Monday, February 28, 2011

What do you get when you cross Peanut Butter with Breakfast?

Today as I was browsing my favorite website, Tastespotting - a site that is every foodies dream! It is filled with will photographed pictures of food and links you straight to the blog for the recipe...what more could you want?

While scrolling through the pictures, I ran across a picture of a new phenomenon....Peanut Butter Pancakes! I have not had then chance to test this recipe myself but I wanted to share it with my peanut butter loving friends.

Peanut Butter Pancakes
from the blog of This Homemade Life:

1 1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup milk, dairy or non-dairy
1/4 cup peanut butter

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the milk and peanut butter til smooth.  Add to the dry ingredients and beat just until a batter is formed.  Do not over beat.
Lightly oil a nonstick saute pan or griddle over medium heat.  Spoon the batter by 1/4 cupfuls inot the pan.  Cook until golden brown on both sides.  Serve immediately.
*I did not oil or use butter for my griddle, it’s non-stick and worked fine without it.*

For those of you who test this recipe, be sure to let me know how they turn out and where adjustments can be made!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eggplant Parm Stacks de Italia and Brenna....

Looking for a healthy weeknight dish that can be reheated and taste just as good the second and third night? This recipe that I created, tested, and loved is the perfect thing for you! I learned this unique way of making Eggplant Parmesan when I was in culinary school in Florence, Italy. This dish is absolutely tasty just out of the hot oven or sometimes I like to cut it into chunks once it has been chilled and toss it into a green salad. Now the possibilities are yours!

Eggplant Parmesan gone stack-able
Slice the eggplant in 1/2" rounds, place on paper towel, sprinkle with salt.
The salt draws out the water content to brown it better when it's pan fried.
Season the breadcrumb mixture which will coat the eggplant.
Dip the eggplant rounds into the egg wash.

Next dredge the eggplant into the seasoned breadcrumbs.

Place the breaded eggplant in a hot pan with olive oil to brown it.

Brown both sides of the eggplant.

Place the browned eggplant in a baking dish with tomato sauce.

Sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Spoon on a dollop of tomato sauce.

Repeat the process and stack!

Stacked eggplant layered with tomato sauce and cheese x2

Ready to be baked.
Ready to eat after being baked and letting all the flavors come together!

Eggplant Parm Stacks (Brenna)
A healthy weeknight dish that can be reheated and taste just as good the second and third night
Author: Brenna Bowers
Makes: 6 servings in a 13x9” baking dish

1 large Eggplant, but into ½” rounds
1 tsp rock salt*
1 egg
1 Tbs. water
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp salt, pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
3-4 leaves of fresh basil, ripped into small pieces (or ½ tsp dried Italian seasonings)
3 Tbs olive oil
2 cups mozzarella/Parmesan (use a mixture of both or just one if you like)
1 jar pasta sauce (the better kind you buy the better this dish will taste)

Line your counter with 2-3 paper towels. Slice the eggplant into ½” round circles and place them on the paper towels. Sprinkle the rock salt on each slice and let rest for about 15 minutes (Tip 1). After 15 minutes, wipe off the water droplets that have formed along with the excess salt, using a paper towel. Repeat this process for the other side of the eggplant (using new dry paper towels). Set you prepared eggplant aside as you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and 1 Tbs. of water.
In a medium bowl, mix your bread crumbs, whole wheat flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and torn fresh basil (into small pieces, can also be chopped very finely if you prefer).

Get out a large skillet/pan. Place it at medium-high and add the 3 Tbs olive oil (Tip 2).

Preparing the eggplant:
Now you will make an assembly line with all your prepared ingredients to “dredge the eggplant” (a process of dipping an ingredient into flour to help it brown). First, with your hands, dip your eggplant into the whisked egg/water mixture until completely submerged. Shake off the excess egg and place right into the breadcrumb mixture (this is to help you flour mixture stick). Pat the breadcrumb mixture onto the eggplant well so that it is completely coated. Place it right into the hot pan with the oil. Continue this process until the pan is full with the “dredged eggplant”. Brown all the eggplant rounds, about 2-3 minutes per side. Set on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the extra oil and repeat this process with the next set of eggplant rounds.

Place a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 13x9” baking dish (Tip 3). Place one layer of the eggplant into the baking dish. Next, sprinkle on a generous layer of cheese then a spoonful of sauce. Repeat this process with another layer of eggplant and other ingredients making sure this time to end with the cheese (for the cheese will crisp up in the oven and give a nice color and flavor).

Place in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese has turned golden brown and the contents of the dish are bubbling. Serve hot and refrigerate the extras- this dish is good for quite a few days and the flavors continue to get better each day!

*The use of rock salt is so that saltiness does not seep into the eggplant but rather soaks up the water. Kosher salt is second best, but use less so that you don’t get a dish that is over salty. Use about half the amount if you are using table salt.

**This dish can also be made ahead of time by baking it half way, freezing it, and then baking when you are ready to enjoy it from its frozen state in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until bubbling.

Tip 1: This step must not be skipped, the purpose is to draw out the water in the eggplant so that it browns nicely when pan fried.

Tip 2: You want your oil somewhat hot before you place the eggplant in it- but not smoking. When oil reaches its “smoke point” this is when it is unhealthy possibly causing carcinogens.

Tip 3: Placing tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish keeps the eggplant from sticking and makes it healthier than greasing the dish with oil. This same idea can be done for homemade lasagna as well.