Eggplant Parmigiana with Beef Bolognese

This version is using the Asian eggplant variety. They are more tender and takes shorter time to cook. Assuming that you already have the sauce ready, this literally takes half an hour to prepare. In this version, I used my own beef bolognese instead of the usual marinara sauce. On the side, is pasta with kale.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces  Japanese Ichiban eggplant
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese
  • Bolognese sauce
  • Pasta 
  • Kale, cut in pieces

Preparations.

  • Heat the water for the pasta. The kale needs 15 minutes to cook so if the pasta of your choice takes 10 minutes to cook al dente, put the kale in the boiling salted water 5 minutes earlier, then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is cooked al dente following the box instruction. 
  • Cut the eggplant in half. Slice each piece into four without cutting though the end, opening the slices like a fan. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper. Note that it is not necessary to salt the eggplants to remove the water and some bitterness as usually done with the big Italian variety. 
  • In a pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil, fry the eggplant, opening the slices like a fan. Set aside.
  • Turn on the the oven to broil. Set a rack about 6 inches from the top.
  • To assemble, using a Pyrex dish or metal pan, spread about ½ cup of sauce on the bottom, arrange the eggplant pieces. Top with some sauce, slices of mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Put under the broiler for 10 minutes until the cheese melts. 

Plate with the pasta-kale and some sauce.  
   
  

     
Buon appetito!

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Grilled Bone Marrow with Rosemary and Lemon

 This is a simple but tasty way to start a meal.

Allow 1 or 2 pieces of marrow per person. Select marrows about 3 inches long or have your butcher cut it.

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.

Cut a 4-inch foil and wrap the bottom of each marrow and stand in a baking pan.

Chop fresh rosemary.

Finely zest 2 lemons, preferably, Meyer lemons.

On top of each marrow, put a ½ tsp each rosemary and lemon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Drizzle with olive oil. 

Bake for 20 minutes.

Slice a French bagette thinly. Arrange in a baking pan and put in the oven, bottom shelf, in the last 5 minutes to crisp.

Serve with lemon wedges.

To enjoy, spoon the marrow on toast. 

Whole Wheat Pandesal

Pandesal is a Philippine bread typically made of four basic ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water. Hence, the name pan de sal or bread with salt. It’s baked like dinner rolls only topped with bread crumbs. 

A bit healthier than white flour, here’s a whole wheat version.
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour. This makes the whole wheat flour dough soft. 
  • 1/4 cup non-fat powdered milk
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup or 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • Bread crumbs for dusting

Directions.

  • If using a bread maker to make the dough, load all the ingredients in the order listed. Set to Whole Wheat Dough setting.   
  • If kneading using a stand mixer, mix using dough hook at low speed for 5 – 7 minutes until it forms a soft ball. Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let rise for 2 hours.
  • When complete, cut the dough in 16 pieces and arrange in a baking pan. Using store bought bread crumbs, sprinkle generously on top of the shaped rolls. Let rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Bake in the middle rack for 15 minutes.  If using white whole wheat flour, the color of the baked bread is golden. 

This is really good right out of the oven with butter or cheese. 

  
  
 

Kaffir Lime Shrimp

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My kaffir lime tree has a story.  I ordered this plant from a Florida citrus nursery about 15 years ago while still living in a suburb of New York City. Its home was a pot that got bigger and bigger to accommodate the growing  plant. It stayed indoors except for the short Northeast summers. We retired and moved to Florida in 2012, this kafir plant came with us. It is now permanently planted in the garden. My kaffir lime tree has come home.

For years, this plant has provided our kitchen with the leaves for flavoring some of the Asian dishes we enjoy. I just love the fresh smell of kaffir lime.

Ingredients.

  • 1 lb shrimps, head-on
  • 1 lb Asian long beans, cut about 2-3 inches long, or substitute the regular green beans.
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 5 pieces kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 3 T   Fish sauce, add more to suit your salty palate. Substitute salt if preferred.
  • ¼ C white vinegar
  • 1 T oil

Procedure.

  1. Using a kitchen shear, cut the shrimp’s whiskers.
  2. Heat a pan. Add oil. Sauté garlic until light brown. Add the sliced onions and Kaffir lime chiffonade. Cook   until the onions  become translucent.
  3. Add the beans. Pour the vinegar. Stir, cover the pan and cook for  2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimps, fish sauce and coconut milk.
  5. Make sure the shrimps are covered with coconut milk. Cook until most of the coconut milk is absorbed or oil is rendered.  This may take about 10 minutes. Check occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Serve with steamed rice.

Sumang Cassava (Cassava Steamed in Banana Leaves)

The beautiful banana leaves in the garden made my husband think of eating ‘suman’. Suman is a Filipino dish, usually sweet, made of rice or cassava wrapped in banana leaves and cooked by steaming.
When I make this type of Philippine sweet, I always go back to the basic recipe in the old, ripped, yellowing pages of a manual I saved decades ago.
Fresh cassava root is widely available now in supermarkets or Asian provision stores if you live in the West, East and South coasts of the Unites States. Frozen cassava can be substituted.
As with the cassava, the coconut and banana leaves are also available fresh or frozen.
To prepare the banana leaves, cut about 12 – 6 inch pieces. Then pass each pieces over a hot stove to wilt the leaves. This will prevent from ripping when wrapping.
Ingredients:
3 cups grated cassava, fresh or frozen
1 cup grated coconut, fresh or frozen
1 cup sugar
1 cup jackfruit, cut in pieces. I added this for flavor and aroma.
This recipe will make 12 pieces of suman.

To grate the fresh cassava, I use a food processor. A manual grater can also be used.
Measure all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse until thoroughly mixed.
Alternately, just mix everything by hand.
To wrap, put 3 tablespoons of the mixture on one side and roll. Tuck the ends under. Set aside while making a second piece. Using a kitchen twine, tie the two pieces together on both ends with the folds facing each other.
What I like to do when I make suman is use a smaller pieces of banana leaf and position the layers with the grains in opposite directions.
Using a steamer, cook for 30 minutes. Make sure that there is enough water on the bottom pan at all times.
Unwrap, enjoy while warm!

(The rest can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week or freezer bags in the freezer for a month. To enjoy, thaw and microwave for a minute.)

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Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Homegrown anything is just amazing! We recently harvested these beautiful bananas from our garden. How cool is that.

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Banana bread is just one way we enjoyed this bounty. I adapted this recipe from King Arthur’s Flour.  Double the recipe to make two flavors from the same batter.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ripe bananas, about 4 medium size
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾  cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½  cup chopped walnuts  or ½  cup chocolate chips

Cinnamon Topping:

  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • ½ cup walnuts

Chocolate Espresso Topping. Make sure to use a good instant espresso coffee because this tastes absolutely delicious.

  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1 T espresso coffee
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Procedure:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the loaf pan.
  • Put bananas, oil, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla in a food processor with plastic blade, pulse until combined. Or using a large bowl, mash the bananas and mix the above ingredient stirring to combine.
  • Mix in the dry ingredients and continue mixing/pulsing  until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour half of the batter in a separate bowl. Mix nuts on one and chocolate on the other.
  • Pour the batter into the pan.
  • On one pan, spread the walnut on top, then spread the mixed brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • On the other pan, spread the chocolate chips on top and then with the mixed brown sugar and espresso coffee.

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  • Bake for 60 minutes.  Test with a cake tester. Bake an additional 10 minutes if not done.
  • Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for 10 minutes and transfer to a rack to completely cool.
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With walnut and cinnamon brown sugar topping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With chocolate chips and espresso brown sugar topping.

 

Slice and enjoy! Just another way to spell H-O-M-E!

 

 

Bananas

After months of waiting, our banana fruits finally showed sign of yellowing. Time to take it down. That’s Rey, my husband,  as he tried to cut the banana with his  Philippine made machete which he brought to the United States 30 years ago when it was still allowed on a luggage in the plane.  And we all know times have changed.
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Banana Chips

We are so excited as this is the first  home-grown bananas we harvested from our little garden. The banana bunch was so heavy that when it fell to the ground, several green and very firm bananas separated from the bunch.  So I decided to make some banana chips. Using a Japanese mandolin,  slice the bananas lengthwise. Wipe each slice dry with a paper towel.  In a frying pan, add about ½ inch of cooking oil. I use peanut oil. Fry each side for, oh maybe 3 minutes. Drain in paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt.  I tell you, they are so much better than those store-bought banana chips. This is organic too!

News splash! The bananas are yellowing fast before our eyes!  And this is before I even had a chance to post what is originally all about making banana chips.  Now this post will simply be called bananas.

Just this morning I decided to make and freeze bananas in egg roll skins. We call this turon. Basically we wrap a slice of banana with some brown sugar and jackfruit (which is optional) in egg roll skins.  I usually freeze them for later use. These are then fried and eaten as snacks or dessert.

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All natural banana ice cream! What can be better than this. Blend frozen banana in Vitamix and presto, instant banana ice cream!IMG_2017

 

I am sure,  in the coming days I will be forced to come up with more things to save our precious harvest from rotting and going to waste heaven!