Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This is my kind of challenge.

     I have a t-shirt from a local restaurant a few minutes from my house. They serve a pretty fantastic,hardy,don't-plan-on-doin-much-for-the-rest-of-the-morning kind of breakfast food. Classic breakfast food that fills your belly and with a big ol' cup of coffee you are pretty much done for at least the first half of the day. I got this tshirt a number of years back and have worn it almost to pieces.The logo for the restaurant is on the front and on the back there's a saying . The lettering is sort of faded now but the meaning of the words still ring true to this day: "Life's too short to eat fast food." Amen I say.
      On that note,I bring to the table a challenge of sorts and it will be a delicious one to boot! I read in the December '09 issue of Bon Appetit magazine that a chef in New York has been making every cover recipe of Bon Appetit for every month for the last 25 years! And then I looked at the cover of that same issue and longed for a big piece of the chocolate cake that graced the front that December issue,delish!     So at that very moment I decide (probably along with tons of other cooks ) that I was going to make the cover recipe of Bon Appetit every month as long as I could until the end of time. I made the cover recipe for the January issue and it was delicious. I'm going to make it again for a few reasons : a. just for fun,b. I didn't get any pictures and what's a challenge if you don't have pictures to prove it and c. just cuz.

The February cover recipe was just sinful and so good.I made it for Family Dinner Nite and they loved it.The pork just fell of the bone and cheese just melted like buttah. Oh my it was good and a favorite of my husband's,needless to say I'll make those again! And folks now onto March. I know I know you're saying to yourself " hey lady isn't it August already?" Yep it's August and as life would have it I got busy and just made a quick list of each cover recipe to get back to. Well now I've got my act together and I 'm ready,willing and able to cook my fanny off to catch up (and in the process eat fairly well since all the recipes look wonderful) ! The March cover recipe is Eggplant Parmesan Rolls with Swiss Chard and Mint and it was perfect! I have a friend that's vegetarian and when I saw this cover recipe the first person I thought of was her! I immediately called her and we worked on scheduling dinner soon. Dinner went off without a hitch and this dish made her night! The leftovers were even better and my husband raved about this one too! Oh what a dish,oh what a night!
       I did make a few minor changes. The heat here lately has put my mint plant on life support and I couldn't find swiss chard. I used spinach instead of swiss chard and basil instead of mint. Reviews of recipes can help of hurt,this time it helped. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the swiss chard and mint are superb in this dish,but the spinach and basil were fine,fine stand-ins. The challenge of making the different cover recipes is going to be interesting and after making the eggplant rolls I realized life is too short to eat fast food! ENJOY!
Eggplant Parmesan Rolls with Swiss Chard and Fresh Mint
makes 6 servings
2 medium eggplants(about 2 1/4 pounds total),trimmed,
   cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices
coarse kosher salt
extra-virgin olive oil
1 1-pound bunch swiss chard,center ribs removed
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese,divided
2 TBL chopped fresh mint
3/4 tsp freshly gr. black pepper
1 15-16 ounce can tomato sauce
1 8 ounce ball fresh water-packed mozzarella,drained and thinly sliced
1. Cover bottom and sides each of 2 large colanders with 1 layer of eggplant slices;sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Continue layering eggplant slices in each colander,sprinkling coarse salt,until all eggplant slices are used. Place each colander over a large bowl;let stand for at least 30 minutes up to 1 hour. Rinse eggplant slices to remove excess salt;dry thoroughly with paper towels.
2. Position oven rack 5-6 inches from heat source and preheat broiler. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheets.  Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil. Broil 1 sheet at a time until eggplant slices are beginning to brown,watching closely and removing quickly if cooking to quickly,3-4 minutes,per side. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool eggplant while preparing the filling.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add chard to pot and boil just until tender,about 2 minutes. Drain;rinse with cold water. Squeeze chard very dry,then chop coarsley and squeeze dry again between paper towels. Whisk the eggs and pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Stir in chopped chard,ricotta cheese,1 cup Parmesan,mint and black pepper.
4. Lightly oil 15x10x2 inch glass baking dish. Spread half of the tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of the dish. Divide chard-ricotta filling evenly among the eggplant slices,placing about 1 heaping tablespoon in the center of each slice. Starting at the short end of each,carefully roll up the eggplant slice,enclosing the filling. Arrange eggplant rolls ,seam side down in the baking dish. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over. Place mozzarella slices in a single layer over the rolls,sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.(This all can be made one day ahead,cover with foil and chill)
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees,bake covered with foil until heated through,about 30 minutes if freshly made 40 minutes if refrigerated. Uncover and bake until brown in spots and sauce is bubbling,about 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

1 comment:

  1. Best dinner I had had or will have in so long!!!