Posted by eemilla on December 19, 2010
I took a month or two off from cooking as a result of my aversion to the smell of raw garlic, but now that the phase has passed we’re back to switching off cooking weeks. I still cannot eat enough nightshades, so many a dinner is Nona Mia‘s eggplant parmesan for me and the Farmhouse pie for my honey’s dinner and my lunch the next day. Their eggplant is really spectacular because it is sliced thickly so you can actually taste the eggplant over the breading, and their tomato sauce is chunky with crushed tomatoes; the cheese is used with a lighter hand than most area restaurants, which for me is heaven because I want the eggplant not the parmesan. The Farmhouse remains my favorite pizza that my husband doesn’t make with its goat cheese, basil, olives, roasted tomatoes, and (best of all) focaccia crust.
However, this post is what I’ve actually been cooking not how much we love Nona Mia. Last winter, I fell in love with brussels sprouts baked with garlic, white wine, and butter in a covered casserole dish, but with the pregnancy, I’m not ingesting any alcohol be it cooked or not. The recipe adapted quite well both going uncovered (my honey broke the lid) and alcohol free; in lieu of wine, we’ve added a some lemon juice. In order to make it a meal, we’ve been eating it with grits, and I added about half a pound of tofu to the brussels to give us some protein. The tofu also adds a soft texture like goat cheese, although I expected a more chewy texture. I did not drain the tofu particularly well, which is probably the cause for the creamier texture. With the dish being uncovered, I increased the temperature to 400F as they had cooked about forty-five minutes at 350F and still were way too firm to eat. I didn’t bother to take any photos because I didn’t anticipate blogging this.
Aside from lasagna, my other favorite dish is from Smitten Kitchen. I love goat cheese, butternut squash, and lentils so of course I was destined to love this dish. To make it a bit more rounded, I added some garlic cooked kale, and I used plain green lentils. I am too lazy to roast the seeds, but both times I have made this we haven’t missed them. The first round I made vegan, but the second batch proved that the goat cheese is essential. I also didn’t add any heat aside from coarsely ground black pepper with the first batch (we corrected this with some sriracha after cooking). My second batch received a healthy sprinkling of cayenne pepper along with the paprika, and I definitely used more than a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, although I didn’t bother to measure, I think it was more like a quarter of a cup, The heat with the sour vinegar, sweet squash, and creamy goat cheese is just perfect. Not to mention that lentils are an awesome and cheap source of protein and fiber without much fat.