Italian Vegetable Stew (aka Giambotta)

Hi everyone,

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Hope you are all well… Happy First Day of Autumn!

I am back from taking a month off for some much-needed rest and relaxation and to catch up on a few things we needed to get done around the house. I am rested and ready to cook, share recipes and prepare tablescapes…..

This time of year is bittersweet for me… Leaving the beach and the great hot summer days behind and getting prepared for cooler days, earlier sunsets, and all the fall treats and traditions.

Every year when we transition from summer to fall, I start making recipes that use the last of the summer vegetables before the pumpkins and squash arrives. Our bountiful summer gardens are coming to an end about now and we want to hold on to those summer flavors just a bit longer.

In the next few days, I will be posting a few of my favorite end-of-summer recipes. These are the recipes that have become a tradition in my Italian family.

The first recipe is a vegetable stew. My mother would always take the last of the summer harvest and make a vegetable stew with all the odds and ends that are left on the vine.

Some years yielded more zucchini than tomatoes or more eggplant than green beans -whatever the case, my mother made it work and it was always delicious. Feel free to experiment with different flavor combinations.

Nice and hearty and served simply with grilled ciabatta bread rubbed with garlic or a loaf of crusty Tuscan bread. Topped with grated cheese, it is always delicious. Over the years I like to serve this with polenta* topped with grated cheese.

This recipe is called “Giambotta” and it has basic ingredients but you can add or subtract whatever ingredients you prefer. There is no right or wrong, it depends on what you grew in the garden and what you want to add.

Giambotta can be a side dish or a main course if you add some protein such as chickpeas or cannellini beans.

And a great dish if you have guests that are vegetarians.

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Photo courtesy of Running to the Kitchen website

Ingredients:

3 TBSP olive oil

2 – 4 garlic cloves- minced

1 small onion-sliced

3 carrots- peeled and diced

3 stalks of celery-diced

4 small red potatoes- washed & diced

Fresh parsley (approx 2 TBSP)

4-5 vine tomatoes diced OR 1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes

1 can (14 oz) of low sodium chicken broth

2 cups green beans – fresh and blanched is best or frozen is fine

1 medium eggplant –diced in cubes (peeling optional)

2 zucchini- diced in cubes

1 (10 oz) box or bag of frozen peas

Red & green bell pepper or 4 Italian frying peppers, sliced

1 Cup grated cheese

Salt & pepper

1 tbsp. dried oregano 

Fresh basil (approx 5 leaves-chiffonade)

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning

(1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans- rinsed and drained -optional)

(Parmesan rind- optional)

(1/2 cup white wine – optional)

Directions:

  • Sauté onion in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
  • Add garlic, carrots, parsley, celery, peppers, and potatoes, and sauté for 10 minutes
  • Add fresh diced tomatoes OR 1 can of crushed tomatoes, broth, and green beans, season with oregano, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, fresh basil, and Parmesan rind & white wine (if using). 
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to cook the sauce (taste for seasoning – additional salt & pepper can be added)
  • After 30 minutes—Add eggplant, peas and zucchini, cannellini beans, or chickpeas (if using), and simmer on low for an additional 30 minutes
  • Remove bay leaf and Parmesan rind before serving

Sprinkle with grated cheese. 

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This meal can be served with polenta. *Polenta is a northern Italian coarsely ground cornmeal. When freshly cooked it is soft and creamy and is a gluten-free substitute for any recipe that calls for pasta.

When polenta cools, it firms up and can be sliced and fried or layered like pasta sheets.

The old-fashioned way to cook polenta took roughly 45 minutes to cook stirring constantly but now there are many companies that sell instant polenta that cooks between 3-5 minutes. Here is an example of one brand, so you know what to look for.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 oz) box of instant polenta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (optional) OR
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Directions:

Follow package directions. When the polenta is done, take the pot off the heat, and then add butter and cheese, AND heavy cream OR mascarpone cheese (if using).

Serve soft polenta in a shallow bowl and add Giambotta on top.

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Cooks Note: when my mother made this dish, any leftover soft polenta was cooled on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread the polenta out as flat as possible. Once the polenta has hardened and cooled, cut out rounds with a wine glass or cookie cutter or cut in slices, and store in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, my mother would fry the polenta in a 1/2 cup of olive oil or butter in a large skillet on both sides until golden (then drain on paper towels), or broil for 3 minutes on both sides. Serve with scrambled or fried eggs instead of toast.

Extra rounds/slices can be wrapped in wax paper in a container in the refrigerator. You can refrigerate them for up to 5 days or store them frozen, for up to 3 months.

If you don’t want to make your homemade rounds you can buy them. I have never used this product myself, but I see the rounds in the dairy case. Pre-cooked, just slice, heat, and serve.

81QWybKPPUL._SX522SX522_SY201_CR,0,0,522,201_PIbundle-12,TopRight,0,0_SX522_SY201_CR,0,0,522,201_SH20_- polenta roll

(Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)

I hope you have an opportunity to try these recipes and enjoy them.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Chicken Marsala

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Hi everyone,

I hope you are all well and staying comfortable and cool dealing with the heatwave we are having.

I knew today was going to be extremely hot so I got up early and decided to cook dinner while the kitchen was still cool. Tonight’s dinner is a favorite of my son and it is Chicken Marsala. Nice and easy and so flavorful and fairly quick to make. I am looking for all shortcuts during the heatwave.

Bob and I have been going out to dinner the past few nights dealing with the heat and not wanting to cook but I am getting tired of eating out and needed a home-cooked meal.

I wanted to share this recipe with you (serves 4) if you needed a new idea for dinner. I am serving this with one of my favorite Summer salads that I have previously posted which is tomatoes, peaches, burrata, and fresh basil with a light lemon/olive oil vinaigrette.

Have a great day and stay cool.

Chicken Marsala

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, (approx. 1 ½ lb. pkg – pounded thin- 1/4 inch)
  • ½ cup AP flour
  • 8 oz of baby Bella mushrooms (or assorted mixed mushrooms)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 yellow onion sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.

Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper and dredge in the AP flour (shake off excess)

Add the chicken to the pan and sear on each side for 3-5 minutes, turning once until golden brown, remove to a plate.

If needed, add a little more oil and butter to the pan if it is dry. Add the onions and the mushrooms and a dash of salt to draw out the liquid and sauté until the onions are caramelized and the mushrooms are soft (approx. 10 minutes). ADD the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper.

ADD the Marsala wine to the pan and let it reduce to half scraping up all the bits on the bottom of the pan.

ADD the chicken stock and the sauteed chicken with any juices that have accumulated on the plate, bring to a boil, and then reduce to medium and cook for another 10 minutes to cook the chicken through and thicken the sauce.

Remove the chicken to your serving platter and add 1 tbsp of butter that has been dredged in flour to the sauce, cook for a few minutes to thicken, and ADD the chopped parsley. Check for seasoning and serve this sauce over the chicken. Enjoy!

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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Tuscan Bean Soup

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Hi everyone,

Hope you are well. Once a week before my next grocery shopping, I clean out the veggie bin in my refrigerator and decide what I can make with the leftover veggies from that week before my next shopping trip.

Today I had some cherry tomatoes, one leek, one zucchini, carrots, two bell peppers, a small bunch of kale that needed to be used, and celery. I had a lot of ingredients for either a frittata or a Tuscan bean soup so I decided to go with the soup for lunch.

I also had some leftover ciabatta bread I could grill and I always have beans & broth in the cabinet so I was set. I wrote down my steps as I went along and decided to post this quick recipe. I hope you try it and enjoy it.

And remember, all these veggies can be substituted with whatever you desire or have leftover in your veggie bin.

Have a great weekend and Happy Cooking…..

Tuscan Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, washed and diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • ½ lb. of cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1-2 bell peppers, washed and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • ½ tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 bunch Dino/Tuscan kale, washed, stems removed, and leaves chopped (I find this type of kale not so chewy).
  • ½ tsp of crushed Calabrian peppers in a jar OR ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 small zucchini diced
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 8 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cans (14 oz) of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan rind (optional)
  • Grated cheese for serving
  • Ciabatta bread for serving

Instructions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the leek, carrot, bell peppers, celery, and zucchini for approx. 8 minutes until they are soft
  • Stir in the garlic and Calabrian peppers and 1 tbsp of tomato paste and cook for an additional minute
  • Add the fresh tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they break down
  • Stir in the fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and add the vegetable stock and parmesan rind if using. Stir to combine and add the beans. Bring the soup to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes with the LID ON, then stir in the kale. Put the lid back on and continue to simmer for 5 minutes until the kale wilts.
  • Season to taste, and serve with grated cheese and toasted crusty bread.
  • Remove the parmesan rind before serving and any stems from the thyme…

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs & Patriotic Pasta Salad

Hi everyone,

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I hope you all had a very enjoyable 4th of July. The weather was perfect and we had a lovely day relaxing, eating delicious food, and an evening of watching fireworks and celebrating America.

Bob and I decided that we didn’t want to have the usual hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled chicken barbecue that we usually prepare every year for this holiday. We wanted to change up the menu along with the side dishes and we decided on having a rack of baby back ribs.

We absolutely love ribs and I found a recipe on Instagram months ago for pressure-cooked pork ribs that I have been meaning to try with only 4 ingredients. Of course, I tweaked the recipe a bit.

The original recipe was by author: Diane Schmidt.

I just bought a new spice rub from Trader Joe’s (BBQ 101)- a little sweet and savory, plus I always have a bottle of Stonewall Kitchen Boozy Bacon Barbecue Sauce in the refrigerator so I was all set.

Cooks Note: the spice rub contains brown sugar, smoked paprika, dried roasted garlic, dried red chile pepper, salt, dried onion, and black pepper.

I even wanted new side dishes along with the traditional potato salad & corn and I decided on red, white, and blue pasta salad with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. I am not talking about the pre-made salad but a homemade Patriotic salad with food dye and pasta (see below– it’s easier than it sounds).

Dinner was fabulous with fall-off-the-bone ribs and we enjoyed every bite and then finished the meal with Patriotic rainbow cookies and ice cream. Just in time to go to a local fireworks display.

I was so impressed with the rib recipe that I just had to share the recipes with you…I hope you try them and enjoy them.

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Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

Adapted from a recipe by Diane Schmidt

Ingredients:

  • 2-5 lbs. of baby back ribs
  • 1 cup of water or stock
  • Spice rub for the ribs -homemade or store-bought (I use Trader Joe’s BBQ 101)
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce to finish the ribs

Directions:

  • When cooking ribs (baby back or spareribs), remove the membrane or silver skin that covers the bone side of each rack. If it’s left on, it keeps seasonings and smoke from penetrating the meat, and it cooks into an unpleasant leathery skin.
  • Cut the ribs into portions to fit inside the instant pot
  • Be generous when coating the ribs with the spice rub
  • Place the ribs on the rack that comes with the instant pot to keep the meat out of the cooking liquid
  • Add 1 cup of water or stock
  • Place the lid on the pot and CLOSE the pressure regulator
  • Cook the ribs on high for 25 minutes
  • Allow the ribs to naturally release for approx. 8 minutes
  • Place the ribs on a hot grill at 500 degrees or finish cooking under the broiler for 5 minutes on HIGH to crisp up the pork, without drying the meat.
  • Top the ribs with barbecue sauce and serve

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Patriotic Pasta Salad

I boiled my pasta as per the package directions. When finished cooking, I rinsed 2/3 of the pasta and divided it into three bowls.

Before starting with the food dye, I suggest you wear plastic food safety gloves to save your hands from the dye.

To bowl # 1, I added 1 tbsp of water and 1 tsp of blue food coloring and mixed well.

To bowl # 2, I added 1 tbsp of water and 1 tsp of red food coloring and mixed well.

The pasta with the food coloring can be rinsed gently to get rid of excess color before serving

To bowl # 3, I added 1 tbsp of olive oil to prevent the food dye from rubbing and transferring color on the plain pasta and mix well.

Keep the pasta separated until ready to serve with your favorite vinaigrette because the colors could bleed into the plain pasta if sitting too long.

Add-ons could be mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers- have fun with this.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

USA Flag Pizza

Hi everyone,

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I hope you are enjoying this long holiday weekend and getting ready for the 4th of July celebrations tomorrow.

I just wanted to re-post the recipe for the “USA Flag Pizza” in case you wanted an idea for something quick while you prep for tomorrow’s big celebration.

(There are other 4th of July recipes on the blog under the 4th of July category in the right-hand column.)

Have a safe and happy holiday and until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Flag Pizza

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentis

FOR THE SPINACH

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

5 ounces baby spinach, chopped *

1-2 teaspoon kosher salt

TO ASSEMBLE

2 tablespoons flour

1-pound pizza dough

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3-4 cup pizza sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon ricotta cheese**

28 slices of pepperoni***

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned. Add the spinach and the salt and cook, stirring often, until the spinach is wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the spinach in a fine-mesh strainer. Set aside.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour on a clean work surface. Place the dough on top and sprinkle it with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Roll the dough out to a 15 X 10-inch rectangle. Drizzle the oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it evenly using a pastry brush. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.

Spread the sauce over the entire crust. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, creating a 5 X 4-inch rectangle in the upper left corner with slightly less cheese. Squeeze the liquid from the spinach and spread it evenly over the upper left corner. Dot small clumps of ricotta cheese over the spinach to form the “stars. ” Arrange the pepperoni over the remaining surface of the pizza in horizontal rows, slightly overlapping the slices to form the stripes.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cooked through and the cheese is bubbly.

* you can substitute 4 small purple potatoes for the spinach- sliced thin with a mandolin and sautéed in olive oil until crispy- approx. 7 minutes

**- you can substitute mozzarella pearls for the ricotta

*** – you can substitute grape tomatoes cut in half OR strips of bacon for the pepperoni

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Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

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Chicken Parmigiana- “Pizza Style”

Hi everyone,

Welcome Summer 2022!

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I wanted to share with you the special dinner I made Bob for Father’s Day this past weekend.

I hope all the dads, grandpa’s, godfathers, dad’s to be and pet dads had a wonderful day!

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I knew restaurants would be crowded for Father’s Day and we would be staying home, so I was thinking about a meal that I could make for Bob that would be a surprise. Something I could make at home that wasn’t on the usual dinner rotation, and then the lightbulb went off.

A few years ago, before my heart transplant and Covid arrived, Bob and I spent many days and nights in NYC visiting restaurants, museums, Broadway plays, and yes, even tourist sights. We love NYC.

One afternoon we stopped in a restaurant near Chelsea Market that was a real old-fashioned Mom and Pop red sauce Italian restaurant (sorry I can’t remember the name) and we ordered their special of the day which was chicken parmigiana but in the style of a pizza. Ground chicken with mozzarella, red sauce, and basil- plain, simple and delicious.

Recently, I have asked around on Facebook and with friends to see if anyone knew of a restaurant closer to my home that made this dish and no one could give me an answer. So, I decided for this Father’s Day I would try and make it myself.

So I did a little research on the best way to fry the chicken in a disc and gathered my ingredients and put it all together. Bob was quite surprised and enjoyed the chicken parmigiana “pizza” style as we remembered the little restaurant where we first tasted it.

It came out great but the only thing I would change next time is the size of the pizza. I only had an 8″ cake pan and a 10″ high-sided skillet and the chicken crust came out a little thicker than I would have liked so I would prepare this again using a 10″ cake pan and fry it in a 12″ high-sided skillet next time. But we were very happy with the results and I wanted to share this recipe with you…..

Chicken Parmigiana – “Pizza Style”

Ingredients:

1 lb. of ground chicken

3-4 cups of Breadcrumbs (I made my own from Italian bread and seasoned them myself) but you could use packaged Italian seasoned breadcrumbs or panko or a combination of both breadcrumbs styles- your choice. —– Season the breadcrumbs with dried parsley and some grated cheese for extra flavor.

6 large eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper

2 cups flour, seasoned

Shredded mozzarella cheese or thin-sliced mozzarella

Additional grated cheese for serving- I use Locatelli cheese

1 cup red sauce – I used homemade sauce but you could use jarred sauce or canned pizza sauce.

6 leaves of fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp poultry seasoning

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp oregano

dried parsley

3 cups peanut oil (I use that to fry) but you could use canola or a light olive oil

COOKS NOTE: any leftover eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs can be combined and fried. My grandmother called these “egg cutlets” and they are crispy and delicious. Give them a try…

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Materials needed:

I prefer a 10” round cake pan (I used an 8 ” cake pan for this pizza)

12” deep-sided round skillet or saute pan

2 large metal spatulas

Wire rack

3 aluminum half-size steam table trays (for easy clean-up for the breading station).

Pizza stone or cookie sheet

Directions:

Let’s get ready to prep… this meal takes two days

In a bowl, season your ground chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and poultry seasoning

Make the crust– use a cake pan lined with plastic wrap and add the seasoned ground chicken. Mold the chicken into a thin circular disc. Then wrap in the plastic wrap and place in the freezer overnight.

READY FOR THE FREEZER

The next day, prepare your breading station. I used 3 aluminum half-size trays for flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs

Take the chicken out of the freezer and do not thaw

(Food saver gloves can come in handy now)

Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour until fully coated then shake off the excess.

Next drop the chicken disc into the eggs, coat fully, and shake off excess

Then into the breadcrumbs. Pat the breadcrumbs into the chicken but be gentle not to break the chicken disc. Fill all the areas on both sides until there is no more egg or chicken visible. The disc has to be fully coated in breadcrumbs.

Then wrap the disc and put it back in the freezer for another hour to firm up.

Once the hour is over, remove the chicken from the freezer and work quickly before it starts to thaw.

Heat the oil on medium in a high-sided skillet or sauté pan (approx. 1 inch of oil in the pan). When the oil is hot ADD the frozen chicken disc, it should sizzle immediately.

COOKS NOTE: you can tell when the oil is hot enough by placing a wooden spoon in the oil- when bubbles appear, the oil is hot enough to fry…

When the edges of the chicken start to look golden, with the two metal spatulas, gently lift the chicken from the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate over it and gently flip the chicken.

Now gently slide the chicken back into the oil and fry the 2nd side until fully brown.

Remove the chicken and let it dry on a wire rack.

At this point, preheat the broiler to high

Place the chicken on a pizza stone or cookie sheet pan and assemble the chicken like a pizza……. Add sauce, then grated cheese, and then shredded mozzarella.

Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Garnish with fresh torn basil.

Cut and serve as a pizza. Side dishes to complement the pizza can be salad or sauteed broccoli rabe. Enjoy!

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy every bite!

To finish our Father’s Day celebration, I bought Bob a chocolate mousse cheesecake with a thick ganache topping to complete the celebration.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

IT WAS A GREAT MEAL

Eggplant Two Ways

Hi everyone,

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I just wanted to share a repost for some eggplant recipes….. I purchased 4 small eggplants this week and couldn’t decide what I wanted to use them for and it was a toss-up between eggplant stacks and eggplant boats.

Since the eggplants were small and I couldn’t decide, I prepared the eggplants as both, stacks and boats.

I made simple fried eggplant slices and stacked them with mozzarella and tomatoes (no sauce needed) and topped them with roasted peppers.

This is a simple meal similar to Eggplant Parmigiana but without the need for tomato sauce and baking.

The easy recipe for fried eggplant stacks can find a home on your Summer Barbecue Buffet Table as an appetizer or a side dish.

The second recipe is Eggplant Boats stuffed with sauteed ground beef, or sausage (out of the casing), or a combination of both mixed together, with the addition of grated cheese, tomatoes, basil, oregano, and a mozzarella topping. This makes a great entree for lunch or dinner served with a side salad.

Cooks Note: I sometimes add sauteed mushrooms to the mix, but it is great with or without.

I hope you give both recipes a try this summer when the eggplants are plentiful. The recipes are below:

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Fried Eggplant Stacks with Tomato, Mozzarella, and Roasted Peppers.

Ingredients:

2 medium-size eggplants or 4 smaller eggplants

6 eggs, lightly beaten

Italian flavored breadcrumbs or homemade breadcrumbs

Grated Locatelli cheese (you can also use Parmesan)

Salt and pepper

Dried oregano or parsley to taste

1 lb. thinly sliced fresh mozzarella 

4 medium fresh tomatoes (heirloom or vine)

Olive oil for frying

Fresh chopped basil (optional)

Roasted peppers (optional)

Directions:

Slice the eggplants into ¼ inch rounds.

Set up a breading station with egg and breadcrumbs

Place the beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper in a shallow bowl with a rim. Add a little water to thin out the egg.

Blend grated cheese into the breadcrumbs and add dried oregano.

Dip the eggplant slices into the eggs, then into the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a cookie sheet. Be careful not to overcrowd the cutlets on the cookie sheet; the breading could fall off the cutlet.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant in batches, turning them when the edges get brown. Transfer the cooked eggplant to a paper towel-lined cookie sheet.

Cooks Note: change the oil in the skillet when it starts to get black from all the cooked breadcrumbs that fall off. You don’t want that burnt taste on your eggplant slices.

While the eggplants are draining on paper towels – cut your mozzarella into rounds (or you could buy pre-sliced mozzarella) and cut your tomatoes into rounds- width is your choice. I also added some roasted peppers as a topping (optional).

Start your stacking- eggplant slice, mozzarella slice, tomato slice, and repeat. Top with roasted peppers if using.

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Stuffed Eggplant Boats

Ingredients:

2 small long eggplants

(1 lb.) pkg. of ground beef or ground turkey

(1 lb.) sausage meat, out of the casing

3-4 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped, or use grape tomatoes (halved)

4 tbsp. grated cheese

6 basil leaves, shredded

Sprigs of parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

Olive oil

Mozzarella cheese, shredded for topping eggplants

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Wash the eggplant, cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh. Salt the cavities, put the eggplant in a baking pan, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes (they should be soft but not mushy)

Add the flesh from the eggplant to a food processor and pulse just a few times to make small pieces to fill the eggplant.

Heat ¼ cup olive oil with the garlic. Season the ground meat and sausage with salt and pepper and add to the oil and sauté until it begins to turn brown.

Add the diced eggplant. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium flame, then increase the heat and add the tomatoes and the basil leaves.

After 5 minutes, turn off the burner, and stir in the parsley and grated cheese. Check the seasoning.

Stuff the hollowed-out eggplant with the filling, top with shredded mozzarella and heat them in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Serve them hot or warm

Cooks Note: the extra filling can be cooked in another pan or saved in the refrigerator for another meal.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

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Welcome Summer – Favorite Burrata Salad

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are all well.

Today I want to Welcome the month of June and to me, that means summer is here…

I don’t know what it is about June 1st that makes me so happy. When I was a child it was the anticipation of the end of school and summer break and I guess I never outgrew that excitement that the summer months with hot days spent at the beach, picnics, and enjoying lazy summer days with family and friends were approaching.

For the last few years, I have had my own little celebration on this day and I always make my favorite “Summer Salad” to get me in the summer mood.

The salad ingredients are tomatoes (preferable heirlooms in gorgeous colors of yellow, red, green, and amber) and burrata cheese, and peaches drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and a touch of balsamic glaze.

Sometimes I put the salad on a bed of arugula, but without any lettuce is just as good. So I wanted to share this salad with you today.

For those who are not familiar with burrata cheese, it is an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer casing is solid cheese, while the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture.

If you don’t have burrata, you can use mozzarella balls also known in Italian as “Ciliegine” (cherry size- see below) or mozzarella pearls (very tiny), or any soft cheese of your choice.

The company “BelGioioso” sells both burrata and mozzarella in containers in most supermarkets.

Here is a guide to Soft Italian cheese so you can choose a substitute for your salad…

For an added bonus, serve this salad with your favorite grilled or toasted bread to soak up the juices from the salad. My choice is always Madonia Bakery (Bronx, NY) fennel and golden raisin bread. Use your favorite artisan bread of choice.

I am listing the ingredients but not the amounts because that depends on how many people you are serving.

Ingredients:

  • Burrata cheese (or mozzarella balls aka in Italian “Ciliegine”)
  • Tomatoes (preferably Heirloom)
  • Fresh peaches
  • Fresh basil leaves (whole or chiffonade)
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried oregano (OPTIONAL)
  • Arugula (OPTIONAL)

Cook’s Note: serve with toasted or grilled Italian bread or artisan bread of your choice

Enjoy your salad and your summer.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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