Monday, July 29, 2013

Eggplant Parmesan over Fettuccine

I guess this is technically Chicken Parmesan made with fried eggplant instead of chicken and minus the parmesan cheese. I don’t know. What would you call it? Delicious?

4 servings

Vegetable and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for frying

1 large eggplant, sliced into ½” slices
Flour, for dredging
2 beaten eggs, for dipping
Italian seasoned bread crumbs, for coating

1 fresh mozzarella cheese ball, sliced

Package of your favorite fettuccine
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I used a sausage sauce to add some meat to the dish)

3 large fresh basil leaves, sliced, for garnish

Sprinkle sliced eggplant with salt and set aside. This will start to sweat the eggplant to remove the extra water.

In a large frying pan, heat half vegetable oil and half EVOO over medium high heat. You want the oil to come half way up the eggplant slices when cooking. While oil is heating up, finish preparing eggplant slices.

Using a dish towel or paper towel, rub eggplant slices with salt and remove excess water. Set aside.

Prepare three bowls in the following order: flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Taking each eggplant slice, dredge in flour, dip in egg and then coat with breadcrumbs. Drop in oil and cook until each side is golden brown, only flipping once. Remove from oil and place on a wire rack; set aside.

In the meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions; drain and toss with pasta sauce to heat through. Set aside.

Once all the eggplant is fried, top each slice with mozzarella cheese and place under a broiler until cheese is bubble and starts to turn brown.

To plate, add pasta topped with eggplant and sprinkle with fresh basil.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Battle of the Potato Salads: Czech Potato Salad vs. Vinaigrette Potato Salad

When my husband told me that he didn’t care for the Czech style potato salad that my family makes, 1) I was shocked that I’ve never heard this before considering we’ve been together for 10 years, and 2) how can you not like the potato salad?! It’s so good! His friend did confirm that it was strange to have peas and carrots in a potato salad, which didn’t occur to me as strange considering that’s how I’ve always had it. 
So, since we were having our friends over for a BBQ this weekend, I decided to have a ‘battle of the potato salads’ and let our guests decided which on was better. Here are the two contenders: Czech Potato Salad and a Vinaigrette Potato Salad. Let the battle begin. 
I recommend making the salad a day before to let the flavors blend overnight.
Czech Potato Salad vs. Vinaigrette Potato Salad
Czech Potato Salad
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
2 large carrots, diced
½ cup frozen peas
2 celery stalks, diced
1small yellow onion, minced
2 green onion sprigs, diced
2 large pickles, diced
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

¾ cup mayo
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp pickle juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot of salted water, boil potatoes whole until skins break and they are fork tender. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel skins and cut into cubes. Add potatoes into a large bowl.

While potatoes are cooling, dice carrots and place in a small pot of boiling salted water. Add peas and cook until carrots are fork tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and add to large bowl. Add remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine ingredients for dressing. Whisk together until combined. Add to potatoes and veggies. Gently toss with dressing. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Vinaigrette Potato Salad
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
5 strips of bacon
3 green onion sprigs, diced
½ small red onion, finely minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
2 celery stalks, diced
3 hardboiled eggs, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Champagne vinaigrette (store bought)

In a large pot of salted water, boil potatoes whole until skins break and they are fork tender. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel skins and cut into cubes. Add potatoes into a large bowl.

While potatoes are cooling, cook bacon in a frying pan until crispy. Remove bacon from pan onto a paper towel lined plate to soak up extra grease. Once cooled, roughly chop and add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients to bowl. Mix together. Add the eggs last, gently folding in with dressing. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Grilled Salmon Burgers with Kale and Caprese Salad

I love salmon. I can literally eat it every day. I’ve also been on a kale kick. And that’s how this little beauty was created. This was yesterday's healthy lunch.

 12-14 oz minced or ground fresh salmon
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp mayo
1 large slice of sourdough bread, diced (you can use regular or panko breadcrumbs too)
1/4 small red onion, minced
½ small red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp freshly minced Italian flat leaf parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Kale, stalks removed and roughly chopped
Thinly sliced red onion, 2 or 3 rings
Vinaigrette dressing

2 Ciabatta rolls
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Caprese salad
1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
1 large fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
4 large fresh basil leaves, sliced

In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients for salmon patties. Using wet hands, shape mixture into 2 patties. Over medium high heat, grill until cooked all the way through, about 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Cut Ciabatta rolls in half and lightly brush insides of rolls with EVOO. Place open sides on grill to lightly toast.

In a small bowl, combine kale and red onion. Toss with vinaigrette.

To plate, make a Caprese salad on one side by layering slices of tomato and mozzarella. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and EVOO. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with basil leaves.

Assemble salmon burger by placing salmon patty on toasted bottom roll. Top with kale salad and add top roll.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Blue Cheese

When my husband asked me what we were having for dinner with our grilled fish, “something good, or something healthy”, I knew I had to step it up a notch. So I added bacon and blue cheese.

2-3 servings

¾ cups quinoa
1 /12 cups of chicken broth
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 slices of bacon, diced
5 Brussels sprouts, sliced
2 green onion sprigs, diced
Juice from half a lemon
Blue cheese crumbles

In a rice cooker, or following the directions on the packaging, cook quinoa in chicken broth and EVOO.

In a frying pan over medium high heat, cook bacon until crispy. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until crispy and tender.

Once quinoa is cooked, stir in lemon juice, Brussels sprouts, bacon and green onions. Before serving, sprinkle with blue cheese.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Spicy Seared Ahi Tuna with Seaweed Mashed Potatoes

2 fresh Ahi tuna filets
Cayenne or Cajun seasoning
2 large red skinned potatoes, cubed
¼ cup chicken broth
¼ cup dried seaweed
2 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp butter
Season with salt, to taste

Steam cubed potatoes for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain water from pot and add potatoes to pot, add broth, seaweed, milk and butter. Mash together. Season with salt, to taste.  Cover and set aside.

Season both sides of tuna filets with salt and spicy seasoning, such as cayenne or Cajun seasoning. Grill over very high heat until both sides are cooked and center of fish is pink.

Serve with grilled veggies.