Cooking Hussy


Grilled Eggplant Caprese June 22, 2009

Filed under: Appetizer,Main Dish,Salad/Side — cookinghussy @ 8:58 pm

Grilled Eggplant Caprese 2

Hell-0000 summer! I ran my first (and probably only) half marathon this weekend in Duluth Minnesota and it was hot. Normally the race, which started at 6:30 a.m., is nice and cool. Not this past Saturday! It was our first real day of summer so far this year too. It felt hot standing out in the sun after the race! Chicago is heating up as well with temperatures reaching the 90’s this week. So, it’s time to remember what I eat when I don’t want to heat up the house. A quick grill on this local and organic eggplant, paired with some fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato makes for a delicious and light dinner.

Grilled Eggplant Caprese

  • 1 eggplant – sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • fresh mozzarella – sliced
  • basil
  • tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes since the big tomatoes aren’t in season yet and don’t taste good).
  • good olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Head up a grill (or a grill pan) and throw on the eggplant. Cook fast and hot for a few minutes on each side and take off. Place a leaf of basil, a slice of mozzarella and tomatoes on top of one piece of eggplant, top with another and drizzle with good olive oil. Devour with hearty whole grain bread.

Servings: 2 dinner servings


Spring Panzanella – Asparagus June 14, 2009

Filed under: Main Dish,Salad/Side,Vegetarian — cookinghussy @ 9:26 pm

Spring Panzanella Asparagus

Spring salads! I’ve made panzanella before (an Italian bread salad that has been manipulated to match every season and produce available) and it continues to be an amazing dish. Toasting up some bread, letting it soak up seasoned oil and mixing it with in season produce and a great dressing is perfect. I made this for the premiere of True Blood. “Soooo-kie” This recipe came from The Kitchen Sink blog.

Spring Panzanella Asparagus 2

  • 3 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 C plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 (12-inch) lengths of crusty baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (12 cups)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1 lb asparagus – cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T capers (packed in brine), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • 1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb lightly salted fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • 3/4 C. chopped fresh basil

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife, then transfer to a small bowl and add 1/2 cup olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well. Put bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons garlic oil, tossing to combine, then put onto 1 shallow baking pan, arranging in 1 layer. Toast in oven at 425, stirring once or twice, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Leave oven on.

Toss asparagus in same bowl with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, then arrange in 1 layer in another large shallow baking pan. Roast asparagus until just tender and browned in spots, 12 to 16 minutes. Cool vegetables in pans until ready to assemble salad.

While vegetables roast, add vinegar to remaining garlic oil along with capers, sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and whisk to combine well.

Put asparagus, tomatoes, toasted bread, beans, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl, then drizzle with dressing and stir to combine well. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to develop, then stir just before serving.

Notes: YUM! This could be served as a main dish as it does have protein (garbanzo beans). But I think it’s probably best of a summer picknick or as a side dish.

Servings: SO MUCH. 4 big side dishes plus 4 extra servings.


Asparagus Salad with Pine Nut Dressing May 25, 2009

Filed under: Salad/Side — cookinghussy @ 6:49 pm

Asparagus Salad 2

Finally, back to reality! We’ve been eating amazing food for the past week or two with the wedding and honeymoon. The food has been delicious, but I’ve missed fresh spring vegetables and have been eating far too much meat. Tonight I made an asparagus salad with Channa Masala (to be posted later this week). This came from Heidi at 101cookbooks who always posts lovely seasonal recipes.

Asparagus Salad with Pine Nut Dressing

  • 12 spears of thick asparagus, sliced into 1/4-inch thick coins
  • 5 – 6 broccolini (or broccoli) florets, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C. pine nuts, toasted, and coarsely chopped
  • 7 tiny radishes, washed trimmed and very thinly slices
  • zest of one lemon
  • a bit of shaved parmesan

“Wash the asparagus and broccolini well and set aside. Make the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, salt, shallot and olive oil. Stir in the pine nuts. Set aside.

To cook the asparagus, place a splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the asparagus and broccolini. Toss well and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for one minute. Stir again, taste a piece, and cover again for another minute – but only if needed. You don’t want to overcook the vegetables here, they should be bright and with a bit of bite to them. When the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the heat and stir in the radishes and lemon zest. Taste, add a bit of salt if needed. Toss with 1/3 of the pine nut dressing, adding more as needed – as I mention up above, you might have a bit extra.

Turn everything out onto a platter and finish with some shaved Parmesan.”

Notes: This made a great salad that could be a great main dish. I’m eating the leftovers for lunch on a salad!

Servings: 2 big side servings and 1 left over serving


Pan-fried Chickpea Salad May 10, 2009

Filed under: Salad/Side,Vegetarian — cookinghussy @ 11:02 am

Garbanzo Bean Salad 2

Heidi from 101cookbooks has a way with making dishes look absolutely delicious, which leads me to making them and finding out that yes, the dish IS delicious. So it goes for this recipe for pan-fried chickpea salad. This was great for Chris and I as a main dish, but would probably great as a side dish during an afternoon of backyard grilling.

Garbazno Bean Salad

  • 1 tablespoon¬† butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), pat them completely dry with clean dish towel
  • 1 cup of chopped leeks
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thai curry powder (I used more)
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup of loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion or red spring onions, chopped

“Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet and add the chickpeas. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they start getting a bit golden in color. Stir in the leeks and cook until the chickpeas are more golden and the leeks have browned a bit as well, roughly 7 – 10 minutes total. At the last minute stir in the garlic and the lemon zest. Remove from heat, and set aside. (I sliced up a zucchini and fried it in the pan as well and added to the salad.)

Make the yogurt dressing by combining the yogurt, curry powder, and salt in a small bowl. If you need to thin it out a bit, particularly if you are using Greek yogurt, whisk in warm water a tablespoon at a time. Taste, adjust, and set aside.

When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the chickpea mixture with most of the cilantro and most of the chopped red onion. Add about 1/2 of the yogurt dressing and toss again. If you like more dressing, keep adding until you are pleased. Serve on a platter sprinkled with the remaining onions and cilantro.”

Notes: Yum! This made a lot of food though. Next time I’ll cut it in half.

Servings: 6 or so main dishes


Napa Cabbage and Carrot Saute April 16, 2009

Filed under: Salad/Side,Vegetarian — cookinghussy @ 8:19 pm


A nice side dish for a dinner with actual meat! I had a pork tenderloin in the freezer and it was in need of a nice, hearty side. This quick saute had a light but enjoyable flavor. It’s cabbage, so it’s filling.

  • 1 head napa cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • garlic
  • oil
  • salt/pepper

Slice up the napa cabbage and clean well. Peel the carrot and slice into thin sticks. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan. Toss in the carrots first and then the cabbage after a few minutes. Add the garlic for the last 3 minutes or so. Season with salt and lots of pepper. Enjoy!

Servings: 2 BIG sides, 4 normal person sides


Grated Radish with Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil April 6, 2009

Filed under: Salad/Side,Vegetarian — cookinghussy @ 7:08 pm


I came across an article in Slate about the problem produce that some people receive in their CSA/local produce delivery. I admit that I’ve tossed at least one rutabaga, but this woman had issue with parsley. Parsley?! Sheesh. Anyway, she called up Mark Bittman (as you do) to ask him what vegetables he has issues with. None. He threw out some ideas for some of her problem produce, including radishes. This “recipe” came from that one line from Bittman from that article.

  • 1 bunch fresh radish – grated
  • several splashes of soy sauce
  • one splash of sesame seed oil

All you do is grate and mix.

Notes: So easy and it’s going to be a favorite summer snack.

Servings: 1 afternoon snack.


Kale – Sweet & Sour March 14, 2009

Filed under: Salad/Side,Vegetarian — cookinghussy @ 12:33 pm


Greens, greens and more greens! Each week we get a batch of some hearty green, be it kale, swiss chard or mustard greens. I end up falling back on similar recipes or simple preparations, so it’s nice to look around for different recipes sometimes.¬† I found this recipe for kale and it turned out very well. It made a really great side dish with some interesting flavors.


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion – diced
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 4 t. white sugar
  • 1 T. cider vinegar (I didn’t have this so I just left it out, but I would add it next time)
  • 1 1/2 C. chicken broth
  • 4 C. stemmed, torn and rinsed kale (one big bunch)
  • 1/4 C. dried cherries
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C. sliced almonds

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover, and cook 5 minutes until wilted.

Stir in the dried cherries, and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half, and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.

Notes: I actually boiled the kale for a minute or two and then just used a little broth to saute everything. But next time I’d try this way of preparation since I’m sure it’s more flavorful.

Servings: 2 big sides