Thank you all so much for your encouragement to continue the Chef Nanny Bubby blog. Here is the second blog post with the highly requested Eggplant recipe that was inspired by my son-in-law Conor. Enjoy each meal! Any questions be sure to write and I will be happy to assist. INGREDIENTS: 3 Large Eggplants
2 Jars Rao’s Arrabiata Sauce
2 Cups Fresh Basil leaves whole
3 cups Shredded Mozzarella
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1 12 oz. package Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio
6 oz. angel hair or spaghetti or linguine (chef’s choice)DIRECTIONS:Lay down foil on the grill surface of the BBQ covering the grill totally. Spray with Organic Olive Oil Spray. Slice the eggplant at an angle and then spray all the eggplant slices with olive oil covering generously. Place the sprayed side down on the foil and grill until a caramelized brown. Before turning and grilling the other side, spray the tops of the eggplant with olive oil before turning. Once the second sides are browned, start pulling the slices off the grill and place them in a Dutch Oven pot. (My favorite is Le Creuset). Lay the pieces on top of each other so they begin to steam each other. When all pieces are in, put the top on and let them steam and cool in the pot to the perfect slippery consistency about 20 minutes.
While the eggplant is cooling cook the pasta according to box directions and cook al dente, about 1:30 less than suggested. Once the eggplant has cooled take them out of the Dutch oven. Toss the pasta with the Arrabiata sauce lightly and place at the bottom of the Dutch oven. This technique, with pasta on the bottom, keeps the eggplant and cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Begin layering the eggplant on top of the pasta. Place a full Basil leaf facing up on each slice of eggplant. Cover the basil and eggplant completely with the first layer of mozzarella.
Cover the entire eggplant and basil with the first layer of mozzarella.
Cover the cheese totally with the Arrabiata sauce.
Begin the layering again starting with the eggplant and this time use the Quattro Formaggio instead of the mozzarella. Continue layering alternating between the mozzarella and Formaggio or combine the two. You be the artist.
End with the Parmesan cheese on the top layer. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until bubbling. Always let it cool and have a chance to solidify before serving (about 20 minutes). Place a fresh basil leaf on top as garnish and serve in the Dutch oven.
My adventure into cooking actually began with my son-in-law, Conor! He and my daughter moved in with us for two years right after law school as they were studying for the Nevada bar, getting their first jobs, and saving money for their first home. For me, it was one of the happiest two years. We had both of our children and one more, (as I always said we sent off two kids to college and got back three) living with us as adults. This meant that we all left the house every morning to be a part of the working world, returned at night. Everyone participated in the dinner process and cleaning up. Whoever got home first would begin by setting the table and starting dinner. I never had to say, make your beds, clean your room or is your homework done. We would instead, sit around the dinner table, sometimes having a glass of wine depending upon the day we all had, and discussed the business of the community, or politics of the day, and argue about who was better the Angels or the Dodgers. (Conor lost that one 4-1).Some nights it was too late or too hot to cook, so we would opt for our favorite take out, Carrabba’s. It seems we were all obsessed with their eggplant parmesean, especially Conor and me. What was different about their eggplant is that it wasn’t breaded, and it didn’t seemed fried either, but it was instead slick, tender and sweet. We tried and tried to duplicate the eggplant itself, frying it without breading. This always lead to it dripping in oil and tasting bitter and hard. We tried making it without cooking it first, thinking that was the key that it became soft and less bitter during the baking of the parmesan casserole. WRONG!!! I tried over and over to duplicate that eggplant, and then one fateful day, it happened!!! I decided to try grilling the eggplant on the Bar B Que. I placed down foil and grilled it on the foil to a caramelized consistency. Just before it became charred! As I recollect, I was pulling it off the grill and placing it in the casserole I was going to use and I got a phone call. Since the pot was out side, and I had only one hand, (the other one was one the phone), I covered the pot with the lid to keep the flies from attacking, and went inside where it was cooler to take my call.About 20 minutes later I returned to the eggplant, assuming I had ruined it, and what I found is that the eggplant had steamed itself, on top of itself with the lid on the pot into the perfect consistency that Conor and I had been trying to discover. This steaming process, tenderized the eggplant and made it incredibly sweet, never bitter.And so……..the family Eggplant Recipe was born. I will share pictures and a step by step process in my next blog.Thanks for listening, Enjoy each meal!
I have been asked, and teased and even cajoled. The idea of blogging and posting all of the fun I am having in the kitchen discovering the art of cooking didn't seem of interest to anyone but me. Cooking with my granddaughter, Liv, has been one of the most joyous experiences I have ever had. She, grabbing hold of my arm with a loving squeeze and saying, "I am so excited to cook with you Nanny Bubby!" had to be one of the sweetest moments I have ever experienced. And, I think no one really cares about this but me. And, all the same, I get feedback that says to me, tell us more, show us more in depth pictures, tell us how, are these your recipes or are they, Ina's or Giada's?? So here I am, I am going to begin blogging. My goal is to share this joy with YOU! Life is about Joy, happiness, and bringing people together around a table, at an event, just for a daily dinner or just drinks and appetizers. Either way, when you cook with love in your heart, trust me when I tell you, the food just tastes better and your friends and family can taste it. I hope that these posts can help you find love and give love as it has me. I hope you enjoy.
Our daughters were born into a world that was ready for them. Their generation of women had opportunities that even my generation did not have. My generation knew that every opportunity for a woman had just in recent years been trail blazed and we proceeded forward cautiously as there was always a glass ceiling to crumble.My daughter’s generation, never saw a glass ceiling, but only opportunities ahead. From the time she was born I filled her head with ideas of achievement that her made her eyes twinkle when hearing, and she never once heard that being a girl was a deficit.For most of our daughters this is a similar tale. Their education has enabled them to be doctors, lawyers, Vice Presidents and Presidents and CEO’s of large companies. They are part of management and responsible for many employees and their productivity, and they, too………are mother’s. Now what!!!It becomes increasingly more difficult on today’s young, successful mother whether she is single or not. A successful career meshed with Motherhood is stressful. This is where the Chef Nanny Bubby help comes in handy.No one can go it alone. The importance of the extended family becomes far more important to today’s young, successful mother than it was before. These educated, successful women are enabled to move ahead in their careers because they know late in the day, night or early morning their other family members or their mothers who are now their kids grandmothers have stepped in to help.Our daughter is currently running for Judge in Las Vegas. Not only is she working a full time job, but is simultaneously running a campaign all while working at being the best wife and mother of a 17 month old that she can. I know that the few days when I have picked up my beautiful granddaughter from Pre-school and Harmony has come to pick her up, a huge smile of gratitude comes across her face when I also hand her a home cooked meal to take home and just pop in the oven. And, I am sure my son-in-law is happy about it too!For me it is a small piece of my love and heart being handed to her. It says, “I love you, I understand how tired you are, how hard you are working, and I hope I have lightened the load just a little bit for you, so that when you get home, you have less stress and more time to enjoy your family!”It is always met with a smile and a twinkle in her eye that basically says it all. A moment of love shared through the passing of a plate of food between one mother to another!Nothing says love more than just taking the time to prepare something fabulous and send it out the door. I love being Chef Nanny Bubby! You can be too! It’s the gift of love and thoughtfulness shared through food.