Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Updated and Fresh Eggplant Parmesan

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Wow! This is really good. I have an abundance of eggplant in the garden--the long, thin variety--along with tomatoes, basil, green peppers, and onions. So I picked all of them tonight and created this spectacular version of eggplant parmesan. Which is really eggplant, parmesan and mozzarella with tomato sauce.

This dish typically has eggplant slices dipped in egg and bread crumbs and then sauteed before baking with tomato sauce and the cheeses.  But I skipped the bread crumbs and eggs and this dish is so good, I'll never bread the eggplant again!

Slice into 1/2 thick pieces, 1 large eggplant or 5-6 long, thin eggplant. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill. I used my cast iron grill pan (a Christmas present long ago from Perry).

I then made a fresh tomato sauce by sauteing onions, green peppers and garlic in olive oil until they began to soften.  Use 2 cups prepared sauce if not making fresh sauce.

In a saucepan, saute until the vegetables begin to soften:
3 T oil
1 medium onion, chopped,
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves minced

Add and simmer about 15 minutes until it began to thicken:
3 c fresh,  chopped tomatoes
3T fresh basil
2 T fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
3/4 c fresh parmesan
3/4 c sliced or grated mozzarella

In a medium sized  oiled baking pan add 1/2 c of the sauce, layered with the 1/2 the eggplant, topped with enough freshly grated parmesan to cover the eggplant, then topped with thin slices of fresh mozzarella and 1/2 of the remaining sauce. Then I did this same layer again--sauce, eggplant, cheeses--and again ending with the tomato sauce.

Into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until it was bubbly and beginning to brown. There won't be any leftovers!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Yes, I Can!

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Canning is in again. The combination of the economy and the desire for quality food has brought canning back. Not that it ever left in my kitchen. My Mom canned, my Grandmas canned, and so I can.

Canning is easy! All you need are some canning jars, lids and jar rings, a jar lifter, a big pot and some fresh veggies.

So far this week, I've canned:

Dilled Green Tomatoes--3 1/3 c each of vinegar and water, 1/4 c salt brought to a simmer. In hot jars (about 10 minutes simmering in the canner), I added a garlic clove, head of dill, dash of hot paprika and then packed in green tomatoes. I covered them with the hot liquid, wiped off the rim of the jars, topped with a hot lid and rim (brought to a simmer in a pan of water), put the jars in the canning pot and boiled for 10 minutes. A friend gave me a jar of these last summer so this year, I had to do my own. Very tasty.This makes 6 pints.

Green Tomato Chutney--I brought to a simmer about 6 large green tomatoes (about 5 lbs), 1 lb. of green apples, 2 large onions--all chopped--with 1 lb of sugar, 1 1/2 c vinegar, 1/4 c each of yellow raisins and dried cranberries, 1 T cinnamon, 2 t mustard seeds, and 2 t pepper corns.  I simmered until thick, about 1 hour, then put in hot pint jars and boiled/canned for 20 minutes. This makes 4 pint jars.

Zucchini Relish--This stuff is great served with kielbasa, pork or hot dogs or as a side dish.  Combine 2 c chopped zucchini, 1 c chopped onion, 1/2 c chopped green pepper, 1/4 c red pepper with 2 T salt and cover with cold water and let stand for several hours. Drain, rinse, drain, rinse. Combine 1 1/2 c sugar, 2 teaspoons celery seed, 1 t mustard seed and 1 c cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. Then add the drained veggies and simmer 10 minutes. Pack into hot jars and can for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. This makes about 5-6 1/2 pints.

Tomatoes--The garden is producing lots of tomatoes from the 90 plants I have in the garden. We are canning tomatoes every 2-3 nights. Tonight I canned 5 quarts which makes 26 total quarts so far. These are so easy and with tomatoes in season right now, everyone should be canning! Last fall, we canned 65 quarts. We use them all year in soups, stews, sauces, and more. It has been years since I bought a can of tomatoes in the grocery store.

Bring a pot of water to boil to blanch the tomatoes. At the same time, bring the canner pot to a boil with quart jars in it to sterilize them. Wash the tomatoes and drop in the boiling water until the skin breaks, 2-3 minutes, then drop into cold water. Remove the skin and pack the tomatoes into the hot jars. Run a knife around the inside of the jar several times to remove any air. Top with 1 t salt and 2 T lemon juice. Add the lids and rims and can for 45 minutes in a hot water bath.

The best sound for a canner is the sound of the lids sealing when you are finished. Success. Next up for me this weekend are bread and butter pickles and pickled beets. It's canning season!