Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roasted Ratatouli Pasta

Drum roll please..... the mystery dish is Roasted Ratatouille pasta. You might have had ratatouille before, but roasting the eggplant and squash brings out a whole new dimension of flavor. My inspiration for this pasta came from two different Cooks Illustrated recipes, to the original recipes I added summer squash instead of zuchinni, red pepper, and tossed it with pasta. This would be equally good served over polenta, or just by itself as a side dish.
This first step. Salting the eggplant and letting it sit in a colander to sweat. (literally the eggplant sweats out little beads of water)
I chopped up all of the veggies while I was waiting for the eggplant to sweat.

Here is the end results. I bet you can't wait for the recipe......................

I threw in this picture just to make you smile.

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2 large eggplants (about 2 1/2 lbs), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large summer squash (about 1 1/2 lbs), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes (or zuchinni)
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion , chopped
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
3 medium tomatoes (ripe), about 1 1/2 pounds, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 C chopped basil
Ground black pepper
Sea Salt
Gluten Free Noodles ( I used Trader Joes brown rice pasta)
Parmesan Cheese (optional)
1. Place eggplant in large colander set over large bowl; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and toss to distribute salt evenly. Let eggplant stand at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Rinse eggplant well under running water to remove salt and spread the egg plant on a layer of paper towels; cover with another stack of paper towels. Press firmly on eggplant until eggplant is dry and feels firm and compressed.
2. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle position and the second rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 500 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil.
3. Toss eggplant, summer squash and 2 tablespoons oil together in large bowl, then divide evenly on baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until well-browned and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy-bottomed pan ( I used my cast iron pot) over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, and red pepper; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook until they release their juices and begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Add roasted eggplant and zucchini, stirring gently but thoroughly to combine, and cook until just heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.
5. While you are cooking the sauce, cook the pasta according to package directions
6. Toss the sauce with the hot pasta and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Note: I took this dinner to three different families, so to make it strech farther, I tossed the noodles with a little bit of good quality jarred spaghetti sauce and then the roasted ratatouille. If you are just feeding your family the ratatouille has a lot of flavor and would completley cover the pasta.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eggplant Surpirse

My sweetest neighbors brought over these lovely eggplants that she has grown in her massive garden. She said that other than breading them and frying them she doesn't know what to do with so many eggplants. I told her that I would make her one of my favorite recipes with eggplant. Almost all the ingredients were from her garden, fresh eggplants, summer squash, tomatoes, and basil......can you guess what I made?? Unfortunately she wasn't feeling well because of the last cancer treatment and wasn't able to make it to dinner. So I brought dinner to them, she loved it and wanted the recipe. Marylin this is for you, something different to do with eggplant....

As soon as you guess what it is I will post it. Or maybe a little sooner if it doesn't get guessed quickly.

If you have a favorite eggplant recipe let me know. Marylin and I would love to try some new recipes with the abundance of eggplant that she has.
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Pics from the Farmers Market and Summer Quinoa Salad

Isaiah loving the market, sampling the bread, and wearing his sweet shades he would not part with at DI.

The summer quinoa salad that I posted the recipe for underneath. Sorry the lighting is horrible, taking pictures when it is dark never lends to very pretty food pics.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Scotty's Bday Continued, and Summer Berry Trifle

Wow this post is long in coming, but better late than never.......
More birthday fun at the Rooster, a local restaurant in Utah. I had a hard time finding gluten free options at the Rooster, but if you aren't gluten intolerant they did have quite a few veggie noodle dishes that looked really good.
For Scottie's birthday I made him a strawberry, brownie, trifle. It seems to me theres is a reoccurring theme here, with celebrations and whip cream. I realized from the previous posts that whip cream usually makes its way into the party.

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Summer Berry Trifle

Strawberries, raspberries, really whatever berry is in season
Agave whip cream (recipe below)
Gluten Free Brownies

In a glass serving dish, layer first with the brownies, then the whip cream, and then berries. On the last layer end with whip cream and put a few berries on top for decoration. I also added some dark chocolate curls, that I made with a vegetable peeler and a dark chocolate bar. Just run the peeler along the edge of the chocolate bar, and it makes cute little curls. It looks super fancy, but takes fives seconds to do.

Agave Whip Cream

2 C heavy cream
3 T agave
1 T vanilla
In a mixer whip the cream, agave, and vanilla for 2-3 minutes until you can make peaks with the whip cream. Be careful not to overmix or you will have butter instead. When it looks like the whip cream is getting close I turn the mixer down to the lowest speed and mix it until it is done, to avoid making homemade butter!

****For sake of time, I did a gluten free boxed mix. I used the trader joe's gluten free brownies. They have decent ingredients, and are mostly starch free, but the best part is they taste good. If you want to make this trifle even better make these brownies. Gluten Free Brownies

Scotty's Bday and Good Eats

The last two birthday celebrations for Scotty have consisted of mountain biking in Park City and going to dinner. The trails in Park City are always fun, but we really lucked out with dinner this time. We ended up going to Reef's Kitchen, a Medeteranian restaurant owned by a family from Jerusalem. The dad, and daughter wait tables, and the family cooks. It is authentic, homey, and SO good. It also has a gluten free menu which is a big plus. We ended up getting the salmon cooked in this fabulous sauce, which by the way is on Salt Lakes top 50 things that you must do, I can vouch for that it is a must do. We also ordered the hummus, with pita (they gave me veggies for the gluten free option), lentils and rice, fries, and the most amazing hebal tea, I think it was cardamom. The waiter was surprised that we finished all of the food, just the two of us, but the meal was so balanced, flavorful, and good that we devoured it.
The restuarant itself is kind of pricey, I guess everything in Park City is, so to make it affordable do what we did. I got a gift certificate to Reef's Kitchen on The gift certificate was good for 25.00 and it only cost me around 3 DOLLARS!!! is a great sight, but you have to wait for when the gift certificates go on sale for 80% off and read all of the stipulations with each restaurant. At Reef's Kitchen you had to spend 35 dollars on the 25 dollar gift certificate, which was easy to do. All in all our meal ended up costing us around 15 dollars plus tip, and it was one of the better meals I have ever had, which is saying alot.
Biking in Park City, I wish it was closer so that we could do those trails more often. They are so well groomed and packed down, that it makes for a really fun ride. Plus they link onto so many trails that you can go forever.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Farmers Market

I went to the farmers market today, and I am kicking myself that I haven't made it there more often this summer. The produce was amazing and surprisingly affordable. I got a huge summer squash fro 50 cents, a cucumber for 25 cents, a bunch of carrots for a dollar, and peaches for 25 cents each. I am definitely going to go back next week for a cantaloupe one farmer promised me. I took a gardening class and he said that cantaloupes unlike some other fruits don't keep ripening once they are picked. He said that the time of peak sweetness is when they are fully ripe on the vine. I have never had the luxury of having a cantaloupe that was completely ripe before it was picked. I am sure the cantaloupe in the grocery store is picked weeks before it get boughten. Anyway, I will report back next week on my cantaloupe experience, I can't wait!
As for the produce I bought, I made a simple dinner with the summer squash, broccoli, and fresh tomatoes from my neighbors massive garden. It was simple, but really good and fresh.

Not really a recipe but I will explain how I made it:

1 summer squash
1/2 head of broccoli
1 lemon
Fresh tomatoes, from the garden
herbamare, or sea salt would do

Chop up the summer squash and broccoli. Squeeze the lime juice over it and cook until still crisp but cooked through. Season with herbamare and pepper. Serve over hot quinoa. Add chopped tomatoes on top, and just for kicks some grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


1 C quinoa
1 1/2 C broth, chicken or veggie, or just plain boring water

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, to take off the saponin a bitter coating that keeps the birds from eating it. Bring the broth to a boil, add the quinoa and cook until the quinoa is soft, about 15 minutes. Easier than rice, and in my humble opinion way better.