Wednesday, May 6, 2009


While I admit Emmanuelle is correct that I used to eat cereal (peanut butter Puffins?) for dinner, let's not forget all those times she would squeeze spicy mustard on lettuce (endive?) and eat it (sans plate) for dinner. Oh how times have changed! And what a lovely change it is!

Below I have included Ina Garten's recipe for Eggplant Gratin from Barefoot in Paris and Giada's Spicy Green Bean and Kale Recipe from Giada's Kitchen.

Eggplant Gratin (this is the recipe, halved)
Olive oil
2-3 Japanese eggplants, sliced 1/2 inch thick (these are nice because they require no salting and are not at all bitter)
1/4 cup ricotta
1 egg
a splash of milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper.
1/2 cup marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Heat olive oil until almost smoking. Add eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, milk, 1/4 c parmesan, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper.

In a ramekin or gratin dish, layer eggplant, 1/4 c parmesan cheese, salt, papper, and 1/4 cup marinara. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, the ricotta mixture, and a tablespoon of parmesan on top.

Bake for 10 minutes, lower heat to 375 and bake for another 20 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.

That's the recipe we followed, roughly. We may have done an extra layer of eggplant and ricotta, if I recall correctly.

Now, onto delicious greens:
Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion sliced
1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (we used TJ's haricot verts)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (we decided next time to add more)
1 bunch of kale (1/2 pound), rinsed, stemmed, and corasely chopped
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tablespoons greated parmesan

Warm the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, stirring once or twice, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

The meal was completed by a 2002 Chateau du Courneau Margaux, courtesy of my father. A well-balanced bordeaux to round out a warm and comforting meal.

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