Sunday, March 31, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Bites with Asparagus, Sopressata and Goat Cheese

I miss blogging! And the world. Life is a blur right now as we adjust to two kids. I'm getting almost no sleep because my now 6-week-old is still in the wrong time zone and screams daily from 1-6 am, and then my 2-year-old is awake around 7:15. When the older one was this age he had his witching hours from 7 pm to 2 am.

At the very least my younger son decided the day we brought him home from the hospital his bedtime would be 7:30 pm and no later - which is when we would have made it since older bro's is at 8 o'clock. This leaves my husband and I almost nightly with a chance for date night! Mostly we scramble to clean up our house and get ready for what the kids will need the next day - but we have also decided "screw responsibilities" a few nights a week, and cracked open a bottle of red wine and cooked dinner. So really I bring you this amazing little concoction of mine thanks to my little baby and his desire to go to bed early. And also thanks to my husband who managed to get him to finally settle down to sleep at 6:15 am this morning; so instead of trying to pump breast milk while holding a wiggly, crying baby, I have a quiet dark room and free hands to type out this post on my phone.

I don't know where I came up with this. I may have ran across some recipes and parts stayed with me but I don't recall when or where so I have no one to credit. Hopefully I won't get sued for claiming I made it up. Enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant Bites with Asparagus, Sopressata and Goat Cheese

2 medium-sized purple eggplants
Olive oil to drizzle
Kosher salt for sprinkle
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
One bunch (approximately 1 pound) asparagus, cut into one-inch pieces
1/2 cup pine nuts
10 oz (preferably pre-cut) sopressata
4 oz goat cheese, lightly crumbled

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Lower the temperature to medium low and add the onion. Stir it around and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then stir again and continue to let it sit and caramelize.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the eggplant into 1-inch thick rounds and place them on a rimmed baking pan lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle both sides of the eggplant with olive oil - not a lot because you don't want it soggy. Then sprinkle it with kosher salt. Put it in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.

While its cooking add the garlic, asparagus and pine nuts to the skillet. Toss and turn it every few minutes. Make sure the onions aren't burning but are slightly browning which will give them a sweet flavor.

When the eggplant is done, remove it from the oven and set your broiler to high. Place 1-3 slices of sopressata on each piece of eggplant, then scoop out some of the asparagus mixture and place it on top. Top it with a bit of crumbled goat cheese. When all the eggplant is covered, place it on the high rack below the broiler for 3-5 minutes to toast the goat cheese.

Although I haven't tried it, I'm sure this would taste great grilled instead of broiled. If we ever see spring or summer hopefully we will be able to grill this year!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Coconut Chocolate-Chip Breakfast Quinoa

I need to make a huge complaint.

Nestlé chocolate chips: what the eff is wrong with those things? When I bake with them and want them to melt, they never do but they turn rubbery. I figured they would be perfect, then, for the recipe I created this morning, and then they went and melted! I use more expensive brands of chocolate for baking but this project doesn't call for anything special.

So I'm left with showing you what looks to be a disgusting bowl of processed mush, when actually it was delicious. Meet coconut chocolate-chip breakfast quinoa. Oh and I didn't edit my pictures because I am writing this from my phone.

Not that I ate more than 3 teaspoons. Trying to be all low-sugar low-carb now that I don't have pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I want anymore and I wanna get back in fighting shape ASAP. I made it specifically for my 2-year-old who was throwing up yesterday. Prior to me knowing he wasn't feeling well I was irritated about him not eating lunch. I can't tell the difference right now between him testing us to get attention and him not feeling well, especially when he's so energetic he's climbing on everything. Here he is on the cat tree.

I felt bad about yesterday and decided breakfast needed to be fun this morning.

Well, after just a few bites (maybe smaller than mine) he demanded some fruit. He has a history of doing that. He sure does love fruit. More than chocolate.

I love fruit, maybe not more than dessert, except in the glorious fermented form known as wine. My husband and I love us some wine and cheese (and veggies). The night we went out to dinner a few weekends ago, my son promptly ordered his "own red wine" when our server came to take our order! Hilarious. Our family likes what we like!

Evidentially that's not always sweet, rich goods.

Whatever - this is good stuff, and my husband agrees! It's dessert for breakfast; don't let the quinoa fool you into thinking its remotely healthy.

When I get back to the gym I can't wait to treat myself to a little more than a few teaspoons. Hope you like it too!

Coconut Chocolate-Chip Breakfast Quinoa

Proud to call this a Jax-Original Recipe

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tablespoon salted butter or coconut oil
1.5 cups canned coconut milk (I guess you could do lite)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt the butter or oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the quinoa. Stir it around to mix and let it sit about two minutes to toast. Add the coconut milk, bring it to a light boil, cover it with a lid, lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 13 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Stir it occasionally to keep the quinoa from burning. Once it's finished, turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate. Let it cool a little more before adding the chocolate (or not, if you want your dish to look anything like mine).

If your chips stay in chip form, let me know how you did that.

Please don't let me know how good it is. That's just mean.