and I sprinkled some over top the entire dish
And bake at 385 degrees until brown 

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and cheese is melted and brown

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This was so good, most of the time I don’t measure anything so when
I cook unless I write it down it really just turns out to what I have 
in my pantry and such.  So when I am experimenting and it turns out good, I have to remember what I did so I can share in a blog, and then most the time I don’t take picture either 😛 LOL
The last time I made this (pictures below), I did the same except I didn’t have
any crumb mixture left, so I sprinkle the final layer with a little parmesan chesse

They both turned out delicious 😛 so as you make yours just make to what you like and
it will be just as Delicious!!

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Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 medium size eggplant, peeled, sliced a 1/2- 3/4 inch thick (6 slices from each)
3 cups of tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. Penzeys Sandwich Sprinkle or Italian seasonings, divided
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh Mozzarella sliced, 2 slices for each stack
(used 1 1/2 logs for 8 stacks, so 2 logs would work for 12 stacks)
PAM Olive Oil spray

Sprinkle each slice of eggplant both sides lightly with salt, place slice in colander in the sink,
let set for 30-40 mins.  Then pat each piece with a paper towel, doing this helps draw out the bitterness that some eggplants tend to have.

In a bowl add panko, Parmesan and 2 Tbsp. seasonings; mix together.  Place slices on a baking sheet and put about 1- 1 1/2 Tbsp. of mixture on top, press mixture down with hand then spray with olive oil spray.
Crumb mixture does fly around a little that is why I press down the mixture, you can drizzle tops with olive oil if you wish.  Bake at 385 degrees until tops are brown about 25 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile get your tomato sauce ready, mix in 1 Tbsp. seasoning, have mozzarella slices ready.
Spray a baking dish that will hold the amount you are making.

Once eggplant tops have browned, place half the slice in the baking dish, top with 1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp. sauce,
then a slice of cheese, repeat again, eggplant, sauce and cheese.
At this point you can top each stack with leftover sauce and sprinkle with any left over crumb mixture, or just sprinkle some a little Parmesan cheese over top.  Bake at 385 degrees until light brown and cheese is bubbly.  

You can really make this your own, you like more sauce use more sauce, or cheese even, if you want to stack 3 high then stack 3 high.  These a great meal served with a simple salad on the side.

Enjoy!!!

 

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You Say Tomato I Say Tomahto!!

25 Comments

Tomatoes, who has tomatoes…I DO!!!!!!!!
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My Dad’s garden is producing a plenty, his plants are 8 feet tall and going wild!!!

I have a few pictures here from the beginning stages, they are about 5 to almost 6 foot at this point,
my Dad here is growing, leaf lettuce, kale, peppers, cucumbers, onions, green beans, eggplants and of course Tomatoes!!!
There maybe be more he grows but I can remember, I do know he has another patch that asparagus is in and the green house that things grow too…

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but I just decided to write this blog about tomatoes last night, so I don’t have recent pictures of it 🙂 these picture were about the 2nd week of June

So I have been eating a lot of tomatoes lately, but they have really only been from my Dad’s, I don’t buy them usually, but I do love when I get them from him and his garden.

As anyone knows they just taste better than you can get in the store and it’s really the only eat time I do eat them.
My Mom and Dad will freeze them, stew them, roast them, sauce them, slice them for BLT (which I think they east daily during the summer) and chop them for salads.  Plus whatever else they do with them 🙂

I on the other hand I tend to eat them a little differently 🙂

First I blanch them and remove the skins, I have issues with the skins, that’s all I will say 🙂

Here are a few pictures of ways that I have enjoyed using my Dad’s fresh tomatoes from his garden.

I hope you will enjoy too!!!

Making sauce, in my Vitamix are tomatoes, roasted garlic, some Italian herbs, red pepper flakes and salt.
The Vitamix will also cook it too you let it run about 5-7 minutes and you have hot soup or sauce 🙂

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Mixing it all up

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Freezing some for winter 🙂

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Cooking some down too

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This is the cherry tomatoes, sauteed with garlic, onions and spinach
tossed with the pasta, then fold in some fresh mozzarella pearls
then a drizzle of some balsamic glaze…Delish!!!!

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My all time favorite thing in the world is
Polenta with fresh tomatoes and a poached egg!!!
This is heaven for me!!!

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another day again…YUMMY!!!

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This is my FBT…Fake bacon and tomato 😛

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Ran out of the cornmeal to make polenta
So I made couscous instead…Delish too!!!

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This was last night’s dinner
tomatoes, roasted garlic tossed with pasta and some fresh mozzarella cubes
I was talking about making this a work…so ladies this is what I made…simple and quick 🙂

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Oh and here is the kale and I made some kale chips…very good with a
sprinkle of kosher salt and garlic powder 🙂

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Here are couple of links of 2 more of my blogs that I used tomatoes in the past
First up is my Tomato Cobbler – this turned out really really good so if you
want something a little different try this recipe.

 Second is Orzo Salad with Basil, Tomato & Feta – I made this at one
of my outdoor cooking classes last year.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!!!

What’s next here hopefully sooner than later
my trip to Bourbon Country 🙂
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Italian Roasted Shrimp!!

8 Comments

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This dish is so easy and quick and its great over polenta, pasta or would be great just served as an appetizer with crostini’s.

We have this great “Red Argentine Shrimp” and it is simply delicious, I have cooked with it several times and its always a big hit 🙂

Ingredients

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in skillet add a little oil and shallots

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then add garlic & oregano

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then tomatoes (sorry the picture is blurry)

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top with the shrimp

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Mix panko, cheese and parsley together

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add oil

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mix again

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sprinkle over top shrimp and bake

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you can serve over polenta

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or over pasta

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Italian Roasted Shrimp

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Red Argentine Shrimp (about 4-5 per person)

1 large can diced tomatoes with garlic & onion (about 4 cups)
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. agave or honey

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil

In a large skillet add a little oil and shallots over medium heat, cook for 5 minutes, add garlic & oregano, stir to combine and add tomatoes, continue to cook for 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

Mix in a small bowl panko, cheese and parsley, add oil and thoroughly mix, add salt and pepper to taste.  Place shrimp on top of the tomato mixture and sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over top, and bake for about 10 minutes or until shrimp is done and breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Meanwhile make your pasta or polenta and serve shrimp right over top.

Which ever way you serve it Enjoy!!!

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Orzo Salad with Basil and Tomatoes

10 Comments

Great Summer Salad!!

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Last I had a cooking class at one of our stores, using Fresh Herbs was one the points for the class.
Picture of the class, a few more came after I got started, it was a great turn out 🙂

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This was one of the recipes I did, I love using this really as a base with so many options at your finger tips.

You can certainly serve as is, or add fresh grilled veggies chopped, add cubes of fresh mozzarella instead of feta, or shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, or slice pepperoni, salami, cube ham or turkey.  And what about Grilled Shrimp, thin slices of grilled flat iron steak even chunks of grilled salmon there are endless possibilities!!

Along with other fresh herbs you could add as well!!

Everyone at my class love it as is and a friend of my mine made it last week for his work’s cook out and it was hit with them as well.  Enjoy if you make it!!

Orzo Salad with Basil and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1-2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

2 cups orzo, cooked

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/3 cup basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

½ cup Feta cheese, ¼ in cubes or crumbled

Salt to taste
Gently toss all ingredients together, serve at room temp.  And of course you can add other veggies, cheeses or fresh herbs as you like 🙂

Savory Tomato Cobbler!!

11 Comments

IMG_20130809_142435Okay so my Dad has a ton of Tomatoes…wait let me capitalize that “A TON” from his garden…I think he gets like 20 a day 🙂

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So I was thinking what could I make…hhmmmm oh what about at Tomato Cobbler!! 

Now this turned out in my mind just okay, after I made it I tasted a piece and thought I could make it better for sure 🙂

I then hopped in my car to take the over to my “food tasters” my “parents” 🙂

And they absolutely loved it!!!!!!!!  I was so surprised but very happy.

When I went to the office the next day someone brought in a huge bag of fresh roma tomatoes from somebody’s garden, and as people were in our kitchen getting the tomatoes 🙂  

Pat one of the many Great Men that work in our Corporate office, said “Oh I just love tomatoes”…I then said well you would love this new recipe that I came up with, I’ll take some of these tomatoes here and I will make it and bring it in for everyone to try.

So I did…and well as I’m sitting here typing this I have getting lots of emails and people stopping by and telling how good it was and can I get the recipe 🙂  Mostly from all the Great Women in our office 🙂

I am so happy that everyone loves it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Now I did change it a little from the first time I made it today so here is the recipe!!

Ingredients – added fresh basil – not in picture

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score your tomatoes

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boil your water

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add tomatoes

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peel tomatoes

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chop or squish tomatoes add to a colander to drain, keep juices

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add melted butter and sugar together

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mix 

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add flour, seasonings, salt, pepper, baking powder mix

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then add cheese and fresh chopped basil

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add milk

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mix together

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baking dish I used

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add batter to baking dish

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smooth out

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add tomatoes

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then 1 cup of juices from tomatoes

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bake

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add basil and cheese and bake till melted

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this is the one I made of the office, didn’t take a picture till it was almost gone 🙂

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Recipe – Savory Tomato Cobbler

I used a 2.75 qt. baking dish   Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Batter

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Southwestern seasoning, **See Note below
1 tsp. Italian seasoning,  **See Note below
3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for topping
1 2/3 cup fresh Parmesan/Romano cheese, shredded, divided  ***See Note below

1 3/4 to 2 cups tomatoes, skinned and drained

Spray your baking dish really good

Boil water in a large pot, score your tomatoes on the bottom with an “X”
Once water in boiling add tomatoes and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on size.
Pull them out and take a paper towel to pull skin off, then core and place in a colander over a large bowl.  Add all tomatoes to colander then squish with your hands to release all juices, let drain as long as you can or over night in the fridge.  (you will need the juice)

Batter – in a medium bowl add sugar and melted butter and stir to combine, then add flour, seasonings, salt, pepper, basil, cheese, baking powder and mix and fold to combine, then stir in milk.  This will be sticky, once combined then spread out evenly into baking dish.

Top batter with tomatoes, then use 1 cup of the juices from the drained tomatoes (if you don’t have 1 cup add cold water to make 1 cup)

Pour over tomatoes the 1 cup of juices, then bake for 1 hour,  once done you can top the cobbler with some more fresh chopped basil all over it and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese all over as well.  The cheese will melt a little or you can return to the oven for a few minutes more to melt.  Let set for 10 minutes before serving.

****Seasonings note – the southwestern blend that I used had a combination of cumin, garlic, oregano, cilantro leaves, coriander and chives.  To make this I would take a heaping 1/4 tsp of each, that would make up what you need for this recipe.  Or you can just use Italian seasoning entirely for this recipe.

****Cheese note – in my pictures I have Parmesan and Romano cheese, you do not have to use both you can just use Parmesan cheese.  But Please…you must you fresh….you can shred a wedge or you can buy in a tub already shredded.

DO NOT use the Non-refrigerated kind in the Jar!!!

This dish would be great with a nice big salad!!  I hope you will give it a try!!!  Enjoy!!

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Summertime Pasta!

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Summertime, don’t you love it 🙂

I love it when its not “humid” 😦  if you have a breeze then its not that bad, but here in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area it seems to be humid a lot…or maybe its just that I only remember when I’m hot and humid instead of when its just hot without the humidity 😛

I recently bought some nice mini heirloom tomatoes and some oyster and shiitake mushrooms, not really sure what I was going to make when I got home but I knew I’d come up with something.

Once I got home I had some fresh spinach (from my Dad’s garden), I thought salad but then I was like I know pasta!!

I also had some fresh mozzarella, lets talk fresh mozzarella for a minute…I LOVE IT!!!

Give it to me any way and I love and for the summer once your tomatoes come up in your gardens 🙂
You can make Insalata Caprese with tomato slices, sliced fresh mozz, fresh basil, a touch of salt a drizzle of oil olive and you have it

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Now I like balsamic vinegar on mine and most of the time I only use the vinegar and no olive oil, and as I’ve said in several posts we sell a fantastic balsamic vinegar, this is so important to spend a little more money and get a good aged balsamic vinegar.  The difference will change you life…okay maybe not your life but your taste buds will be very happy 🙂 

So back to Fresh Mozzarella, it comes in many forms as you can see

sizes

For this dish I had the Ciliegine already in my fridge so that is what I used

and here is what else I put in my Summertime Pasta!!

Ingredients

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I started in skillet with a little olive oil and crushed red pepper, which you can leave out if you don’t like a little heat 🙂

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then I added my shallots and mushrooms, cooked them until a nice brown in color

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Then I added the tomatoes, some red wine & balsamic 

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I scrapped the bottom of the pan to get up all those good brown bits
Added a lid and turned it on medium low till all my tomatoes in all
their juiciness burst 🙂

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I added my cooked pasta and fresh spinach

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just tossed that through and added my fresh Mozz (ciliegine)

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and then served it right on up 🙂

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Recipe

1 pkg. spaghetti, cooked as directed
1 – 2 pounds mini heirloom tomatoes (cherry or grape tomatoes will do)
1-2 large shallots, sliced
8 oz – 12 oz mushrooms (I used oyster and shiitake)
2 tsp. fresh garlic, I wanted more garlic  so I used 9 cloves 🙂
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 – 1 cup sweet red wine***
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups packed fresh spinach
1 container of fresh ciliegine mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste

***Red Wine note – I used 100% concord grape wine, red moscato would work too, but can use red or a nice white as well, this is up to you and what you like…don’t want to add wine, add a little more balsamic and some of the pasta water to make it more saucy.

Cook pastas as directed

In a large skillet over medium heat add oil and crushed red pepper flakes if using, once oil is hot add mushrooms and shallots, cook until nicely caramelized.  
Then add tomatoes, red wine, balsamic and grated or minced garlic, stir, scrapping the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet, cover and turn on medium low.  

Once tomatoes start to soften and burst, taste for seasonings add salt or pepper if desired, drain pasta, add pasta to skillet along with spinach, toss through just as spinach starts to wilt, then fold in the mozzarella and serve!!

servings 4 to 6, cut in half for 1-3 servings.

Just look at that mozzarella melt…Love it…I hope you make this and enjoy!!!

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