Tag Archives: italian

Eggplant Mini Pizzas

These delicious mini pizzas are made with a base of eggplant and topped with sauce, veggies, cheese and fresh basil. I added some fresh pesto as well and these were delicious! 🙂 Gluten free and grain free and almost paleo (omit cheese for paleo) these are a great alternative to traditional pizza! 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 1 globe eggplant, about 8 ounces and 9-10 inches long and sliced into 3/4″ slices
  • Salt for sprinkling on eggplant slices to draw water out
  • 1-2 T olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting

Toppings

  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning or a combination of basil, oregano and thyme
  • 1-2 mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup finely grated low-fat mozzarella blend
  • Fresh Basil Pesto – 1 tsp for each slice of eggplant (optional)
  • 10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips (optional)

Instructions

  • Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut it into 3/4 inch thick slices (trying to make them the same thickness)
  • Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for about 30 minutes to draw out the liquid.  (After the eggplant sits for 15 minutes, turn on the oven to 375F/190C.)
  • After 30 minutes, wipe the eggplant dry with a knife or paper towels (this also removes most of the salt.)  Spray a roasting sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray, lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning.  Roast the eggplant about 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove eggplant from the oven and turn oven setting to broil.
  • Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, sprinkle with chopped veggies, cheese and some of the fresh basil.
  • Put pizzas under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  • Serve hot, with a dollop of fresh basil pesto and some more fresh basil if using.

Inspired by, modified and simplified from the original – thanks KalynsKitchen!

dit-elle-Esther

Strawberry Balsamic Granita

It’s been so hot in Seattle that all I can think of making is frozen treats! Granita is an Italian dessert made of sugar, water and flavor or juice and is very easy to make.

Also check out Lemon Granita and Cranberry Jalapeno Granita!

Blog strawberry balsamic granita-1

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces fresh strawberries (about 2½ cups), hulled
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar, or to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • More balsamic vinegar for topping (optional)

Preparation

  • Combine berries and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Stir in water and vinegar. Transfer to a glass baking dish and freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Thoroughly scrape the entire pan with a fork, breaking up ice crystals. Repeat freezing and scraping process every 30 minutes, until granita is firm but not frozen solid, 2 to 4 hours.
  • Spoon into small glasses and serve.
  • Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a few drops of balsamic vinegar (optional)

Thanks PCC Natural Markets for the inspiration!

dit-elle-Esther

Cranberry Jalapeno Granita

A deliciously refreshing icy dessert for hot summer days (or Christmas holiday season). The Jalapeno adds a bit of heat (you can remove the seeds for a milder taste), so this is not really a kid dessert. Someone mentioned topping oysters on the half shell with this spicy-sweet ice, but I have not been that brave yet. 🙂

Blog cranberry jalapeno granita-2 Blog cranberry jalapeno granita-1

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 mint sprigs
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, slices
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Directions

  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil
  • Cover and remove from het, let stand for 15 minutes
  • Strain cranberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a baking dish, discard solids
  • Cool to room temperature, stir in lime juice
  • Cover and freeze.
  • Once frozen, remove mixture from freezer and scrape with a fork until fluffy
  • Serve and enjoy with a mint sprig for garnish

dit-elle-Esther

Insalata di Arance (Orange Salad)

I would never have thought of these ingredients being perfectly complimentary and surprisingly delightful! Sweet tangy oranges, the subtle flavor of fennel, salty olives, a handful of parsley.. so good!

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Ingredients

  • 4 oranges, peeled, sliced in bite size pieces
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Dried red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 handful kalamata olives (or pitted black olives)
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions

  • Mix together oil, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes and salt.
  • Toss with oranges, fennel, onions.
  • Sprinkle with olives and chopped parsley.
  • Serve and enjoy or make ahead of time and let marinade overnight

Thanks PCC Natural Markets for the inspiration. I modified the recipe slightly from the original here.

dit-elle-Esther

Grain Free Lasagna

This lasagna uses zucchini for noodles! Yes, it’s true, and what’s even better? It’s super yummy and tastes like lasagna! You slice the zucchini into thin noodles, layer with a hearty meat sauce, ricotta, and cheese, and voila – not only gluten free, but grain free lasagna! 🙂

Blog grain free lasagne

Ingredients

  • 1 very large or 3-4 small zucchinis
  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce
  • 1 16oz tub of ricotta
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 cups of cheese
  • Oregano, salt, pepper – to taste (optional)
  • Bay leaf (optional)

Directions

  1. Wash and peel zucchini
  2. With a mandolin slicer, a cheese cutter, or a sharp knife (this is the hardest) – slice the zucchini lengthwise
  3. Heat olive oil in pan and add chopped onion
  4. Sautee until fragrant and soft and add hamburger
  5. Brown meat and then add tomato sauce and some oregano, let simmer on low heat
  6. Beat egg and mix with ricotta until well blended, add dried parsley
  7. Now you are ready to layer and bake the lasagna – alternating meat sauce, noodles, ricotta, extra tomato sauce (optional) and cheese on top
  8. Bake for 45 minutes on 350
  9. Enjoy with a fresh green salad dressed with olive oil & vinegar and chopped veggies!

dit-elle-Esther

Tiramisu

A few days ago, I posted a Paleo Lady Finger Cookies recipe for this fabulous Tiramisu! Light crunchy Lady Finger cookies are soaked in coffee and rum and then layered with whipped cream, rich golden custard, and dusted with cocoa powder. Yum! There are a few steps involved here, but they are pretty straight forward. It’s worth it! And this dessert refrigerates well so you can enjoy it for breakfast and (lunch and..) dessert for several days! 🙂

Blog tiramisu (1)

blog tiramisu (2)

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies (or see my Paleo Lady Finger recipe here)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise and drizzle with coffee mixture.
  4. Arrange half of soaked ladyfingers in bottom of a 7×11 inch dish. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours, until set.

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Thanks Allrecipes.com for the tips!

 

dit-elle-Esther

Zucchini Crust Pizza

There are many excellent gluten free pizza doughs out there, but what if you want to go grain-free and/or paleo? Veggie pizzas are a great alternative. Think zucchini, eggplant or cauliflower for your crust. Top with sauce, meats and veggies, and cheese (optional) of course! I made this one with zucchini and topped it with tomato sauce, cheese and fresh pesto! Yum! Blog zucchini paleo pizza-2 Blog zucchini paleo pizza-1 Ingredients

  • 2 c. zucchini, finely grated, lightly packed (use grater blade on your food processor for easy prep)
  • ½-3/4 c. almond meal
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • ½ t. oregano
  • ¼ t. garlic powder
  • ⅛ t. salt (you don’t need much because the zucchini will retain some)
  • Toppings: fresh herbs, vegetables, meats, cheese, pesto
Instructions
  1. Place the grated zucchini in a strainer and sprinkle with a little salt, tossing to mix it in a bit
  2. Place the strainer over a large bowl, and let the zucchini drain for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Place the grated zucchini into a dry dish towel and squeeze, or press out as much as you can in the strainer
  5. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
  6. Add almond meal as needed to make a dough (not too wet, not too dry).
  7. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the zucchini mix out into an oval shape. I use a fork to do this, and I press it down to compact it as well.
  8. Place the pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Then place the pan on the top rack of the oven for ~8 minutes, until browned.
  10. Remove the pan and flip the crust, bake for another ~5 minutes. Then remove and turn oven up to 500.
  11. Top the pizza with sauce, pesto, and whatever your favorite toppings are
  12. Place the pizza back into the oven and bake for ~5 minutes more

Thanks Oatmeal with a Fork blogger for this tasty recipe!

dit-elle-Esther