Breaded Eggplant Rollatini

Wendy Ingorvaia This delectable and vegetarian meal will fill up your family or guests enough that they won’t be yearning for something more. The process may be somewhat time consuming, but the end result makes it all worth it! Here is the link to a recipe I found online and I have shared the important details below.

Ingredients

Eggplant:

1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided

1 teaspoon onion powder, divided

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

2 eggs

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic, or to taste

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

1/2 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 teaspoons dried oregano, or to taste

2 teaspoons dried basil, or to taste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, or to taste

Filling:

1 (15 ounce) container low-fat ricotta cheese

1 (8 ounce) package fresh spinach

1 egg

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
  2. Place eggplant slices in a large dish and cover with salted water. Let soak about 15 minutes. Drain and cover with milk.
  3. Combine flour, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large resealable plastic bag.
  4. beat eggs lightly in a shallow bowl that is long enough for the eggplant slices to fit in to.
  5. Combine panko, remaining 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in another large resealable plastic bag.
  6. Place 1 slice eggplant in flour mixture, shaking to coat. Dig in egg. Transfer to bag with panko mixture, shaking to coat. Repeat with remaining slices.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Cook coated eggplant slices in batches until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding oil as needed.
  8. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, diced and chopped tomatoes, 2 teaspoons pepper, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and poultry seasoning. Reduce heat to low and cover; cook sauce, stirring occasionally, until flavors combine, 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Mix ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon garlic, nutmeg, salt, and pepper together gently in a bowl to make filling.
  10. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling over each eggplant slice. Roll slices into logs and arrange in a single layer in a 9×13-inch baking pan. Pour tomato sauce evenly on top.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven until sauce is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Lamb Mafe

Lamb mafe by Wendy IngorvaiaMafe is a creamy peanut-based stew, made with lamb, that’s popular throughout West Africa.  If you’re in New York City, you can get some at a Senegalese restaurant in Harlem (I would recommend Le Baobab or Africa Kine).  You could also cook some!  While it isn’t a terribly well-known dish, the ingredients aren’t too hard to come by, and it’s absolutely delicious.  Here is a recipe, based off one I found online:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 large onion, minced

2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into pieces

½ cup creamy peanut butter

1 ½ cups cold water

⅓ cup tomato paste

2 cups hot water

4 large carrots, scraped and cut into small pieces

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and add in the onions

Add the meat and continue to cook until it’s lightly browned on all sides

In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter with the cold water and pour it over the meat

Dilute the tomato paste with the hot water, then pour it over the stew and make sure the ingredients are well-mixed

Add the remaining ingredients, lower the heat, cover and let it simmer for 1 hour

Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves

Serve hot over white rice

Grilled Ribs

Grilled ribs by wendy ingorvaiaRibs are indeed one of the great cornerstones of barbecue.  Everybody talks about slow-cooked ribs that you put in a smoker for hours on end, but making good barbecue doesn’t have to be that big of a chore.  I recently found a recipe for ribs that takes just 30 minutes, and gives your ribs all the flavor they need.  

Ingredients

4 pounds baby back pork ribs

1 ⅔ cup water

⅓ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup cider vinegar

1 cup ketchup

⅓ cup Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup prepared mustard

4 tablespoons butter

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place the ribs in two 10×15 inch roasting pans

Stir water and red wine vinegar into a bowl, then pour it over the ribs and cover them with foil

Bake the ribs in the oven for 45 minutes, basting them with their juices halfway through cooking

In a medium saucepan, mix together the ketchup, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, butter, brown sugar, hot pepper sauce and salt, then bring to a boil before reducing heat to low and letting simmer for 1 hour

Preheat grill for medium heat

Lightly oil preheated grill, then place the ribs on the grill

Grill ribs over medium heat for 8 minutes, then baste them with barbecue sauce

Turn ribs over, baste again with barbecue sauce and grill for 8 more minutes

Spicy Tomato Sauce

Spicy tomato sauce by Wendy ingorvaiaAnybody who knows me knows how much I love to cook Italian food.  While red sauce often feels like a cliche, there are plenty of fun ways you can explore with it, and it’s delicious!  It might sound difficult and labor-intensive, but the basic structure of tomato sauce is actually pretty simple!  Here is a recipe I found online for spicy tomato sauce.  It’s absolutely delicious, so if you’re up for some Italian cooking get out your saucepan!

Ingredients:

Olive oil

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic, diced

1 tsp ground oregano

1 tsp red chili flakes

¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

¼ cup freshly chopped basil

28 oz can of strained or diced tomatoes

2 fresh tomatoes, cut up

Dark Belgian-style beer

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Directions:

Heat up ¼ cup of olive oil in a saucepan

Add in the chopped onions and sauté for a few minutes, until they begin to appear translucent

Add diced garlic and sauté with the onions

Add fresh and dried herbs, then mix it all together with a wooden spoon

Add in the fresh tomatoes and let the mixture cook down for a couple minutes

Add in the can of strained tomatoes, in addition to a couple generous pours of beer

Bring the sauce to a boil and add salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Reduce the sauce to a simmer for at least an hour and a half (or more, if you’d like)

While the sauce is cooking, be sure to taste frequently to see if anything needs to be added

When it’s ready to eat, serve the sauce however you’d like: with pasta, on pizza or maybe with chicken parmesan!

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

Grilled chicken sandwiches by Wendy IngorvaiaNow that it’s summer, it’s time to fire up that outdoor grill and cook up something tasty!  While chicken sandwiches have recently seen a surge in popularity, the ones most people tend to think of are more in-line with Chik Fil-a: deep fried and served with pickles.  But chicken sandwiches can also be delicious!  Here is a recipe for summer chicken sandwiches I found online.  This recipe serves four people, but you can use the same basic ingredients to make it for as many or as few people as you want!  It only takes about 15 minutes to prep, 15 to cook and can be ready in 30 minutes!

Ingredients:

Ripe avocado slices

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

1 large Vidalia onion sliced into rings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

4 hamburger buns

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 slices provolone cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1) In a small bowl, combine the avocado slices and lemon juice

2) Add water to cover the mixture and set it aside

3) Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate

4) Heat butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat

5) Sauté the onions in the skillet until they’re brown and caramelized, then set them aside

6) Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then place them on the grill

7) Cook chicken until it’s no longer pink and the juices run clear (about 5 minutes on each side)

8) Place buns on the grill just long enough to toast them, then spread them with mayonnaise to taste

9) Add the chicken, onions, provolone and avocado to each bun

Baklava

Baklava by Wendy IngorvaiaBaklava is a rich, sweet pastry, originating in the Middle East, that is made up of layers of filo with chopped nuts held together with syrup or honey.  It can be found everywhere from the Balkans to Central Asia, and has earned popularity for being not just delicious but easy to make.  Here’s a recipe I found online for making some yourself:

Ingredients:

1 pound chopped mixed nuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pound phyllo dough

1 cup melted butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and butter a 9×13 inch baking dish

Toss cinnamon and nuts together

Unroll phyllo, cut the whole stack in half to fit the dish, and cover it with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava to keep it from drying out

Place two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared dish, generously brush it with butter and sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture on top

Repeat this in layers until all ingredients are used (should be around 6 sheets of phyllo)

With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into four long rows, then nine times diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes until golden and crisp

While the baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil

Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes

Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it

Italian Torte

Italian torte by Wendy IngorvaiaItalian torte is a unique and interesting mix of pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese, which is formed into a torte-like dome.  It isn’t a “traditional” Italian dish, but it’s delicious, and a good bit of fun.  Here is how you can make it, based off a recipe I found online:

Ingredients:

3 oz sun-dried tomatoes

16 oz softened cream cheese

1 minced clove of garlic

10 slices provolone cheese

8 ounces pesto

 

Directions:

Bring a small saucepan of water to boil

Turn off the heat and place sun-dried tomatoes in the water and cover for 5 minutes before draining and finely chopping

Mix cream cheese and garlic in a medium bowl

Line a medium bowl or loaf pan with a large piece of dampened cheesecloth and layer with ⅓ of the provolone cheese

Spread with half the pesto and pour in one half of the cream cheese/garlic mixture

Layer with half of the sundried tomatoes

Layer with ⅓ the provolone and remaining pesto, cream cheese/garlic mixture and sun-dried tomatoes before topping with the remaining provolone cheese

Pull the cheesecloth around the layered mixture and gently press into a bowl to mold and remove any excess oil

Chill in the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours, remove cheesecloth and turn the torte upside-down onto a large dish to serve

Grilled Lemon Yogurt Chicken

Grilled Lemon Yogurt chicken by Wendy IngorvaiaWhen it’s sizzling over charcoal and mixed with yogurt, some real magic happens to your chicken.  A tangy flavor comes out that lifts all of the other flavors, tenderizing it without turning the meat into mush.  Here is a recipe for grilled lemon yogurt chicken, based off one that I found online:

Ingredients:

1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt

½ juiced lemon

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves crushed garlic

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon harissa

Directions:

Whisk together ½ cup of yogurt, the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, paprika, herbes de Provence, salt and black pepper in a bowl and pour into a resealable plastic bag.

Coat chicken with the marinade, squeeze excess air out of the bag and lightly oil the grate of your grill.

Combine ½ cup of yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and harissa in a small bowl and set aside.

Remove chicken from the bag and transfer it to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels.  Pat the chicken pieces dry with some more paper towels and season with a pinch of salt.

Grill chicken skin-side down on the preheated grill for two minutes, then turn each piece and move to indirect heat.

Grill, turning often, with the lid down until well-browned and the meat isn’t pink in the center any more (30 to 35 minutes).

Serve the chicken with the yogurt harissa mixture.

Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Beef stroganoffThis classic Russian dish of sauteed beef with creamy sauce has since become a universally loved and recognized dish around the world.  It was originally developed by a member of the Stroganov family, a wealthy Russian noble family who were prominent in Imperial Russia.  The dish goes best with noodles, rice or even mashed potatoes.  I recently found a recipe to make it online, listed below:

Ingredients:

2 pounds beef chuck roast

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

4 ounces butter

4 green onions sliced (white parts only)

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 10.5 can condensed beef broth

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 6 ounce can sliced mushrooms

⅓ cup sour cream

⅓ cup white wine

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut beef into strips ½ inch thick by 2 inches long, and season with ½ teaspoon of both salt and pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and brown the beef strips quickly, then push the beef strips to one side

Add onions and cook slowly for 3 to 5 minutes, then push to the side with the beef strips

Stir the flour into the juices on the empty side of the pan

Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly

Lower the heat and stir in mustard

Cover and simmer for 1 hour until the meat is tender

Five minutes before serving, stir in mushrooms, sour cream and white wine

Heat briefly and then add salt and pepper to taste

Beef Stew For St. Patrick’s Day

Beef stew looks betterIn just three days, St. Patrick’s Day will be upon us.  In Irish tradition, this is a more religious holiday, which ends with a shared family meal.  Nowadays, this has become more of a party, with no shortage of Guinness and Jameson.  Yet if you were to choose the former route, and cook a good traditional Irish meal, I recently found a recipe for beef guinness stew:

Ingredients:

3 lbs cheap beef, cut into cubes

Canola oil for browning

Olive oil or butter

Fresh thyme

Fresh parsley

Bay leaf

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 onion, halved

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, halves

2 carrots, cut into 3-4 big pieces

6+ oz mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

1 cup beef or chicken stock

2 cups Guinness

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions:

In a frying pan set over high heat, drizzle in some canola oil and sear the cubed meat to brown it.  Use tongs to turn the meat every few minutes.

Use a spatula to get any browned bits off the bottom of the pan, and add 1 tbsp of either oilive oil or butter.  Throw in the mushrooms and sauté until all liquid has been released and boiled off.

Add chopped carrots and chopped onions to the pan, stir and sauté until the onions have softened and are beginning to brown.

Remove carrot-onion-mushroom mix from the pan and set aside.

Add the Guinness into a large pot; bottled Guinness is better for this, since the level of carbonation in the can interferes with the cooking.

Add meat cubes into the pot, followed by the stock and tomato paste whisked in until blended, halved onion, halved carrot, bay leaf, chopped parsley, chopped thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne.

Leave the pot on the stove over a low flame so that the stew is just barely simmering, and leave for 2 hours.

Removed the bay leaf, halved onion and halved carrot from the mix.

Add in the sautéed veggie mix from before and stir, letting the stew cook for at least another half hour.

When you’ve decided your meat is tender enough, mash the butter and flour in a bowl to a paste.  Add a ladleful of stew liquid and whisk until well-blended, then add another ladleful and whisk again.

Pour this mix into the stew and stir carefully.  Bring the stew back to a low boil and simmer for at least 10 minutes until it thickens.