Tag Archives: dinner

Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches

18 Jul

It has been so hot lately that I don’t feel like cooking or eating anything hot. The exception to that is grilling. I love grilling and getting a tan at the same time. 🙂 I pretty much love grilling in any weather, rain included. It just makes me happy to grill. Now there is a completely different taste when food is grilled on a charcoal grill. Once I was introduced to charcoal I decided then and there I would never go back. I love the smokey flavor!

Now I have been told that raw eggplant is poisonous. I am not sure how true that is but I don’t like the flavor anyways. So, make sure your eggplant is cooked thoroughly just in case.

Here is my Grilled Eggplant sandwich recipe that I promised.

1 medium-sized eggplant can serve 6 easily.

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant

salt & pepper

olive oil

garlic powder

sliced sharp cheddar

sliced tomatoes

basil leaves

pesto

Cut eggplant  into 1/2 inch slices. Lay out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder on both sides and let rest while you are heating up the grill and preparing the rest of dinner. Slice cheese and tomatoes.

I used fresh bread that I had made so I cut that up too. I cut one piece per person to make an open-faced sandwich.

Grill the eggplant about 5 min on one side or until you have nice grill marks and it looks cooked about halfway. The time will vary depending on how hot your grill is or if you are using gas.

Flip eggplant and place the cheese on top while still on the grill to get it nice and melty. Cook about 5 minutes longer. You want to make sure it is all the way cooked or else it will be too crunchy and the flavor will be off.

After you take the eggplant off the grill place the bread slices on the grill just till toasty.

To assemble the sandwich I spread the pesto on the bread added the eggplant, the tomatoes, sprinkled some salt on the tomato and then topped with a couple basil leaves. It was delicious. This is something you can add all sorts of things to. You could grill some peppers and onions and make an awesome veggie sandwich.

 

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Week 5: Seasonal Egg Rolls

24 Jun

How come when we think of making egg rolls we automatically think “Oh, that is way to  complicated! I don’t know that I could pull that off tonight or ever for that matter.” At least I think that. Well, I did the unthinkable and I bought egg roll wrappers… Then they sat in the fridge for a couple of weeks. So the other day I decided it was high time to try my hand at making egg rolls.

This is not your typical Asian egg roll. They are my zucchini squash version. I hope this recipe inspires you to put all those vegetables you don’t know what to do with that are just sitting in your fridge into one yummy egg roll!

Here are a couple of tips that I learned when making egg rolls:

1: A food processor is your best friend in this recipe! A food processor will totally either make this recipe a keeper for you, or if you don’t, you might have to go to the doctor for carpal tunnel. I am pretty serious about this food processor thing! You will need one to have a positive experience with egg rolls.

2:  I tried making the filling two different ways. I didn’t know if it would be better to saute the mixture before filling the wrappers or to leave the filling raw. I really think I liked the cooked version better because the egg rolls are not fried very long and the texture of the sautéed veggies just seemed more like the typical egg rolls you get at restaurants. But do whatever suits your fancy.

3: I also didn’t have any fresh garlic or fresh ginger but if I did I would definitely always go with fresh!

4: I didn’t do this tip but thinking back on what I would do differently next time this is definitely the thing I would do….I would make sure to squeeze the juices from the vegetable mixture very well after being sautéed. This is to eliminate the mixture from becoming watery and making the wrappers become all sticky. If you decide to skip this step you will know what I mean afterwards. 🙂

When I cook I don’t use measurements. I do in baking. But there is something freeing about cooking you just do whatever you feel like. It is a lot harder to mess something up when cooking then when baking. So my apologizes for not having specific measurements for you on all the ingredients. Don’t be scared though. Have confidence. You can do it! And tomorrow is always a new day if you happen to dump the whole bottle of soy sauce in, not big deal!

Alaina’s Egg Rolls:

1 Package of egg roll wrappers – If I remember correctly I think it has 24 wrappers

2 Medium onions

1 Medium cabbage

4 Carrots

2 Zucchini

2 Squash

Soy sauce

Garlic powder

Ginger powder

Oil for frying

Assemble your food processor with the grate blade. Cut all vegetables into pieces that will fit in the processor. Grate vegetables and transfer to large bowl. Next add a very generous amount of garlic, a good amount of ginger and about 4 tablespoons of soy sauce. Mix together.

 

In a large skillet on Medium heat, add a little olive oil and heat. When oil is hot, add the vegetables and saute for about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, squeeze out juices and transfer to a different bowl.

 

Next, working with one wrapper at a time place the square on the counter with a point facing you, making it look more like a diamond. Next, take 1 heaping tablespoon in the middle of wrapper. Take the corner closest to you and pull up over the filling.

 

Then pull in each side. Make sure it is pretty snug.

 

 

Take the remaining top corner and brush a tad bit of water on it, then pull down to complete your roll. Continue until all the wrappers are used.

In a skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil til nice and hot. I like to take a drop of water and flick into the oil. If it sputters it is ready and hot.!(Caution: you DO NOT want to use any more than a drop or you could get severely burnt.) Fry the rolls till golden brown. Turning them as needed with tongs. Once they are done, place on a pan covered with a paper towel to soak up some of the extra oil.

 

Serve with your choice of side. Enjoy! (I am glad to say I took all the photos!)

 

Week 3 & 4: Meatless chock full of vegetables tomato sauce

15 Jun

Last week I started a tomato sauce and was going to make it into a pizza sauce but then I got so busy that I didn’t finish it. This week I was craving vegetables and decided to go a whole new route with it. That is one thing I love about this sauce is it can be a canvas for so many things. I guess the pizza sauce will just have to wait. Last night I finally made time to do finish it. Sometimes I get so busy that I put aside proper eating for something quick to grab. My experience with good wholesome food is that it always takes time but is well worth the effort. I do believe this sauce was well worth the effort! After tasting it last night I don’t think I will be going back to any other tomato sauce. I am calling it tomato sauce for lack of a better name but it is much more than that!  For having no meat this is one amazing sauce! You could use it for just about anything. I don’t have the pictures available yet but I will post them soon.

Now for the sauce:

TO DO: the night or week before you need it

10 large tomatoes cut tops off and cut in half

1 bulb garlic peeled- yes the whole thing!

salt

olive oil

Heat oven to 400F. On a large sheet pan lay the tomatoes cut side down and scatter the peeled garlic all over. Generously pour some olive oil over and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 1 hour.

Now it is time to mop your floor. 🙂 This is what I do.

After an hour remove from oven. (I didn’t even let it cool because I started it so late that when it was done I was ready for bed.) Pour tomatoes, garlic and juice into the blender or food processor and blend just until chunks are gone.

Pour through a pasta strainer, you will have to swish it around (The point in this step is to get out most of the seeds and skin) into a crock-pot and let simmer on low overnight. I really think you could skip this step if you don’t have a really watery base. It already has a nice roasted flavor this step is merely to cook it down a little.

Now you have a very good tomato sauce base.

Next I took

2 large onions

7 stalks of  kale

7 stalks of rainbow swiss chard

2 small yellow squash

and a large handful basil

sugar

cinnamon

In a large cast iron skillet on high and poured a generous amount of olive oil into it and let it heat up. Meanwhile, dice the onions. Once the pan is hot throw the onions in and turn down heat to medium. While that is cooking, finely cut kale and swiss chard, stirring the onions every once in a while. Add the chard and kale and continue to cook. Dice up the squash and add to the mixture. Once the vegetable are soft and bright in color add the finely sliced basil and pour the sauce into the vegetable mixture. Taste.

Taste. I added some sugar to make it a little less acidic and a pinch of cinnamon for fun. Cook till warm and serve over whatever you desire.  You could really put whatever kind of vegetables you want in this. This is just what I had on hand.

I served mine over freshly, finely grated zucchini and red quinoa.

If you are skeptical about this sauce you just need to give it a try. It will win you over. I am a lover of GOOD TASTING FOOD! I don’t want it just to be healthy. It has to meet my taste buds test also. This one surely does! Hope you enjoy!