Sunday, October 28, 2007

Eggplant Parmesan

Yesterday I made the most delicious eggplant parmesan I've ever tasted. I've never actually made it before, so I was super proud of the way it turned out. It's not as good as my grannie's eggplant parm, but it's pretty damn good.

The first thing I did was cut the eggplant in thin slices. Since it was the first time I'd ever made it, I was unsure of how long it would take to cook. So I figured the thinner the better.

Then I whisked together two eggs, 2 tbs of milk, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. I also mixed about 1 1/2 cups of italian breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese together in a shallow dish. I then dredged the eggplant in the egg wash and then coated each piece in the breadcrumb mixture.

I fried up the eggplant slices in a hot (but not too hot!) frying pan coated in olive oil. I cooked each piece for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they were crispy and brown. Keep in mind that the eggplant absorbs a lot of the oil, so you may have to add more oil as you go.

After you fry up all the pieces, lay them overlapping in the bottom of a nonstick baking pan. I only own this roast pan, but it works just the same.

After you've put one layer of eggplant in the bottom of the baking dish, spread on a generous layer of your favorite spaghetti sauce and about a handful of your favorite brand of mozzarella cheese.
Layer the remaining eggplant on top of the cheese and sauce and then cover that layer with more sauce and cheese. Bake in the over at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Or, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

So, in one hour I went from having an eggplant and other various ingredients sitting on my counter to this...a warm, bubbly, delicious dinner. It turned out so delicious that I know I will make it again soon. I split it up into freezable portions so I'll have it ready to eat when I get home from work. This was a very cheap and very easy meal. If I break it down, it cost me about $5 for all the ingredients. That's pretty good, especially since I'll be eating this for at least a week.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Krups Ice Cream Maker

My awesome Mother In Law bought me a Krups Ice cream Maker for my birthday last week. I've been too busy to try it until today. Ironically, it's about 60 degrees in my apartment. Not exactly ice cream weather. But I wanted to try it out anyway.

I decided that my first ice cream recipe would be a simple cream/half-n-half/sugar base. If this turns out well I will try more of a custard base with egg yolks and the whole nine yards.

I froze the ice cream bucket for well over a day. It recommends no less than 24 hours in order to have a successful batch of ice cream made. I used the following ingredients:
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 cup half and half
    1/2 cup sugar
    1tsp vanilla extract
    pinch of salt

I made sure to mix the ingredients super well so all the sugar was dissolved.

The assembly of the machine is super easy. I read some reviews on about how people found that the paddle didn't stay in or the top didn't fit on. Or worse, that the motor didn't snap into place right. But I had none of these problems. I don't even think this machine is very loud. In fact, the kitchen is just 10 steps away and I can't hear it. You can hear it in this video because, well, I'm right on top of it:

After about 25-30 minutes, the paddle switched directions. That's the signal that the ice cream has finished. I poured in three chopped peanut butter cups to the mix. They weren't enough to make any difference in the taste of the ice cream, but it was tasty anyway. The final product is like a soft serve consistency:

I spooned it into a tupperware container and put it back in the freezer. In about 4 hours it should firm up and taste a little better. I already washed all the parts and stuck the bucket back in the freezer in case I want to make another batch later on. I mean, really. Home made ice cream in 30 minutes? How can you beat that?

So far, I love this little machine. It's small, quiet, and I had no troubles putting it together. I want to make all sorts of new and exciting flavors of ice cream. The big problem I'm having is actually waiting the 45 minutes until I can try it and see how it tastes!

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