Archive for August, 2012

From Dish Gwen:

I’ve never been much of an eggplant fan. The texture is mushy, the flavor isn’t really there, and my sister claims it makes her mouth itch. But last summer I happened to eat dinner at an excellent Italian place (Emilio’s on Houston) and had one of the best pasta dishes ever, and it just happened to have lots of eggplant in it. And it’s pretty simple to make!

– 1 lb eggplant, cubed or sliced into small rounds (no more than 1.5” across)
– ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, diced
– salt
– olive oil
– thin spaghetti, cooked al dente


Slice up your eggplant and toss it in a bowl with lots of salt (enough salt to coat each piece of eggplant completely). The salt serves two functions: 1. It makes the eggplant salty and delicious; and 2. It draws the water out of the fruit, which improves its texture. Let the salty eggplant sit for about 15 minutes, then dab it off in a towel to remove the excess water and salt.

On medium/high, heat a sauce pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and then toss in the garlic and eggplant. The eggplant should sizzle and once it’s golden brown on all sides, toss in the spaghetti and mint. Turn off the heat and toss everything together gently, then serve! A delicious, easy summer dish!

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From Dish Amelia:

One of the food jobs I’m lucky to have is working for Nourish, the company headed up by nutritionist Marissa Lippert, who approaches food with an eye for beauty, seasonality, straightforwardness and integrity. I cook in the homes of her clients, and sometimes other catering gigs.

I originally made these brownies for a client who couldn’t have dairy. I’ve made them many times since, and messed around with them a lot — trying them with only agave, honey and brown sugar to sweeten, and with whole wheat flour and ground flax seeds. (Health food city!!). However, the following recipe is for brownies that are still totally reasonably healthy (right Marissa?), fantastic in texture and interesting in flavor. Try them, they are a hit!

Yield: 20 or so 2-inch brownies, or a quarter sheet tray.

3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cocoa
2 oz chopped chocolate
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1 cup chopped walnuts ( or NOT)
1/3 cup fresh dried lavender, buzzed momentarily in a spice ginder

Heat oven to 350. Stir lavender into oil first while you place out all other ingredients. Prepare the pan: spray pan, apply one sheet of parchment, spray well again. (I use handy olive oil spray).

Whisk cocoa with 1/2 cup+2 T of boiling water, add chocolate, whisk more. Add in the oil, then eggs, then sugar, then flour. If you are using nuts, pour half of the mixture into the tray, scatter the nuts evenly across, then add rest of mixture over the top. If you are not using nuts, just pour entire contents into pan, and nuts or not, sprinkle the top with maldon salt or fleur de sel, enough so that you know that each square you bite will have a fabulous flake present.

These brownies have a tricky bake time. Too little and they taste underdone in a bad way. Too much and they just candy themselves, amazing right out of the oven but becoming hard rock weapons when cool. The top should form a beautiful crust and the interior will maintain a gooey ideal.

Bake the brownies for 45 minutes but test them a couple times. Take out the pan and let them cool in it. When it’s cool, use a bench scraper or knife to loosen the edge from the sides. Turn the pan over and push in the middle to make giant brownie fall out. Remove paper and slice neatly into trapezoids. I mean squares.

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From Dish Erin:

Full disclosure: I completely forgot to do my SLD this past month. So what you’re getting here is a sneak, last minute peek into what my kitchen looks like between the months of July-Sept, when I pretty much tailor all my meals around my beloved Jersey tomato. It’s peak season for tomatoes right now–they’re so juicy and fresh that just a few dices in some olive oil are delicious enough to become a ‘sauce’ for pasta, no hours of simmering or cans needed. Summer pastas and pretty much my go-to and this is a perfect example of what I will whip up on a weeknight.

Note: The night before I had roasted a chicken, and had quite a bit leftover. You can used leftover cooked chicken, or just saute a chicken breast in a pan until cooked through. I promise I’ll get it together next month, dear readers.

2 cups whole wheat penne
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced roughly
A few shakes of red pepper flakes
1 whole Jersey tomato, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon oregano
About one cooked chicken breast, diced into cubes
4-5 kale leaves, chopped roughly
salt & pepper
A few basil leaves, chopped julienne
Parmesan cheese

Saute onions in a medium sauce pan with olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, red pepper, and tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, start to cook the penne according to package directions.

Make a well in the tomatoes and add the tomato paste, oregano, and stir to incorporate into sauce. Add white wine, and stir again. Add chicken & kale, season with salt & pepper and cover to simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Remove lid, mix in basil, taste and add more salt & pepper if need be.

Serve in bowls over penne and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.

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From Dish Danielle:

While out of town spending some chillax time at a friend’s childhood home earlier this summer, we were completely spoiled with leisure time — someone else was doing the cooking, there was time to sleep in, to read and drink coffee with our feet up, to take catnaps in the middle of the day. It was lovely, and just what the doctor ordered. Not only were we treated to a batch of delicious gin cocktails (rhubarb simple syrup anyone…!?!?), but we also had a killer meal that was perfectly summer: light, zesty, and fresh. Thanks Abby!

Abby’s summer sobas. I knew I’d be recreating this as soon as I got back to Brooklyn, and so I did for one of our first BBQ’s of the season.

*this recipe has been adapted from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi

1 package of soba noodles
1 ripe yet firm mango, peeled and sliced.
1 large eggplant, salt sweated & cut into 1” cubes
small bunch radishes, sliced thin
½ bunch of carrots, sliced thin.
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 bunch kale, cleaned and chiffonaded
1 bunch cilantro, cleaned, pruned and rough chopped
salted pistachios, rough chopped
¼-½ c sesame oil
¼c seasoned soy sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp yuzu paste
1½ lime, zested & juiced
agave nectar
sesame seeds

Start by bringing a medium pot of water to boil. While you’re waiting, take care of chopping your radishes, carrots, and onion. Place in a bowl with your chiffonaded kale and set aside. Slice your mango as you like—Abby did long thin slices and I followed suit. Once the water is boiling cook noodles according to the directions on the package—be sure not to overcook them as they cook very quickly and become mushy if left unattended.

Once the noodles are cooked, strain and run them under cold water until they’re cool. Drizzle with a dash of sesame oil to prevent them from sticking together and set aside. Now cook your eggplant. If you have a cast iron, use that. Place it over a medium-med high flame. Leave the pan dry and pan sear them one batch at a time until they’re finished. You want to hot pan to leave grill marks on the eggplant.

Set the cooked eggplant on a paper towel to cool/dry out. Now make your dressing — which some of you might notice is eerily similar to the dressing I used on my ‘Sprouts for a Crowd’ post I wrote a several months back… (It’s the same!) I never did get Abby’s exact recipe so I improvised with what I had.

In a small bowl mix the oil, soy sauce, minced garlic, yuzu paste, zest & juice of the lime, a small squeeze of agave and a pinch of salt thoroughly with a fork or small whisk. Taste & tweak of course. You’re almost done.

Now toss everything into a large bowl including the cilantro, pistachios & sesame seeds (a decent handful I’d say..) and toss thoroughly, making sure the dressing is evenly coating the entire salad.

This is absolutely a meal in and of itself. Serve on a piping hot summer evening and cool off with some cold noodles.

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From Dish Nicole:

So far this summer has been a blast. I can’t believe it’s already August; so much fun has been had. One of the highlights from this summer took place waaaaay back in June. My dear friend Leila (whom I never get to see) set out on a road trip from California to Southampton, New York. I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to stay with her at her Aunt Shelby’s beautiful beach house for the weekend. Of course I said hell yes and Leila and I got to catch up over cocktails, dips in the ocean and fabulous meals. Aside from the obvious benefits of having a beach weekend with a bestie, Shelby was an amazing hostess and even better cook. Everything she made was delicious but seemed effortless. She turned me on to the refreshing Aperol spritz and these ingenious grilled artichokes. Leila and I certainly were living the good life.

For the artichokes you will need:

4 large artichokes (figure about ½ per guest)
2-3 lemons, quartered
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 stick butter melted
3 sprigs thyme removed from stem

To prepare the artichokes you start by cutting off the top section. Next you need to trim the top of all of the leaves with scissors. Once all are trimmed, cut the artichokes in half and scoop out the “choke” (if you haven’t really worked with artichokes before, the choke is the fuzzy center). You want to remove all of the fuzz but try not to scrape out too much of the heart. Squeeze lemon juice on the hearts to prevent them from turning brown and set aside.

Next you will want to get out your largest pot and fill with about 2 inches of water. You can add some lemon slices in for extra flavor. Bring to a boil and add the artichokes. Reduce the heat to medium and cover. You will want to let the artichokes steam for about 15 minutes.

Now that the artichokes are occupied for a few minutes, prepare your grill and let it heat up. The next step is preparing the basting sauce. In a small skillet, melt butter over a low heat. Add in chopped garlic. Allow the butter to start to bubble and remove from heat. You just want the garlic to infuse the butter with flavor, but not brown. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and add the thyme, a tablespoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Okay now its grill time! Hopefully you have a friend with you who’s preparing your cocktail while you grill. If not, prepare your cocktail before the grilling. Brush the artichokes with the butter sauce. Make sure to get it in between the leaves. Place the artichokes on the grill. Grill for about 5-10 minutes, basting with the butter sauce and turning frequently, until the tips are a little charred. Serve immediately.

Ingredients for the Aperol Spritz:
3 parts (ounces) Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
splash of soda or seltzer
Ice, half a slice of orange

For the Spritz you will want to take a large wine glass or a highball glass and fill it halfway with ice. Add in all parts and garnish with the orange. I prefer to use a large wine glass. It really shows off the beautiful orange color.

The final step is to enjoy the ‘chokes and cheers to good friends, fun in the sun and staying cool the rest of this hot east coast summer.

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From Dish Jodi:

The husband just spent a long weekend in New Orleans with a bunch of his college buddies. I spent the same weekend crying through the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and hosting some lovely ladies over for a farmstand fresh dinner. After four days of hearing about nothing but Beignets, Booze and Gumbo, I knew he’d need something filled with vitamins after landing back in LA Sunday night. So I threw this together out of the good stuff I had left over from Saturday’s meal. I call it “Lasagna” even though you’d probably call it more of a “bake” or “Casserole” but “Lasagna” is a much prettier word, right?

A couple Zucchini’s or squash
a small Eggplant
…or whatever roastable veggies you have on hand
Parmesan and Mozzerella Cheese
Tomato Sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 8×13 (or whatever) baking dish.

Slice all the veggies nice and thin. If you use squash or eggplant, salt them and leave them out on some papertowels to wick away some of the water. in about 15 minutes, start layering. After a couple layers, drizzle tomato sauce and sprinkle some cheese (I stuck a few slices of chicken in too, but you don’t have to) then do it again. You can really use whatever kind of veggies you like…as long as they have a pretty uniform size to cook at the same rate. When you’ve used up the veggies, top it all with big slices of Mozzerella that will get crispy on top.

Bake for about an hour at 350…then serve it up!

Simple, but good, and far heathier than some drink called a “Hand Grenade” that is apparently some sort of New Orleans specialty?

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From Dish Rachelle:

*The author of this post would like to state for the record that she did not in fact have chocolate mousse for dinner – although she probably should have, because after eating pasta dinner and then this for dessert she was really full. Also, do you remember that great children’s book called A Chocolate Mousse for Dinner? It was one of her favorites. It’s all about homonyms. What a nerd.

It’s no secret that I have a serious sweet tooth, and during the winter, I bake easy chocolate chip cookies and brownies to keep in the house so I can always have a sweet something after my meal. However, given that it’s summer and even using the stovetop makes my apartment feel balmy, I was in the market for a nice, chilled dessert. Enter chocolate mousse: it’s decadent, served cold, and goes perfectly with ripe summer berries. I used to think this was one of the more impressive dishes, but it’s actually very simple to make. All you really need is the patience to let it set in the fridge for 6 hours before serving – easier said than done, I know.

You’ll need:

2 cups heavy cream, cold
4 large eggs, separated (reserve your whites for meringues, or tomorrow’s egg white omelet)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch of salt
1/2 -2/3 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (6-8 oz)

Heat ¾ cups of heavy cream over low heat until hot. Add 4 egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt to a large bowl and whisk them together, then add the hot cream in a slow, steady stream, whisking to combine. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and heat over low heat to 150 degrees (or 151 — it just should not boil). When it reaches temperature, run the custard through a sieve to get rid of any yolky bits. The remaining mixture should be smooth.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring frequently, and remove it from the heat just before it’s smooth. Stir the custard into the melted chocolate. Let this mixture cool for a few minutes.

In the meantime, whip 1¼ cups heavy cream with an electric mixer until it just reaches stiff peaks. Whisk the other ¼ cup of cream into the chocolate custard. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the custard. Distribute the mousse into individual parfait glasses or place it all in a pretty bowl and cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Recipe via Epicurious

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