Archive for May, 2010

Eggplant & Portabella Caponata

May 30, 2010 1 comment

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella Caponata

The other night, I had dinner at Union Pizzeria (Evanston, IL) with a friend. He has self-imposed diet restrictions that I can’t keep straight so I just err towards vegetarian options when we eat together. I really like Union’s pizzas as they are light and fresh. They also have a great beer and wine list and the open space reminds me of San Francisco restaurants.

One of the things we ordered was eggplant caponata. I had no idea what to expect (and no idea what a caponata was) but we ordered it anyway since we both like eggplant. Obviously I really loved it because I made a HUGE batch the next evening! I based my version on these two recipes from New York Times and epicurious.

At Union, I liked the caponata so much, I put it on top of our mushroom pizza. Thus, I figured adding portabellas to the caponata would probably taste good. Ultimately, I ended up using:

  • 2 roasted eggplants
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1.5 white onions (because I found a half in the fridge)
  • 3 portabellas
  • 1 bunch basil (chiffonade)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp capers
  • a handful of kalamata olives
  • 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes (including the juice)
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sugar

It makes a GIGANTIC batch, but I’m so happy eating it, I really don’t care. Also, it just so happens to be vegan (at least I can’t think of anything that would make it not vegan). For dinner, I warmed sliced baguettes in the oven, made bruschettas and enjoyed them with a few glasses of wine. For breakfast the following morning, I mixed the caponata with some leftover whole wheat shells I found in the fridge. Sprinkled some cheese on top…yum!

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella CaponataRoasted eggplant

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella CaponataSauteeing everything together

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella CaponataAdding the roasted eggplant binds the whole thing together

Roasted Eggplant & Portabella CaponataYUM!!


Brunch @ Big Jones

May 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Brunch @ Big JonesShrimp & grits: laughing Bird Caribbean white shrimp, house tasso, mushrooms, chicken gravy, creamy grits

Two things I love: Southern food and brunch. One thing I love even more: Southern brunch!! When one of my best friends came to town for a whirlwind apartment-hunting weekend, I figured we should fortify before looking at potential homes for her. I still had a $10 off coupon for Big Jones in Andersonville from BaconFest in my wallet so we headed there. So good–definitely worth subsequent visits!

Brunch @ Big JonesComplimentary beignets

Brunch @ Big JonesCheddar-Herb Croquettes: potato, herb, and cheese fritters, with fried sage, green goddess, frisee

Brunch @ Big JonesSweet Potato Biscuits with honey butter and house jelly

Brunch @ Big JonesEggs Benedict: Niman Ranch applewood pit ham, poached eggs, fresh popover, hollandaise, with potatoes O’Brien

Categories: Chicago, restaurants Tags: , ,

Scrambled eggs w/cheese and prosciutto on toast

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment


I’m in the process of packing up my apartment. Most of my kitchen tools have already made the move and the pantry is close to bare. This was a pretty simple breakfast made with what I still have around. Whole wheat Italian bread toasted (straight from the freezer) topped with a few slices of prosciutto and one scrambled egg. I don’t have any milk in the fridge so I added a few chunks of mystery cheese (from Fair Oaks Farms) for creaminess.

If my pepper mill hadn’t already moved, I would have cracked some pepper on top as the final finish. Oh well, still delicious!

Categories: breakfast, food Tags: ,

Indian Pizza

May 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Indian Pizza

Whole wheat crust, palak paneer from Trader Joe’s, chopped fresh tomatoes, random cheese from the fridge and finished off with parmesan cheese. So good!

Indian Pizza

Indian PizzaWe always lightly bake the crust before putting toppings on now. It makes the crust more manageable after you pile it with toppings.

Categories: food, pizza Tags: , ,

“Nieman Marcus” Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Choco Chip Cookies for Angelina

I am graduating soon…which means I have to start working soon and cooking frequency may decline. The night before my graduation, we will be hosting a cookout (NOT a BBQ, I am told) for family and friends. Joel’s family has cautioned me against taking on this endeavor, but I think I can do it. Two of my best friends will be in town to help with preparation and in my family, cooking for large groups of people is normal. Hell, if I can plan a Father’s Day picnic in San Francisco from New York, I can certainly feed twenty people on our roof.

Part of making prep as painless as possible is preparing in advance. The other part is making stuff that is easily scalable. These cookies are both. I baked four just to taste. The rest went into the freezer after I made them into nice little balls that can be baked right before everyone comes over. The original recipe makes 112 cookies so I halved it. I have a few other kinds of cookies in the freezer already: oatmeal peanut butter, snickerdoodles and gingersnaps.

Choco Chip Cookies for Angelina

Nieman Marcus Cookie Recipe

It doesn’t matter where this recipe came from–it makes some damn good cookies!

  • 2 cups butter
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
  • 24 oz. chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet..Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

My adjustments:

  • Cut the white sugar by 25%
  • No nuts (because my friend wanted macadamia or nothing and I didn’t have any macadamia)
  • Didn’t have a Hershey bar but had half a tin of cinnamon/chili dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s. Cut it up with a knife and tossed it into the batter.
  • In the past, I have put some ground coffee into the batter as well (but not this time)
Categories: food, sweets Tags: , ,

Prosciutto, Pear & Blue Cheese Pizza

May 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Pizza: Prosciutto, Pear & Blue Cheese

This is the same whole wheat crust as the Argentinian pizza but quite a bit smaller (5-6 inches diameter at best). Small pizzas mean we can try a variety of flavors in the same night! We already had blue cheese and pears in the fridge, so I just picked up some prosciutto from the market and we were all set. Next time, I would go lighter on the blue cheese (it got kinda salty paired with the prosciutto which overshadowed the pears)…but I do love this flavor combination.

Tonight, we will finally make that Indian pizza (I think)!

Pizza: Prosciutto, Pear & Blue Cheese

Categories: food, pizza Tags: ,

Argentinian Pizza (kinda)

May 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Argentinian Pizza (sorta)

I had originally intended on making an Indian pizza, a la Zante in San Francisco with some saag paneer from Trader Joe’s. However, Indian food the day before a big interview is probably not a good idea for me. Plus, we still had Argentinian leftovers from El Nandu.

I used this pizza dough recipe from the NY Times substituting whole wheat flour for all-purpose. After rolling out the dough and lightly baking it, we used chimichurri (leftover from El Nandu) as the base and topped the pizza with queso fresco, grilled portabellas & banana squash and the last of the leftovers from El Nandu (cheese-covered fried chicken cutlet and sausage).

El Nandu sent us home with so much chimichurri that Joel used it as salad dressing for his lunch today!

Grilled Squash & PortabellasLightly brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper, cooked on a grill pan

Grilled Squash & Portabellas

Grilled Squash & Portabellas

Argentinian Pizzapizza before we put it in the oven