Thursday, August 29, 2013

Grill 'em If Ya Got 'em!

With a long holiday weekend quickly approaching I thought I might send you all off with a nice new salad to try.  Maybe side dish is a better word for this but either way.  Chances are that at some point during the summer wind down weekend you'll have the o'll grill fired up.  And if that's the case, I've got just the thing for you! This recipe started out as Food Network's Grilled Eggplant Salad but I made some adjustments (added potatoes and eliminated the raw garlic-yowza!).  So here it goes...
First, slice up some salt potatoes.  If you don't live in Syracuse, slice up some small potatoes.
Get yourself a nice eggplant like this little beauty I got in my CSA box.
Slice that up too.  Make sure to sprinkle with salt on both sides to help take out the bitterness.  This is essential because bitter eggplant is not yummy.  Toss it around with some olive oil and set aside.
Next, place your sliced potatoes on a large sheet of foil (large enough to fold into a little package to place on the grill) and add a minced clove of garlic, a little salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil.  Seal them up and bring them out to the grill.
Next you'll need a tomato and some fresh basil and oregano chopped.
Just toss them in a bowl and go tend to the grill.
Grill the pack of potatoes until fork tender.  We usually put them on first and take them off when everything else (i.e. fish, steak whatever else is going on) is done.
The eggplant will take roughly 8 min per side.  Looks pretty good eh?
Once the potatoes have cooled some and the eggplant has cooled enough to handle, chop the eggplant and toss it all in the bowl with the tomatoes and herbs.  Add a teaspoon and a half of red wine vinegar
and salt and pepper to taste.
Next, get yourself a nice hunk of Parmesan cheese to shave into the salad.  This stuff lasts a while in the fridge, so worth it to have on hand.
And there you have it, a warm grilled eggplant and potato salad.  I hope you like it!

Grilled Eggplant and Potato Salad

1 eggplant sliced on the thick side
2 Tbs olive oil plus more for drizzling
1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 or 6 small potatoes
1 clove garlic
1 chopped tomato
2 Tbs chopped basil
1 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 or 2 tsp chopped oregano
fresh ground pepper
shaved Parmesan cheese

Place sliced potatoes and one clove of minced garlic in a foil packet and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper. Place on a medium-high heat grill turning once, about 8-10 min per side or until fork tender.  Toss sliced eggplant with 1/2 tsp salt and 2 Tbs olive oil.  Grill over medium-high heat until tender, about 8 min per side.  Once cooled, coarsely chop eggplant and toss with tomatoes, herbs and cooled potatoes along with the red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Farmers, Food, Falls & Fun

This past Saturday we had such a lovely, impromptu outing to Ithaca, that  I thought I'd share.  After sleeping in a bit on Saturday morning (and most likely taking in an episode or two of Breaking Bad-I'm totally hooked and take in an episode when ever I can!), we decided it was too nice of a day to just hang around the house so we grabbed a few water bottles, a few towels and headed down to Ithaca for the day. 
Our first stop was the Farmers Market. What a great market they have there!  So many vendor's selling locally grown fruits and veggies, meats and cheeses, t-shirts, purses, pottery and all kinds of prepared foods too. 
This is the farm we have our CSA through.  I wish I lived near this market because they have a CSA option to pick out your own share each week. 
Look at how amazing this is!  I will say though, if I was picking out my own veg each week I probably never would have tried the dandelion greens and beet salad that Nelsy made last night.  It was really good.
I believe we'll be getting some of these beautiful peppers in our share today.
And check out these heirloom tomatoes!  We had a few really big ones in our share last week and I made this panzenalla salad for our friends from Food & Wine that was a huge hit.  I recommend you give it a try, delicious! 
Looking at all that food made us very hungry for lunch.  The kids got some homemade Vietnamese and Chinese food, which they could not stop raving about.
Nels and I went Cambodian.  This was a really spicy chicken curry that I cannot recall what its name was.
Luckily we had this fabulous mango salad to cool down with, my mouth was on fire! This lunch was the perfect start to the afternoon.
Next stop, Taughannock Falls.  This is a cool walk to the falls through a stream where some of it is dried up and some parts you walk through the water (there is, of course, a trail but this is more fun!).
Some parts were much easier to manage than others.  The water was running pretty quick in some areas.
But at the end...a nice big water fall.  After that we went back to the park, the kids went for a swim and played on the playground for a while.  Before we knew it, it was going on dinner time.  We decided to check out the Ithaca Beer Co. brew pub for dinner before the hour plus ride home.
Saw this crazy fish painting on a building along the way....
We were impressed right away with this place.  Trellis's of hops around the picnic tables, a bocce court, and this cool wine bottle privacy screen, were just a few of the features that we loved.
They had a big beautiful garden full of herbs, tomatoes, eggplants and a bunch of other fantastic veg to use right there in the kitchen. 
We had a fabulous meal of fresh cut fries, grass fed beef cheese burgers and wood fired pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil.  The Cascazilla is my favorite of their beers and the kids enjoyed their ginger beer quite a bit (notice no artificial colors!).
After dinner we caught this beautiful sunset on Cayuga Lake for the ride home.  So that was it. An impromptu outing filled with good food, good sights , a little exercise and a whole lot of fun.
Enjoy the rest of summer!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Not Your Usual Breakfast for Dinner

It's been forever since I shared a recipe!  I've been having too much fun I guess.  Time spent poolside (when it was actually hot outside), time teaching kids to cook, time having lots of fun in the Adirondack's (my fave) and now, of all things, I'm hooked on Breaking Bad.  OK, aside from one rainy Friday afternoon I'm not just sitting around watching T.V. all day, I swear.  So here we go, a whole new take on breakfast for dinner!  I found this in Better Homes and Gardens back in March and just got around to trying it last night.  They call it "Bacon & Egg Spaghetti".  No joke, we over cooked our bacon and it was still really good!  It's simple, cheap, easy, and comes in around 470 calories a serving for those keeping track.
This recipe involves a few staples that you might already have on hand...eggs,  Parmesan cheese and garlic.
Naturally, we had some chard kicking around too so we steamed some up as a side dish..gotta have your greens right?
Pre-heat your oven and chop up a piece of bread, preferably whole grain (mine was whole grain flax something or other).  You put the bread some parm and some olive oil in a food processor
and turn them into crumbs.  Spread them on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 oven for about 10 min.
Bake until nice and toasty (this is the toast part of the breakfast).
Meanwhile, cook up some bacon and some whole wheat pasta according to the directions.  This bacon was from our CSA, Side Hill Farmers and it was really good...
even if we did over cook it a tad.  We get distracted too you know!
Once it drains and cools, tear it into pieces. 
Next you'll cook up some garlic, salt and crushed red pepper.  Add the pasta, some reserved pasta water and parm to the pot and toss to coat.
Next, fry an egg for each person.  Sunny side up is the way to go I think.  We did ours over easy (habit) but they could've been runnier.
Dish up your spag, top with bread crumbs, bacon and fresh chopped chives....
When the egg mixes with everything...Mmmm.  Really good.  Does this sound a little odd to you?  Think deconstructed carbonara.  This is easier and chances are you have what you need already on hand.  We're just wondering what took us so long!

Here's the link to Bacon & Egg Spaghetti from Better Homes and Gardens, because I'm still enjoying my summer and not about to retype it at the moment ;)

Enjoy your new found breakfast for dinner!