Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eggplant Stew

My absolute favorite food of all time is eggplant. I could eat it anytime of year, with anything, or by itself. I often add eggplant to my pasta sauce, and order it on my pizza. The other day I saw graffiti eggplant at the grocery store. They are light purple, streaked with white, and are a little thinner than the aubergine eggplants. I have never seen them before so I had to try them. They have a similar taste to white eggplant. In addition to my eggplant I also picked up baby bella mushrooms, an onion, fresh basil, and a yellow pepper. I decided to throw all of my purchases together in a large pot along with some things I had at my house such as a can of crushed tomatoes, a medium tomato, olive oil, garlic, and a can of black olives. With these items I added some chicken broth and milk to make my hearty eggplant stew. Cutting the vegetables is most of the work. After that is done you just let the veggies simmer and reduce down. I also toasted some bread in the oven to dip in the stew. This dish was delicious and the leftovers were just as good the next day. The dish can also be eaten cold. Hope you like it!

  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 eggplants, (graffiti, aubergine, or white) chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1- 6oz can black pitted olives,
  • 1- 14 oz can chicken stock
  • 1- 2lb can crushed tomatoes
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • a dash of red pepper flakes
  • parmesan cheese
  • fresh toasty bread

  1. In a large heavy pot, add olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add garlic, saute 30 seconds. Add onion, cook about 30 more seconds, then add the eggplant. Turn heat down to medium and stir mixture every few minutes.
  2. Once eggplant is starting to cook add the mushrooms, pepper, crushed tomatoes, chopped tomato, and chicken stock. Turn mixture back up to medium high. Stir every few minutes. Once mixture is bubbling and veggies are reducing, turn it down to a simmer.
  3. Let mixture simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until are veggies are cooked through.
  4. Add the basil, olives, milk, and red pepper flakes. Stir in and let simmer about five more minutes. After that it is ready to serve. Top with some parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mussels in a White Wine Sauce

Last Wednesday was a great day for a few reasons. The temperature was about 88 degrees and I had nothing to do all day but spend it with my Aunt Leigh and my cousin Oliver. We spent the entire day playing outside. Oliver and I had several water gun fights to cool us down considering the high temperature. However, this day was also a little sad for me. Every week I had been staying with my aunt, uncle, and cousin a few days while taking a food writing class in New York City. Last Tuesday was my last class. I was enjoying all of the time I was getting to spend with them so I was sad it was going to end. That night we decided to do something special since it was the last night I was going to be there for a while. What we decided on was fresh steamed Mussels. I had been craving them for a while and wanted to try my hand at making them. Before my Uncle got home my Aunt and I cut and prepped everything so we would be ready to go when he got home. Our broth consisted of a lot of white wine, chicken broth, garlic, shallots, a little butter, and our favorite fresh herbs. We made four pounds of mussels for the three of us. It sounds excessive but they were so melt in your mouth delicious that we ended up only leaving maybe six or seven uneaten. Oliver even tried a mussel or two. With our mussels we had fresh bread, which is a must to dip in the broth, a side of garlic green beans, and oven fries. Everything turned out awesome. The mussels are extremely quick and easy to make and when cooked perfectly are to die for!

  • 4 lbs (scrubbed clean and debearded)
  • Discard any mussels that are all ready opened, but first poke the mussels with a spoon or fork, if it closes its shell it's still alive and is ok to eat. If not throw it out.
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, torn
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
  1. Heat up 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat in a large pot. Saute shallots and garlic about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Then add 2 cups of the white wine and let cook for about 8 minutes. Add remaining liquid. Turn up heat so mixture is at a boil.
  3. Once mixture is at a boil, add in the mussels and cover. Cook mussels for 6-8 minutes, or until they are all open. The mussels can be prepared in two batches if you don't have a large enough pot. Discard any mussels that did not open. When mussels are cooked sprinkle them with the fresh herbs. Move to a serving platter a bowl and serve right away with fresh bread. Enjoy

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Grilled Fish with Fruit Salsa

This unusually warm April weather had me craving something light and tasty. Especially after eating very heavy and dense foods for Easter, and then of course the days of leftovers to follow. I decided I wanted to grill some white fish and create a fruit salsa. I headed off to the store to see what looked fresh in the produce and seafood sections. I choose kiwi, mango, red onion, lime, cilantro and tomatoes for my salsa, and red snapper for my white fish. I made the salsa first and set it in the refridgerator to chill. Then I marinated the fish, and prepared a side salad and sauteed zucchini to go along with my fish, while my grill was heating up. I grilled the fish for a few minutes on each side and topped it with the salsa, some fresh cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice when it was time to serve. The sweetness of the fruit salsa paired perfectly with the grilled fish. This dish would be perfect for kids who are not big fans of fish because the salsa covers up the fishy taste, while incorporating fruits into the meal. My family loved this recipe and I hope yours does as well!

Fruit Salsa
  • 2 kiwis, diced
  • 1/2 mango, diced
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, finely diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, torn
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  1. Dice all ingredients. Put into bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, torn
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Combine first four ingredients in a bowl. Pour over fish, then sprinkle salt and pepper and let stand for 15 minutes.

  • 1 lb red snapper (or mild white fish of your choice) cut into 3-4 fillets
  1. Preheat grill to about 350-400. Spray rack with cooking spray.
  2. Place fish fillets on rack.
  3. Grill fish a few minutes per side until flakes with a fork. (cooking time varies depending on how thick the fish it)
  4. Once fish is done move it to a serving platter and top with salsa, and additional cilantro and lime juice if desired. Enjoy

Garnish (optional) fresh cilantro leaves
Lime Juice

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Creamy Pesto Pasta With Shrimp

Last night, after a long day of hiking I was craving something sinfully delicious. I decided I wanted to try to duplicate a creamy pesto pasta I had for lunch at an Italian restaurant a couple weeks back. The dish featured a creamy pesto sauce, pasta, and shrimp. My mother and boyfriend are always willing to try my creations so having them both around last night was the perfect opportunity to test out my recipe. I was very satisfied with the outcome and judging by their empty bowls, they were as well. I used frozen shrimp and homemade pesto but fresh shrimp and store bought pesto can be substituted. This recipe is simple, quick and delicious. Enjoy!

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

  • 1 cup pesto sauce
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 lb frozen shrimp (peeled)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 box Campanelle or Ditalini pasta
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped almonds
  • salt

For Garnish (optional)
grated fresh parmesan cheese

cubed fresh mozzarella


  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add 1 tablespoons salt to the water. While the water is heating, dice tomatoes.
  2. Turn water down to medium-high and cook pasta according to package. Add shrimp to the pot when there is two minutes remaining in the pasta's cooking time. Drain when done.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat half and half over medium heat. Let it get a little bubbly and slightly thickened. If it does not thicken on its own, whisk in 1 tablespoon of flour.
  4. Once pasta is drained stir pesto sauce into the cream. Then add almonds and parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir until well incorporated.
  5. Return pasta and shrimp to pot. Top with diced tomatoes. Pour pesto cream sauce over pasta and shrimp. Mix well. Top with fresh parmesan and mozzarella if desired. Serve and Enjoy

Saturday, April 3, 2010

About Me

My name is Andrea, but I often go by Andie. I have a degree in Communications/Journalism, but thus far it has proven to be useless to me. My real passion is food. It all started when I was ten and my father taught me how to perfectly cook an over-easy egg. From that moment on I was fascinated with cooking. Over the years I have been trying to learn all I can about food and proper cooking techniques and flavor combinations. I have perfected some of my parents recipes along with other recipes I have tried or recipes I have created. The purpose of this blog is to share with you my recipes, experiences, and overall food feelings.