Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Good Doctor is a Great Cook!

Two Saturdays ago when the Prince and I were out in Mattituck (see Eyreaffairs for my post on the lovely day), we feasted on an amazing dinner made by J. Sarah's dad. Both of her parents are great cooks; her mother has made some of the best meals of my life. Eggplant parmigiana over spaghetti is a household favorite of the family's, and I was indoctrinated into EPP over SPAG (as its called by the family) a few years ago and it is one amazing recipe. J. Sarah's dad was kind enough to give the Prince and I the recipe, and it is being shared here with you readers. I must admit that try as you might, it will taste great...but not as great as his!

I recreated the dish this past Thursday evening for the NFL opener of the Giants crushing the 'Skins (see above photo). It seemed like the perfect dish to make to kickoff football season! Instead of spaghetti, the Prince got fresh buccatini from the local Italian pizzeria and, instead of wine, the Prince tapped me, him, and his brother a Heineken mini kegger! The beer went quite well with this dish. It was great, and the Prince's mom even enjoyed it! I hope you make this dish soon!

Dr. H’s Eggplant Parmigiana

Tomato Sauce (can be made in advance and frozen)
Makes 64 ounces-enough for two LeCreuset cookers

2 lbs of Italian plum tomatoes
2 small cans of tomato paste (not seasoned)
1 large green pepper
1 large white onion
2 large cloves of garlic
10 stalks of fresh basil (remove stems)
5 stalks of fresh parsley (remove stems)
½ a teaspoon of thyme (can be dried)
½ a teaspoon of rosemary (can be dried)
½ a teaspoon of oregano (can be dried)
2 ounces of Olive oil
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 ounces of hearty red wine
1 ounce of sake or dry vermouth
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 dash of Angostura bitters
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes into small pieces
Dice the pepper, onion and garlic
Chop the basil and parsley

Add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of a large sauce pan, begin to heat and add the tomatoes and then all of the ingredients in no particular order. Stir until everything seems nicely mixed and cover. Heat enough to get near boiling and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for a few hours (probably better the longer you cook but 3 hours is probably adequate.

Now, while the sauce is cooking you can work on the eggplant (unless you also did it earlier (4-6 hours). There is no right amount of eggplant but you need enough to make 5 or 6 layers in the cooker. This works with any of the many types of eggplant but a few different colors and shapes seems to add to the dish.
You also need some dry oregano and basil
Bread crumbs (unseasoned)
Olive oil
Mozzarella cheese cut into ¼ inch slices
Romanao cheese-grated

Wash the outside of the eggplant and cut into pieces (long or circles) that are about ¼+ of an inch thick. No need to remove the skin but if you cut long pieces the outer ones with skin on one side need some of the skin removed so you can bread them.

Dry off the eggplant. Take 3 eggs and beat them briefly. Set up a plate with a layer of breadcrumbs and sprinkle some oregano and basil on the crumbs and mix in.

Add enough olive oil to completely cover the bottom of a frying pan and heat enough to fry rapidly. One by one dip the pieces of eggplant in the egg (both sides) and then lightly bread both sides and place in the hot oil. Do as many as will fit in the pan and then fry both sides to a light brown and remove on to paper towels. Fry all the eggplant.

Assembling the EPP:
Start with a thin layer of sauce followed by eggplant (three or four pieces) and 3-4 pieces of cheese. Cover with sauce and start the process again. When you’ve filled the LeCreuset sprinkle on Locatelli Romano to cover the sauce.

Bake for ~45 minutes at 350 degrees or until the cheese just begins to bubble.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cakey Goodness

Aunt Maimy and Jack admire his Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake, made by the bakers at East Norwich Bakery....