Caprese Salad with Fried Mozzarella

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So … this may be the most delicious thing I’ve ever made. Seriously. It’s so good that I could eat this all by itself for every meal of the day. I love caprese salad, but this is caprese salad with “the volume turned up,” as Ina Garten likes to say.

Ingredients

1-2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into thick rounds

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced into thick rounds

1/2 c. panko bread crumbs

3 T. flour

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg, slightly beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

Basil leaves

Pine nuts, for garnish

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

In a large bowl, combine panko, flour, parmesan, salt and pepper, mixing thoroughly to combine. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Take each slice of fresh mozzarella and coat it in the beaten egg, then dredge it through the bread crumb mix, pressing on both sides to adhere. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Add olive oil to the skillet and when hot, fry coated mozzarella, turning carefully once or twice, until golden and cheese starts to melt but still retains its shape, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels.

To assemble, place one tomato to a plate, top with 1 slice of fried mozzarella and then a basil leaf. Repeat the layer one more time and finish with a tomato slice. Garish with pine nuts. Drizzle on balsamic and olive oil.

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One Skillet Breakfast: Bacon Hash with Fried Eggs

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One of my favorite breakfast dishes to make on the weekends is bacon hash with fried eggs. It’s quick, easy and doesn’t require a lot of clean up because I make everything in the same skillet. What’s better than a delicious Saturday breakfast that requires little cleanup afterwards?

Ingredients

1-2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced

3 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced

1-2 eggs

Dash of crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley for garnish

In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and place on paper towels. Remove some of the bacon grease, but leave one or two tablespoons in the skillet. Add potatoes and saute until golden brown. The potatoes should be crusty on the outside and soft inside. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes while the potatoes are cooking in the bacon grease. Once cooked, remove potatoes and set aside. Add eggs to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook the eggs to the desired consistency. I prefer my eggs runny. Combine potatoes and bacon and top with fried eggs. Sprinkle parsley on top prior to serving.

Prosciutto, Tomato, and Olive Spaghetti

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I love trying new recipes. One of my favorite places to find new dishes to try is Pinterest, where I came across this recipe for Prosciutto, Tomato, and Olive Spaghetti.

Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted
  • 3 to 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste or concentrate
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
  • reserved pasta water (optional)
  • 2.5 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound prosciutto, preferably Parma or San Daniele
Preparation
  1. In a large pot, bring 8 cups of cold water to a boil. When it boils, add salt and pasta. Cook according to package instructions, stirring often to loosen up the sticky strands.
  2. Drain the cooked spaghetti, but save about 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
  3. Wipe clean the same pot and set over medium heat with olive oil. When oil is hot, lower heat to medium-low and sauté garlic and shallots until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Increase heat to medium again, add olives, and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until soft, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the wine and stir until the alcohol has evaporated, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in tomato paste and butter until dissolved.
  8. Put the pasta back in the pot and gently mix until each strand is coated in the sauce. Add reserved pasta water if the sauce seems too dry.
  9. Toss with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  10. Serve on warmed plates and garnish with prosciutto slices.

A Birthday Tradition: Sweet and Sour Pork

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Every year on my birthday, my mom would make sweet and sour pork. It was my favorite childhood dish and I requested it for my special birthday dinner every year. I’ve carried on the tradition and still make it every year for my birthday, along with lemon meringue pie.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. pork, cut into bite size pieces – I use pork tenderloin
3 T. vegetable oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
Pineapple – I use fresh pineapple
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion, pepper and celery in oil for a few minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, brown pork, seasoning with garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Prepare sauce and pour over pork. Add veggies. Cover and simmer for 45 min or until tender.

For the sauce:

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. ketchup
1 T. corn starch
1/4 c. – 3/4 c. chicken broth

Combine sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice and ketchup. Mix well. Dissolve cornstarch in broth. Stir until thickens and clears.

Serve the Sweet and Sour Pork with white rice.

Recipe: Goat Cheese Eggplant

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Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorites. This dish is a variation of the classic with panko bread crumbs and goat cheese. I really like that you don’t have to make a huge portion – this recipe lends itself to smaller portions depending on how many people you want to serve.

Ingredients:

One eggplant, peeled and sliced into rounds

1 c. panko bread crumbs

1/2  c. grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

Montrachet goat cheese, sliced into rounds

Vegetable oil, for frying

One jar of your favorite tomato sauce – you can also make homemade tomato sauce if you prefer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and slice the eggplant. Combine the panko, parmesan and salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. In a skillet, heat the oil and prepare for frying. Dip the eggplant in the egg before dredging in the panko mixture. Fry both sides of the eggplant until the panko breading is golden brown. Place fried eggplant onto a sheet pan and layer goat cheese between the eggplant. Place the sheet pan in the over to keep warm.

Prior to plating, ladle tomato sauce onto the plate before topping with the stacked eggplant rounds.