Posts Tagged ‘food blogging’

GYO: Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgThis was almost a contest to see how many items from the garden I could use in a recipe 🙂 Turns out, a lot!

This is a great recipe if you like eggplant, which, event though I keep trying it, I just don’t really enjoy. The only way I really like to have it is in moussaka, drowning in spiced ground beef and tomato sauce, so I guess I’ll have to make some of that soon, since I have another eggplant given to me by my next-door neighbor.

This is my entry in Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates foods we grow or raise ourselves and the dishes we make using our homegrown products, started by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, and hosted this time by MomGateway. The onion, garlic, tomatoes, basil and parsley came from our garden, while the eggplant was a gift from our neighbor, in return for some of our abundant cucumbers that I gave to her.

eggplant-pasta

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1 large eggplant
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 pound short pasta, such as penne or rotini (I used radiatore)
Sherry vinegar
2 cups diced tomato
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt
1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Put chicken breasts and Italian dressing in a plastic bag for an hour to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant in 1/2 inch cubes. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl . Place them on a roasting pan in a single layer and roast for 25 minutes or until they are soft.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, then cook chicken five minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate, cover with foil, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta according to instructions on the box. Drain.

Heat a large skillet to medium. Pour in the other 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and saute until they are starting to color. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, and then deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry vinegar.

Add the eggplant to the skillet along with the diced tomato, red pepper flakes, and basil. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add the pasta. Toss until the pasta is coated. Season with salt and sprinkle with the parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Slice chicken in 1/4-inch slices and place on top of the pasta. Serve.

GYO: Maque Choux

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgI saw Rachael Ray make this on her “30-Minute Meals” show once, and it looked really good. So I made it, and it is really good 🙂 It’s full of healthy ingredients and is a delicious way to use extra corn if you grill too much. The original recipe doesn’t call for zucchini, but I had about a third of one left in the fridge so I diced it and tossed it in.

The red onion and parsley are from our garden this year, and the jalapeno is one I froze last summer. We had an abundance of jalapeno and Szechuan peppers last year. I put the extra jalapenos on a cookie sheet, froze them, and put them in a freezer bag, so I could thaw and use them through the year. And I dried the Szechuan peppers; as soon as I run out of store-bought red pepper flakes, I’m going to chop these in the food processor to make my own.

Maque Choux

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 ears grilled corn on the cob, kernels cut off
A sprinkle sugar
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 ripe avocado
1 lime, juiced

Heat a skillet over moderate heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (1 turn of the pan), chopped onion, jalapeno and red bell pepper. Saute 2 or 3 minutes. Combine corn with peppers and onions. Season with a sprinkle of sugar, a dash of cayenne pepper and salt. When mixture bubbles, reduce heat to simmer. Cut butter into pieces and stir into corn mixture. Allow mixture to simmer and cook until creamy, 5 to 7 minutes. Spoon maque choux into a serving bowl, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

This is great with grilled chicken.

maque-choux-500w

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates growing and preparing our own food. It was originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and is hosted this time by Playing House.

Kibbee and Bits

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgMy sister-in-law, Jennifer, is of Lebanese descent and when we were visiting one time, she showed me a cookbook she had – “Kibbee ‘n’ Spice and Everything Nice: Popular and easy recipes for the Lebanese and American Family,” by Janet Kalush. I was looking through it and talking about how much I like to try new things, and she gave me the book right there. Thanks again, Jen! 🙂

She also mentioned that kibbee is one of her favorite foods; I hadn’t heard of it before, but I tried it at Azar’s, a local Mediterranean restaurant, and liked it a lot. So I finally tried making it myself.

This is a variation of Lebanon’s national dish. The traditional way to make kibbee is to make the meat mixture shown below, then make another meat mixture to use as a filling; then the kibbee is baked or fried. I skipped the filling (this extra step is probably why I hadn’t made it earlier) and grilled them instead. You have to be very careful when grilling these; the bulghur wheat makes them a bit fragile. But it works!

btw, Dan kept calling it Kibbee and Bits, so here we are: Kibbee with bits of grilled potato 🙂

Kibbee Patties (spiced ground beef or lamb with bulghur)

1 cup finely ground bulghur wheat
1/2 medium onion, or one small onion
3/4 tsp. kibbee spice (see below)
2-1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. finely ground beef or lamb
2 rounds of pita bread
tzatziki sauce (cucumber/yogurt sauce)

Kibbee Spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. crushed dried mint (I used fresh mint from the garden, then dried it in the toaster oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes)
1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine thoroughly in a small bowl; transfer to a spice bottle and keep in a cool, dry place.

For Kibbee

Rinse the bulghur wheat in cold water twice and drain. Cover by half an inch with fresh water and let soak. Finely mince the onion in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add the kibbee spice and salt; combine thoroughly. Add the ground meat to the bowl and mix completely by hand.

Squeeze excess water from the bulghur wheat and add to the meat mixture. Mix by hand until well blended. Add ice water if necessary, to maintain a soft consistency.

Form meat into eight 3-inch patties, and press in the center with your thumb to form a dimple. Grill 3-4 minutes on both sides until cooked through.

To serve: Serve kibbee patties over tzatziki sauce or in pita pockets. To serve in pita pockets, briefly grill pita rounds to warm them a bit; cut in half. Put a few tablespoons of tzatziki sauce in each pita half and place two kibbee patties on top of sauce. Serves 4.

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates growing and preparing our own food. It was originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and is hosted this time by Andrea herself.

If you count the cucumber in the tzatziki, I used three ingredients from my garden in this meal: cucumber, onion and mint.

Kibbee patties ready for grilling
Kibbee patties ready for grilling

Kibbee with tzatziki sauce and grilled potatoes
Kibbee with tzatziki sauce and grilled potatoes

GYO: Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgAs you can see, we have lots of really big cucumbers coming in right now, so I’ve been looking for new recipes to use them in. I came across this “Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad” recipe that sounded really good and decided to try it. Delish!

It could use a bit more seasoning, but we liked it. Dan was worried it would be too vinegary, because I *love* vinegar-soaked cucumbers, but this had only a few tablespoons of rice vinegar, which is less acidic than the white vinegar I usually use, and other ingredients as well. It turned out very good, but I think I will double the chili-garlic sauce next time.

Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp rice vinegar, to taste
2 tsp sesame oil, to taste
2 tsp sugar, to taste
2 tsp soy sauce, to taste
1/2 tbsp chili paste, to taste (optional)
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Wash and then peel the cucumber skins in alternating stripes (or peel completely or not at all). Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds and pulp out with a spoon. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces. Sprinkle the cucumber slices with the salt and toss to coat evenly. Cover and place in refrigerator for an hour.

After an hour, squeeze the cucumber slices of as much liquid as possible with your hand. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber with the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Add a little soy sauce and mix the salad. Taste and add more soy sauce until you reach the desired saltiness. Stir in the chili paste and serve cold; it will taste even better if you let it marinate overnight in the fridge. Just before serving, sprinkle with sesame seeds

.

spicy-cucumber-salad

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates growing and preparing our own food. It was originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and is hosted this time by Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs). The roundup of all the tasty recipes is here.

Tasty Tools: Measuring Tools

logo-joelens-tasty-toolsThis month’s topic for the food blogging event Tasty Tools, hosted by Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, is measuring tools. I’ve had this push-up-style measuring cup for years now. It’s very handy for measuring semi-solid, sticky ingredients like peanut butter, jams and jellies, mayonnaise and sour cream.

You set the cup to the measurement you need, use a spatula to put the ingredient in the cup, then push up the plunger and use the spatula to scrape the ingredient into your bowl, saucepan, whatever. No muss, no fuss, and you get all of the ingredient easily into your dish.

tools-push-up-cup

Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines. I especially love Thai spring rolls – I could eat them every day for lunch, particularly if I had this delicious dipping sauce to go with them. The push-up measuring cup makes it really easy to measure the peanut butter for this sauce.

Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce

1 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup cream of coconut
2 tbsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp. sriracha Thai hot sauce
1 tsp. lemongrass powder

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, cook and stir all ingredients till smooth. Serve with spring rolls or chicken satay.

thai-peanut-sauce

Grow Your Own: Warm Artichoke Dip

grow_your_own_logo-2009Geeze, how did another week go by already? I guess that’s what happens when you’re working long hours. It’s all good, though.

So, last weekend we had Bill and Barbara over for dinner before we all went to see “The House of Blue Leaves” at the Little Theater of Norfolk. I made roasted duck breast with cherry chutney (from the new President’s Inaugural Luncheon menu) and roasted vegetables, along with twice-baked potatoes. For an appetizer before dinner, I made Warm Artichoke Dip with Scallions and Jalapeño, from the “Great Party Dipscookbook I won a couple of weeks ago, from Andrea’s Recipes. Thanks again, Andrea 🙂

We all enjoyed the dip, although I must say, I think combining this recipe with the Ya Ya Sisterhood artichoke dip recipe I made last year would yield even more tasty results. The jalapeño added a nice kick we really liked.

Unfortunately, we didn’t like the play quite so much. It was really strange; at intermission, I said I wouldn’t be unhappy if we left, but the others wanted to stay and see if it got better. It didn’t, and it had a really weird ending. It was billed as a farce, but according to Wikipedia, it’s a black comedy. Well, that makes more sense. Not recommended.

OTOH, if you like artichoke dip, try this one. As I said, it’s not my favorite rendition of this classic, but it might suit your taste buds better.

artichoke-dip-jalapeno

Warm Artichoke Dip with Scallions and Jalapeño

2 scallions, coarsely chopped (I used green onions from the garden)
1 1/2 tsp. pickled jalapeño, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, cut into 2-3 pieces
Dash of salt
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature, cut into several pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained

Preheat the oven to 400*. In a food processor, combine the scallions, jalapeno, garlic and salt. Pulse until the scallions are finely chopped.

Add the cream cheese, all but 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice and cayenne. Puree until smooth. Add the artichokes and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Scrape the mixture into a 2-cup gratin or other shallow ovenproof baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top. (At this point, thd dip can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking.)

Shortly before serving, bake for about 20 minutes, until the dip is slightly browned on top and bubbly hot. Let cool slightly before serving.

I served this with toasted baguette slices. Crisp raw veggies, baked pita chips or crackers would also make good dippers.

This is my entry in “Grow Your Own,” the twice-monthly food blogging event that celebrates growing our own food. It was started by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

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