Kitchen Bitch

Cooking in the Kitchen with Sass & Class

Italian Mash-Up: Eggplant, Mozzarella, and Saffron Rice Bake January 8, 2013

Eggplant Mozzarella and Saffron Bake

Happy New Year, dear readers! Like many of you, I’ve been plotting and planning for this coming year, trying to come up with ways to not only improve my business, but also myself, my marriage, my home (which looked like a tornado had gone through it just a few days ago while I was reorganizing just about everything), and this little blog.

I wanted my first dish of the year to reflect the way I’m feeling at the present—a little unsure about which way to go, but ready to grab life by the reigns and let it take me wherever the path may lead. And so I offer you this Eggplant, Mozzarella, and Saffron Rice Bake, which is in fact a combination of two classic Italian dishes, eggplant parmigiana and saffron risotto, although it’s a bit more healthful as the eggplant is baked instead of fried.

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Sopa Seca (Mexican Noodle Casserole) October 4, 2012

As the first months of our marriage go by, Doug and I seem to be eating more and more classic Mexican food each week. And it’s not just because Doug has developed what seems to be an endless affinity for the stuff (when we first met 4 years ago, Doug hated Mexican food because he had never had the real deal; now he requests tacos at least once a week). It’s also because I never grow tired of cooking it and sharing it with folks who have never experienced the pleasures of simple, traditional dishes made in homes around Mexico. And recently I got to cook this homey Mexican dish for my longtime friend and neighbor, Matt. (Thanks for stopping by, boy!)

Sopa seca, aka dry soup aka Mexican Noodle Casserole, is something that I’ve mentioned on this blog before. I made it in culinary school once, but this was the first time I’ve had a chance to make it at home, and WOW! I love this version from Saveur. Sopa seca is like the (spicy) Mexican version of noodle soup—it’s filling, comforting, and good for the soul. There’s no meat in it, but you won’t miss it—at least I know we didn’t, and that’s saying something. (more…)

 

My Biggest Event Yet + Watermelon, Tomato, and Feta Salad September 7, 2012

Hello Dear Readers! Wow these past few weeks have been crazy and crazy fun! Last weekend I catered the biggest event of my career, a 150-person after-wedding party at Neon’s Unplugged in downtown Cincinnati, for my very dear friend Carmen and her now-husband Ben. I love these two so much, it was awesome to be able to feed them and their families the day after their big day! (more…)

 

Classics, Updated: Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole March 27, 2012

In a house with four children (me + my triplet brother and sisters), my mom was always looking for new ways to 1) feed her children to satiety quickly (we all tend to get VERY grumpy when we need to eat. My sister Paige calls it hangry. Hungry + Angry = Hangry.), and 2) get us all the nutrients we needed to get through our mad rush of daily activities, from swimming to baseball to student council.

As a classic Southern woman in the vein of Paula Deen—minus the Southern drawl—my mom often turned to hearty one-pot casseroles to feed our family of 6. To this day, I still wax nostalgic about my mom’s casseroles, in particular her Broccoli-Cheese Casserole and her Chicken Tetrazzini, which I already updated here. So when I saw a post on Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole on my gal Jessica’s blog, Dishin’ About Nutrition, I knew I had to make my own version!

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has gotten very popular in the past few years, and Doug and I have most definitely jumped on the bandwagon. Quinoa looks like a grain, but it’s actually an ancient tiny seed that the Incas used to eat as a primary form of nutrition. Quinoa, unlike wheat or rice, is a COMPLETE protein, which means not only does it have a lot of protein, but it’s also a balanced source of essential amino acids. And, it’s gluten free! You cook quinoa in the exact same way as rice (2 parts water to 1 part quinoa), except you give it a little rinse first.

Quinoa tastes like a nuttier, more delicious version of rice, at least in my opinion. I like to buy it in bulk bags at Sam’s Club or Costco, but you can most definitely find it in well-stocked supermarkets and specialty markets. I like to substitute it for rice in many recipes, this one included. As a nutritional powerhouse, quinoa supplies many of our needed vitamins and minerals, so it’s great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. (more…)

 

Super Natural: Wild Rice Casserole February 28, 2012

Although it may seem like all I eat is king cake, citrus pie, and bourbon-pecan bread pudding, I definitely take care to eat lots of foods that are good for me too—often much to Doug’s chagrin. (While he’ll eat vegetables, he’s very much a meat and potatoes man.)

I recently picked up Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, and it’s chock full of fabulous vegetarian and whole-grain recipes that are simple enough for everyday. In the past few days alone I’ve made several of her healthful recipes, including her whole-wheat yogurt biscuits (spiced up with cheddar cheese and jalapeno, and doused with goetta gravy for Sunday brunch), Weeknight Curry (a Thai red coconut curry loaded with vegetables and tofu, perfect for my vegetarian personal chef client), and this beautiful Wild Rice Casserole.

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Grill It! Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Stacks September 5, 2011

I didn’t really spend much time at my third-floor apartment this summer. And with Doug’s grill out of commission, I’d been dying to put my grilling skills to good use. Just as I started to think my grilling know-how was getting rusty, I landed at my parents’ house in Kentucky and saw a gleaming new grill staring back at me.

Why had my parents gotten a new grill, you ask? No, it wasn’t because the old one had gotten rusty. Or because my dad felt the need to upgrade to the newest model. Nope, the reason we got a new grill is:

My mom blew up the old one!

Mom, being the great woman that she is, offered to make my friend Rae and I dinner a few months back. She put her beautifully butterflied chicken on the grill, set a brick on it, and closed the lid—completely forgetting to the the dials down from smoking hot to medium low. The long-term smoldering heat of the 500-degree grill blackened the chicken and melted the grill grates, ruining the grill altogether.

Of course, Mom being Mom, she still served us the chicken, suggesting that we just remove the skin before eating. You gotta love her 🙂

Well, this isn’t a post about burnt chicken, but it is a post about the brand-spanking new grill that came out of that culinary meltdown. I went nuts cooking everything I possibly could on during my weekend home a few weeks ago: lemon-scented salmon with basil-walnut pesto; peppers, onions and sausages for Italian dogs; corn on the cob; and last, but not least, these Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella stacks.

Every component of these yummy stacks is done on the grill, and then they’re assembled grill-side for easy entertaining. (more…)

 

Vegetarian Delight: Spring Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna May 12, 2011

It’s finally happened. Spring has come to Chicago. It seemed like in just one day my street went from brown and boring to green and glorious, and I couldn’t be happier. My lovely mother ventured to my favorite garden store with me and bought me not one but TWO new red pots and filled them to the brim with gorgeous spring flowers. Besides that, she also got me a flat of marigolds to plant around my vegetable garden, which is finally sprouting from the seedlings I planted so many weeks ago.

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