Tag Archives: Bread

Moussaka – Classic Greek Moussaka with Eggplant

Moussaka is a casserole made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling then topping it off with a creamy bechamel sauce that is baked to golden perfection.

It is perhaps the most widely recognized of all Greek dishes and was made famous by the legendary Greek chef, Nicholas Tselementes.

This eggplant version is the traditional rendition, however you can also layer in potatoes, zucchini, or whatever vegetables you prefer.  It’s hearty and filling so you won’t need many side dishes.

While it can be time consuming to prepare, I think you will find that once complete it is a very worthwhile endeavor.

Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 eggplants, about 4 lbs. total
  • 2 lb. potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (or lamb)
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 cup tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
  • 8 egg whites, lightly beaten (reserve yolks for bechamel)
  • 1 cup grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese
  • Bechamel Sauce:
  • 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk, warmed
  • 8 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Prep the Vegetables:
Using a sharp peeler, partially peel the eggplants, leaving strips of peel about 1 inch wide around the eggplant. Slice the eggplant in to 1/2 inch slices. 
Place the eggplant slices in a colander and salt them liberally. The salt also helps to remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant.
Cover them with an inverted plate that is weighted down by a heavy can or jar. 
Place the colander in the sink so that excess moisture can be drawn out. 
They will need to sit for at least 15-20 minutes, preferably an hour. 

Peel the potatoes and boil them whole until they are just done. They should not get too soft, just cooked enough so that they no longer crunch. 
Drain, cool and slice them in 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease.  Add a splash of water to the egg whites and beat them lightly with a fork.  Add breadcrumbs to a flat plate.

Rinse the eggplant slices and dry with paper towels.  Dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg whites and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides.  Place breaded eggplant slices on baking sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 an hour, turning them over once during cooking.

When eggplant is finished cooking, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Make the Meat Filling:

In a large sauté pan, brown the ground beef (or lamb) until the pink color disappears.  Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add wine to pan and allow it to simmer and reduce a bit before adding cinnamon, allspice, parsley, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and sugar. It should be a drier, chunkier, tomato sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  
Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for approximately 15 minutes so that excess liquid can evaporate. 

Make the Béchamel Sauce:

Melt butter over low heat.  Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste.  Allow the flour to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.

Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously.

Simmer over low heat until it thickens a bit but does not boil.

Remove from heat, and stir in beaten egg yolks and pinch of nutmeg.  Return to heat and stir until sauce thickens.

Assemble the Moussaka:

Lightly grease a large deep baking pan (lasagna pan).  Sprinkle the bottom of pan with breadcrumbs.  Leaving a 1/4 inch space around the edges of the pan, place a layer of potatoes on the bottom. 
Top with a layer of eggplant slices.

Add meat sauce on top of eggplant layer and sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated cheese.
Top with another layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle once again with 1/4 of the grated cheese.

Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant and be sure to allow sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan.  Smooth the béchamel on top with a spatula and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese.  Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until béchamel sauce is a nice golden brown color. 

Allow to cool for 15 – 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

You can make this dish ahead up until the béchamel sauce and refrigerate.  Make the béchamel sauce right before you intend to bake it.

I originally found this recipe at About.com Greek Food.

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Crispy Quinoa Sliders

Yield: makes 12 sliders (but also depends on the size of your buns)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup freshly grated provolone cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 multigrain slider buns or dinner rolls
2 avocados, sliced for topping
1/2 cup chipotle mayo, for topping

Directions:

Add quinoa and stock to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 15 minutes or until can be fluffed with a fork. You can do this ahead of time or even the night before (and store quinoa in the fridge) so the quinoa can cool.

While quinoa is cooking, slice the green onions, chop the carrots, mince the garlic and grate the cheese. Place it all in a bowl, then add panko and mix. Coarsely chop the chickpeas and add to the bowl. One quinoa is finished cooking, add it to the bowl and mix well until incorporated. If needed, let cool or place in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Add in beaten egg + egg white, salt, pepper and mix well. Form into patties (I really squeezed a handful of quinoa together and smoothed it into a round, it may take some squeezing and form to get the patties to stick) that fit the size of the buns you have. <- this will differ!

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add 5-6 quinoa patties and cook until deeply golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Gently flip and cook 5 minutes more. Remove and continue with remaining olive oil and patties. Serve with sliced avocado chipotle mayo!

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Courtesy of How Sweet it is

Thanksgiving Best Turkey Stuffing Ever

For this Thanksgiving I decided to try a new and more interesting stuffing with a home invented recipe. The good thing is that it turned out to be the best Turkey stuffing ever.

Best Turkey Stuffing Ever

  • 200 grams of fresh baked white bread in crumbs
  • 150 grams of dried mango
  • 150 grams of stick celery
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 single clove garlic
  • Fresh Basil, Oregano and Cilantro (about one loose handful of each)
  • 200 grams of melted butter Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 small can (1,5 dl) of coconut milk

Follow these steps:

  • Chop the stick celery, the mango, and the onion in small pieces.

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  • Melt the butter and add the vegetables in a casserole.
  • Chop the bread in small square pieces.
  • Chop the fresh spices.

Stuffing01

  • Add all to the butter and the vegetables.
  • Add the coconut milk

Let it all Cook until the bread is completely soaked and all the ingredients are well blended. Stuffing03 .