Monday, September 2, 2013

En Papillote!

In a text to Sushil today, I wrote:  "I have an idea for easy dinner -- will take ten minutes and easy clean up!"   In reality, the prepping took about 30 minutes, but oven dinners mean one less pot, and these parchment wrapped packets are just such a delight to eat : )   I used a Near East "Creative Grains" for the starch -- cous-cous and pearled barley in a parmesan sauce.   Totally do-able for weeknight dinner from the wonderful La Tartine Gourmande.  

4 portions of white flaky fish (flounder pictured above)
1 zucchini, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1" ginger, minced
2 handfuls parsley, roughly chopped
1 meyer lemon, zested and juiced
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.  Begin by chopping your vegetables, garlic, ginger and parsley.  Toss with a little bit of sea salt and set aside.  Cut four 12" square pieces of parchment.   In the center of each square, use about a tablespoon of olive oil to create a small circle.   Layer a bed of vegetables in the center, and lay your fish fillets on top of the vegetable beds.   Spoon one tablespoon of lemon juice on each fillet, followed by lemon zest and black pepper.   Fold the corners of the parchment paper over as if you were wrapping a gift.   Place the side that you would "tape" on a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes.   Done!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gratitude Dinner!

On the eve of a new school year -- and the commencement of a new role at a new school -- I wanted to thank a few people who helped me through my job search.  Between resume coaching and career development talks, these people have been consistent sources of inspiration and support. So I cooked for them!   I wanted to make a summer garden lasagna, replete with thin layers of roasted eggplant, chunkier layers of zucchini and mushrooms, a lot of fresh basil and just enough fresh mozzarella to call this dish a lasagna.  Here is gratitude.

The dish is based off of this New York Times recipe.

1 large eggplant -- ours was about a foot long, and even in its circumference
1 large zucchini
10 ounces of baby bella mushrooms
umm... a lot basil -- three big handfulls
3 cups of marinara sauce -- San Marzano is a good choice if you need to save time
olive oil for roasting vegetables
no-boil lasagna
1 cup of fresh mozzarella

Begin by pre-heating the oven to 450 degrees and preparing your vegetables:

  • eggplant:  cut through the width of the eggplant so that the two halves are about six inches long; for each half, cut 1/2 inch vertical slices; sprinkle slices with sea salt and set aside for 15 minutes before patting dry and roasting
  • zucchini:   these will actually go in your marinara sauce; chopping them to the consistency of sliced mushrooms creates a nice balance
  • mushrooms:   remove the woody stem and slice each mushroom thinly, stem-side down

Lay out the eggplant slices in single rows on a baking sheet and coat with about two tablespoons of olive oil; the vegetables will bake again with the lasagna, so no need to roast them more than ten minutes.   When the eggplant is ready, carefully remove each slice from the pan, and add on your medley of mushrooms and zucchini.  Roast these for about ten minutes, as well, and when they are ready, mix them into the marinara.   Assemble your dish by layering the lasagna with sauce, the eggplant slices topped with mozzarella and basil, and the marinara sauce with roasted zucchini and mushrooms.   Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour.