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Eggplant Parmesan (Melanzane alla Parmigiana)



With leftover marinara sauce and a fridge full of eggplants I thought that I would do an Eggplant Parmesan or Parmagiana di Melanzane. Normally an eggplant parmesan is coated in bread crumbs and fried in oil 0until crispy but I like a simple version where the eggplant slices are roasted in the oven until tender. If you prefer you could also coat the eggplant slices in the breadcrumbs and then bake them. Often when I make marinara sauce I will double the batch so that I can freeze the extras so that I will always have some on hand for quick dishes like this.

Eggplant Parmesan (Melanzane alla Parmigiana)

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 eggplants (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
salt
2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano (grated)

Directions:
1. Salt the eggplant slices and let them sit for 30 minutes.
2. Rinse the eggplant and pat dry.
3. Broil the eggplant until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
4. Place the eggplant on the bottom of a baking pan.
5. Spread the marinara sauce on top of the eggplant.
6. Spread the cheese on top of the marinara sauce.
7. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the cheese is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Eggplant Parmesan (Lasagna Style)
Fried Green Tomato Parmesan
Eggplant and Mozzarella Panini
Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella with a Roasted Marinara Dipping Sauce
Crispy Baked Eggplant Fries with Marinara Dipping Sauce (aka Eggplant Parmesan Fries!)
Quinoa Crusted Chicken Parmesan
Eggplant Pizzas

Spaghetti alla Marinara

Marinara Sauce


A marinara sauce is a simple tomato based sauce that has many uses. At its base, a marinara sauce is tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. My favorite marinara sauce also includes a nice selection of vegetables including onions, carrots and celery. Using the recipe as follows will provide you with a nice chunky sauce but sometimes I want a smoother sauce and it is easy enough to puree it a bit in a food processor to get the consistency that I want. This is a sauce that I like to play around with and I try out different things each time that I make it. Some things that I have found that work really well are adding a splash of balsamic vinegar or a cup of wine. Simmering the sauce with the rind from parmigiano reggiano also adds a ton of flavour so I always freeze the rinds for use in sauces later on. During the late summer when tomatoes are at their peak I will use either fresh tomatoes or better yet, oven roasted tomatoes for even more flavour. Because marinara sauce is so useful in other recipes I often like to double this recipe and freeze the extras for later.

Spaghetti alla Marinara


Marinara Sauce

(makes 4 cups of sauce)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1 carrot (peeled and chopped)
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano (optional)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red wine (optional)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 parmigiano reggiano rind (optional)
1 tablespoon basil (chopped, optional)
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped, optional)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add celery, carrots, salt and pepper and saute until the vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).
5. Add the tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, wine, balsamic vinegar and parmigiano reggiano rind and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens (about 30-60 minutes).
6. Stir in the basil and parsley and turn off the heat.

Similar Recipes:
Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
Maccheroni Calabresei alla Arrabiata
Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter Style Chicken)

Use in:
Quinoa Crusted Chicken Parmesan
Parmesan Crusted Baked Zucchini Sticks with Marinara Sauce
Involtini di Melanzane (Eggplant Rolls)
Eggplant Parmesan (Melanzane di Parmagiana)
Fried Green Tomato Parmesan
Grilled Eggplant and Goats Cheese Tower
Arancini di Riso (Rice Balls)
Eggplant Wrapped Kebabs Baked in Tomato Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper and Italian Sausage Frittata topped with Marinara and Mozzarella
Italian Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Omelette Topped with Marinara Sauce
Eggplant Tortino in a Kalamata Olive Marinara Sauce
Italian Style Baked Eggs
Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
Zucchini Pizza Bites

Melitzanes Papoutsakia (Stuffed Eggplant)

Melitzanes Papoutsakia (Stuffed Eggplant)

The eggplants at the farmers market this weekend looked really nice so I picked up a bunch of them. The first dish that I tried with them was Melitzanes Papoutsakia or Stuffed Eggplant "Little Shoes". The aubergines are stuffed with a beef and tomato mixture and topped with bechamel sauce, a slice of tomato and some cheese. It takes about 2 hours to make so it is probably best to do on the weekend. The dish turned out pretty good. It both looked good and tasted good. Overall it was a good start to the use of the eggplants that I got.

Ingredients:
2 eggplants
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 pound ground beef
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cup parsley (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tomato (sliced)
1 cup of bechamel sauce
1 cup kefalotyri cheese (grated) (or pecorino)

Directions:
1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle leaving the shell about 1/8 inch thick.
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Add the onions and saute until translucent.
4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
5. Chop and add the eggplant that was removed from the shells.
6. Add the ground beef and cook until it is browned.
7. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
8. Spread some of the cheese over the bottom of the eggplant shell. Fill the shell with the stuffing. Cover with the bechamel sauce. Place a slice of tomato on top. Cover with the remaining cheese.
9. Cook in a preheated 350F oven until the bechamel sauce and the cheese are browned, about 60-90 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Eggplant and Mozzarella Panini
Eggplant Wrapped Kebabs Baked in Tomato Sauce
Gemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)
Imam Baildi

Sweet Potato and Bean Enchiladas

Sweet Potato and Bean Enchiladas

I was looking for a way to use some of the leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce when I came across this recipe for sweet potato and bean burritos. The dish looked great and it uses sweet potatoes in a savoy/spicy way. It turned out pretty good and tasted amazing. The sweetness of the potatoes went really well with the cumin and cilantro and the heat of the peppers. I liked the crunch of the tortillas that were baked without being covered in sauce. I topped them with salsa and sour cream.

Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes (cooked, peeled and mashed)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (chopped)
2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 can beans (black or kidney, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin (ground)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
4 tortillas
1 handful cheddar cheese (grated)

Directions:
1. Mix the sweet potatoes, chipotle peppers and cilantro. (Note: Add one chipotle pepper at a time and test for the desired level of heat.)
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Add the onions and saute until translucent.
4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
5. Add the beans, water, chili powder, and cumin, soy and cook until most water has evaporated. (Note: Add the chili powder a little at a time and test for the desired level of heat.)
6. Mix in the cilantro and remove from the heat.
7. Place some of the bean mixture and potato mixture into a tortilla and wrap it.
8. Place the burritos into a baking dish and top with cheese.
9. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Similar Recipes:
Chicken Enchiladas in Salsa Verde
Chicken Enchiladas in Mole Sauce
Egg Enchiladas in Pipian
Burritos
Thai Spicy Peanut Chicken Enchiladas
Chipotle Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burrito Bowl
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Swiss Chard Pesto

Apricot Tatin

Apricot Tatin

When I was at the market I saw some nice looking local apricots and I remembered seeing this really good looking dish. I noticed a problem almost immediately. The recipe was in mass rather than volume... I found a site that had conversions for standard ingredients and came up with what follows. Overall it turned out pretty good. On the down side, the crust seemed a bit heavy... On the up side the apricots tasted amazing. They added a really nice tartness. I really liked the way that the syrup was infused with the apricot flavour. Vanilla ice cream added a nice creaminess.

Ingredients:
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup butter (chilled & grated)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
8 apricots (cut into halves)

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, salt and butter with your fingers in a bowl.
2. Add the egg and water and mix with your fingers until it forms a ball of dough.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic and place chill for 30 minutes.
4. Place the apricot halves face down in a baking dish.
5. Bake in a pre-heated 400F oven for 15 minutes.
6. Melt the sugar in a pan.
7. Add the butter and cook until caramelized.
8. Pour the syrup over the apricots and bake for another 15 minutes.
9. Roll the dough out and form it to fit in your pan.
10. Place the dough on top of the apricots.
11. Bake for another 30 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Golden Beet Tatin with Goat Cheese

Apricot Tatin (whole)

Zucchini and Onion Miso Soup

Zucchini and Onion Miso Soup

One of the nice things about miso soup is that you can use whatever ingredients are in season at the time. With zucchini or courgettes in season now, I have been enjoying zucchini and onion miso soup with my breakfasts.

Ingredients:
1 cup dashi
1 small zucchini (sliced)
1 small onion (sliced)
1 tablespoon miso
1 green onion (chopped)

Directions:
1. Bring the dashi, zucchini and onion to a boil in a small sauce pan.
2. Simmer until the zucchini and onion are cooked.
3. Remove from heat.
4. Dissolve the miso with some of the heated dashi in a separate bowl. (We do not want to boil the miso as it will not taste as good.)
5. Add the miso back to the soup.
6. Pour the soup into a bowl and top with green onion.

Looking for more soup recipes?

Zucchini Carbonara

Zucchini Carbonara

I have really been enjoying the courgettes or zucchini so far this year. I was wondering how I could in corporate them into a pasta dish. I was looking in my fridge trying to find some inspiration when I saw some left over bacon. What could be better than a simple zucchini and bacon carbonara sauce? This dish was really amazing. I think the trick was to use the bacon fat to fry the zucchini rather than using oil. I will definitely be adding this recipe to my list of favorites.

Ingredients:
1 serving penne
4 slices bacon (sliced)
2 small zucchini
1 clove garlic (chopped)
pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)

Directions:
1. Start cooking the penne.
2. Fry the bacon in a pan.
3. Cut the zucchini into penne shaped pieces.
4. Drain most of the fat from the pan but reserve some to cook the zucchini.
5. Add the zucchini, garlic and pepper and toss to coat in the bacon fat.
6. Mix the egg yolk, heavy cream and parmigiano reggiano in a bowl.
7. Drain the cooked pasta reserving some of the water.
8. Add the pasta to the pan and toss.
9. Remove the pan from the heat and wait for the sizzling to stop.
10. Add the egg mixture and toss to coat.
11. Add a bit of the pasta water and toss to mix and coat.

Similar Recipes:
Butternut Squash Carbonara
Shrimp Carbonara
Asparagus Carbonara
Pasta alla Carbonara
Bolognese Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Fiddlehead Carbonara
Zucchini Pistou Pasta
Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Peas
Roasted Brussels Sprout Carbonara

BT (Bacon and Tomato) Sandwich

BT (Bacon and Tomato) Sandwich


Right now the hothouse tomatoes are looking really good and soon the field tomatoes will be in season. One of my favorite lunches is the simple and yet so tasty bacon and tomato sandwich. The key to a great tomato and bacon sandwich is ripe tasty tomatoes. I look forward to enjoying many more of these over the next few weeks.

BT (Bacon and Tomato) Sandwich

(makes 1 sandwich)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 slices of bread (toasted if desired)
4 slices of bacon (cooked)
1 tomato (sliced)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (optional)

Directions:
1. Assemble sandwich.

Similar Recipes:
BLT (Bacon Lettuce and Tomato) Sandwich
BLAST (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Shrimp and Tomato) Sandwich
Fried Green Tomato BLT
Peameal Bacon Sandwich
Tomato and Melted Cheese Open Faced Sandwich
BELT (Bacon Egg Lettuce Tomato) Sandwich

White Chocolate Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts and I have been meaning to make one for a while now. I had seen a few cheesecake recipes that include white chocolate which is another of my favorite flavours so I decided to go with a white chocolate cheesecake. One of the problems when cooking for one is that most recipes are made for more than one. I don't mind with most things as I can just use the leftovers for lunches. Desserts are different. Most of the cheesecake recipes required 3 or even 4 bricks of cream cheese. No matter how much I love cheesecake I didn't really like the idea of eating 3 bricks of cream cheese in the form of cheesecake over the next few days. Another problem with dessert recipes is that they often include eggs and it is hard to divide an egg in half so you are restricted in the amount that you can reduce a recipe by. Luckily the cheesecake recipe called for one egg per brick of cream cheese. Even when using the one brick recipe there was enough to fill 2 of my individual size spring form pans.

I used the same crust that I used in my Fresh Strawberry Pie. It worked much better with the cheesecake than it did with the strawberry pie. I was able to get the cheesecake out of the pan with the crust intact.

The cheesecake was amazing! It was creamy and good with a hint of chocolate. I will definitely be making this again. It was really simple to make and it filled my place with an amazing smell while it was baking.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter (melted)
3.5 ounces white chocolate (chopped)
2 tablespoons heavy cream cream
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Mix the pecans, melted butter and brown sugar in a food processor.
2. Press the pecan mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan.
3. Melt the chocolate and in the heavy cream in a double boiler.
4. Mix the cream cheese and sugar.
5. Beat in the egg.
6. Mix in the white chocolate and vanilla extract.
7. Pour the mixture into the spring form pan.
8. Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 55-60 minutes or until it is set.

Note: This recipe makes enough for 2 4 inch spring form pans. Triple the recipe for an 8 inch spring form pan and quadruple the recipe for a 10 inch spring form pan.

White Chocolate Cheesecake in Pan

There were a lot of amazing looking berries at the farmers market I picked up a few of them. What better way to eat a cheesecake than with fresh berry sauce. For the first cheesecake I did a raspberry sauce:

Raspberry Sauce


Ingredients:
1/2 cup raspberries (mashed)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Directions:
1. Mix everything in a small saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce thickens.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce (cut)

For the second cheesecake, I did a blueberry sauce:

Blueberry Sauce



Ingredients:
1/2 cup blueberries (blended)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Directions:
1. Mix everything in a small saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce thickens.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce (cut)

Similar Recipes:
Chocolate Cheesecake
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Maple Cheesecake
Maple Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
No Bake Cheesecake
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

French Toast Stuffed with Blueberries and Cream Cheese

French Toast Stuffed with Blueberries and Cream Cheese

Local blueberries are now in season here in Ontario. I have been wanting to do french toast and I had some cream cheese on hand so I tried throwing them all together. It was pretty good. There was a really nice compliment of flavours and textures. The french toast was nice and crisp, the cheese was creamy and the blueberries were juicy. It was a good start to blueberry season.

Ingredients:
2 slices bread
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 handful blueberries
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
a touch cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:
1. Spread the cream cheese on both slices of bread.
2. Place the blueberries in the cream cheese on one slice of bread.
3. Form a sandwich with the the blueberries in the middle.
4. Mix the egg, milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a shallow pan.
5. Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture and cover both sides with it.
6. Melt the butter in a pan.
7. Fry both sides of the sandwich in the pan until golden brown.
8. Top with the maple syrup.

Cherry Teriyaki Chicken

Cherry Teriyaki Chicken

I really liked the combination of cherry and teriyaki chicken in the Cherry Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps that I made the other day. I thought: "How would just cherries and chicken teriyaki taste?" I was so intrigued that I decided to try it out. The recipe is pretty much the same as the Chicken Teriyaki but I add halved cherries to the teriyaki sauce as it simmers and reduces. It was pretty good. The cherry flavour in the teriyaki sauce was a little to subtle but when I bit into the teriyaki chicken and the cherries at the same time it was an amazing combination of flavours.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 pound chicken
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1 cup cherries (pitted and halved)

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes to a few hours.
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Fry the chicken until golden brown.
4. Set the chicken aside.
5. Pour the marinade into the pan, add the cherries and reduce it to a sauce.
6. Pour the sauce onto the chicken.

Htipiti (Greek Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Cheese Dip)

Htipiti (Greek Roasted Red pepper and Feta Cheese Dip)


When I was at the grocery store I asked for 100 grams of feta cheese from the deli section and I got more like 400 grams. I thought, no problem I really like feta I will take it anyways. So I needed a recipe to use up some extra feta cheese and I remembered seeing this recipe for htipiti or tyrokafteri or tyrokavteri, a Greek whipped feta cheese dip/spread. It has a lot of flavours that I really like, including feta, sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers. It also had some things in that I was not so sure about including the green onion and the jalapeno pepper. It was amazing! I finished all of it in one night. The roasted jalapeno pepper left a really nice warmth in the mouth. I think that I might even try increasing the amount of jalapeno the next time that I make this.

Htipiti (Greek Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Cheese Dip)

(makes 4 appetizer sized servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 ounces feta
1 roasted red pepper
1 roasted jalapeno pepper
2 ounces sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 clove garlic
1 green onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:
1. Mix everything in a food processor. (Add some oil from the sun dried tomatoes if it is too thick.)

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Muhammara
Feta Salsa
Roasted Red Pepper, Pistachio and Feta Stuffed Chicken
Grilled Banana Pepper and Feta Salad
Greek Style Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Baba Ghanoush

Fava Bean Pesto on Fettucini

Fava Bean Pesto on Fettucini

When I was at the market on the weekend I saw some fava beans and I remembered seeing an interesting recipe for a fava bean pesto. I thought the combination of fava beans, mint, pecorino and lemon sounded interesting. I was hoping to do this with tagliatelle pasta but I could not find any and ended up using fettuccine. It was pretty good. The mint added a really nice "coolness". I would say that this would probably also be good on crostini.

Ingredients:
1 cup fava beans (removed from the pods and blanched)
2 tablespoons mint
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1/4 cup pecorino cheese (grated) - you can substitute parmigiano reggiano if you wish
3 tablespoons olive oil
lemon juice to taste (optional)
salt to taste

Directions:
1. Place everything into a food processor and blend.

Similar Recipes:
Fresh Pea and Mint Pesto
Asparagus Pesto on Penne
Wild Leek Pesto Pasta
Garlic Scape Pesto on Fusilli with Garlic Scape Garlic Bread
Edamame Dip

Take a look at the Presto Pasta Nights roundup at Once Upon a Feast.

Cherry Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Cherry Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

With local cherries in season I have been looking for interesting cherry recipes. In particular I was looking for some savory dishes in addition to sweet dishes. I came across this dish which looked very tasty. I of course made some changes. Instead of frying the chicken in ginger I made chicken teriyaki. I also dropped the honey as my teriyaki sauce is sweet enough. I used "boston" lettuce leaves and they held together while they were being eaten. This dish was very tasty! I imagine that it would also be good as a salad or as a wrap.

Ingredients:
1/4 pound chicken teriyaki (sliced into bite sized pieces)
1 cup cherries (pitted and halved)
1 carrot (shredded)
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1 cup green onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (toasted)
1 tablespoon almond oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
lettuce leaves

Directions:
1. Mix the "salad": the chicken, cherries, carrot, celery, green onion and toasted almonds.
2. Mix the dressing: the oil, rice vinegar, and teriyaki sauce in a small bowl.
3. Toss the salad and the dressing.
4. Place the salad on the lettuce leaves.

Take a look at the Weekend Herb Blogging roundup at In Mol Araan.

Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken teriyaki is one of my favorite stand by dinners. It is really easy to make and tasty. You can broil the chicken like the salmon teriyaki but I prefer to pan fry it until it is golden brown and crispy on the outside. The teriyaki sauce is reduced in the pan until it is thicker, more like a syrup. I like to put the chicken on rice so that the rice soaks up all of the excess teriyaki sauce.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 pound chicken
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes to a few hours.
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Fry the chicken until golden brown.
4. Set the chicken aside.
5. Pour the marinade into the pan and reduce it to a sauce.
6. Pour the sauce onto the chicken.

Similar Recipes:
Salmon Teriyaki
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich
Yakitori

Cherry Jam

Cherry Jam

This weekend there were local Ontario cherries at the market and a got a lot of them. The first thing that I did with the cherries (other than eating a bowl of them) was make cherry jam. Pitting 6 cups worth of cherries took a long time! But it was worth it. The cherry jam tastes amazing.

I accidentally grabbed the "light" version of the pectin crystals which ended up being alright as it called for a higher ratio of fruit to sugar. The jam did not seem to set and it is a bit runny.

Ingredients:
6 cups cherries (pitted, halved and crushed)
1 box Certo pectin crystals
4 & 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:
1. Bring the cherries, 1 cup of sugar and the pectin crystals to a boil with high heat in a large pot.
2. Add the rest of the sugar.
3. Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Stir and skim foam for 5 minutes.
6. Pour into sterilized jars.

To sterilize the jars:
1. Wash in hot soapy water.
2. Keep the lids in boiling water until ready to use.
3. Place jars in 225F oven for 10 minutes and keep warm until ready to use.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble

I could not let strawberry season go by without doing strawberry and rhubarb something. Strawberries and rhubarb are a classic combination. The sweetness of the strawberries goes really well with the tartness of the rhubarb. I decided to go with a rolled oats crumble. You cannot go wrong with rolled oats, brown sugar and butter. It was really tasty. Vanilla ice cream went well with it.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups strawberries (cleaned, hulled, quartered)
2 cups rhubarb (sliced into 1 inch pieces)
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter (melted)

Directions:
1. Mix the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2. Add the strawberries and rhubarb and toss to coat.
3. Mix the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in a large bowl bowl.
4. Place the strawberry and rhubarb mixture into an 8x8 inch baking dish and pour the topping on.
5. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until it is bubbling and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Strawberry and Rhubarb Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Rhubarb Crisp
Mango and Rhubarb Crumble
Apple Crisp with Amaretto
Pear and Cranberry Crumble
Mango Crisp with Macadamia Nut Crust
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Butter Toasted Almonds

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Butter Toasted Almonds

Strawberry season is pretty much over and there were still a lot of recipes that I wanted to try. There were still a few stalls with strawberries at the market and I picked some up. One of the the recipes that I wanted to try was Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Buttered Almonds from Seasonal Ontario Food. I used the recipe pretty much as is, though I added some chopped mint and reduced the amount of oil. It was really good. A perfect use of some of the last of the strawberries of the season.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lime juice & zest
1 tablespoon almond oil
1 teaspoon soy
1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 serving baby spinach (washed)
1/2 cup strawberries (cleaned, hulled and sliced)
* ground black pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon mint (chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the honey, lime juice, almond oil, and soy.
2. Melt the butter in a pan.
3. Add the almonds and toast until golden brown.
4. Place the spinach into a dish mixed with the mint and top with the strawberries, dressing, and almonds.
5. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

Similar Recipes:
Strawberry and Feta Salad
Strawberry and Avocado Spinach Salad
Melon Salad with Prosciutto and Goats Cheese
Blackberry Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette
Pear and Maple Pecan Salad

Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Rolls with Dill Cream Cheese

Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Rolls with Dill Cream Cheese

I was surfing food blogs when I came across this post on "Zucchini Rolls with Salmon and Cream Cheese" that looked really tasty. I ended making some changes to the recipe. I changed the zucchini to cucumber and swapped the chives for dill. The "Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Rolls with Dill Cream Cheese" were really good and they were simple to make. (Note: A mandoline really helps to slice the cucumbers thinly.)

I learned something new; the difference between hot and cold smoked salmon. Hot smoked salmon is essentially "cooked" by the heat of the smoke. For cold smoked salmon the smoke is cool when it gets to the salmon and it is essentially cured. (Cold smoked salmon is called lox when when herbs are used.) I was able to find some nice looking hot smoked salmon at the St. Lawrence market.

The dill cream cheese mixture is amazing all by itself. I imagine that it would go nicely on crackers or crostini or pitas, etc. You might want to make the dill and cream cheese mixture a little bit ahead of time to give the flavours a chance to mingle.

Ingredients:
4 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons dill (chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1 english cucumber (thinly sliced)
smoked salmon

Directions:
1. Mix the cream cheese, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper.
2. Place some of the cream cheese mixture and salmon on a piece of cucumber and roll it up. Secure the roll with a toothpick.

Similar Recipes:
Dill Biscuits with Smoked Salmon, Watercress and a Creamy Dill Spread
Cucumber and Feta Rolls

Zucchini and Onion Teriyaki

Zucchini and Onion Teriyaki

I was looking for a vegetable side dish and I had some zucchini on hand. I thought that I would try the zucchini done in the flavours of Japan and found this dish. The zucchini along with some onion are fried in sesame oil and teriyaki sauce and garnished with some toasted sesame seeds. This is a very quick and tasty zucchini dish.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 onion (sliced)
2 zucchini (sliced)
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onions and saute until soft.
3. Add the zucchini and teriyaki sauce and cook until the zucchini is soft.
4. Add the sesame seeds and remove from heat.

Soba

Soba

Today it was quite warm in Toronto and I did not feel like eating anything warm. I decided to have cold soba noodles. It is a tasty meal that is sure to cool you down a bit. The soba noodles are served cold and they are dipped in mentsuyu which is also served cold. You can add extras to the soup such as green onions, wasabi, daikon, etc. The extras in the soup will generally get caught in the noodles as you dip them in the soup and eat them. The soba noodles should be eaten with chopsticks and they should be slurped.

Soba noodles are thin Japanese noodles made from buckwheat. You should be able to find dry soba noodles at your local Asian grocery store. The usually come wrapped in individual servings.

Mentsuyu is a soup that can be used in warm soups or as a cool dipping soup. You can either buy mentsuyou or you can make your own. You should be able to find mentsuyu at your local Asian grocery store. Mentsuyou typically comes in a concentrated form and it should be dilluted with water or dashi.

Ingredients:
1 serving soba noodles
1/2 cup mentsuyu (cold)
1 green onion (optional, chopped)
1 teaspoon daikon (optional, grated)
1 teaspoon wasabi (optional, grated)
1 teaspoon seasame seeds (optional, toasted)
nori (optional, cut into long thin strips)

Directions:
1. Cook the soba noodles as directed.
2. Rinse the soba noodles in cold water until the noodles are cold.
3. Strain the noodles and place them on a plate.
4. Place the mentsuyu in a small bowl.

Take a look at the Presto Pasta Nights roundup at Once Upon a Feast.

Mentsuyu

Mentsuyu is a Japanese soup base. It is used both as a cool dipping soup and as a warm soup. It is quite simple to make and tasty. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a couple of days. My favorite use for mentsuyu is as a dipping soup for cold soba noodles.

You can play around with the ratios of dashi to soy to mirin to find the flavour that you like best. I have also seen sake and/or sugar added.

Mentsuyu used for warm soup it usually more diluted and would use 1 cup of dashi.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dashi
2 tablespoons soy
2 tablespoons mirin

Directions:
1. Heat everything in a pan until it comes to a boil and remove from heat.

Grilled Lamb Chops in Red Currant and Rosemary Sauce

Grilled Lamb Chops in Red Currant and Rosemary Sauce

When I was at the market two weeks ago I saw some red currants that looked really nice. I searched the internet for some recipes that used red currants but I could not find much. In the end I decided to use this recipe for grilled lamb chops as a base and I modified it to use red currants. Since the few recipes that I did find with red currants used red currant jam I decided to add some honey to balance the sourness of the vinegar and the currants. This weekend I picked the red currants up when I was at the market. The dish turned out surprisingly well. The red currants added a really nice tartness. I will definitely be making this again.

Ingredients:
4 lamb chops
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons red currants (crushed)
2 tablespoons rosemary (chopped)
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Trim the fat from around the lamb chops.
2. Place the lamb chops into a ziplock bag with the rest of the ingredients. Place the ziplock bag into the fridge and let marinate for 30 minutes to a few hours.
3. Broil the lamb chops in the oven for about 5 minutes per side.
4. Place the marinade into a small pan and reduce to a sauce.
5. Place the lamb chop onto a plate and cover with the sauce.

Similar Recipes:
Lamb Chops with Pomegranate and Red Wine Sauce
Lamb Chops in Cherry and Port Sauce

Take a look at the Weekend Herb Blogging roundup at Food Blogga.

Strawberries Dipped in Sour Cream and Brown Sugar

Strawberries Dipped in Sour Cream and Brown Sugar


One of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries is to dip them in sour cream followed by brown sugar. The combination of the strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar has such a wonderful array of contrasting and complimentary flavours and textures. This is one of those foods that brings back memories of childhood; of warm Summer days sitting on the front porch with my family dipping strawberries into sour cream and brown sugar. What a treat it was! Now a days I make sure to enjoy strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar at least once (and often many more times) each Summer during strawberry season.

Of course if you are feeling a bit lazy, just mixing them all up in a bowl works nicely as well.

Strawberries with Sour Cream and Brown Sugar


Similar Recipes:
Strawberries in Sweetened Condensed Milk
Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar

Chazuke

Chazuke

Chazuke(チャズケ) is a quick simple meal that consists of rice and toppings submerged in green tea. This dish is a good way to use up leftover rice. It is commonly eaten as a late night snack or as a quick breakfast.

I have been meaning to try chazuke for a while so I made sure that I had some leftover rice and teriyaki salmon from the night before. Overall it was a little plain and flavourless...

I was in such a rush to take some photos that I forgot to garnish it with nori and sesame seeds.

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked Japanese short grained rice (warm)
1 cup green tea (hot)
1 ounce cooked salmon
1 inch nori (cut thinly)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Place the rice in a bowl and top with the salmon, nori and sesame seeds.
2. Pour in the green tea.

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki (てりやき) is a Japanese way of cooking where the food is broiled or grilled in a sweet soy sauce mixture. Many foods can be cooked in teriyaki style such as salmon, tuna, chicken, beef, zucchini, etc.

Teriyaki sauce is one of my favourite Japanese flvours. It is simple to make your own teriyaki sauce that tastes great. You can make a lot of teriyaki sauce and store it in the fridge until needed.

Mirin is a sweet rice wine that is similar to sake. You can also get an imitation mirin that has no alcohol in it. You should be able to find mirin in the asian section of your local grocery store or your local asian grocery store.

You can change the flavour of the sauce by changing the ratios of the soy, mirin, sake and sugar. The sugar can also be replaced with another sweetener such as brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc. You can also add extras like garlic or ginger.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons soy
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:
1. Heat in the soy, mirin, sake and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.

Veal Scaloppine with Lemon Cream Sauce

Veal Scaloppine with Lemon Cream Sauce

Tonight was a night for cleaning out the fridge. I had some veal, cream, parsley and of course some lemons. I really liked the lemon and cream combination. I imagine that a lemon and cream sauce would work well on many dishes.

Now I am looking forward to filling up the fridge again. I have a meal plan and a grocery list and I will be heading out to the market tomorrow.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 serving veal scaloppine
* flour
salt and pepper
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)

Instructions:
1. Heat the butter and oil in a pan.
2. Dredge the veal in the flour and season with salt and pepper.
3. Brown both sides on the veal in the pan.
4. Remove the veal from the pan and set aside.
5. Pour the chicken stock into the pan.
6. Add the lemon zest and juice.
7. Scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
8. Add the cream and reduce to the desired thickness.
9. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.
10. Pour the sauce on the veal.

Similar Recipes:
Veal Scallopini with Sundried Tomato Sauce
Veal Scaloppine with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

Veal Scaloppine with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

Veal Scaloppine with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

When I was at the grocery store I saw some nice looking veal and picked it up. I tried chicken marsala a while ago and really liked it so I decided to do a veal marsala. I started with Marcella Hazan's recipe for "Veal Scaloppine with Marsala" and added mushrooms and fresh parsley. It was really tasty. The marsala sauce goes really well with veal.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
4 ounces of mushrooms (sliced)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 serving veal scaloppine
* flour
salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry marsala wine
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)

Instructions:
1. Melt the butter in a pan.
2. Fry the mushrooms until they are golden brown and set aside.
3. Heat the butter and oil in a pan.
4. Dredge the veal in the flour.
5. Brown both sides on the veal in the pan.
6. Remove the veal from the pan and season with salt and pepper.
7. Pour the marsala into the pan.
8. Scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
9. Add the mushrooms (and cream if you are using it) and simmer for a few minutes to reduce the sauce.
10. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.
11. Pour the sauce on the veal.

Similar Recipes:
Veal Scallopini with Sundried Tomato Sauce
Veal Scaloppine with Lemon Cream Sauce

Kolokithakia Gemista (Stuffed Courgettes) with Avgolemono Sauce

Kolokithakia Gemista (Stuffed Courgettes) with Avgolemono Sauce

Zucchini's are in season and I have been looking for new tasty recipes to try. Peter's post on Kalofagas for "Stuffed Courgettes (Kolokithakia Gemista) With Avgolemeno Sauce" was inspiring. It combines several of my favorite flavours including lemon, dill, and mint with the zucchini. The stuffed zucchini's are a bit of work but they are a one dish meal.

The stuffed zucchini's go well with the avgolemono sauce both flavour wise and ingredient wise. The egg whites left over from the avgolemono sauce can be thrown into the zucchini stuffing and the stock that is used to simmer the zucchini's can be used as the stock in the avgolemono sauce.

This recipe makes a lot of food. The 4 large stuffed zucchini are enough for 4 servings and only about half of the stuffing fit into the cored zucchini. There was enough stuffing left over for another 2-3 servings. The stuffing tastes good all by itself so I had a few lunches for the work week.

The avgolemono sauce did not thicken enough but it tasted great. I tried making the sauce a second time and I was able to get the sauce to thicken properly. The avgolemono sauce is similar to a hollondaise sauce.

4 large zucchinis (cut in half and cored - reserve the insides for the stuffing)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 pound ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc.)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
1/3 cup dill (chopped)
1 tablespoon mint (chopped)
zest of 1 lemon (zest the lemon from the Avgolemono sauce)
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup chicken stock
2 egg whites (use the ones left over from the Avgolemono sauce)
1 cup chicken stock
avgolemono sauce

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Saute the onions until tender.
3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
4. Set the onions and garlic aside.
5. Brown the ground meat in the pan.
6. Drain any excess fat.
7. Add the onions, garlic, parsley, dill, mint, lemon zest, rice, chicken stock and the zucchini that was removed from the inside.
8. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
9. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the egg whites.
10. Stuff the zucchini's with the mixture.
11. Place the stuffed zucchini in a pan.
12. Pour the chicken stock into the pan.
13. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
14. Plate the stuffed zucchini and use the remaining stock for the avgolemono sauce.

Similar Recipes:
Lahanodolmades (Stuffed Cabbage)
Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Greek Style Zucchini Salad
Gemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)
Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini topped with Melted Cheddar, Bacon and an Avocado Blue Cheese Dressing

Avgolemono Sauce

Avgolemono Sauce

Avgolemono is a mixture of egg yolks, lemon juice and broth. It can be used in anything from a sauce to a stew to a soup. As a sauce it can be used on vegetables or meats. For soups and stews the egg yolk and lemon are mixed in at the end, after everything is cooked. It is important to not boil the mixture as it will curdle.

This is very tasty! I tried on stuffed courgettes and I am thinking that it would go well on asparagus or meat balls or... I am going to have to look for a recipe for an avgolemono soup.

Avgolemono Sauce

(makes 1 cup)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 lemon (juice)
1/2 cup liquid (asparagus water, vegetable broth, chicken broth, etc.), hot

Directions:
1. Whisk the egg in small sauce pan until frothy.
2. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice followed by the hot liquid.
3. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it thickens, about 5-10 minutes.

Use in:
Kolokithakia Gemista (Stuffed Courgettes) with Avgolemono Sauce
Lahanodolmades (Stuffed Cabbage)
Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Pan Seared Tilapia in Avgolemono Sauce
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce
Asparagus and Walnut Phyllo Pie (aka Asparagus Baklava) with Avgolemono Sauce
Parmigiano Reggiano Savoury French Toast

Similar Recipes:
Hollandaise Sauce
Avgolemono Soup

Use the leftover egg whites in:
Coconut Macaroons
Molten Chocolate Cake
Green Tea and White Chocolate Opera Cake
Green Tea Macarons
Strawberry Souffle
Meringues
Dorie's Perfect Party Cake

Bolognese Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti Bolognese - Carbonara

When I came across this recipe I thought it was very interesting. At first it looked like a carbonara sauce but what were the Italian sausage and tomato sauce doing in there? I do not think that you can go wrong by adding Italian sausage to a pasta dish... It was pretty tasty. The meat sauce by itself (before tossing with the egg yolk and cream mixture) is very tasty and could go by itself. It is alway fun to experiment with dishes; adding things, removing things.

Ingredients:
2 hot Italian sausage (casing removed)
1/4 pound pancetta (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 14 ounce can tomato puree
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 servings of spaghetti (cooked)
1 tablespoon parmigiano reggiano (optional)

Direction:
1. Brown the sausage and pancetta in a pan.
2. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
3. Add the tomato sauce, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat and mix in the parsley.
6. Mix the egg yolk and cream in a warm bowl.
7. Add the cooked spaghetti and one serving of the meat sauce to the bowl and toss.

Similar Recipes:
Shrimp Carbonara
Asparagus Carbonara
Pasta alla Carbonara
Zucchini Carbonara

Take a look at the Presto Pasta Nights roundup at Once Upon a Feast.

Ichigo Daifuku

Ichigo Daifuku

Ichigo Daifuku

Ichigo daifuku is a Japanese sweet that is a strawberry wrapped in anko wrapped in mochi. Ichigo daifuku are very tasty and have an interesting texture. The mochi is chewy and then there is the paste and in the middle is the juicy strawberry.

Shiratamako is a Japanese glutinous rice flour. Unlike most flour shiratamako is lumpy. Mochiko (another kind of glutinous rice flour) may be easier to find and can be used as a replacement for the shiratamako.

Katakuriko is a Japanese potato starch. Corn starch can be used as a replacement for the katakuriko.

Tsubushian is a sweet red bean paste make from azuki beans. You can find tsubushian in asian grocery stores (sometimes it is call an or anko) or you can make it yourself. Koshian is a smother form of the red bean paste and can be used instead of the tsubushian.

Mochi is the glutinous rice cake that is formed after cooking the glutinous rice flour with the sugar and water. It is very sticky so use a lot of katakuriko when handling it.

Ingredients:
1 cup shiratamako (a kind of Japanese rice flour)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
* katakuriko (Japanese potato starch)
* strawberries (washed and hulled)
2 cups tsubushian

Directions:
1. Mix the water, shiratamako and sugar in a microwave safe bowl.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and heat it for 1 minute in a microwave and mix. Repeat 5 times.
3. Spread the mixture (called mochi) out on katakuriko to cool.
4. Cover the strawberries in tsubushian and form balls.
5. Wrap the strawberry and tsubushian balls in the shiratamako mixture.

Other Japanese treats:
Dorayaki
Azuki (Red Bean) Ice Cream

Take a look at the Weekend Herb Blogging roundup at Mele Cotte.

Tsubushian (Japanese Sweetened Red Bean Paste)

Tsubushian (Japanese Sweetened Red Bean Paste)


Sweet red bean paste is a common ingredient found in Japanese sweets. It is made by simmering azuki (red beans) in water along with a sweetener such as sugar or honey or maple syrup, etc. You should be able to find sweetened red bean paste in your local Asian grocery store. It can be a little difficult however as it has several different names. Common names include: an, anko and ogura. If that were not enough it can have different names based on the consistency of the red bean paste as follows:

Tsubuan - whole red beans simmered in water with a sweetener
Tsubushian - red beans simmered in water with a sweetener and then mashed
Koshian - red beans simmered in water with a sweetener and then mashed and then sieved for a nice smooth finish

If you cannot find it in stores it is easy enough to make your our. All you need is some azuki (sometimes called adzuki) beans, some water and a sweetener such as sugar. Regular grocery stores near me carry canned azuki beans which are easier to work with. If you can only find dried azuki beans then soak them over night and extend the simmering time until they are nice and tender.

Tsubushian (Japanese Sweetened Red Bean Paste)


Ingredients:
1 14 oz can azuki beans
1 cup sugar

Directions:
1. Rinse the beans.
2. Place the beans and sugar into a sauce pan and cover with an inch of water.
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour. (The water should just cover the beans by this point.)

Note: At this point you have Tsubuan.

4. (optional) Mash the beans with a potato masher or a fork and add water to bring the paste to the consistency that you want.

Note: I like to just dump them into the food processor and give them a whirl until they are nice and smooth.
Note: At this point you have Tsubushian.

5. (optional) Strain the paste through a sieve to remove the bean husks and make the paste smoother. You may need to add water to the beans to help them through the sieve. If the beans are too liquidy after, simmer them to remove the excess liquid.

Note: At this point you have Koshian.

Recipes that use Tsubushian (Japanese Sweetened Red Bean Paste):
Ichigo (Strawberry) Daifuku
Dorayaki
Azuki (Red Bean) Ice Cream