Showing posts with label Comfort Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Comfort Food. Show all posts

Friday, August 28, 2015

Peasant Soup Anyone?

Make yourself a big batch of this soup and then throw it into the freezer in mason jars.  When you need something fast to eat for dinner, or something to bring to work for your lunch, look no further!  I skipped the pasta in mine this time, and used kidney beans as my bean of choice.  I also did not puree my beans this time around. But it doesn't matter.  Play with the recipe and have fun with it.

Pasta, cooked al-dente and set aside. (Use a small shaped pasta)
  • Dried beans, soaked overnight in a large pot of water and boiled. (about 1/3 lb)
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, smashed well
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • A palm full of parsley, chopped
  • Tomato paste (a couple of tablespoons)
  • One large peeled, chopped fresh tomato
  • Olive oil
  • 2 quarts of water (or more or less, its a preference thing)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 a head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 large bunch of spinach, Swiss chard, or lambs quarters, roughly chopped
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • Some strips or hunks of ham, bacon or pancetta
  • Small piece of parmesan rind (optional, but decadent!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Roughly chop the onion, celery and parsley and sauté gently in olive oil. When they begin to turn golden, add the chopped greens, garlic and potato. Season with salt and pepper and add tomato and paste, to your taste, then add some of the water you used to boil the beans, or vegetable or chicken broth to obtain a soup consistency.

Puree (or don't) half of the beans, and add these with the other half (left whole) to the soup, along with the meat scraps (and parmesan rind if using). Allow to simmer further until vegetables are cooked, then, taking it off the heat, add your cooked pasta, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with fresh grated parmesan if desired.

A good "cold-as-hell" kind of winter day meal when served with fresh warm bread.  And those kind of days are just around the corner...

Time for a nap...


Monday, October 6, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan = Comfort Food

Fun Facts: “Comfort Food.” The term was first used, according to Webster's Dictionary, in 1977.

Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological effects or to increase positive feelings.
The identification of particular items as comfort food may be idiosyncratic, though patterns are detectable. In one study of American preferences, "males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles, and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). Studies suggest that consumption of comfort food is triggered in men by positive emotions, and by negative ones in women.

I had some lovely eggplant fruits a farmer friend gave me over the weekend, and having never made eggplant parmesan myself, I thought "why not?"  I've had Eggplant parmesan in nice Italian restaurants, and always loved it, so I was looking forward to finding a good recipe.  The one I settled on originated from Food52. I made a few changes and it turned out excellent.  I'll definitely be making it often from here on.  In fact, I plan on growing my own eggplants next year just so I can make this dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. ~A

Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 4-6

2-3 eggplants
Flour for dredging
Sea salt
olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan
½ pound mozzarella

For the Sauce:
2 28ounce cans of good quality tomato sauce. (I used my own homemade tomato-basil sauce)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
enough olive oil to cover a pan

1. Peel the eggplant and slice long ways into 1/4 inch slices.

2. Sprinkle each layer with salt and place into a colander, overlapping and salting as you go. Each slice should be salted on both sides. After you fill the colander, place a plate on top and weight it with a heavy pan or a tea kettle filled with water. Let the eggplant sweat for 30 minutes or more. I let it sit for an hour with no difference.

3. While the eggplant sweats, prepare your sauce.

4. Cover the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the sliced garlic and let it cook until is sizzles (do not brown the garlic).  Add your canned tomato sauce and a little salt if needed. Lower the heat and simmer until ready to use.

5. Remove the eggplant from the colander and thoroughly pat dry each slice. Add about a cup of flour to a large plate.

7. Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, shaking off any excess. Fry 1-2 slices of eggplant at a time in the olive oil until lightly brown and crispy. Shake oil from the pieces and set them aside to cool. Repeat until you have cooked all the eggplant.

8. Using a baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom and layer the eggplant until it completely covers the bottom.

9. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan and mozzarella. Add another thin layer of sauce and then the eggplant. Continue to repeat building the layers until you are near the top, then add  another layer of sliced mozzarella. Finish with thinly sliced fresh tomatoes and parmesan.

10. Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven. Check it after it's been in the oven for 20 minutes. You may find that it throws off more liquid as it bakes. If so, press down on the eggplant and draw off any excess liquid. Cook for another 15 minutes or so. Let it stand for a good 10-15 minutes before serving (if you can help it!). It will cut into serving pieces easier then.

What is YOUR favorite comfort food?

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