Eggplant Wraps

30 Jun

eggplant wrapsI clipped this recipe from the Detroit Free Press just a couple of weeks ago. The Freep adapted it from Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking by Mary McCarney. I don’t usually rerun recipes so quickly. To tell the truth I don’t even usually try them so quickly! But I liked this one so much I wanted to share it with you.

It’s a bit of a bother to make, but it would be a great dish to serve to vegetarian guests because it looks so fancy. Eggplant is nice and meaty, so this dish should appeal to carnivores too. Each wrap has only 95 calories, 7 grams of  fat, 5 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

You can assemble the wraps ahead of time and heat them up just before serving. Half the original recipe (the amounts I give below) made eight wraps, so we had them for two meals, and they reheated nicely.

The Free Press suggests using a serrated knife to cut the eggplant.

I will give you the recipe almost as it was in the Freep, except that I’ve halved the amounts — except for the oil. I found I needed at least as much oil as originally called for even though I was making half the recipe. But I’ll also tell you the changes I made and provide a few other suggestions for variations.

I didn’t have any marinated sun-dried tomatoes, only dried ones, so about a half-hour before I started cooking, I covered the dried tomatoes with olive oil to marinate. After I took the tomatoes out, I used the oil (with some added) for the recipe.

For the mixed herbs, I used minced garlic, basil and parsley.

I didn’t have fresh spinach, but my garden was producing lots of chard and kale, so I used a mixture of those.

Most importantly, after I had fried the eggplant slices, some were not really flexible enough to bend into wraps (perhaps I sliced the eggplant a little too thickly?). So I popped them into the microwave in a single layer for 30 seconds and they became perfectly pliable.

Here are some other variations you might want to consider:

  • Use thinly sliced or diced fresh tomato instead of sun-dried. Drain as much juice from them as you can before adding to the wraps.
  • Use goat cheese or feta instead of cheddar.
  • Use slivered almonds instead of pine nuts.
  • Add a few slivered kalamata olives

Ingredients:

Olive oil or cooking spray
1 medium to large eggplant
3 Tbs. sunflower oil or light olive oil (you may need a little more)
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. dried mixed herbs
8 oz. baby spinach
8 sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil, each cut in half or thirds
1 1/2 Tbs. pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 1/2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 8 slices
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a sided baking sheet with olive oil spray or use a nonstick baking sheet.

Cut off the top, bottom and rounded sides of the eggplant and discard. Then slice the eggplant lengthwise into 8 pieces, each about 1/4- to 1/3-inch thick. (If you have a very large eggplant, you may have some left over. You don’t want to make the slices too thick.)

In a small bowl, mix together the herbs and oil. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

Working in batches, lightly brush each slice of eggplant on one side with the oil mixture and place in the hot pan. Fry until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Brush the top side lightly with oil and flip to fry that side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside the slices until all are cooked.

(If the slices are brown but still a little stiff, you can microwave them for 20 or 30 seconds until they are pliable.)

Wash the spinach well in cold running water, spin dry and then heat in a large skillet to wilt, using just the water that is clinging to the leaves. Drain off the excess liquid.

Assemble the wraps: Take one slice of cooked eggplant and place a little of the wilted spinach on one half. Then place a few pieces of sun-dried tomato on top, sprinkle with a few toasted pine nuts, and top with a slice of cheddar.

Fold the eggplant over to form the wrap and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices. Sprinkle each with sea salt and fresh black pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

 

 

Broccoli-Cheese Salad

23 Jun

Broccoli-Cheese SaladI first encountered this salad at a potluck. Everyone was raving about it, but I didn’t eat it because it included bacon. But I looked for a recipe online, figuring I could substitute soy baco bits.

I found this one on a site called BellaOnline and altered it a bit. The original recipe calls for 4 slices of bacon, which we obviously don’t use in a kosher kitchen. It also called for mozzarella cheese, which I found rather tasteless, so I substituted cheddar. And I use about half the amount of dressing called for in the original, which is plenty (my quantities are what I list here).

If you’re concerned about the sugar, you can substitute Splenda, which I have done with no ill effect on the taste.

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli
1 small onion
1 hard-boiled egg
½ cup soy “bacon” bits
1 cup shredded cheese
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbs. cider vinegar

Directions:

Finely chop the broccoli, onion and hard-boiled egg. If you use a food processor for this (a good idea), do the vegetables first and add the egg at the end for a few pulses.

Mix in the cheese and “bacon” bits.

Make a dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until the sugar is dissolved. Mix the dressing into the broccoli mixture.

Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

 

Crustless Salmon Quiche

9 Jun

crustless salmon quiche 2Another winning recipe from my friend Greta Zalman!

The recipe calls for starting with fresh salmon, which you poach, but I find it works best for me as a way to use leftover salmon. It doesn’t have to be poached — baked salmon works fine, even if it has a glaze on it, as long as the glaze isn’t too overpowering. If you start with cooked salmon, just ignore the first line of the directions, but cut the leftover salmon into 1-inch chunks.

When I made this recently I didn’t have any scallion so I substituted 1/3 cup finely chopped onion.

This makes a very nice brunch dish. If you are serving a large crowd or bringing it to a large potluck, you can double the amounts and bake it in an 8 x 13-inch baking dish.

Ingredients:

¾ lb. skinned and boned fresh salmon, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. fresh dill or 1 tsp. dried dill
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
4 large eggs
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1¼ cups milk
½ cup thinly sliced scallions, including the green part
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp. dried parsley
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ tsp. paprika
Lemon wedges for garnish, optional

Directions:

Bring ½ cup of water to boil in a medium skillet. Add the salmon, reduce the heat and cover. Cook until the salmon is almost cooked through – about 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the poaching broth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, dill, salt and pepper. Whisk in the eggs, 2 at a time, and then the mustard. Stir in the scallions and parsley and all but 2 Tbs. of the cheese. Stir in the poached salmon cubes.

Lightly spray a 9-inch glass pie pan or porcelain quiche pan with vegetable cooking spray or lightly brush with oil. Pour in the mixture; make sure the salmon is distributed evenly. Sprinkle the top with paprika and the reserved 2 Tbs. cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes until puffed and set. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges and serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.

Serves 6

 

Avocado salad

26 May

avocado saladAvocadoes were on sale this week, so it was a good opportunity to make this yummy salad. I would say it’s very easy, but it’s kind of a pain cubing four avocados. It’s well worth the effort, though!

You can tell an avocado is ripe when the skin is very dark, almost black, and it has some “give” to it. But don’t wait till it’s too soft, or the flesh will be mushy and may even turn black.

It looks like there’s no red onion in this photo. If you don’t have red you can cheat and use a regular ol’ yellow onion. But red looks prettier.

Ingredients:

4 or 5 ripe avocados (the small “Hass” type)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 can hearts of palm, drained
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 tsp. salt or more to taste
black pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice each avocado lengthwise, and twist to open it. Remove the pit. (I do this by sticking a knife into the pit and pulling it out, probably not the safest method.)

Cut the avocado into cubes by slicing lengthwise and widthwise while it’s still in the skin; then use a tablespoon to scoop out the cubes into a large bowl. Scrape any avocado meat that remains into the bowl as well.

Cut each grape or cherry tomato in half, unless they are very small, and add to the bowl.

If your hearts of palm aren’t already sliced or in pieces, slice them and add to the bowl.

Add the chopped onion.

Sprinkle with lemon juice and add just enough mayonnaise to hold the ingredients together. The avocado is very moist and also full of oil, so you won’t need much mayo.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you serve on individual plates (rather than letter people help themslves), it looks nice on top of a lettuce leaf.

Serves 4 to 6

 

Lasagna Florentine

19 May
I haven't made this in awhile so I don't have a photo. This one is by Andra Cristescu, via Flickr Creative Commons.

I haven’t made this in awhile so I don’t have a photo. This one is by Andra Cristescu, via Flickr Creative Commons.

Here’s a great dairy recipe just in time for Shavuot. This dates back to my days in the communications department at Sinai Hospital of Detroit, where the cafeteria regularly served  a white, not red, “vegetarian lasagna.” I suspect it was Stouffer’s frozen version, but it was pretty good. So when I found this recipe, I can’t remember where, I was sure to save it.

It’s a bit of a patchke to make, but it’s delicious and makes a good “company”  or potluck dish. You can prepare it ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. If you do that, bring it to room temperature before baking.

A lot of people make lasagna these days without boiling the noodles. I haven’t tried it with this recipe, but using uncooked noodles should be no problem.

Ingredients:

Cheese Sauce:
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup all-purpose flour
2¾ cups milk, divided
2¼ cups grated cheese – I prefer a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
¼ tsp. salt

Vegetable Filling:

3 Tbs. vegetable oil
½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh spinach, washed and trimmed, or 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups coarsely chopped or shredded fresh carrots
9 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained

Directions:

Make the cheese sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter; blend in the flour. Gradually add 2½ cups milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and thickens. Add 2 cups of cheese and cook until mixture is smooth. Stir in the mustard, hot pepper sauce and salt. Set aside.

Make the filling: In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the mushrooms, onions and garlic until tender. Tear the spinach into bite-sized pieces. Add the spinach and carrots to the saucepan and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the spinach is tender. Drain the vegetables. Stir in 1½ cups of the cheese sauce into the spinach mixture. Add ¼ cup milk to the cheese sauce remaining in the pan.

Assemble the lasagna: Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Pour half the cheese sauce into the dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in the dish over the sauce. Spread half the spinach mixture over the noodles. Repeat the layers.

Spoon the remaining sauce over the noodles and sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup cheese over the top. Bake about 25 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

Vegetarian Sausage, Bean and Tomato Ragout with Polenta

5 May

Vegetarian Italian sausage, bean and tomato ragoutI clipped this recipe from Cooking Light. It wasn’t meant to be vegetarian, but first of all, it’s hard to find kosher Italian sausage, and secondly, I preferred to make it veggie. Just know that the original recipe called for meat sausage. You could also use soy crumbles instead of veggie sausages, but the taste would be different; the Italian sausage has unique spices.

The original recipe called for instant polenta and plain yogurt, neither of which I had on hand, so I looked up another recipe. Polenta is really bland, so I added a cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, making the entire dish dairy.

There are a lot of ingredients, but the recipe is easy. The ragout recipe says to cook for 8 minutes, but you can keep it simmering while you cook the polenta. (Or you could start the polenta and make the stew during the 30 minutes the polenta cooks over a low flame.)

When you serve the polenta straight from the stovetop, it will be creamy. If you have leftovers, put them in a flat-bottomed container. The polenta will harden. To reuse, you can cut it into slices and fry them up in a little olive oil or butter, or bake them in the oven topped with a sauce (or leftover ragout).

The Cooking Light recipe said it serves 4, but the two of us ate large servings and there was still enough left over for 4 more, so I’m saying it serves 6!

Ingredients:

For the ragout:
6 oz. bulk hot Italian sausage
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup vegetable stock
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
Dash crushed red pepper
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 2/3 tsp. dried)

For the polenta:
3 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. fresh rosemary (optional)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 Tbs. butter (optional)

Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. If you use real sausage, crumble it in the pan and cook for until browned; remove from pan. Add oil to pain, then saute onions for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine, cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen any browned bits. If you use vegetarian sausage, which is pre-cooked, crumble it into the pan now.

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer 8 minutes or until slightly thickened. If you browned the sausage at the beginning, add it back in now and heat through.

For the polenta, bring the water and salt to a boil in a 2 or 3-quart saucepan. Add the cornmeal gradually, whisking vigorously as you do so no lumps form. Cook for about 10 minutes, whisking frequently. Lower the heat as low as possible and continue to cook for 20 or 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot when you stir, so the polenta doesn’t stick. Whisk in the rosemary, butter, cheese and rosemary (if you use dry rosemary — use 1/2 tsp. — add it when you put the cornmeal into the water).

Serves 6

Indian Fish Curry

28 Apr

fish curryThis came from a friend, Elaine Stein, who got it from allrecipes.com and modified it slightly, using a little less cayenne pepper and adding the green beans, which is a great idea. Even with this amount of cayenne it was plenty spicy, so if you don’t like it hot, use just a dash of cayenne. I added the suggestion of using parsley for garnish if you like, instead of cilantro, which many people don’t really like.

The recipe looks complicated but it’s really not.

Ingredients:

Marinade:
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
¾ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1½ Tbs. canola oil
4 fillets firm white fish (cod works well), about 1½ lb.)

Paste:
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely shopped
1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and chopped
20 raw cashew pieces
1 Tbs. oil

Spices (mix in a small dish):
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

Sauce:
½ cups chopped tomatoes
¼ cup vegetable broth or water
½ lb green beans, cut in half
¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish

Directions:

Mix the mustard, black pepper, salt and oil in a zip-lock bag and add the fish. Marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the onions, garlic, ginger and cashews in a blender or food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a paste. Heat the 1 Tbs. oil in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir-fry the paste for1 to 3 minutes. Add the spice mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and broth or water and heat through.

Layer the fish in a greased baking dish, top with the green beans and then sauce. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve with cooked basmati rice.

Serves 4

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