Spicy Eggplant Pasta

The beginning of this week was much colder than I was mentally prepared for. It’s that awkward time of year where I’m not sure how to dress myself and am in complete denial that Summer is over. I’ve also avoided turning my heat on, as that means I am accepting Winter is on its way and that my bills are about to get higher. Well this week despite the cold weather, I refused to give in! I wrapped myself in a big blanket and made this spicy eggplant pasta to warm up. This recipe was also great because it took all of 15 minutes to make and was super delicious. A perfect weekday meal!

Ingredients: (serves 2)
1/2 box thin spaghetti
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Saute the garlic and shallot in some olive oil until softened. Add the bell pepper, eggplant, and a touch more olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the diced tomatoes, followed by the pepper flakes, paprika, and sherry vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste, then cook for another 5 minutes over medium heat. In the meantime boil your pasta per the box instructions. When the pasta is ready, strain and add to the tomato mixture, coating all the pasta with the sauce. Plate and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese!

Homemade Sweet Potato Ravioli With Watercress Pesto

Making your own pasta isn’t as hard as it sounds! I’d like to experiment more with different flours and techniques when I have some extra time, but these quick raviolis were a nice start. The sweet potato with the peppery watercress were nice together. I’m looking forward to my leftovers tonight!

Pasta Dough:
1 1/5 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ice cold water (as needed)
1 egg, beaten

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 whole garlic cloves
1/2 small white onion, chopped into chunks

1/2 cup pecans (I used what nuts I happen to have, but pine nuts or walnuts work too!)
1 cup watercress
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 the juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by making the dough. On a clean surface, mix together the flour and salt, then make a little well in the center. Add the eggs and olive oil to the center and whisk with a fork. Start scooping bits of the surrounding flour into the whisked eggs. Once all the flour is mixed in, start shaping it with your hands, adding small amounts of cold water as needed. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes. After a while you’ll notice that it pretty firm and no longer sticky. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

**Alternatively, you can place all the dough ingredients into a food processor! If the dough seems dry at all, add a little cold water until you achieve the right texture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the sweet potato, garlic, and onion with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fork tender. Place in a food processor with a splash of olive oil and blend until smooth. Cover and set aside.

For the pesto, place everything in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding more olive oil as needed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Once the pasta dough is ready, cut it into quarters. One chunk at a time (while the others stay covered as to not dry out) pass each portion through the pasta machine until 1/16 inch thick. Dust with flour and continue with the other pieces. Next, brush two pieces of your rolled dough with the egg wash. Scoop teaspoons of the sweet potato mixture onto one side of the dough, keeping each dollop about 1 inch apart. Top with the second piece of dough, and use your fingers to press down around each mold of filling. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut between each piece to make the individual raviolis. Dust with a little flour and set aside.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling, and add about 10 raviolis at a time. I like to add a tiny bit of olive oil to my water to prevent the pasta from sticking together while cooking. Plate and top with pesto, a drizzle of olive oil, and some fresh Parmesan cheese!

Roasted Corn & Poblano Chowder

There’s been so much sweet corn at the farmers markets the past few weeks, and it’s been making me want corn chowder. So I finally made some! I didn’t want it to be super creamy and heavy, so I only used a bit of cream and kept it thinner. Overall it was a chowder success!

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)
3 ears of corn, cut off the cob, reserve cobs
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 leek, chopped
4 red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups reserved corn water (see in recipe)
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3/4 cup half & half (or cream)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the corn and poblano peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, or until the corn is slightly browned. In the meantime, get a pot of water boiling and add the potatoes and reserved cobs. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender, but careful not to overcook or they won’t hold up later when added to the soup in the end. Strain the potatoes and toss the cobs. Set the water aside for later use. Next, saute the garlic and onion and some olive oil for about 2-3 minutes, then add the leeks and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Lastly, toss in the roasted corn and peppers, followed by the thyme, chicken broth, 2 cups of the reserved water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat down low add the cream, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes more then serve!

Zucchini “Pasta” With Garlic & Tomatoes

I finally bought a spiralizer and have been making “pasta” out of any vegetable that enters my home. Well those that can be spiralized anyway. My favorite is the zucchini “zoodle” though. It’s amazing how it totally satisfies your pasta craving without eating the real thing. I also like how the vegetables soak up a lot of the sauce, making them very flavorful. If you don’t have a spiralizer yet, I would definitely recommend getting one!

Ingredients: (serves 1)
1 large zucchini, spiraled (with spiralizer, or julianned by hand)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped leeks
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
10 cherry tomatoes
good pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a good amount of olive oil in a large pan and add the garlic, onion, and leeks. Cook for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 5 minutes. Toss in the zucchini and mix well. Continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Serve in a large bowl with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Eggplant Parmesan Hero

Eggplant is one of my favorite things to eat. Cover it in tomato sauce and cheese and I’m even happier. So it was surprising to me that I had never made eggplant Parmesan before! And now that I have, I am fighting the urge to cook it every night for dinner. It was SO GOOD, and not as hard to make as I was anticipating. The coating and frying of the eggplant takes a little time, but it’s worth it. You can toss the leftovers over pasta or just eat it alone in a bowl. I was going to only eat half of the sandwich for dinner because it was so large, but I ate the entire thing. NO REGRETS!

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 tablespoon salt
3-4 eggs, beaten
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
12 oz mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh basil, julienned
Fresh rolls

Tomato Sauce: (or use store bought sauce if you like!)
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Good pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the sliced eggplant in one layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with some salt. This will remove some of the bitterness. After about 10 minutes, rinse well with water and pat dry.

While the eggplant is doing its thing, make the sauce. Simply place the crushed tomatoes in a saucepan with the garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon crush the tomatoes even more and cook for about 5 minutes. Set aside. **I like some tomato pieces in my sauce, but you can use pureed tomatoes if you prefer!

Have your eggs, flour, and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Heat 1/8 of an inch of oil in a frying pan until simmering. Have a wire rack ready with some paper towels underneath, or a baking sheet – just something to catch or absorb any drippings from the fried eggplant. First dip the eggplant in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, and fry about 5 pieces in the pan at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Make sure the heat isn’t too high or they’ll burn! Place each piece on the wire rack when finished, then repeat with the remaining eggplant.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub a little olive oil inside a 10-inch baking pan to prevent sticking. Cover the bottom with a single layer of eggplant, overlapping them a bit. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the eggplant, followed by some of the fresh basil, then top with mozzarella slices and a few tablespoons of the grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat until all eggplant is used. Cover with foil and place in oven for 40 minutes, then remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and a little golden. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before assembling the sandwich. Slice the rolls and place them in the oven to crisp them a bit, about 3 minutes.

Stuff the rolls with the eggplant and EAT!

Tomato and Corn Galette with Goat Cheese

A saw a gorgeous tomato galette the other day and decided that was what I wanted to make this week when I got a huge heirloom tomato in my CSA bag. I packed it full with corn, shallots, tomatoes, dandelion greens, and goat cheese. My sister gave me the great idea to add some cornmeal to the crust, which I ended up LOVING. One of the many perks of having a sister who went to culinary school!


Galette Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
1 egg, for brushing

1 ear of corn, cut off the cob
1 shallot, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
1 cup dandelion greens, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
Good pinch red pepper flakes
4 oz goat cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by making the crust. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, corn meal, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or use your hands. If using your hands, you simply want to roll the butter chunks between your fingers with the flour until it resembles the texture of small peas. In a separate small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, and water. Add this to the flour/butter mixture and mix with your fingers until a dough forms. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

When the dough has been in the fridge for about 40 minutes, start making the filling. Add some olive oil to a pan and cook the garlic and shallots for a minute or so, then add the corn and cook for about 4-5. Make sure not to overcook the corn as it will continue to cook in the oven. Next, toss the dandelion greens, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes or so then turn off the heat and set aside to let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 12 inch circle and transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It doesn’t need to be perfect, the best thing about a galette is the more rustic it looks the better! Crumble a good amount of goat cheese on the bottom, leaving a 2 inch boarder. Add the corn mixture, followed by the slices of tomato and a little more goat cheese crumbles on top. Fold in the sides of the dough, leaving the center open. Brush edges of dough with the egg wash, then place in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the tomatoes have cooked a bit. Top with a little fresh cracked pepper and enjoy!

Summer Salad With Peaches

It’s been a bit too hot outside to turn the oven on, so I’ve been making a lot of salads lately. In the summer I love adding fresh fruits to my salads – there’s something so good about mixing sweet fruits with creamy or salty cheese!

Ingredients: (serves 1)
1 peach, pitted and sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
10 fresh green beans, blanched
Ricotta salata
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
4 prosciutto slices, torn
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper

Place the onions in a bowl with some balsamic vinegar and let sit for 10 mins. In the meantime, blanch the green beans and set aside. In a bowl mix together the spinach, chopped basil, peaches and tomato. Top with the balsamic onions, ricotta salata, and fresh cracked pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and any leftover balsamic from the onions.


Vegetable Curry With Cauliflower Couscous

It has been way too hot to turn the oven on, so I’ve been trying to make quick things on the stove top, like this vegetable curry with cauliflower “couscous” that took about 30 mins to make. I love using cauliflower in this way, it tastes just like tiny rice or couscous, which is especially great for any gluten-free people, or people simply

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 Japanese eggplant, chopped
1 summer squash, chopped
10 or so green beans, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 (14oz) can coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small cauliflower
1 lime – 1/2 for the curry, and the rest sliced for serving
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh grated (or minced) ginger
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil
Naan bread, for serving

Start by making the cauliflower couscous by pulsing the florets in a food processor until it resembles a couscous texture. I did mine in two batches, otherwise it doesn’t blend evenly at times. Next, saute 1 garlic clove in a little olive oil, then add the lime zest, cauliflower, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well then cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often as to not let it burn.

For the curry, saute a garlic clove with a little olive oil in a large pot. Add all the vegetables, coating with the olive oil, and adding more as needed. Toss in the red pepper flakes, then salt and pepper to taste. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, red curry paste, curry powder, fresh basil, and lime juice. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

To serve, plate some couscous and top with the vegetable curry. Serve with a lime wedge and warm naan bread!


Vegetable Lasagna With Garlicky Crème Fraiche

What to do with a fridge full of vegetables? Make a vegetable lasagna and pour garlicky crème fraiche all over it of course!

1 shallot, chopped
1 eggplant, chopped small
Summer squash, chopped small
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
16 oz ricotta cheese
16 lasagna noodles, cooked el dente
16 oz crème fraiche
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper

Sauté the shallot in a little olive oil for a minute or so. Add the eggplant, squash, carrots, and bell pepper, and cook until everything softens. Adding additional olive oil as needed. In the meantime, cook the lasagna noodles per the box instructions. I like to add a little olive oil to the water to prevent them from sticking together. Make sure not to overcook the noodles, as they will continue to cook in the oven. In a small saucepan, add the crème fraiche, parmesan cheese, garlic, and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

To assemble, pour a little of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of a baking dish, then layer some lasagna noodles. Next, spread a layer of ricotta and a drizzle of the crème fraiche mixture, followed by another layer of noodles, and so on. Lastly, top with shredded mozzarella, and pour the remaining crème fraiche sauce over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes or until it just begins to brown. Let cool a little before serving. Enjoy!

Roasted Summer Vegetables With Burrata

My sister and I had made a snap pea and burrata salad from Bon Appetit for our other sisters baby shower a few years ago, and to this day we still dream about it. It was so simple and fresh. This is a take on that recipe, but with much more vegetables and a scallion dressing!

2 cups sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and strings removed
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small head of broccoli
1 medium burrata cheese
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the zucchini and broccoli in some olive oil and roast on a baking sheet until cooked through and slightly browned. While that cooks, get a pot of boiling water going, and boil the sugar snap peas for about 2-3 minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool enough to handle, cut about half of the pea pods in half the long way, and removing a few of the peas of each.

For the dressing, blend the olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh scallions in a food processor. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the peas to the baking sheet with the roasted zucchini and broccoli, and toss it all together. Plate and add chunks of fresh burrata cheese, then drizzle with the dressing. I also added a pinch of Malden salt as well!