Monthly Archives: October 2012

Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash


Here’s an eggplant parm recipe that won’t leave you feeling heavy and bloated! Not only is the eggplant baked instead of fried, it is coated in almond meal instead of bread crumbs, and paired with spaghetti squash rather than the traditional side of heavy pasta.

I did coat the eggplant in a very thin layer of flour to start the dredging process after reading the Cook’s Illustrated article that tested many combinations and concluded that the 3-step dredge (flour, egg, bread crumb) results in the best texture. However, I’m very tempted to try this again with just the egg and the almond meal since it already has such a nice hearty texture.

Eggplant Parmesan (Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

2 medium sized organic eggplants, cut crosswise into rounds

coarse ground salt

4 cups almond meal

2 c grated pecorino cheese, divided (or parmesan-I personally like the extra saltiness of pecorino in this dish)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 organic, free range eggs

salt and freshly ground pepper

all-purpose seasoning

4 Tbsp olive oil

16 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese

Amy’s Traditional Tomato Sauce

2 28oz. can organic roma tomatoes (San Marzano preferred)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 sweet vidalia or maui onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4-5 basil leaves (I used a pre-frozen basil cube: see previous post)

1 tsp crushed red pepper

salt and pepper to taste

The first and crucial step is to sweat the eggplant for a nice tender texture. Arrange the eggplant rounds in a large colander and sprinkle with coarse ground kosher salt (about 1-2 Tbsp). Let sit for 45 minutes. Lay out sheets of paper towels and press out any extra moisture in the eggplant rounds. Set up your dredging station by pouring your flour into a shallow dish (I like to use a pie dish), slightly beating the eggs in a shallow bowl, and combining the almond meal, 1 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and a little all-purpose seasoning in another pie dish.

 Preheat your oven along with 3 or 4 large baking sheets at 425 degrees. Next begins the dredging. Lightly coat each round in flour, then cover in a thin layer of egg, and finally cover both sides with the almond meal mixture. Coat the preheated baking sheets with a tablespoon of olive oil and line each sheet with the coated eggplant rounds. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on each side, flipping the eggplant half way through.

Meanwhile, prepare tomato sauce. Add olive oil to a small saucepan and sweat onions on medium heat, approx. 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Finally add the crushed red pepper and fresh basil leaves (or basil cube).

To assemble have your baked eggplant rounds, sliced mozzarella, 1 cup grated pecorino or parm, and tomato sauce ready. Add a thin layer of tomato sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish. Layer the eggplant rounds, cover in a thin layer of sauce, and add slices of fresh mozzarella followed by a sprinkle of pecorino or parmesan cheese. Continue layering until the casserole dish is full. I was able to fit 3 layers of eggplant into my dish. The top layer should always be freshly sliced mozzarella and a sprinkle of pecorino or parmesan. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly. I like to broil mine for a few minutes at the very end to get a nice crisp on top.
My roommates both said that this was the best eggplant parm they ever had. Moral of the story: breadcrumbs  and frying oil are completely unnecessary to create a delicious crisp coating for eggplant parm.
For a side of spaghetti squash
1 medium spaghetti squash
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place whole spaghetti squash in a baking dish. Bake for 1-1.5 hours or until a fork readily pierces the skin of the squash. Let squash cool, about an hour and slice down the middle length-wise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Finally, take a fork and scrape down the sides of the flesh and you will spaghetti squash strands in no time!

Basil Galore!


Ever have leftover basil that spoils quickly?? We’ve all been there where you use a few leaves for a pasta sauce and have an entire container left that goes bad before you have a chance to use it, right? But there’s a great way to save it and always have basil on hand! 

Simply tear all of the basil leaves off the stems and add them to a food processor. Pulse until the basil forms somewhat of a paste. Lastly, scoop the basil mixture into ice trays and freeze them in an airtight freezer bag for later use. I used this cute star shaped tray for fun. Each cube will have a lot of basil in it since it is so heavily concentrated. One cube probably equals about 6 leaves of basil–a little goes a long way. Use to flavor sauces, pestos, or whatever you like!

Primal Pistachio Pound Cake


Some of you Primal eaters out there may be wondering why I am still eating desserts. Well, I know part of living primally is to avoid sugars-which clearly means dessert. But being someone who has a true passion for baking, I obviously needed to make some exceptions here. And almost all the desserts featured here will be made of only natural unprocessed ingredients-even this pistachio pound cake that has been adapted from a Bon Appetit magazine I so conveniently found in my neighborhood library. I also added a primal-approved raspberry infused whipped coconut cream–delish if I say so myself.

Pistachio Pound Cake (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 c almond meal

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

6 Tbsp butter, at room temperature

3/4 c organic honey or pure maple syrup

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

1 tsp orange zest

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 c shelled raw pistachios, chopped, divided

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter a 9x5x3 bread pan. Cream softened butter and honey in a medium mixing bowl. Continue mixing as you add the eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon and orange juice and zest. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond meal, salt, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat on low. When thoroughly mixed, fold in 1/4 cup of the pistachios. Pour batter into your prepared pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup pistachios. Bake cake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating the cake half way through. Let cool before serving.

Raspberry Infused Whipped Coconut Cream

1 can organic full fat coconut milk

1 tsp pure vanilla

2 Tbsp raspberry enlightenment (from Penzey’s spices) or 1/4 c fresh raspberries

Not only is coconut milk delicious and loaded with great nutrients, it also makes a great whipped cream replacement. Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and chill overnight. This will ensure that all of the coconut milk solids separate from the water in the can. It also helps to chill the bowl you will use to whip the cream. Open the can and scoop out only the solids being very careful not to get any of the clear liquid into your bowl, as this will make it more difficult to whip the cream to the desired texture. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip the coconut milk solids and vanilla until stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the raspberry enlightenment and whip an additional 2 minutes. You can really use any fruit flavor you want if you don’t have a Penzey’s near you. The most healthy option would be organic fresh fruit–the fruit flavor ties in really well with the citrus notes in the pound cake. I’ve also made this with a pure cherry nectar that I reduced to a syrup in a sauce pan. Fresh raspberries would work really well after warming them in a saucepan as well. Lastly, add a nice dollop of whipped cream to a slice of pistachio pound cake and enjoy.