Sunday, January 30, 2011

Small Kitchen Stories: Greek-Style Eggplant & Turkey Bake

I was craving the New York Times Cookbook: "Eggplant Moussaka" of my Youth! It was a Sunday affair which took hours to prepare and minutes to devour.
I had no intention of devoting such labor but I wanted the end-result! I had no ground lamb but I did have "organic" Ground Turkey and a small eggplant.
This dish astounded me! My rendition tastes of Lamb and the Bechamel sauce although neither are in the dish! Although one pound of Turkey is used; if you are to serve more than three people.... load up on side dishes as this main course will be demolished.
Our Giant, Rte 1 supplies the ingredients.

Greek-Style Eggplant and Turkey Bake

Big Baking dish smeared with Olive Oil
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Ground Turkey, "Nature's Promise" Brand, 1 lb.
Onion, sliced
Mushrooms, one big handful chopped
Spinach, three big handfuls, chopped
Eggplant with the peel, sliced
Dill, Marjoram, Celery Seed
White Wine
Olive Oil
Feta Cheese, Giant Brand
Greek Yogurt, Cabot Brand

In a big saute pan add in a generous amount of olive oil. Saute the onions and mushrooms. Add in the ground Turkey and brown. Add in the chopped spinach, the herbs, and saute until wilted. Add in some wine and simmer a few minutes.
Layer the above mixture into the baking dish.
Now add more olive oil to the pan ( no need to wash it! ) and throw in the eggplant slices. Just toss around until the eggplant picks up all the olive oil and adds some color.
Layer this on top of the meat mixture.
Now strew the top with lots of big Feta crumbles.
Now strew big dollops of the Greek Yogurt until you have a nice layer.
Sprinkle the top with more olive oil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Dessert was Pomegranate with Cardamom and Honey.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kitchen Clean Out: A New Life!

Last year I determinedly sorted thru all my clothes; both old and new. What I was left with revealed the old life gone and the new life gained; my Beach-y Life!
But I never would have guessed that this year's Big Task of cleaning and re-organizing every Kitchen nook and cranny would reveal the same.
A life-time ago I had a baking life! Rustic Italian Breads, and 1800's Era English Scones was a weekly pursuit. Beautiful handmade baskets once used for rising the dough now are used to house produce.
A life-time ago my stove-top saw multiple pressure cookers churning out big soups and stews. The cookers are now sadly decimated and in the shed waiting disposal.
The 15 year-old electric Wok died; but I think a new small one is worthy for Small Kitchen Stories.
What is new? It is not so much what is new as what I have shed. Cooking now is given over to less energy use in pursuit of quick delightful meals. The oven is only used in cold weather when it is time to indulge in seasonal "comfort foods".
My adored Bosch Mixer still sits on the counter, but is rarely needed. Instead of using the "chopper": I enjoy the time prepping with a knife!
Daily kitchen life is now: grilling with the Pannini Press, sauteing, rice made in the fancy "R2-D2" noise-making cooker, lovely ceramic bakers for baked fish or chicken legs, covered casseroles for steamed vegetables, and pretty little bowls for sliced fruit.
Small Kitchen Stories: I'm happy to be at your table.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Small Kitchen Stories: Baked Veal Steak "Granny-Style"

Pulling out of the oven fragrant Lemon Squares; I wanted to make further good use of the oven energy. I was way too tired for anything complicated. I wanted a Sunday Dinner thrown back to the 1950's!
That did it! The Veal Steak that was to be simmered was now to be baked.
This is a Two Way Recipe: The second day, boil up Egg Noodles and top with the leftover gravy, meat, and vegetable bits with a swirl-in dollop of ricotta cheese.
Our favorite Giant, Route 1, provides the ingredients.

Baked Veal Steak "Granny-Style"

Veal Steak, "cubed" and pounded with a meat hammer.
Onions, sliced
Mushrooms, sliced
Red Sweet Peppers, sliced
Potato: diced small
Mushroom Soup thinned with White Wine: I used the "Organic" Pacific brand.
Celery Seed
Olive Oil

Second Day: Ricotta Cheese and Egg Noodles.

In a ceramic baking dish smeared with olive oil, lay on the veal steaks. Layer on the vegetables. Pour on the Mushroom Soup which has been thinned with the wine. Sprinkle with the herbs. Bake at 350 degrees for ~ 50 minutes.

Dessert: Lemon Squares!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Small Kitchen Stories:Panned Veal Loaf with Ricotta Sauce

Sometimes I get a notion for a fancy-rich-gild-the-lilly dinner. As the dish is so filling; 8 oz of ground Veal easily serves two.
This Veal Loaf is made in a saute pan.
Panned Veal Loaf with Ricotta Sauce

Ground Veal, 8 oz
Egg, 1
Ketchup or Chili Sauce
Oatmeal/Bread Crumbs

Combine the above and let it sit in a bowl in the fridge for at least one hour.

Onion, Sliced
Mushrooms, Sliced
Plum Tomatoes, Chopped
Olive Oil
White Wine and Water
Ricotta Cheese, Big Dollop
Greek Yogurt, Smaller Dollop

In a big saute pan add in the olive oil and heat. Form the Veal Loaf into a long shallow oblong and gently place in the pan. Brown on one side for 5 minutes and flip it. Add in the sliced onion and mushrooms, let brown, and then add in the chopped tomatoes. Add in a good dose of wine and water until half way up the Veal Loaf. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the dollops of Ricotta Cheese and the Greek Yogurt. Swirl it into the juice and vegetables. Turn the heat on low just to heat up the sauce.

I served this with steamed spinach and steamed butternut squash.

Dessert: Clementines Sliced with Cardamom, drizzled with honey.

Ta DA!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dewey Beach Leaseholds...... Series 2.

A New Year! A New Lifestyle?
Could a life-style change be test-driven?
Yes, is the answer!
The Lease-hold Beach Cottage was my sports-car/boat variety indulgence test-drive!
I knew I had to change my life; but I was unwilling to throw it all up in the air just for a change. How could I find a new life while living the current one?
Could I hold up to the commute? Could my business hold up to the "time away"? Would I like a beach-y Delaware life? Would this be where I would "retire"?
I loved the idea of a second block from the ocean location! Where else on the East Coast can one find this option for "cheap"?
I loved the idea of a cottage devoted for a determined functional goal: beach/fun, beach/fun, and more beach/fun!
I liked the idea of a three-season cottage, that required "Winterization". I'd enjoy the cottage May thru October; close the cottage; and then focus on life's non-beachy demands.
By purchasing the Lease-hold Beach Cottage I'd spend not too much cash; have a wild good time, and simultaneously and soberly asses the area for my next move: my "full-time" beach-y location.

Beach Blessings,