Special Delivery

Posted: February 3, 2010 | Author: Rita | Filed under: Rita | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

Not to brag or anything, but my mom is a great cook. Really! If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then all the women in my neighborhood back home particularly fawn over the recipes for her brisket, salads, and stuffed grape leaves, all of which they have appropriated for their own meals (and then served back to us when our family comes over for dinner).

My mom also likes to send her scattered kids care packages on occasion. Imagine my surprise when a small box arrived at my doorstep the other day, no return address. There’s only one person who it could have been from. Inside, of all things, were brand new containers of spices, ginger, coriander and cumin, as well a (broken) bottle of light soy sauce. A note was included, written on the back of an envelope:

“Dear Rita,
Here’s a recipe inside for a wonderful marinade I made with tuna steaks — unbelievably good! Works with any fish and I imagine chicken and other stuff. Enjoy!!! XX I love you…. Mom”

That just about melted my heart. Tucked inside the envelope was the recipe.

Ginger-Soy Marinade
2 garlics [sic] crushed
2 slices ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
2 tsps sugar [or sage? Hard to read. Knowing my mom, it's sugar.]
Optional: 1 tsp chili powder

When I asked her about the recipe, she said for tuna steaks it only needs to marinade for 10 minutes, since the tuna absorbs sauces quickly. Upon my asking her to clarify whether that meant 5 minutes per side for 10 minutes total or 10 minutes each side, she said, “I don’t know, I don’t do things so exact.” It’s also good for chicken. Cook it on a grill pan and you’ve got yourself a tasty dinner.

This story doesn’t top what she sent my brother though! I’d love to see the look on his face when he opened his box and found… an eggplant along with a head of garlic and a can of chopped tomatoes for a simple eggplant salad, which we eat tossed with pasta or on its own as a side.

Eggplant salad
1 eggplant
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsps olive oil
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 small can tomato sauce
2 tsps sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice the eggplant and soak in a bowl of cold water. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, then remove eggplant from bowl and squeeze out the excess water. In a large saucepan saute the garlic in olive oil until lightly browned, then add the tomatoes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar on top, stir, and saute until soft. Add the eggplant, tomato sauce and the remaining sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the saucepan and cook on a low heat, checking every 10 minutes or so until soft. Adjust salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Serve warm for best results, though it can be refrigerated for later.

Together, these two recipes will make for a delicious meal! Does anyone else’s mom send packages like these or just mine?

The eggplant parm bandwagon

Posted: December 8, 2009 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: | 2 Comments »

This weekend I went to my nephew’s christening.  The party after, at my sisters house, was catered by my sister’s mother-in-law.  Let me tell you, her food is amazing.  I have never had anything that she has made that wasn’t fantastic.  This weekend there was a solid italian spread: rigatoni, sausage and peppers, chicken murphy and….eggplant parm.  Those of you that read us with any regularity know that our lovely Improviser has a bit of an obsession with eggplant parm, so when I tasted this, I knew I had to share it with her/all of you lovelies.  This eggplant is different than the individual serve stuff that most of us are used to.  This is more of a ‘group parm’ situation.  Its pretty simple, and so freaking good, I HAD to get the recipe from her and thus I pass it on to you:

For the Eggplant

1 eggplant (duh)

2 large eggs


seasoned breadcrumbs

vegetable oil

Take the eggplant, cut off both ends and peel it.  Its a little too soft for the peeler so you are just going to have to work on your knife skills.  Then cut it into rounds about 1/4 inch thick.  Dip the rounds in flour, then the beaten eggs, followed by the bread crumbs.  Fry them on both sides in the oil at medium heat until they are golden brown.  Once they are all fried, just set them aside on a paper towel to drain


Make a basic tomato sauce (or use store-bought if thats how you roll).  Once the sauce is ready, you can assemble the deliciousness.  Coat the bottom of a square baking pan with sauce, then put one layer of eggplant slices.

EggPlant Layer 1

Cover the eggplant with shredded mozzarella, then another layer of sauce.  Do one more layer of eggplant, cheese and sauce, and then put it into the over at 375.  The timing is tricky on this one.  The advice I was given was to bake it until it was pretty dried out so that it is more solid like a lasagna.  I baked it for about an hour, and it was still a little messy, but I really liked it.  EggPlant Layer 2


I am tremendous fan of this and I’m thinking its going to be one of my staples.  Tonight was perfect too because it started sleeting…so this recipe even made Ohio better, which is really saying something :)

Hope you all enjoy as much as I did!


Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.