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Posts Tagged ‘eggplant’

MOMMA ALWAYS SAID EAT YOUR VEGETABLES AND ONE OF THE MOST NUTRITIOUS WAYS TO DO THAT IS TO ROAST THEM. THIS METHOD LOCKS IN THE NUTRIENTS THAT OFTEN DISAPPEAR INTO THE WATER WHEN STEAMING OR BOILING THEM. SHOULD YOU USE THESE LATTER METHODS, BE SURE TO SAVE THE VITAMIN RICH WATER AND USE IT. VEGETABLES ARE HIGHER IN ANTIOXIDANTS THAN MEAT OR DAIRY PRODUCTS. A DIET RICH IN FRESH VEGETABLES CAN REDUCE CHOLESTEROL AND TRIGLYCERIDE LEVELS THAT CAN LEAD TO CLOGGED ARTERIES. ROASTED VEGETABLES ARE SO DELICIOUS. THE ROASTING RELEASES THEIR NATURAL SUGARS RESULTING IN A CARAMELIZED SWEETNESS THAT NO OTHER METHOD PARALLELS. YOU WILL LOVE VEGGIES MADE THIS WAY.

Ingredients:

Use any vegetables of your choosing. Here I was making a batch for Christmas eve. for about 22 people and I used:

Fennel, slice the bulb in 1/4 inch thickness

onion both yellow and red, sliced in 1/4 inch thickness

garlic bulbs, slice off the top of bulb and surround in tin foil leaving the sliced top exposed

sweet potato cut into cubes of 1/2 inch or so

new red potatoes quartered

red and yellow bell peppers sliced into small squares or lengthwise slices

broccoli, separate florettes

cauliflower,  separate florettes

eggplant cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes

Brussel sprouts quartered

Carrots sliced in 1/2 inch segments

Try to keep vegetables in similar sizes whichever you choose to use. Note that some vegetables will roast sooner than other so put similar types together or just remove those that roast sooner.

Preparation:

Toss vegetables with 1-1 1/2 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle with garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper

Optional: add any fresh herb of your choice such as thyme for subtle flavor, rosemary for a stronger flavor (great with potatoes) or sage for moderate flavor. Cinnamon can be added to sweet potatoes or squash.

Roast vegetables on baking sheet at 400 degree for 20-25 minutes

You will be glad you did for the flavor and nutrition you will get.

Alternatives:

Try roasting root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, turnip, rutabaga, beets (though roast separately because their color bleeds), and any other you can think of.

Aluminum containers were used at the request of the party host for ease of clean-up and this did work well. when possible, the presentation of food in pretty platters and ceramic type bowls is preferred.

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We are having our way with eggplant today. Eggplant is my daughter’s favorite vegetable. Here it is baked and made three different ways for you to enjoy: in a rich low-fat tomato sauce, as a no-bread sandwich, and with mint and feta.  Like most vegetables, eggplant has lots of phytonutrients. Minerals such as potassium, manganese, Vitamin B-6, omega’s 3 & 6, folate, magnesium and niacin are a just few of these. There is also plenty of vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that protects cells from oxygen damage. It has been touted to prevent certain cancers and heart disease. There is 20 calories per cup of eggplant which means essentially zero calories for dietary purposes. A few more reasons to eat your vegetables!!

BAKED EGGPLANT:

Ingredients:

2 medium size eggplant
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic powder
fresh ground black pepper
Dried basil

Preparation:

Wash eggplant
Leave skin on and cut off ends
Slice widthwise into 1/4 inch slices
Brush one side of the eggplant slices with the oil
Season with garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper and dried Basil
Lay the eggplant oil side down on a non-stick cookie sheet or use a regular cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silver foil
Brush the top side of the eggplant with extra virgin olive oil
Season with garlic powder, fresh ground black pepper and dries basil
Put in the pre-heated oven set at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until tender and eggplant can be pierced with a fork.
Remove from the oven

We are now ready to use this baked eggplant in a variety of ways. Here are three of my favorites.

1) Eggplant with tomato sauce:

Ingredients:

Baked eggplant

Your favorite tomato sauce (homemade or store bought). Recipe for easy homemade tomato sauce to follow.

Pecorino romano or parmigiano-reggiano

Preparation:

In a baking dish (size depending on the amount of eggplant you have made for this dish)

Ladle some tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking tray

Add one layer of eggplant

Cover with more sauce and grated cheese

Continue to layer – starting with eggplant and finishing with sauce and grated cheese

Bake all in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the size of the dish and the depth of the eggplant)

Remove when sauce is hot and bubbly !!

2) No-bread eggplant sandwich:

Ingredients:

Two slices of baked eggplant (per serving)

One medium sized tomato

Fresh mozzarella cheese or low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

Garlic powder

Fresh ground black pepper

Fresh basil

Preparation:

Slice the tomato into one quarter inch slices

Brush with extra virgin olive oil

Season with garlic powder and fresh ground black pepper

Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes

Take one baked eggplant round, top with the baked tomato , a slice of mozzarella cheese or substitute and fresh basil leaves.

Heat in oven or toaster oven to melt the cheese.

3) Eggplant with mint and feta cheese:

Ingredients:

Baked eggplant rounds

Feta cheese crumbles

Fresh Mint

Balsamic glaze

Preparation:

Plate the  baked eggplant rounds

Scatter Feta cheese by spoonful on eggplant in any amount that you like

Rip up the mint leaves into small pieces and drop them over the eggplant and cheese

Drizzle balsamic glaze over all in a ribbon pattern.

You may layer the eggplant in this way if you wish,  or serve as one layer

For presentation, garnish with whole mint leaves

Alternatives:

As always, vegans or lactose intolerant individuals may substitute cheese with rice or soy cheeses.

Tips:

Though eggplant has few calories, it is important to note that the ingredients  used to prepare it do have calories though as few as possible.

If you have extre eggplant, you may freeze it for later use. I put it side by side into a freezer bag.

You can also freeze any leftover eggplant in tomato sauce.

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