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.

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Broccoli &White Bean Burgers

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 1/2 C cannellini beans
3 cloves garlic
1/2 lb broccoli
1/4 C panko breadcrumbs

Directions:
1. Wash and dry the vegetables. Cut the broccoli into small pieces. Drain and rinse the beans; transfer to a large bowl and mash with a fork. Peel and mince the garlic.
2. In a large pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the broccoli; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the beans, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the beans begin to brown. Add 3/4 c water; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until the water has cooked off. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.
3. Add the egg and breadcrumbs to the bowl of cooked broccoli and beans; season with salt and pepper. Stir to thoroughly combine. Using your hands, gently form the mixture into two 1-inch-thick patties. Transfer to a plate. In the same pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil on medium high until hot. Add the patties and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a plate.

Pad Thai

Ingredients:
1 egg lightly beaten
1 TBS sliced shallot
1 TBS chopped salted radish
1 handful rice stick noodle
1/4 c plus 2 TBS water
1 c fresh bean sprouts
1/4 c fresh chives, cut into one inch long pieces
1 TBS sugar
2 TBS chopped roasted peanut
vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
1. Rinse the radish several times under cold water, gently squeezing off the water. Chop it and add a little bit of sugar to sweeten, mix well.
2. Soak the rice stick noodle in warm water for about 15 minutes, leave in water until you are ready to use.
3. Heat 1 TBS of oil in a wok at medium-high heat. Add egg and cook it quickly, scrambling into small pieces. Remove, set aside.
4. Add 1 TBS oil to the wok. Add shallot, radish and tofu fry until aromatic. Increase the heat of your wok. Add a handful of soaked noodles followed with water. Stir-fry this mixture for about 5-6 minutes. The noodles will start to get soft. Add 1/4 c of pad thai sauce and mix well. Add sugar, cooked egg, bean sprout, and chive. Stir well for another 1-2 minutes until everything blends together. Turn off heat, transfer to serving plate with sliced fresh lime, roasted peanuts, and more bean sprout on the side. Now dazzle your friends with the fact that your pad thai looks and tastes just as good as any restaurant.
5. You may add Thai chili powder, sugar, and crushed peanuts at the table on the side.

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Yields: 24 bars

Crust:
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c sweet ground chocolate and cocoa
1/2 c butter, melted
2 TBS sugar

Topping:
16 oz. cream cheese
1 c sugar
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
3 TBS flour
4 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 bar (2 oz.) milk chocolate baking bar, broken into 1″ pieces
1/2 tsp vegetable shortening

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crust:
1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, ground chocolate, butter, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
2. Press the mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
3. Bake 8 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Topping:
1. In large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, peanut butter, and flour until well blended.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixture well after each addition.
3. Blend in the milk and the vanilla extract.
4. Pour the topping into the crust and bake 40 minutes.
5. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack.
6. Melt the chocolate pieces and vegetable shortening in a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water.
7. Stir occasionally until smooth.
8. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the cooled bars.
9. Chill approximately 10 minutes, just until the chocolate layer is partially set.
10. Score the chocolate layer with a sharp knife, forming squares, and return the pan to the refrigerator.
11. Chill 30 minutes, or until firm. Ct through the bars and serve. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

1 1/4 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 c flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 c shredded zucchini
2 bars (8 0z.) milk chocolate baking bar, broken into 1/4″ pieces

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 9″x5″ pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla extract until blended.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually, stirring until moistened.
6. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate pieces.
7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.
8. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
9. Cool the bread in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
10. To store, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze.

Almond Sauce Chicken Breast

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 c water
2 c finely chopped almonds
1/4 c butter
3 TBS olive oil
1 lb fresh mushrooms
1 onion, sliced into rings
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c almond paste
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Directions:
1. Pound chicken breasts to flatten; Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, beat together egg and water to make egg wash. Place almond crumbs in a shallow dish or bowl; dip chicken in egg wash, then dredge in almonds.
2. Melt butter with olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Brown coated chicken quickly, then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4. In same skillet, brown the mushrooms and onions with the garlic. Mix together and spread mixture over the chicken.
5. In same skillet, combine the cream and almond paste and mix together; heat through, then stir in nutmeg. Pour sauce over chicken, mushrooms, and onions.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

Ingredients:
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
2 TBS all-purpose flour

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter and slightly flour four 6 oz. ramekins. Tap out the excess flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
2. In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, with the egg yolks, sugar, and salt at a high speed until thickened and pale.
3. Whisk the chocolate until smooth. Quickly fold it into the egg mixture along with the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centers are soft. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unmold. Serve immediately.