Friday, October 12, 2012

Healthy Eggplant Parm

 Eggplant and I have had our run-ins in the past. Its taste, texture, the fact that it absorbs so much oil when you fry it...all these and more have contributed to my aversion to cooking it. Once, many years ago, I was served a sumptuous Eggplant Parmesan that rocked my preconceived notions about this vegetable. However, every recipe I have attempted has failed so miserably that for years I have been content not to butt heads with eggplant again. Until this week. We joined a CSA and our first weeks box contained not just one but two of my vegetable nemesis. Determined to succeed  at last I searched for recipes to make this eggplant a palatable success. Not finding a single one to my liking I decided to combine what I felt were the best elements of several and set out to conquer  the eggplant.   


1 egg
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
salt & pepper to taste
1 eggplant peeled & sliced into 1/2 inch slices

Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the eggplant and set in a colander to drain. Not much water comes out but it helps draw out the bitter flavor of the eggplant.

Set up a dredging station, I found bread-pans worked great for this. 

In the first pan whisk one egg with a tablespoon of water. In the second pan combine Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, herbs and salt and pepper.

Dip eggplant slices into egg mix then into breadcrumb mix and place on parchment coated pans. Sorry, no picture of this step, way to hard to use a camera when your hands are covered in egg and breadcrumbs!

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes then flip and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Top slices of eggplant with your favorite marinara sauce and a slice of Parmesan cheese. Here is a couple slices already to go in my lunch box. Yummy!
I had this for lunch everyday this week and it was delish! Finally a successful eggplant recipe. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pizza and Breadsticks

This recipe makes great  pizza crust and breadsticks

Base Recipe:

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Optional Ingrediants:

1 Tablespoon Pizza Seasoning (Italian Seasoning makes an acceptable substitute if you don't have Pizza Seasoning)
2 Tablespoons Cheese Powder

 Mix all ingredients together until dough is pulling away from side of bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a draft-free place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Place on baking sheet covered in parchment. Press gently until it starts to pull back. Cover with Plastic wrap and let it rest.
After a rest of 20-30 minutes press it again until it shrinks back. Repeat until you reach the edge of the tray.
Now it is ready to become Pizza or Breadsticks!

For Breadsticks:

Melt 1 stick butter
Add 1 glove minced garlic 
1 Tablespoon fresh Pasley
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan 

Brush the butter mix on the dough and slice about 1/2 inch thick with a pizza cutter. Separate slightly and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite marinara.

Or you can make it into a pizza with any of your favorite toppings. I choose a Greek Pizza since it combines all our favorite flavors

For Greek Pizza:

Bake the crust for 5 minutes at 425. Then top with
Sliced Tomatos
Kalamata Olives
Sliced Artichoke Hearts
Parmasan Cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
Cubed Chicken 

Bake for 15 minutes at 425.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Did you know you can make your own yogurt in the crockpot? It is relatively simple and the health factor is much higher than store bought because you control the ingredients. I started doing this a few months ago and my very picky husband has declared this yogurt far superior to any other he has tried. I also have other family members who put in standing orders for their portion of my weekly batch. One has lost quite a bit a weight due to swapping out her normal breakfast for a cup of this yogurt and some fruit each morning. Because of the high protein content it keeps her full until the next meal but the minimal fat contact also works in her favor. 

Choose a day when you will be home most of the time to make this. It takes minimal effort but timing is important.

To get started you will need:

1 cup yogurt starter (I love Stonyfield organic whole milk yogurt)
1 gallon milk (I use 2% lactose free since we are lactose intolerant) 
Small whisk and Bowl
Sieve and large bowl that it will fit over
Cheesecloth or coffee filters
Containers to hold yogurt when finished

Note: This recipe will yield about 1/2 gallon yogurt. You can half the amount if you don't need this much


Pour milk into crockpot and turn on low for two and a half hours.
Turn the crockpot off and let it sit for 3 hours
Spoon a few cups of the warmish milk into your small bowl and add the yogurt starter
Whisk together
Then add back into your crockpot and give a stir to make sure it is fully combined
Put lid back on crockpot and then wrap your crockpot in two beach towels
Allow it to sit for 8 hours
Line your sieve with cheesecloth or large coffee filter and place over your bowl
Fill the sieve with yogurt and let sit until it reaches your desired consistency, I usually let it go over night but as little as two hours will produce a thick Greek yogurt.
Transfer to your containers and refrigerate.