Tag Archives: mozzarella

Eggplant Mozzarella Panini

Eggplant Mozzarella Panini

Yum. Who doesn’t love a panini for lunch on a cold day? I mean, sandwiches are pretty great all year round. But paninis are like… super sandwiches. The s’mores of sandwiches if you will. The greatest of grilled grub. The leviathan of luscious lunches!

This sandwich takes into account a ton of my favorite ingredients- eggplant, mozzarella, arugula and roasted red peppers. Throw in some pesto and a great crusty country loaf, and you will say goodbye to the boring everyday white bread sandwich.

Eggplant Mozzarella Panini

This panini is pretty easy to make- start by grilling some eggplant, either on the grill, over a grill pan on the stove, or on the George Foreman, which is what I did.

Then it’s just a matter of assembling your sandwich with some choice ingredients!

Eggplant Mozzarella Panini

Grill the whole shebang for a few minutes, and you’re in business.

Eggplant Mozzarella Panini

Let me just pick that bad boy up… and… huh?

Eggplant Mozzarella Panini

Oh sorry… how did that get in there? Are you blinded by my… BLING?

YUP…. I’m getting hitched!!

Sorry it took so long to cut to the chase… but this is (almost) as exciting as my panini!!!

My Engagement Ring!!

That’s right folks… Ms. Total Noms is soon to become a Mrs.! I cannot believe I’m going to marry my best friend.

So excited. That’s me. Just so freakin’ excited!

More to come on the nuptials, but for now- get making this panini!

5.0 from 2 reviews

Eggplant Mozzarella Panini
 
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 eggplant, cut into ½” rounds (peeled or not, your preference)
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 slices good, crusty country bread
  • 4 tbsp pesto (homemade or storebought)
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼” slices (or shredded is fine, too)
  • ½ cup baby arugula
  • 4 strips roasted red pepper, dried with paper towels

Instructions
  1. I always like to salt my eggplant to temper any bitterness from the eggplant seeds. In a colander, place your eggplant slices and liberally salt all sides. Allow the eggplant to sit for about 10 minutes, rinse and squeeze dry with paper towels. Brush the eggplant with olive oil on both sides.
  2. Heat up your grill, grill pan, or George Foreman. Grill the eggplant rounds for about 4-6 minutes (2-3 minutes per side if using a grill or grill pan). Remove from the grill.
  3. Assemble your sandwich- I layered pesto, mozzarella slices, baby arugula and roasted red peppers on a slice of country bread, then placed a few eggplant rounds on top. Top with the other slice of bread, then grill for about 3-5 minutes, flipping if using a grill or grill pan.
  4. Remove to a plate, cut into halves, and enjoy!

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Green Pizza

Green Pizza
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before on this blog, but pizza is the ultimate comfort food for me. It’s portable, filling, tasty- you really can’t go wrong.

Yes, it’s possible to have bad pizza. Like, really bad pizza. I’m talking 3 in the morning, cold cheese on ketchup pizza that may or may not come with a free soda and fries if you order two slices for 99 cents. This is what we call a food tragedy. But it should not represent the greater, tastier food group that IS pizza!

The good news is, it’s really hard to make bad pizza in your own home, since you’re controlling exactly what goes on! Once you have the basic dough down, you are essentially good to go. I am normally very much a red sauce kinda girl when it comes to my pizza, but I had some leftover arugula pesto (that stuff freezes great!) so I used that, some fresh mozz, garlic, shallots, and broccoli to make this a green pizza that will certainly NOT scream diet material. Firstly, because I don’t think cheese on bread counts as diet material anyway. Secondly, because this pizza is way too darn tasty to scream anything other than “decadence”.

Green Pizza

5.0 from 1 reviews

Green Pizza
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Serves: 6

Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • corn meal, to cover the baking sheet or pizza stone
For the toppings:
  • ½ to ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise into thin slices
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella (or 3-4 big slices)
  • ½ to 1 cup arugula pesto
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar, garlic powder, oregano and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. In a small pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, thyme and shallots. The idea here isn’t necessarily to fry the aromatics, but to sort of poach them. Cook until the shallots are translucent and garlic is just starting to get crispy. Your house will smell very garlicky and delicious at this point.
  4. Turn out the pizza dough onto a baking sheet or pizza stone that has been dusted with cornmeal. You should also rub your hands with some corn meal to prevent the dough from sticking to you. Spread the dough out to the shape you want, then layer on your toppings. I started out with arugula pesto, then added a layer of mozzarella, the broccoli, and finished it off by pouring my oil and poached aromatics on top.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. Slice, drizzle with balsamic vinegar if desired, and serve!

Green Pizza

Happy Eating 🙂
mally

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

Last week, I hit up a local farmer’s market here in Jersey City. Well, OK. I didn’t exactly go on purpose… My original plan was to get tacos nearby and go home. OK, fine, my original original plan was to go to the gym, but who’s judging?

Anyways, I got out of the train station after leaving work, and emerged to find there was a bustling farmer’s market going on right around the plaza where the station lets you out. And yeah, there turned out to be a taco truck there (I indulged, obviously, going through some serious #tacolife right now). But there were so many other yummy things, I had to look around while waiting for my tacos to be made for me. In the 5 minutes I had to scout around, I picked up an eggplant and a nice handful of locally grown Jersey plum tomatoes.

It took me a little while to figure out what to do with the tomatoes (I ended up just frying the eggplant in a bout of weekend hunger) but I finally settled on making a twist on the classic caprese salad, this time in a creamy, decadent risotto. I roasted the tomatoes to get as much flavor from them as possible, used fresh mozzarella, and beautiful fresh basil. I have to say this came out even better than I expected- I never have used fresh mozzarella in risotto before, and it added a nice creamy and melty texture to the whole dish that made it really something special.

I think that’s the magic of a caprese salad any way you make it- it always ends up being a dish that is more than the sum of its parts. Using the best ingredients you can find will definitely improve the quality of the dish, and I’ll be surprised if you can keep yourself from having seconds! 🙂

Roasted Tomatoes

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients
For the Roasted Tomatoes:
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise with cores and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt
For the risotto:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3½-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed over low heat
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil for garnish

Instructions
  1. Make the roasted tomatoes and garlic: Preheat oven to 450° F. Arrange halved, cored tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over each tomato. Rub the garlic cloves in olive oil and place on the pan with the tomatoes. Roast for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once in between. When tomatoes have shrunk and are cooked through, remove them and the garlic cloves from the oven and allow to cool while you make the rest of the risotto.
  2. Make the risotto: In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, shallot, and thyme, and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until the shallots start to become translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the rice, and stir to coat in the oil. Season with salt, and allow the rice to “toast” for 2 minutes- this is adding a lot of flavor directly into the rice itself. Add the wine, and stir to loosen up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until wine is almost fully absorbed. Add ½ cup of the warmed broth and stir again. Continue to add broth, ½ cup at a time, once the previous addition is almost fully absorbed. Make sure you are stirring every few minutes or so as well.
  4. While the rice is cooking, carefully chop up your roasted tomatoes into ¼ inch pieces, and peel the roasted garlic and chop that up too.
  5. Once you feel the rice is cooked to the desired consistency (not crunchy, but somewhat creamy with a bite), add the roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic and stir. Add your mozzarella and parmesan, and stir again. The mozzarella will start to get stringy, but just keep stirring until everything is incorporated and it’s a lovely mess.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil, stir once more, and serve!

Happy Eating 🙂
mally