Saturday, August 4, 2007

Eggplant Steaks

This is an Alton Brown recipe and it turns out pretty well - if you are somebody who doesn't like eggplant, that is fine, but if you are somebody who finds eggplants in their purple rotundity a bit daunting, I encourage trying this recipe. They can be made in the toaster oven and they are fairly easy and turn out pretty good (while being hard to screw up).


1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup thick steak sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
8 (1/2-inch) eggplant slices, purged with salt
1 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, optional


1 oven set to Broil
1 shallow jelly-roll pan
Pastry brush (if you don't own a silicone one already, buy one)
1 small mixing bowl
Paper towels

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the Worcestershire, steak sauce, olive oil, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pat your eggplant dry with paper towels.
  3. With a pastry brush apply the sauce to both sides of the eggplant.
  4. Place eggplant rounds onto a sheet tray fitted with a rack.
  5. Place the tray under the broiler for until eggplant is nicely browned, approximately 2 minutes. Turn slices over and place back under broiler to brown the other side.
  6. Generously sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan over all of the slices. Place back under the broiler for 1 minute to nicely brown the cheese.
  7. Serve plain or sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cinnamon Jumbles

If you are like me, you have trouble when it comes to some types of baking. I have a lot of trouble with cookies. Usually because I don't let the butter sit out until it actually becomes "softened" or I try to make weird and unwieldy substitutions or I just have trouble when it comes to mixing. I do make delicious cakes, and my macaroni and cheese leaves little room for doubt, so I don't worry too much about my cookies.
I do make excellent Cinnamon Jumbles. Those of you who were lucky enough to have a good family friend who gifted you with the Betty Crocker Cooky Book when it was reprinted a few years ago will recognize these as The Best Cookie of 1880-1900. They are easy to make, don't require a mixer, and are fantastic care-package cookies because they stay soft for weeks. They are also a good "on hand" cookie, made from things you should have in the pantry.
  1. 4 cups flour (sift if you'd like)
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup butter
  5. 2 cups white sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk - (I do not keep buttermilk on hand, so I use either sour cream (low fat, not fat free, or skim milk mixed with a bit of vinegar - check a substitution chart for details)
  9. 1/2 cup white sugar (for topping)
  10. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (for topping)
  1. Mixing bowls
  2. Measuring spoons
  3. Mixing spoons
  4. Dredge (optional) for shaking out topping
  5. Refrigerator
  6. Oven
  1. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Combine vanilla and buttermilk, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at time.
  3. Combine the dry mix with the wet mix alternately into the butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Cover dough and chill (for at least twenty minutes, or for as long as overnight).
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease cookie sheets.
  6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Combine the cinnamon and sugar, sprinkle some of the mixture onto each cookie.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

Travel Cooking

My family likes to stay in places where there are kitchens when we travel, both to reduce the cost of food and to be able to make healthy meals. Right now we are staying in a condo in Hawaii with a full kitchen. Last night my sister and I cooked Marlin for the family to enjoy.
The problem with marlin is that it is extremely tough - a "game fish" and the chunks we got of it were very thick - which we did not cut down.
Marlin is not a common fish on the east coast, leaving me blank on how to prepare it - and even my father said he had never had it before - it wasn't terrible, but I won't cook it that way (see the recipe for Salmon) again. Instead, if you are going to cook marlin, I recommend:
1.) Not cooking marlin
2.) Pan frying small chunks of marlin and mixing them with some kind of tropical fruit salsa
as a topping