Monthly Archives: October 2018

Cranberry and Orange Scones

scones

Makes 1 Dozen

Ingredients:
For the Scones

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
2 1/2 teaspoons orange zest

For the Glaze
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon whole milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 º F .

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter and mix in with your hands until dough becomes coarse crumbs. Stir in milk until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Mix and fold in the cranberries and orange zest.

Turn dough onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead gently until dough is no longer sticky.

Divide dough in half and gently form each half into a 7 inch circle, about 1 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut each circle into six even triangular pieces. Separate and set aside.

Place the scones on the lined baking pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes or, until tops are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a separate bowl mix together confectioner’s sugar, orange zest, teaspoon lemon zest, milk and maple syrup to make the glaze. When the scones are slightly cool, drizzle glaze over the top with a spoon or rubber spatula. Serve warm.

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Pumpkin Rigatoni

Like Linus of Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts” comic strip….I think pumpkins are GREAT!

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And once again, plated.com has brought another amazing pasta dish, which is perfect for those “Meatless Mondays” and is affordable enough to make on your own.

Rigatoni is a popular pasta in Southern and Central Italy. Given its ridged and tubular shape, these features enables the pasta to hold just about any kind of sauce very well. Typically, a tomato based sauce is used with rigatoni, but in this dish, a pumpkin puree is the vegetable of choice for the sauce.

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Pumpkin can be tricky and heavy in sauces. If your sauce becomes too thick while cooking this dish, use the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out. Not only will this little trick improve the consistency of your sauce, but the starchy cooking water will also help the sauce cling better to the pasta.

This dish also features Pecorino cheese, an Italian sheep’s milk cheese similar in texture to cheeseParmesan with a salty, sharp flavor, which adds a nice counterpoint to the creaminess of the pumpkin sauce and pasta.

Overall, this dish was easy to prepare in under 20 minutes. And it was only 740 calories per serving. A great dish for a light lunch on the weekends or a light dinner during the weekday. This dish is easy enough to expand the ingredients to serve more guests.

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Creamy Pumpkin Rigatoni

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Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
1/4 bunch chives, finely chopped
8 ounces rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. When water is boiling, add rigatoni ad a generous pinch of salt. Cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside.DSC05600

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until sot and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, sage, and crushed red pepper. Cook until fragrant for about 1 more minute. Add pumpkin puree and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine.

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Simmer sauce over medium heat until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add heavy cream and half of the grated pecorino cheese and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes more. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

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Add the rigatoni to the skillet with sauce and stir to coat. Add reserved pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

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To serve, divide the rigatoni evenly between 2 pasta bowls. Sprinkle over chives and remaining grated pecorino cheese.

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

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Braised Moroccan Eggplant

Many older recipes call for salting raw eggplant before cooking it to temper the vegetable’s tendency toward bitterness. These days the bitterness has largely been bred out, but salting eggplant is still a good way to reduce the amount of oil that this versatile vegetable absorbs. For even more aroma and herbaceous flavor, add fresh mint and cilantro leaves to the basil for garnish.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 Japanese eggplant or other small, oblong eggplant, about 1 lb.
Kosher salt, to taste
One can (14 oz) whole plum tomatoes with juices
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon peel

Directions:
Trim the eggplant and cut into halves or thick slices. Put the eggplant into a colander, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and toss to coat evenly. Set the colander in a sink and let the eggplant stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl and crush the tomatoes with your hand or a potato masher. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and garlic, swirling the pan to flavor the oil, until the garlic starts to sizzle but does not color, about 1 minute. Add the salted eggplant and stir until well coated. Pour in 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and gently stir in the tomatoes, cumin, paprika and coriander. Increase the heat to medium-high and let cook at a brisk simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes thicken, about 10 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and discard the garlic, if desired. Transfer the eggplant to a serving dish and sprinkle with the basil leaves and the preserved lemon. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, October

hello-october

Fall is in full swing and every season has its bounty to share, as your local grocery stores are piling up autumn’s best harvests and many farmer’s markets are coming to an end. In addition to apples and the perennial favorite , pumpkins there are other types of produce that a commonly available during October. So why not take on October with a few reusable grocery bags and  a pair of sharp eyes, along with this list and seek out the fruits and vegetables that are at their peak.

Happy Shopping!

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for October:

Apples
Beets
Blackberries
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Butter lettuce
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Chicory
Collard greens
Corn
Cranberries
Cucumbers
Dates
Eggplant
Figs
Grapes
Kale
Kiwi
Limes
Melon
Okra
Pears
Peppers
Persimmons
Plums
Pomegranates
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Raspberries
Tomatoes
Winter Squash
Zucchini

This Month’s Featured Vegetable:
Eggplant!

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Photo Credit: Produce Made Simple, 2018.

The eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, making it related to potatoes and tomatoes. But did you know eggplants are actually a fruit, even though they are consumed as vegetables?

Eggplants are found in many cuisines, as they have subtle flavors and meaty textures which makes them especially versatile for cooking. The flesh of an eggplant acts like a sponge, absorbing the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with.

 

Varieties of Eggplants

There are many varieties of eggplant to choose from, in various colors, shapes and sizes. They can range from small and young to large and mature.

The most common variety is the large Globe eggplant. These purple, pear-shaped eggplants have smooth and glossy skin, and are often used in hearty dishes like eggplant parmesan.

Italia eggplants look like smaller versions of the common pear-shaped variety. However, the skin and flesh is more delicate than its larger counterpart.

Japanese eggplants are long, thin, and very dark in color. They take on a soft and creamy texture when cooked, and have a mildly sweet flavor. These are best used in sautéed dishes or stir-fries.

Chinese eggplants are a bit lighter in color and are slightly less sweet than the Japanese variety. They have a meaty flesh that is ideal for sautéed dishes or stir-fries.

Indian eggplants are small and round, with dark purple skin. These tender eggplants cook quickly, and have a mild sweet flavor.

White eggplants are available in a variety similar to the large common type, as well as smaller Italian eggplants called Bianco. You can also find white Japanese eggplants. White eggplant tends to have a tougher skin and a more astringent flavor than purple ones.

Sicilian eggplant are deep purple, short and squat, and lined with ridges. Sweet and delicate in taste, these eggplants are perfect for making caponata.

 

 

What Goes Well With Eggplant?

Produce: bell pepper, coconut, garlic, ginger, lemon, onions, parsley, tomatoes, zucchini

Herbs & Spices: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, mint, parsley, pepper, rosemary, salt, thyme

Other: anchovies, bread, cheese, chickpeas, milk, olive oil, tahini paste, sesame, soy sauce, vinegar

Eggplant Serving Ideas

Eggplant is delicious hot or cold, and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. It is excellent stuffed, grilled, roasted, au gratin, pureed, or as a casserole. It is an essential ingredient in Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, where it is often prepared with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. You can also use eggplant slices in place of lasagna noodles for a lower-carb family favorite!

How To Select and Store Eggplants

To check for ripeness, press lightly on the skin with your fingers; if the imprint remains visible, the eggplant is ripe and perfect for eating.

Eggplants bruise easily and should be handled carefully. Store eggplant in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge for up to one week.

To Freeze Eggplant, wash and cut into slices, then blanch. Allow the eggplant to cool completely before placing in a freezer safe bag or container and storing in the freezer. Eggplant will keep in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

How To Prepare Eggplant

Eggplant flesh discolors quickly when cut, it’s best to cook it immediately after cutting. If you need to, you can sprinkle it with lemon juice to slow the browning process.

To reduce the bitterness of an eggplant, cut into slices and salt both halves. Weigh them down with a heavy plate for 20 minutes, then rinse to remove the excess salt and expelled liquid.

Important to note: 1 pound of eggplant = 3 ½ cups chopped or 1 ¾ cup cooked.

How to Bake Eggplant: Cut eggplant into ½ inch thick slices; brush all sides with oil. Arrange in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 450° oven until well browned and soft when pierced (20 to 30 minutes).

How to Grill Eggplant: Cut off stem end, then cut in 1½ inch-thick wedges. Grill until streaked with brown and tender when pierced (12 to 15 minutes).

How to Pan-fry Eggplant: Prepare 1 to 1¼ pounds of eggplant, cutting it into ½ inch-thick slices and sprinkle with salt. Heat 1 tablespoons of oil in a wide, non-stick, frying pan over medium heat. Add a single layer of eggplant, without crowding; cook, turning as needed, until browned on both sides and soft throughout when pierced (8 to 10 minutes). Lower heat to medium if eggplant browns too quickly.

 

 

Eggplant Tips

  • Eggplant flesh is like a sponge, so it will absorb oil very quickly when pan-frying, leaving your eggplant greasy and unevenly cooked. To avoid this, salt the cubed eggplant and let it rest in a colander for 30 minutes. Then squeeze dry between two sheets of paper towel.  Salting the eggplant will remove its moisture and pressing it will compact the eggplant making it meaty. Now it’s ready to pan-fry!
  • Another way to extract moisture before pan-frying sliced eggplant is to microwave it.  Toss eggplant with a little salt, place on a plate lined with paper towel and microwave until eggplant looks dry and slightly shriveled, about 6 to 10 minutes.
  • The longer the eggplant is cooked, the softer and silkier it will become.
  • If the skin of an eggplant is very thick, it’s best to peel it off, especially if you’re serving it in chucks or slices.
  • Eggplant browns quickly, so don’t cut it until you’re ready to cook.

Eggplant Nutrition

According to the Canadian Nutrient File, the nutritional value per 1 cup (250 ml) of boiled, drained eggplant using the daily recommended intake from Health Canada is: 6.8% folate, 5% of Vitamin B-6, 4.8% of magnesium, 3.7% of potassium, and 3.1% of copper.

Source:
Produce Made Simple: Figs (2018) The Ontario Produce Marketing Association. Date Accessed September 28, 2018. https://producemadesimple.ca/eggplant/
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