Cook the Book: Roasted Pine Nut & Eggplant Sauce

Roasted Pine Nut and Eggplant Sauce

1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded (or 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes)
3/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts

Place the eggplant in a strainer and lightly sprinkle with salt.  Set aside to drain excess liquid for up to an hour.  Heat a large pot over medium heat; and add the olive oil and onions and cook until translucent. Add the eggplant, garlic, salt and pepper and brown the eggplant. Add the remaining ingredients except the pine nuts.  Simmer for 30 minutes. While the sauce is simmering place the pine nuts in a sauté pan and roast them over medium heat until they are golden brown, stirring often.  This takes about 5 minutes. When you are ready to serve, either stir in the pine nuts or sprinkle them on top. Serve with your favorite pasta.

Serves 4-6.

Cook the Book: Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.)

Preheat oven to 325°.  Grease two loaf pans.  In a large bowl thoroughly mix the oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla extract.  Add all the remaining ingredients except the nuts. Mix well. Stir in the nuts. Divide into the greased loaf pans. Bake about one hour, until the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan.

Makes 1 loaf.

Cook the Book: Melon and Israeli Couscous Salad

Melon and Israeli Couscous Salad

This salad was inspired by a local restaurant called Market on Main (M.O.M.).  It seemed like an odd combination, but I’m always trying the interesting dishes on menus.  The tart fruits – grapes and citrus – really give this dish the punch that makes it great.  I can find Israeli couscous at our local health food store and at the grocery store in the specialty foods section.

2 cups Israeli couscous
1 cup diced watermelon
1 cup diced honeydew
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1 cup green grapes, cut in half
1 cup currants
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
Pinch of salt
Mint leaves and lemon wedges for garnish

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.  While the couscous is cooking, mix the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss the drained couscous into the fruit, garnish with mint leaves and citrus wedges and serve.

Serves 6-8

Photo Frank M. Chillemi.

Cook the Book: Melon and Israeli Couscous Salad

Melon and Israeli Couscous Salad

This salad was inspired by a local restaurant called Market on Main (M.O.M.).  It seemed like an odd combination, but I’m always trying the interesting dishes on menus.  The tart fruits – grapes and citrus – really give this dish the punch that makes it great.  I can find Israeli couscous at our local health food store and at the grocery store in the specialty foods section.

2 cups Israeli couscous
1 cup diced watermelon
1 cup diced honeydew
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1 cup green grapes, cut in half
1 cup currants
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
Pinch of salt
Mint leaves and lemon wedges for garnish

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.  While the couscous is cooking, mix the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss the drained couscous into the fruit, garnish with mint leaves and citrus wedges and serve.

Serves 6-8

Photo Frank M. Chillemi.

Cook the Book: Puttanesca

Puttanesca

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, mashed and coarsely chopped
1 cup good black or green olives, pitted
2 tablespoons capers
3 anchovies, finely chopped or mashed with the back of a spoon
3 cups peeled and seeded diced tomatoes, or one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for garnish

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the olives, capers and anchovies. Add the tomatoes and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Serve over fresh pasta and garnish with the Parmesan and parsley.

Serves 4-6