Eggplant Parmesan

This is a recipe I found and loved back in 2004 and then promptly forgot about. A dear friend recently mentioned that she loved eggplant so I thought I would bring this back into the rotation and share it with friends who haven’t had time lately to cook something wholesome for themselves. The nice thing is that it’s relatively healthy so keeping a few servings in your fridge/freezer won’t make you feel guilty!

Eggplant Parmesan, courtesy of Cooking Light

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 (8-ounce) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce (I always use Exclusivo Wild Porcini sauce which is made by a family friend)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (1-pound) eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil, optional

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

Place eggplant in a large bowl; add water to cover, and let stand 30 minutes. Drain well; blot dry with paper towels. Combine 1/4 cup water and egg whites in a shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese; stir well. Dip eggplant in egg white mixture, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

Place half of eggplant on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and broil 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining eggplant. Set eggplant aside.

Spread half of tomato mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of eggplant over sauce; top with half of mozzarella cheese. Toss some torn fresh basil leaves over the mozzarella. Repeat layers with remaining sauce, eggplant, and cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Tagine-Style Lamb Stew

This was a recipe I plucked from the NYT since I had about 3 extra pounds of lamb from an evaluation recipe last week. Not much of a lamb fan myself, I was surprised that I actually enjoyed a small bowl of it. Alex had three bowls so I think it’s safe to say that if you DO like lamb, you should try this.

Recipe courtesy of the NYT

  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 20-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Cooked couscous, for serving

1. Trim excess fat from the lamb and cut into 1-inch cubes.

2. In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the lamb, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, apricot preserves and vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until the aroma of the spices is strong, about 5 to 7 minutes. (Do not allow the meat to brown.)

3. Add chickpeas and stock, bring just to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently until the lamb is very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

4. Add the raisins and continue to cook, uncovered, until they are nicely plumped, about 10 minutes more. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and lemon juice, and serve with couscous.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ha, I’m back! (If you listen to Car Talk, that will sound familiar.) I just realized it’s been nearly two months since I’ve cooked or baked anything exciting enough to document. Work changes everything! In a good way though.

The new year has already been tough on many of my friends dealing with family issues and/or various injuries so I decided to bake cookies this morning and send some care packages around the country. I’ve never made ginger molasses cookies but something about the ginger just seemed so comforting. I turned to the King Arthur Flour website and found a highly rated soft ginger cookie recipe. They turned out exactly as advertised – soft, gingery, and delicious! And I was a bit nervous too since I realized after I took the first batch out of the oven that I’d left out half of the butter. Oops.

Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies, courtesy of King Arthur Flour

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses OR 1/4 cup molasses + 1/4 cup ginger syrup
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • raw or pearl sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 325.

1) In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy.

2) Beat in the molasses (or molasses and ginger syrup), baking soda, salt, and spices.

3) Add the eggs, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Stir in the flour.

4) Scoop the soft dough into 1 ½” balls and roll them in raw or pearl sugar.

5) Space the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 ½” between them.

6) Bake them for 10 minutes. The centers will look soft and puffy.

7) Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.