Eggplant Parmesan

Unfortunately our local farmers market season has ended and for us Wisconsinites that means only one thing. Winter is on its way. It’s actually snowing out while I type this and looking out of the windows yields a heavy, thick snowfall. It’s pretty for about 2 minutes, then well I guess I’m over it. But reflecting on the market days, I always try to buy an array of things from various farmers. Eggplant was one of those items this season. I’ll be up front and honest, I’m not not a fan of eggplant and never really have been, but I keep trying, much like I will keep trying beets (yes, not a fan). When I brought them home, I immediately thought of making baba ghanoush (that I am a fan of), but then I thought I would go with an eggplant parmesan and see how my kids would like it. They love lasagna so maybe if I tried to disguise it as a lasagna on a meatless Monday, how would they react?

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

It was not actually all meatless, as I used about a 1/4 pound of ground meat just to get the kids thinking it was possibly what they thought it was. It worked out just fine.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole, small eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 28 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 lb ground beef, cooked and fat drained

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

Season your eggs and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.

Take each eggplant round and swipe it through eggs, then the breadcrumbs, then place on a baking sheet. Repeat with all eggplant. Drizzle the tops with olive oil.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until the eggplant’s coating is a nice golden brown.

Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients
Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients

Next, add about 1 cup of marinara to the bottom of a casserole or lasagna dish. Layer in half of the eggplant, top with half of the mozzarella cheese, layer with the remaining eggplant, then more cheese, then top with the ground meat, and finish with more marinara and all of the remaining cheese.

Place into the oven, uncovered, and cook for about another 25 minutes or until the cheese and sauce is nice and bubbly. Remove and let it cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.

The result? Well, eggplant parmesan. Were my kids a fan? Not really! Was I? Not really, but it was nice knowing I wasn’t indulging in a mound of meat and potatoes. It was easy, clean, and well very good if you are into that type of stuff. Hope you enjoy!

Bacon Fried Corn

I think corn is officially done at our farmer’s market. It’s sad in a way as nothing screams summer like great tomatoes and really good corn. I loaded up pretty much every weekend, when I could, and brought the corn home. We would have a couple of ears for dinner, and I would shave the rest down to save the kernels for later use this winter. As I was recently planning dinner, an activity that I seem the only one to be able to manage, I decided to use up some of those fresh kernels and come up with a fried bacon and corn side dish.

This southern style dish is sure to please anyone and it was a great side dish and super easy to make.

Bacon Fried Corn Recipe
Bacon Fried Corn Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of your favorite bacon, cooked until crisp
  • 2 tbsp reserved bacon fat
  • 3 ears of corn, or enough kernels to make about 2 cups
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Chopped chives

Start by cooking your bacon, and cook until it is crisp. Remove the bacon onto a paper lined plate, and reserve about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Return the skillet on medium-low heat and add in the corn. Stir, and cook the corn for a few minutes, continuing to stir to warm the corn through. Season with a generous pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.

Bacon Fried Corn Ingredients
Bacon Fried Corn Ingredients

Once the corn has softened a bit, add in the milk, stir again to warm the milk through. Add in the chopped bacon, and give that a stir. Place the corn mixture into a serving dish and garnish with chopped chives. Get ready to dig in.

The end result is a slightly creamy corn with a great smoky flavor from the bacon. It’s a great use of that last of the summertime corn and is a perfect side dish, or heck even a main dish for that matter. Hope you enjoy!

 

Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

We are probably not unique this time of year whereas we are sitting on a bunch of tomatoes. I’ll admit that my wife loves tomatoes a lot more than I do, but when they are hanging from the vine or loaded in a bowl on my counter from a recent harvest, well I’m about to do something about it. That’s when I typically think about harvesting the rest of our basil from outdoors and making a fresh sauce to be used on pizzas or lightly tossed with some pasta, but this time around I decided to take a generous handful of tomatoes and slowly roast them. Why? Well, because I had some great day old bread on the counter, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil, and that screamed one thing and one thing only. Roasted tomato crostini.

Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe
Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

This is a super simple recipe to make, can feed a crowd, and is really delicious especially with the roasted tomatoes.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 loaf day old French bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, lightly torn
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • mozzarella balls, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place into the preheated oven, cooking for about 45 minutes

During this time, slice the bread. Remove the tomatoes, and let them cool.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the bread to the oven, and cook just until lightly crisped.

Take the bread out and rub each piece of the bread with the garlic clove.

Chop up the cooled tomatoes, and add to a bowl with the freshly torn basil. Add in the olive oil and gently stir.

Lay out your bread onto a serving tray, and spoon on the tomato and basil mixture.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the mozzarella balls in between some of the crostini for those that want to add a bit of cheese to their bite.

Dig in and enjoy. That lightly toasted garlic bread topped with fresh basil and roasted tomatoes really make this a perfect bite for any occasion. Hope you enjoy!

Indian Coconut Green Beans

My wife and I have been going to a local Indian restaurant in our area called Indian Garden.  I am no expert when it comes to authentic Indian food, but my taste buds are pretty good and I have eaten enough of that cuisine to know the good from the bad, and this place is the good. There are couple of things that differentiate an ethnic restaurant for me when I first arrive. My first sell is it busy and second are those sitting down to eat of the same ethnicity as the restaurant. Win, win on Indian Garden, and as a matter of fact we are often times the only ‘gringos’ in that joint. With all of that being said, we have only dined in for their lunch buffet and there are plenty of reasons why. It’s very affordable, and they offer a wide array of great Indian food, so much as my wife will say ‘we have to learn to make that’. One of our visits my wife tried their coconut soup and loved it so much that I had to learn to make it for her. It’s still one of her favorites to this day. On our most recent visit they had a green bean dish, one that was the first for us, that was just out of this world, and it was up to me to figure this one out.

Indian Coconut Green Beans Recipe
Indian Coconut Green Beans Recipe

This was perfect timing as we needed to harvest a bunch of green beans from our garden, and so it was time to use up some leftover coconut from making pies this summer and put it all to a good use.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh green beans, trimmed, and cut into about 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 5 Indian curry leaves
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste

Super simple stuff here but flavors that will have you coming back for more, trust me I know from that last visit to the buffet. I had no guilt getting a second serving of these beans.

Start by getting a large skillet on the stove, over medium heat. Add in the oil and let that come to temperature, about a minute or so.

Next add in the green beans, and give them a nice stir in the oil. Continue to cook the beans on medium heat for about 5 minutes, then toss in the Indian curry leaves. Give your wrist a workout and toss those in the skillet, and then continue to stir for a couple of minutes.

Indian Coconut Green Bean Ingredients
Indian Coconut Green Bean Ingredients

Now add in the coconut flakes, and continue to toss and stir.

Cook the beans and the coconut until the coconut flakes start to turn a golden color and the beans are just starting to get tender.

Slide these into a serving bowl and get ready to dig in.

These coconut green beans are so good you can just eat them as a main dish if you desire. Crunchy beans with a sweetness from the coconut and a slight pungent taste from those curry leaves. It was a win, win, just like the buffet at Indian Garden. If you are looking for a great side dish, and looking to harvest some beans, give this one a try. As a side note, you can get curry leaves from your local Indian market (I shop at Best Food Store in Milwaukee, and the curry leaves can get sealed up and frozen as well. Hope you enjoy!