Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lower-fat Eggplant

Show of hands - who loves eggplant parmesan? Another show of hands - who avoids it because of the fat? What - you didn't know this stuff was loaded with fat?

The traditional eggplant parm uses oil, eggs, and a wad of cheese that could block arteries from fifty paces. For those of us watching our fat intake (and yes, even vegetarians have to be careful), it can be disastrous to the diet.

However, I've come across a great way to make this stuff without all the fat. Instead of frying the eggplant in oil, you bake it on a baking sheet sprayed with scant amounts of oil. And those eggs? Replaced with egg yolks. Add some reduced-fat or fat-free cheese and you'll be savoring this stuff without missing the clogged arteries.

Low-fat, High-flavor Eggplant Parmesan

1 smallish/medium eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 egg whites
1 cup plain or Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup low-fat/fat-free parmesan cheese
2/3 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 Tbs. dried basil or 10-12 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice eggplant and salt. Allow to drain in colander for about 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

Mix egg whites and about 2 Tbs. of water to a froth. In a separate bowl, mix together the parmesan, bread crumbs, basil, salt and pepper. Dip eggplant into egg whites, then into dry ingredients.

Place slices on baking sheet sprayed with oil. Bake 15 minutes on each side. Remove from oven.

In a casserole dish, coat bottom with 1/2 cup of sauce. Add eggplant, then top with remaining sauce. Add mozzarella to top and bake, covered loosely with foil, for about 15-20 minutes, or until things are bubbly.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Because I'm Tenacious

Remember my earlier post about my quest to perfect paella? I was at Ikea and found what I thought would be an excellent dish for paella. And it was, except for the fact that you can't use it on the stove top, which is where paella is perfected. So I modified, tweaked, and tried like heck (read that I tried once and got lucky) and managed to find a way to bake a pretty darned good paella.

Oven-baked Paella

Olive oil for sauteing
3 carrots, chopped
About a dozen black olives, sliced
1/2 cup onion, choppped
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp. vegetable bouillon (I used Better Than Bouillon)
Healthy pinch of saffron threads
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated, reserving liquid
1 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 can diced tomatoes or 4-6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
3 shallots, sliced
1 cup brown rice
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in cast-iron skillet and saute carrots and onion for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and broth, olives, corn, tomatoes and shallots. Saute a little more until the tomatoes soften. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Add rice and broth and cook in oven, covered with foil or lid, for 45 minutes. Remove cover and add peas to top. Replace cover and heat through for about five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This worked really well to help form that "crust" I've been trying for.