Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

So a few months ago, we got new neighbors.  I should say as a background, that for the first almost two years here, two of our good friends lived next door.  So we were used to being pretty close with our neighbors.  They even have a dog that looks like little buddy!

Then they moved :( and some new neighbors moved in...well actually, there was another guy in between, but he was always was gone.  So we were excited when new neighbors moved in that were about our age.  After months of "let's do dinner!" promises, we finally squared away a date. 

Of course with new friends though, it's a gamble trying to figure out what they will like to eat, or not like to eat. I settled on some eggplant parmesan.  It's a good dish that lots of people like.  I've played around with different types of eggplant parmesan.  It takes a while to cook it if you sautee each piece of eggplant, and honestly it just gets too soggy.  The thing about eggplant is that it will soak up all of that oil.  Kind gross in my opinion.  I've also tried cooking it just dredged in panko and egg and just cooking it like that.  Still too soggy.  

So this time I decided to bake the eggplant dredged in panko and egg before putting it in the casserole.  The result?  Light, fluffy and extremely satisfying eggplant parm.  Everyone really loved it and I think it may be the winning recipe for eggplant parm going forward.  Also, health-wise, it's pretty good.  Win-win!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Restaurant Experience: The French Laundry

There's no way I can call this post a review.  Because to review the French Laundry....well, I am just not able to.  Not because of any unsaid barrier.  Or any secret pact that we had to sign when we got to the restaurant.  It's just...that amazing.  It met every one of my expectations.  As a background, for those of you who aren't familiar with Thomas Keller or the French Laundry, here's a bit of history.  (note: all pictures are my own, as usual, unless otherwise noted)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mussels in White Whine and Shallots

Mussels.  Delicious.  Cheap.  Easy.  Did I mention delicious?  One of my favorite things to eat in the world are mussels.  There are some places in DC that are completely delicious, like Marvin on 14th Street drooool, or Bistro du Coin on Connecticut.  And as far as shellfish go, mussels are cheap and easy to come by.

So when I saw a big ol bag at the grocery store, I nabbed them and decided that I wanted to make mussels for dinner.  I've made mussels before with all types of ingredients.  One of my favorite combos with mussels when I go out to eat is just with shallots and butter.  

But I didn't want to clog our arteries, so this wasn't as super super buttery as the restaurants would make it.  I boosted the flavor instead by adding a bit of curry powder to give it depth.  They turned out savory and yummy and the broth was sopped up with crusty bread, which serves as an excellent sponge.

Kale, White Bean and Chicken Soup

As the winter wanes on to a close, I want to use as much kale as possible.  Yes, I am aware that due to our global market, I can get kale whenever, but I think of it as a winter vegetable.  And I've been trying to get Brett to like it.

Thus far, attempts to sautee or serve it as a side may or may not have failed.  Not because the dishes were bad (I liked them) but rather because he stubbornly doesn't like it.  Same goes (heartbreakingly) for quinoa and cous-cous.  So....I decided to cook kale in a soup.  Soup for the win!

This soup was far easier to prepare because I slow cooked the chicken before.  Forgot to take pictures, but just as a general hint, slow cooking chicken breasts during the day gives you SO many options when you get home.  Whether it's putting it in soups, tacos, enchiladas, smothered in BBQ and used in BBQ sammies....options are endless. 

The result was a spicy hearty soup that was even better the next day as leftovers.  You can adjust the spiciness of it pretty easily and would be good without spice as well.