Sunday, August 29, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I have wanted to try and make this dish for a while now. And since it was impossible to grill last night because of the rain...I did it!!
It is quite time consuming as there are many different steps. Here the tomato sauce is made from scratch, with fresh tomatoes. If you want to save a little time, and a good idea in the winter when fresh tomatoes are unaffordable, you can make a sauce with canned diced tomatoes.
I use Panko bread crumbs, but again you can substitute with regular breadcrumbs, or Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.

Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 8

5 medium size eggplants
3 Tbsp salt

20 plum tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn in half
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or Piment d'Espelette
Salt and pepper

1 cup all purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
5 large eggs

1 lb Fresh Mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 cup freshy grated Parmesan

First slice the eggplants crosswise, into 1/3-inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt and place in a colander. Set aside for about 45 minutes. The salt will drain water out of the eggplants.

While they drain, boil water in a large pan. Cut an X at the bottom of the tomatoes and blanch them for up to a minute. Remove from the water and let cool on a board. Peel the tomatoes, place in food processor and puree.
Tranfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic and saute until golden, not brown! Add the tomato puree, the basil, the red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes until it has slightly reduced. Transfer to a bowl.

Prepare 3 plates with:
1- the flour, salt and pepper
2- the eggs, well beaten
3- the Panko breadcrumbs with about 1/2 cup Parmesan
Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the breadcrumbs mixture. Place each coated slice on parchment paper.

In a large saute pan (you can reuse the tomato one), heat some olive oil. Fry the eggplant slices in several batches, adding fresh oil before each new batch. Cook each side until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.

Spread about a cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the eggplant slices on the sauce, then cover them with sauce. Place the mozzarella on top, sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat until all the eggplant is used, finishing with the mozzarella. Sprinkle again with the remaining Parmesan.

Bake at 375F, uncovered for about 45 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling and the mozzarella melted and golden.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Free Form Peach Pie

Chances are, when you rent a house at the beach, there will not be a pie pan! And no rolling pin either (that is... there was one but we only found it after the pie was eaten!) So I had to improvise. I really wanted to make a plum or peach pie but all I had available was a pizza stone! Not a problem...
I made the crust, rolled it with my hands and transferred it to the pizza stone. I pealed both plums and peaches and quartered them and placed them on top of the crust, leaving about 1 inch border. I then folded the border over the fruits and voila!!! Sprinkle with sugar, brush the crust with an egg and bake!!

Free Form Peach Pie

Serves 10

2 cups flour
1 1/2 stick butter
2 Tbsp cold water
2 Tbsp butter, melted

8 ripe peaches or a mix of peaches and plums, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg

Make the crust: Work the flour and butter in a bowl, with your fingers, until it looks like coarse meal.
Add the cold water and form into a ball. Let rest.

While the crust is resting, peel, pit and slice the fruits.

Set aside.

Roll out the dough into a disk and transfer to the floured pizza stone. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the fruits in a circle on top of the crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the border on the fruits.

Brush the border with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 390F for about one hour.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ginger Lime Marinade


These three letter are, in our family, synonym of absolute paradise!!! Long Beach Island is a strip of sand off the coast of the New Jersey shore...About a mile wide and 17 miles long. Bob's family was coming here every summer when he was a kid, and now we get the whole Steven clan here every other year, for a week of beach, food and wine, and fun!!!

As you now know, where ever we go...we cook!! And we made fish this week that we marinated in lime juice and fresh ginger.

Ginger Lime Marinade

serves 10

2 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, grated
3 limes, for their juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine

Mix all the ingredient together. Pour over the fish - in an aluminum pouch - (cod, fluke,haddock...) and let marinate for about 30 minutes.
Cook on the grill or in the oven and serve with a white rice.

This marinade can be used for chicken or pork as well. Mix all the ingredients except the oil and wine and add 1/4 cup soy sauce, 4 Tbsp of honey and 1 Tbsp sesame seeds.