I know it has been a long time, and for that I am sorry. The business (and my life!) have up and moved from Portland, ME back home (ish) to Philadelphia, PA. I know that change is sad, but to be honest, I’m really excited to be back home in the tri-state, and all moved in with the boy and the cats. All of the cats.
I’ve been baking up a storm here in the big city, handing out business cards and trying to get the name out there. Also, ya know, trying to find a place to bake that isn’t covered in all of the cats. So many.
We got sour cherries in our CSA last week, and of course I had to make a giant cherry pie. We’re leaving for a week-long camping adventure tomorrow, so I didn’t have a whole bunch of time to go all crazy with the dough and washing a food processor and blah, so I just bought a crust from Whole Foods. Thanks, frozen gluten-free section- this crust was actually pretty good, and I’d say better than a lot of frozen NON-gf crusts. Well done. The filling was all me, though, with a handy, slightly doctored recipe from a blog based in the lower Hudson Valley of NY/NJ- a place close to my heart.
I changed the flour in the recipe to Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour, and it came out perfect. The perfect balance of tart and sweet, not too thick. My cherries didn’t create a ton of juice, just enough to make a glaze but not make the crust soggy. The most tedious part was pitting the cherries, which I did with a paper clip while watching kitchen TV. Easy peasy.
Make pie. Everyone in your life will thank you.
Well, actually, it’s more like eggplant with sauce and fake cheese, because of the lactose thing, obvs. Also, we always say “parm”, rather than the full “Parmesan”, but the shortened version is ugly when written. Whatever. Anyway.
This recipe makes enough for two really hungry people (us!), or 3-4 normal people. If you eat bread and salad and a dessert, it’ll definitely be enough to feed four.
Eggplant With Other Stuff, Baked
1 good sized regular purple eggplant (the length of your forearm or a little less)
1 cup GF breadcrumbs
1 jar of awesomesauce
1 bag of mozzarella rice cheese shreds
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
No, seriously, that’s it. I know, right? I should’ve let you know before we started this whole thing, it’s a damn process. You can’t start this at 7:30 and expect to be eating by 8:00. Even 9:00 might be pushing it. Leave wiggle room! Start out by slicing your eggplant (did you wash it? no? that’s gross.) into rounds. 1/4″ is about right, but it’s not an exact science. Sprinkle each side of each slice individually with a little bit of salt. Layer them all into a colander over your sink, and let them leak eggplant-water for about an hour. Ew. I forgot to put them over the sink last time, and just stuck the whole shebang over a cutting board, and I got eggplant-water all over my school papers. Great.
Once they’re all done soaking, squeeze the pieces dry with paper towels, tofu style. I’ve found that the most effective way to do this is to put down two sheets of paper, put a single layer of eggplant slices on top, and then use another sheet of paper towel to squeeze from the top. Repeat as needed until you’re done with all of them. Time suck, right? I told you.
Preheat the oven to 425. Get your breading station all set up. If you’re not vegan, you can feel free to use an egg wash for this. We always just use sauce. So! Put a sheet of foil on a cookie/jelly roll sheet. Use two if you have a lot of eggplant, so they can all cook together. Into the first plate, dump about a cup of sauce (or egg wash). Into the second, some bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (unless you like spice, and fun). Start breading- dunk a slice of eggplant into the sauce, making sure both sides get wet, and then into the breadcrumbs, and then put it right onto the foil. Keep going. When you’re all done setting up the eggplant, stick ’em in the oven. After 20 minutes, check on the slices- flip them over, and then flip the sheets themselves. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the eggplant is nicely browned and crispy.
In a big glass casserole dish, start layering your ingredients. Sauce, eggplant, cheese, sauce, eggplant, cheese- until you run out of something, or you run out of dish. Put the whole thing back in the oven, and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
You don’t have to make pasta for this, it’s definitely enough on its own, but if you do, it’s a good idea to start boiling the water around when you preheat the oven.
The Chicken Version
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or whatever cut of chicken you really like. thighs are my fave.)
1 tbsp olive oil
everything else is the same!
Heat the oil in a big skillet (cast iron if you have it!) on your stovetop, set to medium. As soon as you feel a good amount of heat when you put your hand over it, put all of the chicken in the pan. Season with salt and some pepper, and cover to cook. Check after about six minutes- if the chicken has turned mostly white, turn it over. If there’s still lots of visible raw chicken, let it go for another few minutes. After turning it, cover the pan again and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Poke it with whatever utensil you’re using- if the chicken feels firm all over, it’s done. If it’s squishy, let it go again for a bit. When it’s done, remove it from heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Slice it into strips.Preheat the oven to 400. Set up your breading station again- this time, you might not need sauce/egg because of the oil (and fat!) on the chicken. Bread the chicken, stick it in the oven, cook for about 10 minutes. When it gets goldeny brown, it’s done! Layer the bake like in the eggplant above- sauce, chicken, cheese, etc. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Yum.
We make this pretty often, actually. It’s wicked cheap, and super rewarding. Even though it takes a lot of time, it’s completely worth it. Don’t skip the draining step with the eggplant- it’s a really watery fruit, and if you don’t drain it first, it’ll just be soggy and awful. You don’t want that, do you? Haven’t you ever had bad eggplant? This isn’t bad eggplant.
It has been a busy week. After a successful night of gluten-free/vegan cupcake vending on First Friday, I went to bed refreshed and recharged about pretty much everything. I’m working on starting a small but mighty cupcake delivery service, and the business cards and website are on their way.
And then I was offered a job. And then another one. So…I put in my notice at the Whole, and it’s all happening super fast. I can’t wait to bake for real people all the time. It’ll be exciting. I’m a little worried about finances, but it will be okay. I have a little bit of money in savings, and if emergencies happen, I can crawl back to the store with my tail between my legs. For now, though, it’s onward and upward. I’ll post the link to the website soon, and a new recipe will come after it. I think I still owe you the Eggplant Parm.
Sorry about the rambling, but there’s a lot going on! HAPPY!
I have fancier tastes than I sometimes like to admit. Champagne taste, beer budget, right? The boyfriend constantly makes fun of me for weird things I own, or flavors I enjoy- “You didn’t have to spend that long on dinner; I would have been happy with frozen vegetables cooked in Bragg’s.”
Um. I know, that would have been fine for me, too, but if I can spend the hour and make v/gf eggplant parm, why the hell not? RIGHT?!
Yeah. So sometimes we eat at 10pm, but that’s okay, because it’s always delicious. I got done with work really early today, and decided that mocha hazelnut cupcakes would be a stellar use of my time.
Oh, they were. They are delicious. I am very excited about eating all of these cupcakes. Forever. I used a recipe that I’ve never made, and I ground up some toasted hazelnuts to make flour, and what an awesome idea that was. I am a smart gal, and I like my sweets.
I’ll post the recipe for those later tonight, along with the eggplant parm recipe. It’s not really a true parm, as there’s no parmesan in it, but we should call it that anyway, because it’s better than “breaded eggplant, sauce, and fake cheese in a pyrex”. Also good with chicken!
I’ve got to say, I’m really sorry about the lack of updates. Really. It has been difficult to cook real things for the past few weeks, because of how hot it has been. We’ve made the same three things, over and over, and I already posted the recipes for those things, and so..I feel kind of bad.
Someone I don’t know just told me I could sell my cupcakes, though. Bonus!
Alright. This is all over the place. If you’re reading still, let me know!
I suppose when I say that I’ll post a recipe, I should actually do it. You folks should remind me with snarky comments if I don’t make good on a promise.
This is especially ridiculous because we make pizza once a week, at least.
about a cup of corn flour
1 cup of rice flour (doesn’t matter if these are actual cups- make the rice and corn flours the same amount, and you’re golden.)
2 tsp of xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
scant 1/4 cup corn starch
salt, pepper, herbs (oregano, basil), some garlic powder
1 tbsp veg. oil
enough water to make it smooth and easy to spread
I sift everything together, and then add some water. Stir. Add some water. Stir. Until it gets to cake batter consistency.
Spread it out on a lightly oiled pizza stone, and bake at 400 until it’s just slightly golden brown. Take it out, top with your favorite things, and put it back in the oven until the cheese melts.
Oh, you’re not using cheese? Maybe twenty minutes. Ish.
So pictures of the new kitchen were requested.
Also, we’ve adopted another cat. He wandered around our street, sad and alone and neglected, and now he’s ours. Being fed properly and loved too much, as long as he stays off of the kitchen table. Like Bartok, he’ll start getting raw chicken if he behaves.
I’m not one to disappoint, so without further ado:
That’s it. He’s the cutest, and the other two are absolute beasts in comparison. I want to snuggle him, but he’s flea-y. Ew. Being treated, and then the love can start.