Sides and Vegetables





Black Pepper Tofu

 
 

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 pounds firm tofu, cut into large (1-inch square) cubes and well-dried with paper towels
  • Cornstarch to dust the tofu
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8-12 shallots (12 ounces in total), thinly sliced
  • 4 fresh red chiles, thinly sliced, or less to taste
  • 12 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely crushed black peppercorns (use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder)
  • 16 small and thin green onions, sliced or shredded
  • Cooked white rice for serving
 

Ingredients

 
Step 1: In a large bowl, spinkle the tofu with the cornstarch and toss well to lightly coat.
 
Step 2: Heat the oil a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the cubes of tofu and cook, turning the pieces occasionally, until golden and crisp all over. Transfer to a sheet pan lines with paper towels and set aside.
 
Step 3: Wipe out the skillet with a paper towl and add 3 tablespoons of the butter. Heat the skillet over medium until the foam subsides, then add the shallots, shiles, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until completely soft.
 
Step 4: Add the soy sauces to the skillet, along with the sugar and peppercorns. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then add the tofu back to the skillet and stir to coat it well. Taste for a balance of sweet and spicy, adding sugar or more peppercorns as needed (keep in mind the sauce is meant to be very intense and may well be salty).
 
Step 5: Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and turn off the heat. Stir well until the butter is just melted into the sauce (it should make it somewhat shiny). Add the scallions and stir, then serve with white rice.

Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potatoes





Ingredients

  • 1/4  cup  unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4  cup  packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4  to 1/2 cup  water
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 4  pounds  sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half crosswise, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • Cooking spray
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°.
 
Step 2: Boil sweet potatoes for approximately 15 minutes.  Peel and cut potatoes in crosswise slices about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange in 2 qt casserole  
 
Step 3: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, water, salt, nutmeg, and ginger; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  
 
Step 4: Pour sugar mixture over potato wedges; toss well to coat.

 
Step 5: Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until tender.




Browned Butter Corn with Basil

Adapted from Gourmet
 
Makes 4 servings
 




Ingredients  

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups uncooked corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded fresh basil




Instructions

 
Step 1: Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides and most of the butter is golden brown. 
 
Step 2: Add corn, season with salt, and then add the shredded fresh basil.




Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Makes 8 to 10 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Place cut potatoes in colander. Rinse under cold water until water runs clear, about 1 minute. Drain potatoes. 
 
Step 2: Fill Dutch oven with 1 inch water. Bring water to boil. Place steamer basket in Dutch oven and fill with potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
 
Step 3: Heat milk, butter, salt, and pepper in small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking until smooth, about 3 minutes; cover and keep warm.
 
Step 4: Pour contents of Dutch oven into colander and return potatoes to dry pot. Stir over low heat until potatoes are thoroughly dried, about 1 minute. 
 
Step 5: In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, break potatoes into small pieces on low speed, about 30 seconds. Add milk mixture in steady stream until incorporated. Increase speed to high and whip until potatoes are light and fluffy and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes. 




Deep Fried Artichokes





Ingredients

  • 6 round baby artichokes, trimmed, stalks peeled
  • 1 liter canola oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 lemons
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Fill a large bowl halfway with water. Squeeze the lemon halves into the water and add the lemons. 

Step 2: Trim the stem of 1 artichoke. Starting at the base, bend the tough outer leaves back and pull off where they break naturally. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the dark green skin from the base. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and scoop out any choke.
 
      
 
Step 3: Add to the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
 
Step 4: Hold the artichokes in acidulated water after trimming, to keep from discoloring.
 
Step 5: In a heavy-bottomed, tall-sided pot, heat the oil to 300 degrees F.
 
Step 6: Meanwhile, drain the artichokes.  Season the inside of each choke with salt and pepper. Fry each artichoke half in the hot oil, working in batches, keeping them submerged with a slotted spoon or spider. 
 
 

Step 7: After 10 minutes, increase the heat to 350 degrees to finish cooking. Remove from the oil, drain on paper towels and, if necessary, season with salt and pepper again.
 
 




Eggplant Parmigiana

 
Makes 6 servings
 




Ingredients

 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large eggplant, about 3 pounds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups simple red sauce 
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted under broiler
 
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
 
Step 2: Using some extra-virgin olive oil, oil a baking sheet.
 
Step 3: Slice each eggplant into 6 pieces about 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick. Lightly season each disk with salt and pepper and place on the oiled sheet. 
 
 
Step 4: Bake the eggplant at 450 degrees F until the slices begin turning deep brown on top, about 12-15 minutes. 
 
Step 5: Remove the eggplants from the oven. Remove the slices from the baking sheet and place them on a plate to cool.
 
Step 6: Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F. 
 
Step 7: Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil in a round 10 inch glass dish or in an 8 by 12-inch brownie pan.
 
Step 8: Place the 6 largest eggplant slice evenly spaced apart. Over each slice, spread 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle with a teaspoon of basil. Place one slice of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated Parmigiano. 
 
    
 
Step 9: Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce, basil, and the 2 cheeses. Repeat the layering again until all the ingredients are used.
 
Step 10: Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the eggplant dish.
 
 
Step 11:  Bake uncovered until the cheese is melts and the tops turn light brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.




Green Olive Couscous

 
Adapted from Tyler Florence: Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Food to Make Any Time
 




Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced paper-thin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup halved, pitted green olives
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the beans. 
 
Step 2: Fill a large bowl with ice water and add salt to it until it tastes lightly salty - this is your water bath to refresh the beans. When the water comes to a boil, add the beans ad cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, then refresh in the water bath to keep the bright green color and drain well again. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
 
Step 3: Meanwhile, pour the cold water over the couscous in a medium bowl (using cold water will preserve the grain's nutty crunch).  
 
 
Step 4: Cover and let stand for about 15 minutes, until all of the water has been soaked up. Combine the vinegar, oil, and fennel in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and stir. Fold in the couscous along with the pine nuts, the cooked green beans, olives, and more salt and pepper to taste.
 
 




Gujarati Undhiyo

While I love eating Indian food, I really know nothing about making it authentically.  Several years ago, a friend of mine bought me Anjum Anand’s New Indian cookbook. I’ve looked at and read every recipe in the cookbook but I’ve unfortunately been a little intimidated to try any of them.  The recipes are fairly straightforward and simple but there are many spices that I don’t have, never heard of, or can’t find in a local grocery store, such as carom seeds, asafoetida, licorice root, and curry leaves. Hence, my lame reason for why the cookbook has sat on my shelf for so long.
 
I invited one of my girlfriends over for the Fourth of July. Not only is she a vegetarian, but she’s also on a low salt, low fat diet. What does a meat-eating, salt-loving, fat-loving Italian like me make her for dinner. So I decided to wait for her to come out to my house to help me decide. We found the recipe below.  
 
Gujarati undhiyo is a slow-cooked rustic one pot dish that’s traditionally cooked in earthen pots. The pots are sealed and placed upside down in a fire pit dug in the ground.  Don't worry, if you don't have a fire pit, Anjum Anand's recipe translates very well in a home kitchen.  The undhiyo was easy to make, very flavorful, and so delicious.  Of course I didn’t have and couldn’t find carom seeds and asafoetida so we unfortuately left them out.  I will definitely make this dish again and next time I will be sure to have all the spices that the recipe calls for. 
 
Adapted from Anjum New Indian
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the masala sauce:

  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small green chiles, seeds removed, flesh chopped
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, plus extra, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon carom seeds 
  • 3 ounces freshly grated coconut or unsweetened cocount, plus extra, for garnish
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground roasted peanuts
 

For the curried vegetables:

  • 4 small eggplants, trimmed and cut in half lengthways
  • Kosher salt, as necessary
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Pinch asafoetida (Hing)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds on the diagonal
  • 8 ounces water
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: For the masala sauce: Blend the ginger, garlic, green chiles, and lemon juice to a paste in a food processor. Add a splash of water to loosen and bind the mixture. 
 
Step 2: Stir in the cilantro and blend again until the cilantro is well combined, but retains its texture. Add the coriander, cumin, carom, coconut, salt, sugar, and roasted peanuts, and stir well until combined. 
 
Step 3: For the curried vegetables: Place the eggplant pieces on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Sprinkle salt over the eggplant, and place paper towels on top. Place a heavy skillet over the eggplant to press out the excess moisture. Set the pan aside for 30 minutes. Quickly rinse the salt off of the eggplant, and pat dry. 
 
Step 4: Heat the oil in a nonstick pan over a medium heat, and add the asafoetida, and fry for 20 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the mustard seeds, and fry for 30 seconds, or until they start to pop. Be careful of the popping seeds and splatters of oil. 
 
Step 5: Add the potatoes, eggplant, sweet potato, and parsnip pieces, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring regularly, or until the vegetables are golden brown. 
 
Step 6: Stir in the masala sauce, add the water, and bring to a boil, then cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. 
 
Step 7: Once the vegetables are just tender, add the frozen peas, cover with a lid and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until warmed through. 
 
Step 8: To serve the dish, sprinkle over the fresh chopped cilantro and freshly grated coconut, to garnish.



 

Ina Garten's Roasted Brussels Sprouts





 

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
 
Step 2: Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. 
 
 
Step 3: Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. 
 
Step 4: Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.
 




Lentils with Broiled Eggplant

One of my new year’s resolutions for 2015 was to eat less meat and more vegetarian dishes. Also, I wanted to incorporate more beans into my diet. I recently read that in parts of the world called Blue Zones, people live remarkably longer. They’ve attributed their longevity to many reasons, but one in particular that struck me was the fact that their diets consisted of mostly plants, and especially beans. So now you know the reason for my 2015 new year’s resolution.
 
Incorporating beans in my diet has been somewhat difficult for me because I really don’t like them and I’ve had to force myself to try new dishes with beans. To help me in this journey, I’ve been trying recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s, Plenty and so far he has not let me down. Every recipe that I’ve made has been spectacular and the recipe below is no exception. I love this dish, lentils and all. 
 
While I haven’t cut meat out totally (I still crave a big juicy steak every now and then), I’ve definitely made great progress. Ottolenghi has really made it quite easy for me to find and make more vegetarian options.
 
 
Makes 4 servings
 



 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons top-quality red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup small dark lentils (such as Puy or Castelluccio)
  • 3 small carrots, peeled
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon each roughly chopped parsley, cilantro and dill
  • 2 tablespoon crème fraîche or plain yogurt (I used plain yogurt)
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1:  Pierce the eggplants with a sharp knife in a few places. Put them on a foil-lined tray and place directly under a hot broiler for 1 hour, turning them a few times. The eggplants need to deflate completely and their skin should burn and break.
 
Step 2: Remove the eggplants from the heat. Cut a slit down the center of the eggplants and scoop out the flesh into a colander, avoiding the black skin. Leave to drain for at least 15 minutes and only then season with plenty of salt and pepper and 1/2 tablespoon of the vinegar.
 
Step 3: While the eggplants are broiling, place the lentils in a medium saucepan. Cut one carrot and half a celery stalk into large chunks and throw them in. Add the bay leaf, thyme and onion, cover with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for up to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, skimming away the froth from the surface from time to time. 
 
Step 4: When lentils are tender, drain in a sieve. Remove and discard the carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme and onion and transfer the lentils to a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper; stir and set aside somewhere warm.
 
Step 5: Turn oven temperature down to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the remaining carrots and celery into 3/8-inch dice and mix with the tomatoes, the remaining oil, the sugar and some salt. Spread in an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender but still firm.
 
Step 6: Add the cooked vegetables to the warm lentils, followed by the chopped herbs and stir gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 
 
Step 7: Spoon the lentils onto serving plates. Pile some eggplant in the center of each portion and top it with a dollop of crème fraîche or yogurt. Finish with a trickle of oil.
 
 



 

Lentils with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes, and Onions

 
Makes 6 servings 
 

Ingredients

 

For the oven-roasted onions and tomatoes:

  • 3 large tomatoes or 6 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
 

For the roasted peppers:

  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1 hot Hungarian wax pepper
 

For the lentils:

  • 1-1/3 cups of small green lentils 
  • 2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Maldon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons of thinly sliced scallions or chives
  • 4 tablespoons of thinly sliced basil
 

Instructions

 
Step 1: For the roasted onions and tomatoes: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and arrange the onions and tomatoes on a lined baking sheet with their skins facing up.
 
Step 2: Scatter the thyme springs on top and drizzle the tomatoes and onions with a few tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle them with some salt and roast for about an hour and a half to two hours (until the tomatoes are shriveled and blackened in places).
 
Step 3: Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let cool as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
 
Step 4: For the roasted peppers: Broil the whole peppers on a sheet pan in the oven until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred, turning them twice during roasting. Remove peppers from the oven and place in a plastic ziplock bag. Set aside for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are cool enough to handle.
 
Step 5: Remove the stem from each pepper and cut them in quarters. Remove the peels and seeds and place the peppers in a bowl along with any juices that have collected. Discard the stems, peels, and seeds. 
 
Step 6: For the lentils: Add about 3-4 cups of water to a medium pot and bring it to a boil. Add the lentils (the water should cover the lentils by an inch and a quarter). Cook the lentils for approximately 20 minutes (until they are tender but not falling apart). Drain the lentils and add them to a large bowl.
 
Step 7: Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, crushed garlic, salt, and freshly-ground pepper to the lentils and mix. Let the mixture cool a bit before adding the herbs and mixing to combine. Add more salt and pepper, as needed.
 
Step 8: Gently mix in roasted tomatoes, peppers, and onions.  Pour any juices accumulated from the roasted vegetables on top. Serve as a main course or side dish.

Lynne Yao's Chinese-Style Green Beans





Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Hot chili flakes, to taste
  • Sesame seeds
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: In a large saute pan or skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. 
 
Step 2: Add the beans and fry for a couple of minutes. 
 
 
 
Step 3: Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water to large skillet with green beans and bring to a boil over high heat. 
 
Step 4: Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili flakes to the pan, cover, and cook until beans are tender.
 
Step 5: Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve the beans hot.




Melanzane Con Uova al Forno


I love eggplant and I’m always looking for interesting ways to make it.  One Saturday afternoon in January during one of the worst snowstorms that ever hit the Washington DC area, my mom and I salivated at every step as we watched Lidia Bastianich make this eggplant parmesan dish.  What makes the dish so impressive and unique is the whole egg that’s baked on top of the eggplant parmesan. My first thought as I watched Lidia was that this dish is all about the presentation and not about the taste. So I was really curious how the egg might change the taste of the dish.

My mom and I decided to make it for a friend’s birthday and our first attempt was perfect. It was so easy, and the dish was as delicious as it looked. The egg added such a wonderfully silky smooth texture to the eggplant parmesan. This is a must try.

 

Ingredients

 
  • Simple red sauce
  • 3 small eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for salting the eggplant
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the gratin dishes
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 large basil leaves
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmigiano cheese
  • 6 large eggs

 

Instructions

 
Step 1:  With a vegetable peeler, peel strips lengthwise down the eggplant, leaving alternate stripes of peel. Cut off stems and slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. 
 
Step 2: Line a large colander with the eggplant, overlapping if necessary; salt liberally on both sides, and let drain in the sink for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain and dry the eggplant well.
 
Step 3: Make simple red sauce.  Click here for recipe.  Add the crushed red pepper flakes to red sauce. 
 
Step 4: Spread the flour on a plate. Lightly dredge the dried eggplant in flour, tapping off the excess. Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the eggplant in batches, about 2 minutes per side, and adding more olive oil as needed. Remove the slices as they brown, and drain on a paper-towel-lined sheet.
 
Step 5: Once the sauce and eggplant are ready, brush six individual gratin dishes with olive oil. Spread a scant 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of each dish. Fold the eggplant slices to line and fit the gratin dishes in an even layer. Spread another scant 1/4 cup of sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle sauce with about 3/4 cup cheese. Repeat the process with one more layer of eggplant, sauce, and cheese. Lay a basil leaf over the cheese and crack an egg into each dish. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese.
 

 
 
Step 6: Place dishes on a baking sheet, and cover with foil. Bake until sauce is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Uncover, and bake until cheese is browned and eggs are done to your liking, about 5 minutes more for almost-set yolks.
 

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

 
In 2014, I went on a bicycle tour to Sicily’s southeastern coastal villages (Ragusa, Marina di Ragusa, Ragusa Ibla, Scicli, Modica, Marzememi, Noto, and Siracusa).  It was my first trip ever to Sicily and while I didn’t get to see all of this spectacular island, including the village (Villafrati) where my grandmother was born, it was a trip that will forever be burned in my memory. Since I was on a bicycle tour, the main event each day was biking the mountains roads from one town to the next. Ok, well that’s a lie, our main event was actually eating our way to the next town with a little biking of the mountainous roads in between. 
 
OK enough about that, let’s move on to what you’re really interested in - eggplant parmigiana or le melanzane alla parmigiana.  The origins of this dish are unclear and Sicily, Campania and Parma claim this dish as their own. While in Sicily, I took two cooking classes, one in the Val di Noto region and one in Siracusa, and in both classes we made slightly different versions of eggplant parmigiana. Although the Sicilian chefs had slightly different ways of making it, they were both in agreement about its origin, it is in fact, Sicilian.  Certamente... and I’ll go with that. The word parmigiana actually has nothing at all to do with parmesan cheese. The meaning of parmigiana relates to the layering of the dish. Both versions that I made were delicious, one recipe included layers of prosciutto and eggs and the other did not. I’ve combined the two versions into one recipe below.  Since I prefer the dish without the eggs and prosciutto, I made them both optional. The recipe is long and there are quite a few steps but it's actually fairly simple to make.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
 



 

Ingredients

For the eggplant parmigiana:

  • 2-1/2 pounds medium eggplants (about 3), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cups fresh tomato sauce
  • 3 to 4 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 ounces of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 pound of provolone cheese (mild), thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 to 1 pound of prosciutto cotto, thinly sliced (optional)
 
 

For the fresh tomato sauce:

  • 5 pounds fresh plum or vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Slice each eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
 
 
Step 2: Layer sliced eggplant in a bowl and sprinkle salt between layers. Place a plate over eggplant and put a weight on top. Let set for at least 1 hour. Drain water from bowl, then wash and dry eggplant thoroughly. This salting step is necessary to remove the eggplant’s excess water before deep frying it. According to Cook’s Illustrated, the eggplant’s flesh contains air-filled compartments enclosed by water fortified walls. If you deep-fry the eggplant without removing the water first, the air sacs will fill with oil, leaving you with very greasy eggplant. In addition, the water left in the eggplant will turn to steam as you heat the eggplant, damaging the structure of the fruit, and again leaving you with mushy and oily eggplant.  So the bottom line is, don’t skip this step. It’s important in order to avoid mushy, greasy eggplant.
 
   
 
  
 
Step 3: While the eggplant is draining, prepare the fresh tomato sauce. Wash and sort tomatoes, removing any bruised or discolored product. Quarter tomatoes and place in a large stainless steel stockpot (if using small tomatoes, cut in half).  
 
Step 4: Add a handful of basil leaves and a splash of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) to your pot of tomatoes. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir occasionally to crush tomatoes and release their juice. Cook over medium high heat until tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat. 
 
 
Step 5: Working in batches, press tomatoes through a food mill to remove skins and seeds. 
 
 
Step 6: Return tomato sauce (just pressed through the food mill) to stockpot and bring to boil. 
 
 
Step 7: Meanwhile heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add onions and garlic and sauté, stirring, until fragrant about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, sugar, salt and a few more leaves of fresh basil. 
 
  
 
Step 8: Combine the tomato paste and water together and then add to your sauce. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.  If sauce if too thick, add more water.
 
 
Step 9: To deep fry the eggplant: Heat oil in a deep saucepan until it reaches 425 degrees Fahrenheit on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, gently place eggplant slices into hot oil and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a paper-towel-lined plate. 
 
 
 
 
Step 10: Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3-1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in one layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Next layer the prosciutto cotto (if adding) over the eggplant, followed by the provolone cheese, eggs, basil and parmesan cheese.  Cover with about one third of remaining sauce. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, prosciutto, provolone, eggs, basil and sauce.  Sprinkle top with 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.
 
      
 
 
  
 
 
Step 11: Broil, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, about 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook in an oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.
 
Step 12: Cut and serve
 



 

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Makes 4 to 6 servings





Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 fennel bulb, scrubbed, trimmed, and cut into wedges (about 1 pound)
  • 8 ounces  new red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • 6 ounces  shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, cut in half
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons  walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons  balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

 





Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
 
Step 2: Toss sweet potato, fennel, new potatoes, mushrooms, and shallots with oil, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and the salt in a large roasting pan. 
 
 
Step 3: Roast, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring and tossing once or twice, until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender.
 
 
Step 4: Place roasted vegetables in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining vinegar, and serve warm or at room temperature. 
 




Pan-Roasted Asparagus

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Published March 1, 2005  
 
Makes 4 to 6 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic , sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds thick asparagus spears (see note), ends trimmed
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Heat the olive oil and sliced garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is crisp and golden but not dark brown, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to paper towel-lined plate.
 
Step 2: Add the butter to the oil in the skillet. When butter has melted, add half of asparagus to skillet with tips pointed in one direction; add remaining spears with tips pointed in one direction. Using tongs, distribute spears in even layer (spears will not quite fit into single layer); cover and cook until asparagus is bright green and still crisp,about 5 minutes.
 
 
Step 3: Uncover and increase heat to high; season asparagus with salt and pepper. Cook until spears are tender and well browned along one side, 5 to 7 minutes, using tongs to occasionally move spears from center of pan to edge of pan to ensure all are browned. 
 
Step 4: Transfer asparagus to serving dish, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and toasted garlic, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, and, if desired, squeeze lemon half over spears. Serve immediately.




Pan-Roasted Green Beans





Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh snap beans
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 teaspoon lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste




Instructions

 
Step 1: Heat olive oil in 12 inch skillet. Add minced shallots. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
 
 
 
Step 2: Add green beans, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes until the beans start getting brown spots. 
 
Step 3: Add water and cover for about 2 to 3 minutes until crisp tender and bright green. Remove cover and cook until water evaporates. 
 
Step 4: Add lemon juice. Do not overcook.




Roasted Cauliflower





Ingredients

  • 1 (2-pound) head cauliflower, green leaves discarded
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400°. 
 
Step 2: On a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the cauliflower florets with the olive oil. Season them with salt and toss well.
 
 
 
Step 3: Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown. Transfer to plates and serve hot or at room temperature.
 




Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette

Here’s another great vegetarian dish from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty. I honestly didn’t realized that you could make a vegetable dish packed with so much flavor. The long roasting time gives the vegetables a wonderful caramelized flavor, and the cherry tomatoes and caper vinaigrette added at the end gives the dish a very satisfying salty and slightly sweet tangy taste. And not only is this dish very tasty, it’s very colorful and beautiful and loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals. What more could you ask for in a vegetarian dish.

Adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi 

Makes 4 servings

 




 

Ingredients

  • 4 parsnips (1-1/2 pounds total)
  • 4 medium red onions
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 head garlic, halved horizontally
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (1-1/4 pounds total)
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons small capers 
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

 




 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel the parsnips and cut into two or three segments, depending on their lengths. Then cut each piece lengthways into two or four. You want pieces roughly 2 inches long and ½-inch wide. 
 
Step 2: Peel the onions and cut each into six wedges.
 
Step 3: Place the parsnips and onions in a large mixing bowl and add ½ cup of the olive oil, the thyme, rosemary, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Mix well and spread out in a large roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes.
 
Step 4: While the parsnips are cooking, trim both ends of the sweet potatoes. Cut them (with their skins) in half, then each half into six wedges. 
 
Step 5: Add the potatoes to the pan with the parsnips and onion and stir well. Return to the oven to roast for a further 40 to 50 minutes.
 
Step 6: When all the vegetables are cooked through and have taken on a golden color, stir in the halved tomatoes. Roast for 10 minutes more. 
 
Step 7: Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, capers, maple syrup, mustard, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and ½ teaspoon salt.
 
Step 8: Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as you take them out of the oven. Stir well, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Scatter the sesame seeds over the vegetables if using and serve at the table in the roasting pan.
 



 

Rudy's Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing

 
Makes 12 to 14 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped celery (3 stalks)
  • 1 1/2 cups  chopped onion (1 large)
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2  cup butter or margarine
  • 1  tablespoon snipped fresh sage
  • 3 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 12  cups dry bread cubes
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken broth (or add enough chicken broth to moisten your bread crumb mixture)
  • salt and pepper to taste
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large skillet cook celery, carrots, and onions in hot butter over medium heat until tender but not brown. Remove from heat. Stir in sage and poultry seasoning. 
 
 
Step 2: Place bread cubes in large bowl; add onion mixture. 
 
 
 
Step 3: Drizzle with enough chicken broth to moisten your bread crumb mixture; toss lightly to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Place stuffing in a 2-quart casserole dish. 
 
 
Step 4: Bake, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through. Top with fresh sage.




Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

Adapted from Recipe by Anne Burrell
 




Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough, non-leafy stems removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well salted ice water. Drop the broccoli rabe into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. 
 
Step 2: Remove from the boiling water and plunge immediately into the ice water. Once cool remove from the ice water and let dry. It can be used right away or held for future use.
 
Step 3: Coat a large saute pan with olive oil. Add the smashed garlic and crushed red pepper and bring to medium heat. Once the garlic is brown and aromatic, remove it from the pan and discard. 
 
Step 4: Add the broccoli rabe and toss around in the oil to heat up and season. Add more oil, if needed and season with salt if needed.




Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes

 
Makes 6 servings
 




Ingredients 

  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup Romano cheese or 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup  chopped parsley
  • Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 large artichokes
  • olive oil

 





Instructions

 
Step 1: Combine bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and salt.  Set aside.
 
Step 2: Trim stalks at base of artichokes; cut away 1 inch across the tops and discard.  Remove discolored leaves; snip off ends of leaves with Kitchen shears or paring knife. Wash with cold water and with the juice of one lemon, drain. 
 
Step 3: Spread leaves apart and fill with bread crumbs mixture; Sprinkle the tops of filled artichokes with olive oil.
 
Step 4: Place stuffed artichokes in large kettle.  Fill with water halfway up to artichokes.  Add 1/2  teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons of oil to the water.  Bring to boil; cover and simmer slowly until artichokes are tender--- 30 to 50 minutes or more. (Pierce artichoke base with fork; if soft, artichokes are done.  Remove artichokes from water and serve hot or at room temperature.  




Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

\
I have been wanting to try this colorful dish from the moment I saw it in Ottolenghi’s Plenty. The eggplant and mango is an interesting combination, and one that I would never have thought would work together. The result; however, did not disappoint. Not only does this combination work, I think it’s actually genius. The eggplant, mango, slices of red onions, and buckwheat noodles are tossed in a dressing of rice vinegar, sesame oil, crushed garlic, red chiles, and lime, and then topped with fresh basil and cilantro at the end. The dish is light yet packed with lots of sweet, salty, and citrusy flavors. I especially like the hot spiciness of the red chile. If you are trying to find ways to eat less meat, this vegetarian dish is the perfect dish to try.  It’s so tasty, I promise, you won’t even miss your meat serving.
 
 
 



 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 eggplants, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 8 to 9 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/8-inch dice or into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 1-2/3 cup basil leaves (if you can get some Thai basil, but much less of it)
  • 2-1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: In a small saucepan warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to 1 minute, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile, and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
 
Step 2: Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain.
 
Step 3: Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. They should take 5 to 8 minutes to become tender but still al dente. Drain and rinse well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel.
 
Step 4: In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. Set aside for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.



 

The LaNasa Family Green Bean and Artichoke Casserole





Ingredients

  • 1 pound of fresh or frozen french green beans
  • 1 can (14 ounce) of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Blanche fresh or frozen green beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and set aside. 
 
Step 2: In a medium-sized bowl, mix bread crumbs, parsley, salt and freshly ground pepper.
 
 
Step 3: Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil in 12-to 14-inch skillet. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, being careful not to burn.  
 
 
Step 4: Add quartered artichoke hearts and green beans to skillet, then add bread crumbs.  Saute until bread crumbs are toasted about 5 to 10 minutes. If mixture is dry, add more olive oil.
 
  
 
Step 5: Transfer green bean mixture to square casserole dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Broil at 500 degrees for 5 minutes, until cheese melts and bubbles.
 
Step 6: Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.




Tiella

Tiella is a Southern Italian vegetable dish that generally contains potatoes, zucchini and tomato sauce. Tiella is actually a Soutern Italian term for a common roasting pan and the vegetable dish is named after the pan used to bake it.  I do not own an authentic "tiella" so I used a glass casserole dish to make mine.  This recipe belongs to my family and we use the classic ingredients plus we like it spicy, so we add hot banana peppers. This dish can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.  I like it best served warm.





Ingredients

 
  • 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking dish
  • 1 pound  zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 to 3 hot banana peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-1/2 cups simple red sauce
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • About 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Step 3: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
 
Step 2: Place potatoes, onions, and hot peppers into a glass bowl, coat lightly with about 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix to coat. If you like it really spicy like me, include some of the hot pepper seeds in the bowl.
 
 
Step 3: Trim the ends of the zucchini, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put in a separate bowl. Top with 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
 
 
 
Step 4: Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil and parsley in a bowl. Set aside.
 
Step 5: Lightly oil a deep 2 1/2 to 3-quart baking dish (about 9 by 12 inches). Then place about 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and spread out to coat the bottom of the pan.
 
Step 6: Using the potato mixture and zucchini, make a layer in the prepared baking dish, alternating between the potato and zucchini, filling in any gaps with small pieces. Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on top, then sprinkle Parmesan and bread crumb mixture. Repeat the layering of the vegetables, tomato sauce, Parmesan and bread crumb mixturel using all the vegetables. Cover the top with the remaining bread crumbs and Parmesan.
 
     
 
Step 7: Bake, uncovered, for about 1/2 hour, then cover for the next 45 minutes of baking, finally uncovering for the last 15 minutes, until tender and bubbling, about 1-1/2 hours total cooking time. 
 
Step 8: Remove from the oven. Tiella may be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. Reheat in a low oven, if desired. To serve, cut into squares and carefully lift out of the pan with a spatula.