Sunday, January 25, 2009

Eggplant Rollatini

This recipe owes a lot to Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero's recipe in their cookbook Veganomicon, although my version is obviously not vegan because of all the cheese.

>One eggplant (peeled, and cut into 1/3 inch slices, lengthwise)
>Pasta sauce (I endorse Paul Newman Marinara sauce)
>1.5 cups Ricotta cheese
> 2 T pine nuts (more is better)
> salt, pepper, basil
> 1/2 cup mozzarella
> 2T parmesan cheese
> 1.25 cup water
>1T + 1t corn starch
> Bread crumbs or flour (season with salt and pepper or even garlic)
> 1 c fresh spinach

Take the eggplant slices and dewater them by salting them and letting them stand for one hour. Rinse off the salt and pat dry.

One of the Veganomicon ideas that I like is using corn starch to hold the breading on rather than egg. Make a sauce by heating the corn starch in water. This takes about 5 minutes in the microwave on high heat at first, and then low heat with occasional stirring.

Dip the eggplant slices in the corn starch solution, then cover with bread crumbs. Place on an oiled cookie sheet.

Bake the eggplant slices until brown, turning once. 350F for 30 minutes.

Make a mixture of the pine nuts, mozzarella, and ricotta. Add salt to taste. (if all you have is canned spinach mix it in here too.)

Allow the eggplant slices to cool. Place several spinach leaves and 2-3 T of cheese filling inside the eggplant slice. Roll it and place it into a baking pan. (Cover the bottom of the baking pan with tomato sauce.

When finished, spoon additional sauce on the top, and sprinkle on the parmesan cheese. Bake until the cheese filling is hot, about 35 minutes at 350 F.

Greg's Focaccia

Focaccia is a flat bread. It differs from pizza in that it does not have tomato sauce and it has much less cheese. The basic flavor is olive oil and garlic. I use minimal vegetables, and then serve the Focaccia in slices with a flavored tomato sauce.


>One recipe of dough, see next section
>Extra virgin olive oil
>Garlic to taste
>Grated romano cheese
>2 T Green olives (recommended, but optional)
>Other vegetables like black olives, sautéed peppers, or dried tomatoes (optional)
>Pepperoni or anchovies (optional)
>Pizza sauce

Take the dough after its first rise, punch it down and roll it into a 13 x 9 cake pan. Very important: put about 2 T of olive oil in the bottom of the pan. This makes the crust much browner and tastier. Allow to rise another hour.

Take your fingers and punch little wells in the top of the risen dough. Make a well every 1-2 inches. Not too deep, but enough to hold the oil. Apply olive oil with a spoon to the top of the dough.

Squish and dice the garlic and distribute on the dough. Apply salt and black pepper. The salt is part of the flavor, so don't skimp to be healthful.

Apply the green olives, other vegetables and toppings. Do not put too much topping on. This is primarily a bread top. One needs the top to get brown and crusty. Too many toppings prevent that. Never put tomato sauce on.

Finally sprinkle with grated romano cheese

Bake until the bread is well cooked and the toppings are warm in the center. I use a hot oven, 400 F for 20 minutes. A pizza stone can be used too.

When done remove the bread from the pan. Place it on a wire rack or directly on the hot pizza stone. Serve immediately. The best part is the fresh bread. If the bread cools without air, it will loose its texture too fast. Slice with a bread knife rather than a pizza cutter.

I always serve it with a flavored tomato sauce -- usually a simple store bought pizza sauce. One can serve it with more olive oil or with butter.


Focaccia Dough

Water 1c + 1t (t= teaspoon)
Oil 2T (T = tablespoon)
Flour 2 and 3/4 c
Sugar 2T
Salt 1 and 1/2 t
Yeast 3T

This is a bread machine recipe, so add the ingredients to your bread machine and use the dough cycle. You can make this on a food processor or heavy blender with a dough hook.

Allow to rise one hour, then punch down and put in the 9" x 13" pan.