Monday, February 27, 2012

Baked Eggs with Ratatouille

I've never before made ratatouille because eggplants intimidate me. The few dishes I've eaten with eggplants I didn't much enjoy the chewy skin or flavor. This weekend I decided to give these healthy veggies another try.
What I like about this recipe is the health (kudos to low calorie dishes packed with veggies!), the skinned egg plants (no chewy skin), and the yummy broiled egg on top. The egg is what convinced my picky 3 year old to eat her did the banana split dessert. 
I didn't add the banana pepper because I wanted to keep the heat low for my children's sake. Instead I added a shake or two of red pepper flakes. I also didn't have cocettes so I used ramekins and topped each with only one egg.

Baked Eggs with Ratatouille
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
1 banana pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tomatoes, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
2 small zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
8 eggs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup julienned fresh basil
- fine sea salt and freshly
 ground pepper

Special Equipment: 4 6-inch cocottes

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red pepper, banana pepper and garlic to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, adding water as necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This can be done up to 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated.

Preheat oven to broil.
If the ratatouille was done ahead and kept cold, gently re-warm over medium heat. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the ratatouille into a cocette, crack 2 eggs on top of the ratatouille and place the cocettes in the broiler and cook until the egg whites are just barely set, about 5 minutes; serve hot with Parmesan and basil on top. 

Who Dished it first? Eric Ripert

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Layered Mediterranean Dip

I'm a fan of Pioneer Woman's site. Her humor, style, and country life are so fun to read about. Even better, I love her recipes. There's no shame in butter, right?  She now has a food site, Tasty Kitchen, and last week a foodie blog friend of mine, Natalie, spotlighted this Mediterranean dip. Mmmm ... it is one my new favorite turn-to healthy finger snacks/appetizers. Enjoy!

Cilantro-Pecan Pesto Layered Mediterranean Dip

For the Pesto:
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 T pecans, chopped
2 T pine nuts
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Process cilantro, garlic, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until a rough paste forms. Add pecans, pine nuts, and cheese, and process until blended stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, pour the remaining oil through the food chute in a slow and steady stream; process until smooth.
Pesto can be chilled for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month if desired. Yields 3/4 cup.

For the remaining layers:
2 cups hummus, any flavor
1/2 cup baby cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped

For garnish:
pita chips
feta cheese

Assembling the layered dip:
Spread pesto on a platter. Layer the remaining ingredients on top of pesto in the order listed. Top with the garnish ingredients and serve with pita chips.

Who Dished it first? Tasty Kitchen

Monday, February 6, 2012

Brown-Sugar Pound Cupcakes with Brown Butter Glaze

This weekend I tried a new cupcake recipe and I just had to share it here as one of my new favorite dessert Dishes.

First of all, I've never made a brown butter glaze until now and I've been missing out on a lot! What a deliciously buttery sweet glaze and what a fun alternative to the typical butter-cream frosting. I'm also a fan of the density of the cake as it's not your average light and squishy cupcake.  What I especially like about this recipe is NO leftover frosting! One of my pet peeves is not coming out even after you've frosted and I'm glad to say that this glaze recipe makes just enough for the two dozen cupcakes.

This is a very rich recipe so plan to enjoy your one or two cakes and share the rest.

Brown-Sugar Pound Cupcakes with Brown Butter Glaze
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the addition of buttermilk, ending with the dry. Scrape sides of bowl and begin filling muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes.

Set rack with cupcakes over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon brown-butter glaze over tops and let stand until set. Serve glazed cupcakes immediately.

Brown-Butter Glaze
Yield: enough glaze for 2 dozen cupcakes

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 t pure vanilla extract
2-4 T whole milk

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour butter into a bowl, leaving sediment behind. Add sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to butter and stir until smooth. If glaze is too thick add more milk. Use immediately.

Who Dished it first? Martha Stewart

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