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November 29, 2010

Sautéed Eggplant and Tomato Frittata

Hello, all! Missed me? I missed you.
First, happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a great holiday and by the looks of your blog posts, you did. My turkey day was awesome. The bird was juicy, the sides were fabulous and of course, my friends at the table were the best part.

For the past few weeks, I've been hard at work, staring into my books and my lap-top, writing, reading, working on outlines and presentations of all sorts. Phew! Just a few more weeks...
Now, this is a frittata I made for dinner tonight. It came together very fast and turned out delicious, and in my father's words "picturesque". In my opinion, it is best served at room temperature, with a hunk of fresh bread and a glass of good wine. Also, make extra to take to work for lunch the next day, and make the whole office jealous. Or, make a lot of extra and feed the whole office... ; )

(Yield: 4-6 servings)
1 eggplant
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 tsp paprika
1/3 tsp dried basil
6 eggs
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 vine-ripe tomato, seeded, diced

Peel and dice eggplant. Toss with sea salt and set aside for 10 min (to pull out bitterness and some of the moisture). Then rinse in colander.
Heat oil in pan on medium heat and add eggplant. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and paprika and basil. Stir and saute for 7-10 min. Then turn heat off and let cool for a few min.
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk and half of the cheese. Then add tomato, parsley and eggplant. Stir and pour into a a greased baking dish (I like Pyrex for this). Place in oven. After 15 min, pull out and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cook for another 15 min, and that's all, folks.

P.S: Someone's birthday is coming up a week from tomorrow : )

November 22, 2010

A few things...

First: I would like to say that the Sunday Soup segment has come to an end.

Second: there's only a few weeks left of this semester and that means I am currently drowning in schoolwork, and a decline is blog posts is to be expected : /
However, I do have another "Tips" post coming up soon!

November 19, 2010

Tips for beginner cooks

I’ve wanted to write a post like this since I first started this blog and am now finally getting around to it!

Whenever I cook with beginner cooks/people who don’t cook often, I always notice them making the same cardinal mistakes. Though these rules become second nature to one who cooks regularly, they may not be so obvious to a beginner. So here are a few do’s and don’ts:

· When grilling or pan-frying meat (chicken, steak, pork, burgers), DO NOT press on the meat while it is cooking, with your spatula, tongs, or whatever weapon of choice is handy. JUST LEAVE IT BE! If you press on it when it is cooking, you risk losing all the juices and being left with a sad, dry piece of meat. Nobody likes that.

· DO NOT stir constantly! Stir only the amount specified in the recipe.

For instance, when boiling pasta, stir 2-3 times in the 10-minute or so cooking time. (In this case stirring too often will not necessarily hinder the dish but it is simply a waste of time!) However, when tackling something a bit more challenging, like risotto, most recipes will call for continuous stirring, which is a crucial step for the final product.

· DO NOT crank the heat to high unless so specified! For example, when making an omelette, my sister Lily always sets the heat at super high, and ends up discarding her final product because raising the heat does not cook food faster! Science cannot be fooled! The potential meal will only burn and be inedible. Nobody likes that either, n’est-ce pas?

· DO season each layer! Do not wait until the product is done to salt it. Salt brings out foods’ flavors and each layer needs to be seasoned to ensure proper flavor development. When making a stew, for example, season each layer of ingredients as you add them to the pan. (e.g. vegetables+salt, meat+salt, potatoes+salt, etc).

However, do not over-salt! When seasoning, add just a pinch at a time.

· DO always taste a dish before serving it. Isn’t it a shame to plate something and then taste it, only to find that the seasonings need adjusting?

The above are only a few guidelines. Cooking is an intricate science and art, and it requires consideration of many more elements than I listed. However, I hope these help.

November 17, 2010

Brennan and Carr's

I’ve been living 2 blocks away from Brennan and Carr for the past 10 years, so when I’m looking to satisfy my ever-present cheeseburger craving, this is where I find refuge.
This fast food gem has been open for business since 1938. It is a small, brick and wood-paneled shack, located in the Marine Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The interior is designed like a log cabin, which is just one of the many charming things about it. They’re notorious for their roast beef sandwich (the entire thing is dipped in jus!) and the Gargiulo burger, which is a cheeseburger that’s topped with roast beef. I’ve yet to try this specialty though – frankly, the thought of so much beef in one place intimidates me.
Besides the French fried potatoes, and the battered and fried onion rings, you will not find a vegetable in sight in Brennan and Carr, which I love.

Their food is simple, unpretentious, made with love and very reasonably priced.

Get a better look at Brennan and Carr on Man vs. Food, on Thursday, November 25th at 3 pm on the Travel Channel.