Friday, April 24, 2009

All that and a can of diced tomatoes

2 Dishes from 1 can of diced tomatoes:

Eggplant Milanesa

Milanesa usually refers to breaded meat (beef or chicken) but Guille's mom passed along this eggplant recipe to me. It's a lighter, simpler version of eggplant parm with a quick sauce (but you can use any marinara recipe). We made it with Panko style bread crumbs that really made a difference.
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 T. EVOO
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 slices white bread, without crust
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/3" slices
  • 1 egg
  • Oregano, salt & pepper to taste
  • Cheese!
If you're using a dark eggplant, generously sprinkle the slices with kosher salt and let sit for 30 minutes (they will ooze), rinse off salt, and lay flat to dry. No need to do this if you have white eggplant since it isn't so bitter.

Saute the red pepper flakes in EVOO for 30 seconds, add garlic and saute until it starts to brown, add tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Give the crustless bread a spin in the food processor until evenly ground into crumbs--place into a shallow bowl for dredging. Whisk the egg in another shallow bowl with a sprinkle of oregano, s&p. Dredge each slice of eggplant through egg and then breadcrumbs, and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, flip and bake another 5 minutes.
Remove from oven to add a spoonful of tomato sauce to each (don't smother it--save the rest of the sauce for breakfast tomorrow) and top with a slice of cheese. (We used sliced Muzzarella, it isn't Mozzarella but not bad either). Bake until soft (another 10 minutes).

Baked Eggs in a Spinach Tomato Sauce
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 T. EVOO + drizzle for top
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Shake of S&P
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (or the leftover)
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g. Gouda cheese (or whatever kind you've got), cubed or shredded

Saute red pepper flakes in EVOO over med high heat for 30 seconds, add spinach and saute (constantly stirring) until wilted, add a shake of s&p. Add tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to casserole dish (I think mine is about 6 inches), create a well with a spoon for each egg, sprinkle in cheese, top with a drizzle of EVOO, and bake at 190C (375F) for 20-25 minutes. If you like your eggs runny, you may want to check on them earlier.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spinach Mashed Potatoes

Listen, spinach is so good for you. So mix it with mashed potatoes and eat it, already.
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 3-4 c. (loosely packed) fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4. c. milk or sour cream
  • 1-2 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. veg stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Scrub, peel (or not), chop and boil potatoes in salted water. Wash spinach obsessively and lay out on a towel to absorb some of the moisture. When the potatoes are almost done, saute the spinach in olive oil on med-high heat until wilted (about 2 minutes). I added a splash of veg stock, but not too much since it's already wet. You could saute chopped garlic for a few minutes before adding the spinach, if you like. Season with salt and pepper. Warm up milk (or sour cream), butter, and the rest of the stock. Use as much of this mixture as you prefer, remember that the spinach is quite moist. Drain the potatoes and immediately mash with liquids, salt, and pepper (I've also heard that a touch of nutmeg is nice), and fold in spinach.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Felices Pascuas!

Happy Easter!
Hope you're all enjoying chocolate eggs about the size of your hand...

with little candy surprises inside!

Hippity Hoppity.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Bagel Hole

Things I took for granted in NYC:
  • free stuff to do
  • clean-enough-to-walk-on sidewalks
  • crosswalks
  • shoe shopping
  • pizza
  • pickles
  • bagels
Listen, I knew that I was lucky to live in NYC and I tried to savor every experience but I got lazy. I stopped doing all of the free stuff, like movies in Bryant Park, in favor of Blockbuster in bed. I didn't buy nearly enough pairs of shoes. I didn't go to Bleeker St. Pizza often enough, and I never got around to trying Gus's pickles. But what I really missed out on was the abundance of fresh bagels, baked daily by the experts. Sure, I had one here and there but now that there is no bagel in sight, I could just kick myself!

So I made some. These didn't taste exactly like they came from a NYC deli, but we can definitely work with what we've got! These turned out a little small for me, but yummy. As it was my first time, I made half of this recipe, which yielded 4 bagels.
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 T. sugar
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 T. veg oil
  • 1 t. instant yeast
  • 3/4 c. warm water
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until a dough begins to form. Turn out onto a floured surface and kneed for 10 minutes.

Cut into 4 balls and let rise for about 15-20 minutes.

Briefly kneed each ball again, poke a hole in the middle of the ball with your thumb and flip around on your finger to make the hole bigger. Let rise for another 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop in the bagels - boil for 2 minutes on each side (don't crowd them). Remove from water and set on a towel to dry for just a moment.

Place bagels on a greased non-stick baking sheet and bake at 425F for 10 minutes, flip and bake another 10 minutes.

We wanted sesame seeds on ours, so we brushed the bagels with egg white after boiling and sprinkled with the seeds. We flipped them after 10 minutes and the seeds stayed in place.

Mmm...perfectly browned bottom. (How's that for a round-thing-in-your-face?)

We made sandwiches and took these on a picnic. Mine was tomato (with a touch of basil) and Finlandia light cheese. Guille had good ol' egg & cheese.

So what have I learned from all this? Well, I suppose that I learned how to make bagels. But I also learned that I better eat my fill of empanadas and gelati while I'm here. These moments are fleeting, poppets. Eat to live.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Roast Schmoast

Apologies for taking so long to write another post. You see, it's just that I've had too much caffeine to sit still since Guille's birthday. Sure, I did my time as a barista in grad school. But all of those lofty principals of foam and crema were lost on me - I was too busy making silly candy bar inspired lattes with hoards of syrup for the masses. And when any of those pretentious types came around, I wanted to smack them for making high-quality demands in, essentially, a fast-food joint. Often times, I was more concerned about the bathroom and who was living in it that day.

So I never embraced coffee culture. You've probably noticed that one of the things I love about Argentina is the abundance of cafes - places where you must sit down to drink your coffee. Don't pretend you're too busy, just have a seat already. But Guille was tired of having to put on his pants every time he wanted a good coffee. So he got an espresso machine for his birthday. Nothing fancy, but it. makes. damn. good. coffee.

I'm not going to pretend to know enough to provide guidance on this topic, but I will mention that we got a DeLonghi machine with 15 BAR. It was a little bit of a splurge, but an affordable option down here. If you're interested in knowing more, Coffeegeek has too much information for all of your caffeine-induced web surfing needs.

And La Fazenda (Santa Fe y Pte. Roca) makes espresso blends that they'll grind for you. We're trying the house blend first, and it's really very good. So wake up! Roll out of bed, and make delicious coffee...pants free!