Meatless Eggplant Roll-ups

Ingredients

olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 (10-ounce) bag washed spinach
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
3 cups crushed tomatoes
1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
salt
1/2 cup toasted almonds, soaked overnight in enough water to cover
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated on a Microplane grater

Method

  1. Preheat the grill and the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with the cooking spray, and place over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers to the hot skillet and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and cook until wilted and the water has evaporated. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Spray the skillet again and place over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until a deep golden brown. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and half the basil leaves and saute just long enough to wilt the basil. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture reaches a thick sauce consistency, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Spray the eggplant slices with cooking spray and season with salt. Grill the eggplant on each side until lightly charred, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of sauce to the bowl with the vegetables, season with salt and red pepper flakes, and mix well.
  7. Place the eggplant slices on a clean work surface, making 4 overlapping, 5-inch-wide x 10-inch-long rectangles.
  8. Place an even amount of the vegetables and some of the remaining fresh basil leaves on each rectangle and roll up. Place the rolls on top of the remaining sauce in the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over each roll.
  9. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes.
  10. Place the almonds in a blender with just enough of the soaking water to blend them and process on high until it’s a thick and smooth ricotta-like texture, about 1 minute.
  11. Remove from the blender and place in a small bowl, add the cheese, and season with salt.
  12. Pool a little sauce from the skillet on each of four plates, place 1 roll on top, and top each roll with the almond mixture.

Cook’s Tips

  • Add 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the almond mixture for more tang.
  • Remove the cheese from the recipe to create a vegan dish.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Negative Calorie Diet

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Italian-style Sea Bass with Tomatoes and Capers

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 (6-ounce) fillets black sea bass or striped bass (1/2- to 1-1/4-inches thick) with skin
salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 thin lemon slices (less than 1/8-inch thick, from 1 large lemon)
8 sprigs thyme
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1-1/2 tablespoons drained bottled capers

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F, with rack in middle. Line a large baking sheet with foil, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Pat fish dry and sprinkle both sides with a total of 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange fillets, skin sides down, in one layer in center of foil on baking sheet and slide 2 lemon slices under each fillet. Put 2 thyme sprigs on top of each fillet.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then saute garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt and saute until tomatoes are softened, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in capers.
  6. Spoon hot tomato mixture over fish, then cover with another sheet of foil, tenting it slightly, and crimp edges together to seal.
  7. Bake until fish is just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Check by removing from oven and lifting up a corner of top sheet of foil, then pulling up sides of bottom sheet to keep liquid from leaking. (If fish is not cooked through, reseal foil and continue to bake, checking every 3 minutes.)
  8. Transfer fillets with lemon slices to plates using a spatula (be careful not to tear foil underneath) and spoon tomatoes and juices over top. Serve immediately, discarding thyme before eating.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gourmet Italian

Cuban-style Chicken and Rice

Ingredients

1 lime, cut in half
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped (1 to 1-1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed manzanilla olives, sliced
1/2 cup plain tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
12 ounces light (as in pale) beer
2 cups chicken broth
1-1/4 cups uncooked long-grain white rice, rinsed
a baby pinch of saffron threads

Method

  1. Squeeze the juice of both lime halves all over the chicken thighs, then season both sides of the thighs generously with salt and pepper. Let them sit for a couple minutes while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
  2. Drizzle the oil into a Dutch oven or another large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof saucepan and heat over medium heat. Brown the chicken, skin sides down, for 8 to 10 minutes until golden and crisped, and then again for 8 minutes on the meat sides. Transfer them to a plate.
  3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of rendered chicken fat into a heatproof container (for saving or discarding once the fat has cooled) and then dump the onion, bell pepper and garlic into the remaining rendered fat in the pot. Cook until the veggies have softened and the onion is slightly translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the olives, tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, cumin and the bay leaf. Cook, stirring every now and then, for 3 minutes.
  5. Pour the beer into the pot. Add the broth, rice, saffron threads and the teaspoon of kosher salt, and stir. Increase the heat to medium-high; bring everything to a boil, then reduce to low.
  6. Barely tuck in those crisped chicken thighs, skin sides up, partially cover the pot and cook low and slow until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid, 30 minutes.
  7. Toss out the bay leaf and let everything rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Washington Post

Baked Eggs Extraordinaire

Ingredients

2 tbsp canola oil
2 small onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp oregano
dash of pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup crumbled light Feta cheese
4 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomato, oregano and pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in the fresh herbs and Feta cheese.
  6. Place mixture in an 8 x 8-inch pan or flan baking dish. Indent four areas of the dish with a spoon and crack the eggs into the indentations.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until the sauce is bubbly and the eggs have just set, about 12-15 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Manitoba Egg Farmers

Slow-cooked Chicken with Brown Bread Sauce

Ingredients

2 whole chickens, about 4 1b each
sea salt and black pepper
2-1/4 1b butter (or 4 cups/1 liter olive oil)
small bunch of thyme
1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally

Baby Vegetables

8 baby turnips
8 baby leeks
8 baby carrots
splash of chicken stock
2 tbsp butter, diced

Brown Bread Sauce

4 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and minced
generous 1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 slice of brown bread, crusts removed and torn
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 smoked mussels

Method

  1. Remove the legs and wings from the chickens, leaving you with the chicken crowns. Save the wings for the sauce and use the legs for another dish (such as coq au vin).
  2. Rub the chicken crowns all over with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter in a large heavy pan and add the thyme and garlic. Lower the heat to just below simmering. The butter should barely move.
  4. Add the chicken crowns and lay a piece of crumpled waxed paper on the surface of the butter. Poach gently for about 30 to 40 minutes until the chickens are firm and just cooked through.
  5. Remove and let cool slightly, then take off the skins and reserve for the crispy chicken skins.
  6. Carve out the chicken breasts and return them to the warm butter to keep them moist.
  7. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the chicken wings and pan-fry for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown all over. Remove and set aside.
  8. Add the shallots to the pan and pan-fry, stirring, for 4 to 6 minutes until soft and golden brown. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and let it bubble until reduced by half.
  9. Pour in the chicken stock and return the chicken wings to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 35 to 40 minutes until the liquor has reduced by two-thirds.
  10. Meanwhile, blanch the baby vegetables in boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes each until just tender when pierced with a skewer. Refresh in a bowl of iced water, then drain.
  11. To finish the sauce, whiz the bread in a blender or food processor to fine crumbs.
  12. Strain the sauce through a fine strainer into the blender and add the cream and smoked mussels. Season well with salt and pepper and blitz for a few minutes.
  13. When ready to serve, remove the chickens from the warm butter. Heat the baby vegetables through in a pan with the stock and butter. Gently reheat the brown bread sauce and froth it up using a hand-held stick blender.
  14. Place a chicken breast on each warm serving plate with a little tarragon emulsion. Halve the baby vegetables and divide between the plates. Garnish with watercress sprigs and crispy chicken skins, then pour over the brown bread sauce and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gordon Ramsay’s maze