Thursday, February 18, 2010

Roasted Eggplant w/ Leeks and Italian Cheese over Cornbread

I recently, well within the last few years, found an appreciation for eggplant. Now, my children do not have the same appreciation, but I am working on it. Recently, I posted about having a taste for meatloaf. Meatloaf to me is comfort food. It is very filling and when cold will help to warm you up. This dish (for me) is also a comfort food. Now, I am not a vegetarian / vegan, but I prepare food for those that are. So, I try to find meal options that meet every ones needs. I look forward to preparing this recipe with the harvest in the fall. What a wonderful dish to explore the flavor of the gardens bounty.

Olive Oil
2 lg. eggplants (about 2 1/2 lbs), sliced 3/8" thick
4 lg. leeks (about 1 lb.)
4 ozs. mozzarella cheese, grated
4 ozs. provolone cheese, grated
1 recipe Moist Oatmeal Cornbread (4 pcs of the 6 pcs are needed)
1 small bunch basil, washed, stemmed, and torn into large pieces
Fresh garden tomatoes as garnish, (preferrably in season)

Preheat oven to 350*F
1. Coat 2 large baking sheets with oil. Place eggplant in single layer on the baking sheets. Brush tops with oil. Bake for 25 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned, turn over and bake an additional 20 minutes to brown this side. Both sides of the eggplant should be lightly browned and crisp. Remove slices to a platter.
2. Wash and drain leeks thoroughly. Saute' leeks over medium heat with about 2 tbsp of oil. Cook until tender about 10-15 minutes.
3. Combine mozzarella and provolone cheeses.
4. Cut the oatmeal cornbread in half. Place each half on a baking sheet. Top the cornbread with the leeks, eggplant, cheeses. Bake for about 5 minutes. Long enough to heat through and melt the cheese.
5. Garnish with a garden fresh tomatoe slice.

2 cornbread halves / serving.

Moist Oatmeal Cornbread

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp boiling water
1 cup ground oats (use rolled oats or quick oats, place in food processor)
1/2 cup fresh / frozen corn kernels
1 1/4 cup fresh honey soymilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil + extra for greasing the pan
1/2 cup mild honey
1 egg
2 1/2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350*F

1. In small heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over ground oats and into a smooth paste. Let sit 5 minutes. Steam corn for 5 minutes, or until just tender.
2. Combine the oatmeal paste, corn, soymilk, oil, honey and eggmix until smooth.
3. Combine cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Pour liquids into cornmeal mixture, quickly mix using just a few strokes. Pour into an oiled 9 X 13 X 1 baking pan, bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
4. Cook in pan before cutting.

This recipe is from Follow Your Heart Cookbook by Janice Cook Knight This book is focused on Vegetarian cuisine.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cake Mix!!!!

Finally a formula that works great! Instead of going to the food store and purchasing a box of cake mix, take a few moments and make your own. I have not yet used whole wheat flour with this formula, but I will and then let you know the changes that I made to the overall recipe. If you do not already substitute part of your all-purpose flour with whole wheat, try it. The flavor will be slightly different, but overall the product will be that much better. If your family prefers white flour to whole wheat, then try exchanging only a small portion of the white flour to start. Each time you make the formula add more whole wheat and less white flour.

Back to the cake mix. What is nice about this mix is you can make it ahead and store it up to 6 months in the freezer.

This formula makes about 24 - 30 standard cupcakes

4 1/2 cups flour

2 3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 tbsp salt

1 cup shortening

Combine first 4 ingredients (sifitng if necessary). Add the shortening and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Store mix in an air tight container. Freeze up to 6 months. Prior to using allow mixtures to come to room temperature. This can be divided into 3 parts and frozen individually. This would then accomodate for making small batches of cupcakes or a small cake.

When ready to use combine with 1 cup of milk, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 3 eggs. Mix till combine. Do not overmix, cake could be tough. If the originally recipe was divided into 3 parts, ensure you decrease the amounts of milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Bake at 350*F 12 - 25 minutes. Depends on whether you are making cupcakes or cakes.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cold Winter's Night!

These cold nights really drive cravings of food that is warm, filling and flavorful! I am not a huge fan of meatloaf, however tonight it really sounds good. So, (since it is 9 PM) tomorrow night my children and I will have meatloaf... with a few changes of course. A mix of beef and turkey is in order for this meal. One of my favorite toppings for meatloaf and lots of other main entrees is my grandma's chili sauce. A mixture of tomatoe, onion, green peppers, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, a bit of salt and cider vinegar! Because this sauce is basically fat free, it replaces the traditional gravy. Make a big batch of this sauce and place in jars, seal and have when ever you have that craving for a warm, filling and flavorful meal!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Banana Muffins with a hint of chocolate!

So, this formula includes two favorite food items for my children; Bananas and chocolate!
(Keep in mind, its a hint of chocolate)

2 ripe Medium Bananas
2 large Eggs
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup butter (or substitute), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips (mini)
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

1. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add Bananas. Add eggs and vanilla.
2. In a seperate bowl combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix just to combine.
4. Add chocolate chips and walnuts.
5. Scoop into prepared muffin tins, bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 350*F. Let cool in pan for 5 mintues. Place on cooling rack till cool.

I used a mini muffin pan. This formula produced about 60 little muffins. Place most in the freezer for another day.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Making changes! And Oatmeal Whoopie Pies!

Over the last few days I have made several changes to the blog site! It really is a lot of fun! This blog is probably more than I ever thought it could be. Some of the changes... Mostly adding various pages to the site! Though the pages will need a lot of work in the days to come, I will enjoy it!
Last night I made oatmeal cookies. Now, originally these cookies were to end up as whoopie pies!
Once baked I felt the cookies were far to big for 4 & 5 year olds for a morning snack. So, regular cookies it was.

3/4 cup butter, softened (or butter substitute)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp boiling water
1 large Egg white
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk ( or milk substitute)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter (or butter substitute)
Preheat oven to 425*F Lightly grease a sheet pan. Ensure the oven is set at the correct temperature. I baked these at 350*F once and found that the cookies weren't as good!

1. Cream the butter, sugar, eggs together.
2. Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the creamed mixture.
3. Add the oats. Mix well.
4. Combine the baking soda and boiling water. then add it to the cookie dough.
5. Using a scoop, drop onto prepared sheet trays about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

1. Combine the egg white, vanilla, milk and 1 cup of powedered sugar. Cream well. Add the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and butter. Beat until smooth. Using about 1 tbsp of filling, spread onto bottom of one cookie, place the second cookie on top.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Monster Cookies!

Recently, I have challenged myself to find various recipes / formulas that are good for all eaters. This is a very difficult task. So many children and now adults are finding out that they have food allergies and intolerances. Not so many years ago it was rare to know someone allergic to a food. Now, almost everyone that I know has a food allergy / intolerance. I am challenged daily in my menu planning for my son who is allergic to peanuts and dairy products. I have been able to adjust recipes / formulas to suit our needs and fulfill my need to not make two meals at every meal.
This formula suits several folks. It can be dairy, peanut, and gluten (except oatmeal) free. That is a lot to ask of a cookie. In addition, it needs to be whole grain and taste good. WOW!

1 cup butter, softened (substitue shortening or gardener's blend)
1 cup sugar, granulated
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsps baking soda
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (substitute sunflower or soy butter)
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 cups chocolate chips (peanut / dairy free)
2 cups candy coated chocolates (omit for peanut concerns)

1. Cream the butter and both sugars together.
2. Add 1 egg at a time, incorporate fully before adding the next.
3. Add vanilla, baking soda, and peanut butter
4. Add oats. Mix to incorporate
5. Add chocolate chips and candy coated chocolates
6. Scoop onto cookie sheet and bake @ 350*F for 10-12 minutes.
7. Let cool. Store in an air tight container.