Friday, March 25, 2011

Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna is something that was always a bit of a mystery to me.  There are all these layers.  Well that part seems simple enough, but what order do you put them in?  Could it really be as simple as sauce, noodles, cheese, repeat?  The answer is basically yes.  What about the noodles?  They come in sheets.  Do you boil them first and then put everything together or do you just stack them in dry?  Guess what?  Both are right depending on what kind of noodles you get.  Lucky for me I found some fresh pasta sheets at the supermarket so no need to boil before baking.  This recipe is for a small pan (6x9 inches) so expand the recipe accordingly. 

2 cans of stewed tomatoes
1TBSP olive oil
1/2 onion minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp Brown sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1 tsp butter

lasagna sheets
1 zucchini
1 cup of ricotta
1 + 1/2 cup mozzarella
1/8 cup fresh shredded Parmesan
bunch of fresh basil chopped
1 TBSP olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Start with your sauce.   Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions.  Saute the onions for 2 minutes, moving them around the pan constantly. Add the garlic and continue to saute for another 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir.  Add everything else, stir until combined and turn the heat to low.  Let cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
Cut your zucchini into thin rounds, 1/16 - 1/8 inch thick.  I use a mandolin to get uniformly thick rounds so they cook evenly.
Now it's stacking time!
Start by coating your baking dish with olive oil.  The first layer should be 1/3 of your sauce.  Then a pasta sheet.  Spread 1/2 cup of ricotta on the pasta sheet.  Sprinkle on 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella.  Place a layer of zucchini rounds on top of that, then another pasta sheet.  Now the second 1/3 of your sauce. Next a layer of chopped fresh basil.  Spread 1/2 cup of ricotta over that and another 1/2 cup of mozzarella over that.  Now another layer of zucchini and another pasta sheet.  Spread out your final 1/3 of sauce.  Top with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/8 cup of shredded parmesan. 
Cover you baking pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Attempted Pizza

I have also been working on a pizza dough recipe.  One major problem is that my oven just doesn't get hot enough.  I have been playing around a little to make up for it but the heat of the oven is a really important factor.   I am, however, pretty close so keep a look out for my recipe!  Here are some pics from my last few attempts.  I should note that I have finally found a source for fresh mozzarella so no more shredded on future pies.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sausage and Cheddar Biscuits

I have been trying to make biscuits lately.  Some batches worked out pretty good, some not as great.  I will post a recipe as soon as I get it right but in the mean time here is a pic of a nice little snack I made with one of the batches.  Italian sausage and aged cheddar cheese on mini biscuits.  Even if the biscuits weren't perfect, adding sausage and cheddar made this an awesome snack.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Eggplant with Ginger and Honey Carrots

Personally, I have never been a huge fan of eggplant.  I always found it to be kind of strange in flavor and or texture.  Well, this is no longer the case.  After doing some research I figured out how to cook it so it is flavorful and melts in your mouth.  The key is the salting process which removes excess water and doesn't allow the eggplant to take in as much oil.  Brilliant! 

1 small Eggplant
1 TBSP olive oil
1 garlic clove minced

2 Carrots cut on a diagonal
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp ginger grated

Cut eggplant in half and make deep diagonal slices in the flesh in both directions.  Rub salt on the flesh and in the cuts.  Let rest for 1/2 hour on a paper towel then squeeze out the water from the eggplant and rinse.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Dry the eggplant and season with garlic, thyme, pepper and brush on olive oil.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the fresh of the eggplant is nice and soft (if you use a bigger eggplant it is going to take a bit longer).  Squeeze a little lemon over it after plating.
Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute the carrots for 5 minutes.  Add ginger, honey and butter and reduce the heat until the carrots can be pierce with a fork.  Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Curry Chicken and Chips

Curry chicken and chips!  One of my favorite chip shop staples.  This is a comfort food that I crave in the winter so I set out to create my own version of it.  A perfect mix of sweet and savory.  It is loosely base on my memory of the curry chicken and chips from Chip Shop in Brooklyn. 

2 tsp veg oil
1/2 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 TBSP curry powder
2 tsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 apple cut up
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 cup tomatoes
1 chicken breast chopped up

Heat oil over medium heat and add onion.  Saute for 2 minutes and chicken.  Brown chicken and add garlic, tomatoes and apples.  Saute for 30 seconds and stir in curry powder, salt and flour.  Add water and brown sugar and reduce heat to low.  Let simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 - 20 minutes. 
Serve over your favorite french fries.  I really love seasoned curly fries so that's what I usually go with.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chicken and Broccoli in White Wine over Penne

I have had variations of this dish over the years but I had never tried to make it myself until last summer.  It was after a trip to Paris to hang out with a friend of mine.  I didn't actually have this anywhere but we happened to wander past a restaurant with the smell of wine and butter wafting out and I was immediately transported to this dish.  I tried to search for a recipe that could replicate what I was craving but couldn't find one.  Maybe I was searching for the wrong terms but it led me to work it out on my own.

1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
2-3 cups Broccoli spears
1 Chicken breast cup up
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter (maybe a little more)
Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
Penne Pasta (a little more than 1 cup dry)

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat Olive oil over medium heat and add onions.  Saute for 2 minutes and add chicken.  Brown the chicken and add the garlic and broccoli.  Add chicken stock and wine and cover.  After 2 minutes reduce the heat to low.
Cook pasta until al dente and drain water.
When the broccoli can be pierced with a fork add butter and pasta and toss.
Serve with grated parmigiano and a squeeze of lemon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Salmon, Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Salmon fillets
2 TBSP Vegetable oil

2 cups Brussels Spouts
1/2 apple chopped
1/4 cup Pancetta diced
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Olive oil 

2 cups Sweet Potatoes chopped
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP honey
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Coat salmon fillets with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sear over high heat for a few minutes on both sides.

Brussels Spouts:
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Cut stems off brussels sprouts and cut them in half.  Remove and discard the loose leaves.  Coat with olive oil, mix in pancetta, apples and brown sugar, and season with salt and pepper.  Place in roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes or until the edges of the brussels spouts are nice and crispy. 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
Cube the sweet potatoes and boil in salted water until soft.  Drain the water and place back in the pot.  Add the butter, honey and cayenne pepper and puree with an immersion blender or a fork if you like it chunkier.  Salt to taste. 


Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have been eating a lot of oatmeal lately for breakfast.  It is one of the best things you can eat for breakfast, it's really good and easy to make.  It's also easy to alter the recipe below.  Add whatever you like.  Use different things to sweeten it.  Substitute some milk for some of the water, or all of the water if you want.  I change it up all the time so it doesn't get boring but here is the basic recipe I use.

1/2 cup Oats
1 cup water - OR 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of milk
pinch of salt
1 TBSP brown sugar - OR 1 TBSP of Honey (my preference)
2 TBSP of golden raisins

Heat 1 cup of water over medium heat.  Add a pinch of salt and the oats.  Stir and add the sugar and raisins.  Turn down the heat to low and keep stirring until the oatmeal thickens up a bit.  That's it.