Friday, August 10, 2012

Eggplant-Portobello Parmesan

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch discs
1 portobello mushroom cap, stem removed, sliced into long strips
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 jar pasta sauce of your choice
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
3/4 c shredded Italian cheese
1/2 pkg whole wheat thin spaghetti

Place eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle salt over, let sit for about 1 hour then rinse the salt off and pat dry. (This pulls excess water out of the eggplant and helps it not have the sour taste they can sometimes have.)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine eggs and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish.
Combine panko, 1/2 of basil, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a little salt, pepper & garlic powder in a second shallow dish.
Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Place eggplant 1 inch apart on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once halfway through.

Meanwhile, saute the mushroom slices in a nonstick skillet for just a few minutes each side, season with a little salt, pepper, & garlic powder.

Cook spaghetti according to package for aldente, then toss with 1/3 of the jar of spaghetti sauce. Cover & set aside.

To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Layer eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle with a little more seasoning if desired. Then lay a few slices of portobello over each slice of eggplant. Pour remaining pasta sauce over everything, then sprinkle the shredded cheese & remaining basil over all. Cover tightly with aluminum foil & bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Remove foil & bake at 375° for 10 more minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts. Let cool a few minutes then serve over pasta.

This recipe could easily be doubled. It made about 5 regular servings, but you'll be wanting leftovers, so plan accordingly ;)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

So this is the first time I've tried making zucchini bread and it was a surprising success.
Even after I altered the recipe a bit (which I know can often lead to ruin when it comes to baking). 
In this case it didn't, which really helped my baking confidence because I've almost thrown in the towel too many times thinking I am NOT a chemist! I am a cook and I don't like to measure stuff! But every now and then I want something baked and so I keep trying.

I found the original recipe here:

The original recipe makes 2 loaves, but I didn't want to make 2 loaves of something I may not even like, so I cut the recipe in half.
Here's the recipe w/ the changes I made:

2 cups grated zucchini 
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour  organic whole wheat flour
1/4  1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (use natural unsweetened cocoa, NOT Dutch processed)
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cups granulated white sugar
1 egg
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted 3 Tbsp melted light butter & 3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules  fresh ground coffee (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (kept this amount same as original 'cause I like the extra almond flavor)

1 Place the freshly grated zucchini in colander in the sink to let it release excess moisture, or in a colander over a bowl if no room in the sink.

2 Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle. Spray a 9x5 in loaf pan.

3 Vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk until there are no more clumps and the ingredients are well combined.

4 In a separate large bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs until smooth, about a minute. You can do this with an electric mixer on medium speed, or by hand with a wooden spoon. Add the melted butter, coconut oil, coffee and almond extract. Beat until smooth.

5 Mix the shredded zucchini into the sugar egg mixture. Add the flour to the zucchini mixture in 3 batches, stirring to combine after each addition.

6 Work quickly, pouring the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Place into the oven. Bake for 50 minutes at 350°F, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and easily. Remove to a rack. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife around the edges to separate the bread from the pan. Remove from the loaf pan and let cool completely on a rack.
Note that if you try to slice the chocolate zucchini bread before it has completely cooled, it will be rather crumbly.
Yield: 1 loaf.