Showing posts with label Kalamata olives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kalamata olives. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Roasted and Stuffed Eggplant #BloggerCLUE

Roasted eggplant filled with a deliciously flavorful stuffing of ground beef, brown rice, olives, artichoke hearts, sunflower seeds and salty Parmesan, is topped with more cheese then baked to golden perfection. This is a great main course that is as attractive as it is tasty.

It’s Blogger C.L.U.E. Society time again and my secretly assigned blog is annaDishes! Anna lives in Florida so her blog is full of lovely fresh recipes with locally grown produce. Our challenge this month was to hunt for and make a recipe that our own grandmothers might have made. While my grandmothers never stuffed eggplant that I am aware off, they certainly did stuff and roast bell peppers – my mom still does so with regularity – and spicy eggplant casserole was a favorite dish whenever we were visiting. I am pretty sure both of my grandmothers would have loved this dish. Aside from the addition of some red pepper and an unavoidable cheese substitution, I’ve made it pretty much exactly as Anna wrote it in her original post, which you can see here. I’ve noted any changes in parentheses and added the metric measures for my readers who use them.

1 cup (dry) or 215g brown rice
2 cups or 480ml chicken broth
1 large eggplant (I used two – weighing 1 1/2 lbs or 665g together)
1 package baby bella mushrooms (One large portabella – weighing 3 1/5 oz or 100g)
1 small onion, chopped (Mine weighed 3 1/2 oz or 100g.)
1/4 cup or 60g kalamata olives, chopped (Mine had pits. Weight before pitting: 3 oz or 85g)
3/4 lb or 340g ground beef
3/4 cup or 110g sunflower seeds
1/2 cup or 100g artichoke hearts, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3/4 cup, grated, or 70g Parmesan cheese (I grated from a fresh wedge of Parmesan so the weight measure is probably more accurate than the cup.)
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used 3 1/2 oz or 100g Colby Jack.)
Shredded Gouda cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
(I also added 2 teaspoons crushed red chilies and a few fresh thyme leaves for color when serving.)

First start the rice: Bring the rice and chicken stock to a boil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. (I stir in the rice in the olive oil first to coat, then add in the stock.)

Reduce to low and cover. Cook rice over low heat for 55 minutes or until tender. (Mine took about 40 minutes, at which point I turned the fire off but left the cover on so the rice could steam gently until I was ready to use it. Then I fluffed it with a fork.)

Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Hollow out the eggplant making sure to leave 1/4 inch or a little more than 1/2cm on all sides. If the walls are too thin they won’t hold up with the stuffing.

Drizzle the baking dish with olive oil and place eggplant halves in center. Drizzle olive oil on eggplant.

 Roast in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until cooked but not too soft.

Here they are roasted.

While the eggplant shells are cooking, chop 1/2 of the meat from the eggplant. (I used all of it.)

Eggplant, olives, artichoke hearts, onion, garlic and mushroom.
Combine the eggplant with onion, mushroom, olives, artichokes and sauté in pan until browned. (I also added a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.)
This is the "after" shot. The pan was almost full when I started but the vegetables cook down considerably. 

Remove from heat and set aside. In another pan, brown the ground beef until cooked through. (Once again, with a drizzle of olive oil for the pan.)

Combine all ingredients in one bowl. Add rice, sunflower seeds and Parmesan cheese.

(Taste your stuffing and add salt and pepper to taste. This is also where I added the crushed red chilies – since we like things spicy. Stir well!)

Transfer a large portion of the stuffing to each 1/2 of the eggplant. (I had stuffing leftover but that is a good thing. It’s delicious just on its own too.)

Cover with cheese and place in oven for 15 minutes.

Turn on broiler to brown the top.

Enjoy! I served each person a whole stuffed eggplant, sprinkled with a little fresh thyme, along with a green salad.

If you’d like to see more of annaDishes, you can follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest or like her blog page on Facebook.

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Many thanks to Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake, Kate from Kate's Kitchen and Christiane from Taking on Magazines for creating this fun challenge.

Here's a link list to all of the intrepid blog detectives in our group! Follow the links to see which blogs they were assigned and the recipes that their grandmothers might have made.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pan-fried Chicken with Bacon and Asparagus

A great, quick one-pan meal: pan-fried chicken with bacon, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, black olives and basil. Deliciousness on your plate in under 20 minutes! When you pan-fry chicken with bacon, the resulting salty stickiness creates its own delectable sauce, especially when you add a little butter and white wine at the end.

Back in 2002, I met a new love. He was witty and adorable in a crooked-tooth sort of way with a cocky grin and an easy manner that drew me in. We met almost daily, me with pen and paper in hand, ready to take down the words of deliciousness and technique that tumbled from his rosy lips as easily as his broad sunshiny smile.

It was the start of a beautiful relationship that added joy and laughter and good food to my life that has continued to this day. And he is not just a pretty face that could cook! Oh, no! He is also a philanthropist, educating young, at-risk men and women so they can earn their way and learn to be part of a team, bringing misfits into the fold of the tight culinary world.

He also aspires to get the world cooking healthy meals for their families and to bringing real food into the lunchrooms of schools, to better nourish and educate our growing children.

So I guess you all know I am talking about Jamie Oliver, right? Anybody else in love with him too?

Our Sunday Supper theme this week is one-pot meals and two of my favorites come from a single episode of Jamie’s show Oliver Twist, which first aired in 2003. Unfortunately the original has been taken off the internet. I make today’s dish almost exactly as written, only increasing amounts depending how many are coming for dinner.

Substitutions and variations
I’ve also been know to substitute fine green beans for the asparagus when they are out of season or hard to come by. The ingredient amounts are flexible, depending on your appetite so, by all means, if your pan is big enough, add more tomatoes or asparagus (or green beans) if you are extra hungry. I also use my huge non-stick pan to make this for four or six, doubling or tripling the amounts you see here.

Pan-fried Chicken with Bacon and Asparagus

Ingredients to serve two
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 slices smoked bacon, preferably thick cut
2 good handfuls asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed off (or substitute green beans)
16 cherry tomatoes
10 Kalamata olives, stones left in
Handful basil leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup or 60ml dry white wine

Cut the thick end of the chicken breast into three relatively even pieces. I loved this trick when I first saw it and use it in other recipes now. It helps the breast cook faster and more evenly since the thick part is cooked when the thin part is. Season the breasts on both sides with a generous sprinkle of sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a large (at least 12in or 30cm wide) non-stick frying pan and add a drizzle of olive oil. Put the chicken breasts in, round side down and pan-fry for two to three minutes or until the breasts are a lovely golden brown.

Turn the breasts over and lay one folded bacon strip on top of each. Add the asparagus, tomatoes and olives into the pan.

When the other side of the chicken is golden, which takes just a couple of minutes, carefully flip the chicken breast back to the other side, along with the bacon. You want the bacon to crisp up. It took mine only four minutes, so keep an eye on it. Your heat should still be up high so that the asparagus and tomatoes get a little charred on the bottom. Toss them around gently with tongs.

Turn the chicken back over so the bacon is on top again and add your basil and the butter. Add in the white wine and remove from the heat.

Give the whole pan a gentle shake so the wine and melted butter mix and the basil wilts. Jamie suggests smashing a few tomatoes to make a sauce, but I find that the sauce is lovely just as is from the butter and white wine and the sticky bits from the pan-frying bacon and chicken.


This is not only a great one-pot meal, but it lives up to the name of Jamie’s episode title, which was Flash in the Pan. I timed this and from the moment I cut the first chicken breast until the photo when I am dripping on the sauce on the plate, was 18 minutes!

If you’d love to see all the other great one-pot wonders the Sunday Supper group have for you this week, join me and our host, the talented Amy Kim from kimchi MOM,  and click on the links below.
Take the chill off” Chilis, Soups, and Starters
“Put meat on your bones” Stews
“Make room for seconds” Main Dishes
“Can’t say no” Desserts