Involtini

Ingredients:
3 eggplants, about 1 pound each, trimmed and cut lengthwise into slices 1/4 inch thick (about 16 slices total)
¾ cup olive oil, or as needed
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup pine nuts
cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes until plump, then drained
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ teaspoons dried mint
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ½ cups drained canned crushed tomatoes
1 large ball fresh mozzarella in 1/4-inch slices

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place a ridged cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brush eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil and cook, turning, until soft and (if using a ridged pan) crisscrossed with grid marks. Set aside and allow to cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine feta, pine nuts, raisins, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic, lemon zest, mint and parsley. Mix in egg, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Spread eggplant slices on a surface, and divide stuffing evenly among them, placing 1 to 2 tablespoons at one end of each slice. Roll up slices tightly to secure filling, and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (or other shallow baking pan in which rolls fit snugly in a single layer).
4. Pour crushed tomatoes on top of eggplant rolls. Arrange mozzarella slices in a line lengthwise down center of pan. Drizzle olive oil evenly over pan, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Bake until cheese has melted and eggplant is bubbling and fragrant, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Garlic Egg Chicken

Ingredients:
1 egg yolk
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halved
6 TBS butter
1 c dry bread crumbs
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBS parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 TBS salt
1 TBS ground black pepper

Directions:
1. To marinate: Beat egg yolk together with garlic in a nonporous glass dish or bowl. Add chicken, turn to coat, cover dish, and refrigerate to marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
3. Melt butter and pour into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and dip marinated chicken in crumb mixture. Place coated chicken in baking dish and pour remaining egg marinade over all.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

Ingredients:
8 slices 1/2 inch thick Cinnamon Raisin Bread
4 Tbsp melted butter
3/4 c milk
1/2 c heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
1.  For the French toast custard, combine using a hand whisk the milk, heavy cream, eggs, honey, vanilla extract and the salt.  This custard can be made well in advance.  Give a brisk stir before making the toast.
2.  Transfer the custard to a casserole or open shallow dish for dipping.
3.  Dip one slice into the custard and turn over after about 15 seconds.  Transfer the slice to a plate while dipping another slice into the custard.
4.  Place a large skillet on a medium fire.  Allow the pan to heat thoroughly before pouting 1 Tbsp of the melted butter into the pan.
5.  Place both slices carefully into the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown or about 2 minutes.
6.  Repeat steps 3 – 5 until all the French toast is cooked.
7.  An optional step is to place each finished French toast onto a baking sheet in a preheated oven until all are ready to serve.

Serve warm with real maple syrup.

Serves 4.

Balsamic Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 8 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf French bread, toasted and sliced

Directions

  1. In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted bread slices.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients:
5 onions, thinly sliced
6 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 pound shredded Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, sliced

Directions:
In a medium stock pot, heat beef broth over medium-high heat.

In a saute pan, add butter and oil and cook over medium-high heat. Once heated, add onions and stir, until onions are tender and transparent. Stir in sugar.

Add onions to heated broth, stir and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add wine and season with salt and pepper, simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour soup mixture into individual serving bowls and place a slice of bread on top, making sure bread gets well soaked. Place shredded cheese on top of bread and broil, 3 inches below heat, until cheese bubbles.

Falafel

Ingredients:
1 (19 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
Mash the garbanzo beans in a large bowl.  Stir in the onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, cumin, turmeric, baking powder, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.  Do not be afraid to use your hands.  Shape the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls; you should get 18 to 24.  If the mixture does not hold together, add a little water.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Carefully drop the balls into the hot oil, and fry until brown. If you do not have a deep fryer, heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat. You may need to adjust the heat slightly after the first couple of falafels, and be sure to turn frequently so they brown evenly.

Cauliflower Gratin

Ingredients:
1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.