Friday, July 29, 2011

Let's Cook

I discovered a recipe in my files that was given to me at one of my bridal showers, 32 years ago.  I was all of 19 years old.  I couldn't wait to try my hand at cooking.  Most of my experience in the kitchen at that age, was baking cookies, and helping Mom with prep work in the kitchen.  Peeling potatoes, making dinner salads, fudge at Christmas time.  As soon we were married, I began to cook.  I remember living in our little one bedroom apartment with the teeny tiny kitchen, and I would make dinner every night.  I made things like stuffed grape leaves, and pot roasts, and chocolate mousse cake with 7 layers and 16 eggs in it!  I worked in restaurants and was always interested in the food industry.  I made the classics too that I grew up on.  Spaghetti, meatloaf, porcupine balls, lasagna.  But I also learned to make bechamel sauce, and things like that.  I made my own pie crusts, and baked from scratch, enjoying the process.  And looking back, had I known then, that there were places like culinary schools, I would have loved to have gone.  This recipe I am sharing with you now, was given to me by a lady I worked with.  She was a vegetarian, and somehow it slipped through the cracks until now.  You could change it up many different ways.  I didn't have all of the things on hand she had written down. So I used what I had.  I began by cutting up one large zucchini into 1/4 rounds.  Then seasoned it with salt and pepper and garlic, and steamed it until barely tender. 
After steaming, layer it into a casserole dish.  Using about half, then top with some cheese, and layer the rest, and sprinkle with cheese again.
Place into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake until cheese is melted evenly and bubbly.  About 12-15 minutes. 
Then begin to layer sliced tomatoes, and whatever other kinds of veggies that appeal to you.  She had suggested mushrooms, and even cottage cheese.  I didn't have any mushrooms, so I layered lots of fresh tomatoes from my garden, and some ripe avocado.  Salt and pepper, and then some sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.  Topping it off with parmesan.  I love parmesan cheese that is broiled on tomatoes! 
Bake for about 12 minutes, then finish off under broiler until it is nice and bubbly and browned.
We both liked this dish.  And I will keep it in mind for the next time I need a vegetarian dish for someone as well. 
To go along with this tonight, I made a dish I saw on one of my new favorite blogs
I think she called this Caprese Egg Cups.  I love caprese, and make it often.  I had everything I needed for this too.  Farm fresh eggs, garden fresh basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella.  How can you go wrong?
Here's what you do.  Butter your ramekins or other small oven proof dishes.
I cut up grape tomatoes, and baby mozzarella, and added ribbons of basil.   Then crack your eggs into the dish.  I used two eggs per cup.  Add about 1/2 teaspoon of light cream ( I used fat free 1/2 & 1/2) and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes, until almost set, then finish off under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly and eggs are set to your liking. Just before serving, I grated some fresh nutmeg on top.  I love the flavor of fresh nutmeg, and it goes well with eggs.
I had intended to go to the market for some good fresh sour dough bread to go along with this. But I ran out of energy this afternoon and decided to go with what I had.  So I served it with toasted english muffins.  The casserole came out of the dish a bit messy because I didn't let it set up at all.   It tasted much better than it looks here on the plate.  The egg cups were delicious, and I will be making these again!  But the next time I do, I will not cook them quite as long, as I prefer to have a softer yolk.
Do go check out the blog where I found this egg cup recipe. She has a lot of yummy going on there.
Today while at Target I found this new cookbook that my friend Dawn had told me about.  I know she is going to host a giveaway soon for a copy of it, but as I was looking at it in the store I loved it so much, I had to get it today.  I will let you know when she does so you can enter her giveaway.  Here is the book.
I cut off his name.  It is Rocco DiSpirito.  He is a great chef!  I have listened to his radio show from a podcast out of New York.  He is on a lot of shows, and has a show now on cable called Rocco's Dinner Party.  And he loves his Mama!  She is a sweet little lady too.   Check out the book.  I am anxious to try a lot of the recipes.
Happy Friday!  And Bon Appetit!!


bellini said...

Both dishes sound delicious and Rocco to boot!

❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀ said...

Everything looks delicious. I could eat the whole squash dish myself. So glad you found the cookbook. Isn't it great? I am also using it as a diet so hopefully you will see a thinner version of my self in the next several months. Great post!!

Linda - Behind My Red Door said...

I began cooking the same way too - though it was hard at times because David was a meat and potatoes man and I was used to all manner and ethnicity in foods as well as interesting sauces and condiments since my mom was a great cook. His condiments consisted of salt, pepper and butter and he only had steamed veggies. I remember making stuff yellow summer squash and he thought I ruined it! He is a lot better now ~ as long as I don't mess up his steamed veggies! LOL

Have a great weekend! HUGS!!

Heather - The Good Life said...

Your recipes sound yummy. I enjoy cooking too, the layer cake sounds really good, reminds me of Italian cream cake that uses a lot of eggs and has the many different layers. Have a great weekend!

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜@ Debbiedoos blogging and blabbing said...

We have been into cooking veggies lately. I love these recipes. Thanks for sharing Kris, and have a great weekend. Not sure if you saw or not, but my magazine copy cat challenge is on hold for August. I have too much goings on to add that to my list right now.

Genn said...

Oh that new veggie recipe looks good. And the eggs in the cups look so pretty!
Dad is a lucky guy.

deb said...

I think I will make those egg CARBS and look yummy!!
I love Roccos dinner party!!!!

Kerri said...

Your meal looks like something yummy you would get at a fancy restaurant! I agree with Genn...your hubbys a lucky guy! I'd like to try me some of that eggs dish and the zucchini dish...and a little Rocco on the side!

Reality Jayne said...

I watch Roccos Dinner it.
I am liking your new backround.

Linda said...

The zucchini dish looks great...I have been cooking zucchini and tomattoes and banana peppers for years topped with chesse...we always have so many in our garden that it made sense...I like the extra touches you added...the caprese dish looks great too...both of my sons are vegetarians so I look for dishes like that. We love caprice here too!I am going to have to look for that cookbook...looks interesting...I love Rocco!

Pammy Sue said...

Great post, Kris! All of the food looks so fresh and yummy. You make me wish I had a garden. Unfortunately, most things are burnt up around here from the weather by this time of year. I definitely want some of that egg dish.

NanaNor's said...

Hi Kris, Just want to tell you thanks again for always sharing these recipes with us-especially now that my girls have zuchini coming out their ears-lol-but seriously how many vege's can one little(now huge)plant produce.
Have a wonderful weekend.

The Garden Bell said...

I'm making those eggs for breakfast tomorrow. I'm drooling on my keyboard now.... They sound so delish and remind me of my mom's holiday special, sherred eggs.

Before I forget, Mr. Scoots works a Loyola Hospital and Medical School. He has been there for 27 years. Right now, he head the entire IT department for the Medical School. They just broke ground to for the Nursing School building with will be moved from the school to the hospital grounds soon. Looks like he will have more to worry about, but still have a job is the main thing.

Jann Olson said...

As always, it looks and sounds delicious! I have zucchini now. I make something similar, but I like the variation. I think it's a miracle that friends and family refer to me as a great cook. When I got married at age19 I really hadn't cooked hardly at all. My mother and MIL were both wonderful cooks and I took advice from them. Have always enjoyed it. Sounds like your home is a great place to br at dinner time! New cookbook sounds fun.

Jann Olson said...

As always, it looks and sounds delicious! I have zucchini now. I make something similar, but I like the variation. I think it's a miracle that friends and family refer to me as a great cook. When I got married at age19 I really hadn't cooked hardly at all. My mother and MIL were both wonderful cooks and I took advice from them. Have always enjoyed it. Sounds like your home is a great place to br at dinner time! New cookbook sounds fun.

Amber said...

Mmm that looks yummy! My mom makes a similar dish with zucchini and salsa (sometimes she throws some hominy in there) and sprinkles cheese on top. It's super easy and tasty!!

Nicolle said...

I love Rocco. He's a cutie!

Your dishes look so very delicious. I am now wanting to buy some new cookbooks! :)

Cheryl said...


Whosyergurl said...

YUM. Looks good. and Rocco? Delicious dish, too. I know. Stop being a cougar. xo, Cheryl

kpaints said...

I am newly vegtitarian so this recipe looks divine! I know where to get some zuccini! lol

Thanks for stopping by to follow my blog! I'll be back to try more recipes.

Mini Baker said...

Just found your blog! you have some amazing recipes! This one in particular looks so scrumptious!! can't wait to browse around and bookmark :)
-mini baker