Monthly Archives: June 2012

Eggplant Gratin

We went home for father’s day and (I) came back with good west-side groceries, including an eggplant that my mom had no idea what to do with. Bake it, I say! (courtesy of Ina, a very rich, delicious dish!)

(…yes, my gratin was baked in a pie dish)

Ingredients

  • Good olive oil, for frying
  • 3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.

Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.

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Rachel’s Kaiser Rolls

Rachel hosted lunch for a few lucky Honors kids and prepared delicious BBQ chicken sandwiches on Kaiser rolls. What are Kaiser rolls you ask? Delicious fluffy buns. I have yet to try making these on my own (feasible without a KitchenAid?)

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Rachel and her Kaiser roll.

King Arthur Flour Kaiser rolls recipe

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Sage Bakery, Uniontown

We went for a drive to Uniontown, Wash. to visit Sage Bakery, a “local” bakery where the best restaurants in Pullman (Swilly’s, Black Cypress) buy bread. GB had a “savory” scone (ham, cheese) and I had a berry tart (chocolate chip scone to go). Sandwiches and coffee were also available.

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Patio Gardening

It’s finally that time of the year- patio gardening! (a.k.a. overnight lows no lower than 40F). Early-starters can find a surprisingly good selection at Walmart; late-goers resort to Crossroads nursery (significantly more pricey, and yet they carry little to no citrus/fruiting plants).

Current herbs: thyme, cilantro, basil, lavender

Current fruits: pepper plant, strawberry

Others- flowers, vines, grasses. Not nearly as exciting as the culinary items!

Future planting? Hopefully an oregano and mint.

(Inside thanks to the uncanny random Pullman weather- i.e., rain, wind)

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Kale chips

Moscow, ID has a great Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning in the summer; Pullman has one every Wednesday afternoon (though much smaller). After hearing about the health benefits of kale, we figured we’d give it a try. The seller suggested baking the leaves with olive oil and salt at 400F for 10 minutes. They were delicious! Kale tastes like broccoli when uncooked, but is extremely flavorful  when cooked. Yum.

A note for selecting good kale: try to avoid lots of stems/veins as they tend to be chewy when baked.

American Chop Suey

GB might the best cook ever, maybe. Out of the two of us, he thinks he is, that is. He always talked about making this recipe, one of his signatures- and finally did- it was delicious! I absolutely loved it.

You will need:

  • 1 Ib ground beef
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 18 oz of macaroni
  • one 14 1/2 can of tomato sauce
  • one 14 1/2 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • cheddar cheese

Cook beef. Set aside. Cook onions in oil,add bell pepper, celery. When soft, add garlic. Once done, add beef, then add chicken stock, tomatoes and sauce, incorporate. Then add macaroni and cover. Cook until macaroni noodles are al dente, about 30 minutes. Top with cheese and enjoy!

Enjoy!