Stovetop Eggplant Parm

For the coming months when it’s too hot to turn on even the broiler for five minutes, I bring you Eggplant Parmesan made on the stovetop.

Yes, I know you don’t like eggplant, but perhaps someone else you know does?

The idea is the same as a traditionally made eggplant parm but you forego the lovely browned cheese on each of the crispy breaded eggplant round medallion slices.

It starts out by laying some paper towel on a plate and putting 1/2″ eggplant slices on it. Salt both sides, and prick each medallion. Microwave them for 1 to 1.5 minutes, checking at the 1 minute mark for doneness. Remove any that are foldable; continue microwaving the thicker cuts.

Set up your basic 3 Stage Dredge Station:
1. Flour + S&P in the first bowl
2. Egg whisked up in the second bowl
3. Panko + Italian Seasoning in the third bowl

While your hot pan is heating up some oil, quickly flour, wash, and coat a few slices to drop in the hot pan over the oil. Continue dredging a few more medallions as you check the colour on the first batch. Flip when you hit a nice looking crust. Add a bit more oil around the first few and drop the second batch down to brown.

Remove the done medallions to rest on a wire rack over paper towel until all the slices have been fried. Wipe out the pan’s dirty oil, and add a tomato sauce of your choice. Plunk the eggplant medallions into the hot ragu (being careful not the fully submerge both sides). Cut or grate some mozzarella cheese and place some on each eggplant slice.

Place a lid (or a big sheet pan if you don’t have a matching lid) over top of the pan to let the cheese melt as everything hits the same temperature.

Fish out two slices and place them on lovely fresh bun. Top them with a bit of the ragu, and if you like some lettuce and roasted peppers or pickles (I love the crunch and taste contrast here), and EAT!

Tiramisu

Tiramisu Close Up

The hardest part of tiramisu for me is parting with so much money for the mascarpone. It’s costs a fortune! Years ago, I found a little hack by Gemma overĀ @biggerbolderbaking that allows me to make a fake mascarpone that saves a LOT of money so here we go. Get your big girl panties on, ladies, and let’s get assembling!

The base is comprised of however many lady fingers you can manage to fit into each layer times two or three layers, breaking fingers in half if you have to. (Depending on the pan I use, I can make up to three layers using a bread loaf pan, or two layers using a 9″x9″ square pan.) It’s not an exact science, so if you run out of the coffee/liquor mix, just make a bit more until all of the fingers get a quick soak.

Tiramisu

20-30 lady fingers

1 C room temp coffee brew

1 tbsp Amaretto (optional – I sometimes sub it out for 2 tsp hot chocolate powder whisked in)

Note: The filling is a two step process that will get folding into each other to make the ‘fascarponey’.

STEP ONE:

1C 35% Cream

1/3 C Sugar (white or superfine icing)
1 tsp Vanilla (this is the time to bust open the expensive stuff)

Whisk this on medium speed for about 5-8 mins, until the cream starts to thicken up. Then bump it to full speed for another 2-3 mins to incorporate a lot of air allowing the cream to fluff up.

Scrape the whipped cream into another mixing bowl. Set aside while assembling the second cream mixture in the mixer.

STEP TWO:

6oz/168g Cream Cheese, room temp (cut it into small cubes to speed up the temp change)

2 Tbsp Sour Cream (if you’re not using full fat, why are you even making this dessert?!)

3 Tbsp 35% Cream

Using a paddle attachment, cream this mixture to a smooth consistency. Drop on heaping spoonful of this mixture into the whipped cream bowl, and fold it in so the whipped cream thins out a bit. Add the rest and mix to incorporate both only.

Start the layering assembly at this point.

Drop each lady finger into a shallow dish with the coffee mixture and quickly roll it over a full rotation. Immediately place each soaked finger into the loaf pan or the glass dish. When one layer of lady fingers is assembled, top it with either one half or a third of the fascarponey mixture. Smooth it out. Optional: dust the cream layer with coco powder or hot chocolate powder. I do this sometimes, but often I forget to do it. Oh, well.

Continue with more of the same two layers until you reach the top of the pan with fascarponey. Top that with either coco or hot chocolate powder. Cover and let the dish set itself up in the fridge.

To be honest, you only need ten mins for the lady finger to soften up from all of the moister you rolled them around in and even more moisture from the creams, but the longer it sits chilling, the better it ends up tasting if you ask me. So, yeah – quick dessert for sure when you need something nice at a moment’s notice. Even slapped together quickly can produce a lovely to eat tiramisu.

I’ve never tasted a shitty tiramisu using this recipe (or anywhere else if I’m being honest). This dish is fool proof. If you find a way to screw it up, I need to be the first person you tell. And I will need a full explanation of just how you did it. Deal?

Jalapeno Boats

I love making these little boats as part of our ‘Pub Night’ meal, or as a starter to a longer cooked meal. Easy to make, easy to fill, easy to bake.

Jalapeno Boats:
6 Jalapenos, washed, stem end cut off, halved, and hallowed out
1 Bacon Strip, cooked, tiny dice
4 Tbsp Cream Cheese, tiny dice
1/4 Cheese Shred of choice
S&P

Wear gloves when working with the jalapenos, and I tend to wash my hands three times after I take the gloves off. Add everything but the jalapenos to a small bowl. Squish it all together with one gloved hand, making sure everything gets evenly smushed together. This is your filling.

Take a half jalapeno at a time and using the back of a spoon, add a bit of the filling to each cavity at a time. Using the hand holding the jalapeno being filled, start molding the filling to the cavity so it stops trying to fall out. I tend to make each filling flush with the tops until I get to the end of the jalapenos I need to fill. If there’s extra left over – depending upon how much is left – I may store the rest in the fridge for more jalapeno boats the next day or simply plump up the ones in front of me.

1/4 C Breadcrumbs (optional: with seasonings and grated parm cheese)

Dip each jalapeno boat into a small bowl filled with the breadcrumbs. Gently push down so the breadcrumbs stick into the filling.

Place each finished boats onto a baking tray and pop into a pre-heated oven set to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 mins. Let them rest on the tray on top of the counter for another 10 mins. Serve hot, but not blazing hot straight from the oven.

Note: If you’re like me, lactose intolerant, good news. Walmart sells their own lactose free cream cheese now, and it totally works in these jalapeno boats. And the price is on par with regular cream cheese, which, btw, is almost unheard of for a specialty product!