Ina’s Eggplant Dip

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Each Summer I look forward to getting fresh eggplant to make this spread. As soon as I see some beautiful looking eggplants at the market I’m reminded of how delicious this dip is and immediately get excited to make it!

This recipe is not my own, though I usually make a few changes. I have to give credit to the lovely Ina Garten and her amazing ability to make simple ingredients so special and elegant.

I edited Ina’s recipe slightly to add a jalapeno for a bit of spice and some cumin and parsley. This dip is great with some freshly made pita chips, slathered over bread or honestly just by the spoonful! I’ll be sharing this with my friends over at Fiesta Friday today. If you haven’t joined us yet you should definitely stop by!

Ina’s Eggplant Spread from Ina Garten with a few changes

1 eggplant
1 red pepper
1 onion
1 jalapeno
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut the eggplant, red pepper onion and jalapeno into small chunks and place in a bowl with the garlic. Add the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss it all together to coat the vegetables.

3. Place the vegetables on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes until soften and browned. Remove the baked vegetables and let them cool down.
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4. Place the cooled vegetables in a food processor with the parsley and tomato paste and pulse until combined and smooth. Enjoy!

Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

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When I heard that the first Fiesta Friday challenge would involve yeast and herbs I was excited. In my mind, there are few things better than fresh warm bread and I love having a reason to experiment and try something new. I immediately knew I wanted to make a focaccia. I love the crunch bottom and sides and the fluffy soft inside.

I also really like baking cheeses into my breads and fontina seemed like a great choice for this Italian classic. The fontina adds a little saltiness and flavor without being overwhelming. However, I think the real star of this focaccia is the garlic and herb oil. The fresh herbs really bring this to life and well, I love garlic so a garlic infused oil is right up my alley. If you’re not such a garlic fan you can either use less or omit it.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else enters in the challenge. Click the badge below to see what’s been entered so far!
”Fiesta

Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese, grated or shredded

Garlic Herb Oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
6-8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Begin by adding the water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for about ten minutes, until it starts to get frothy. Add the flour and salt to the yeast and water and begin to combine on the lowest speed. Slowly drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into the dough while it combines. Once the dough starts to form a ball, add 1 cup of the fontina and let it continue to combine until you have a sticky dough ball. Remove the dough and place it in a bowl. Cover the bowel with a clean towel and let it rise for an hour.

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2. While the dough is rising, make the garlic herb oil. Peel and smash the two cloves of garlic and place them in a microwave safe bowl with the olive oil. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Put the oil, garlic, basil and parsley in a food processor and pulse until the herbs and garlic are in small pieces.

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3. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large baking dish. Place the dough in the dish and spread it out as best you can. Then turn the dough over so both sides get oiled and spread it out a little more. It’s fine if it doesn’t reach the edges of the bowl. Use your fingers to dimple the surface of the dough and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on top.

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4. Bake the bread at 400 for about 30 minutes. Then place the rest of the fontina cheese on top of the bread. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the top just starts to brown. Remove from the oven and brush the garlic herb oil on top. Enjoy!

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Fettuccine Alfredo

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Alfredo is such a heart warming dish. It’s so simple to make, yet a bowl of cheesy warm alfredo seems so special. I remember my brother and I would always get really excited when my mom would announce we were having fettuccine alfredo for dinner.

I like to keep my family’s tradition of pasta on Sundays alive, but lately I’ve been running out of ideas and was tired of the typical tomato sauce. My mom suggested alfredo, and I thought it was a great idea. I unintentionally “lightened” this dish a bit by using 2% milk instead of whole milk since that’s all we had. I also added the last bit of a bottle of white wine we had in the fridge, but you can definitely leave that out or replace the wine with milk if you prefer.

Fettuccine Alfredo
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
salt
pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 pound dried fettuccine

1. Add the butter and garlic to saucepan on low heat. When the butter has melted add the milk and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the wine if you’re using it. Next add the cheese and continue to stir until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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2. Cook the fettuccine in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the pasta and then add it to the pan with the sauce.

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3. Mix the pasta with the sauce and top with parsley, basil and extra cheese. Enjoy!

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Simple Sautéed Kale

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I know I know, its cliche now to say you recently discovered kale is an awesome superfood, but I never tried it until a few months ago and now I’m obsessed – where have you been all my life kale!? Kale is good in so many preparations and this is one of my favorites. A super simple way to get all of the healthy benefits of this great ingredient.

This could be a great Thanksgiving side if you’re looking for ways to lighten up traditional holiday sides. To all my other kale fans out there, let me know how you like to cook it!

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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion sliced into thin strips
1 glove garlic, minced
1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

1. Add the oil and garlic to a pan on medium heat.

2. Let the garlic cook for 30-60 seconds and then add the onion and season with salt and pepper.

3. Let the onion cook for about 4 minutes and then add the kale, if the entire bunch won’t fit in the pan you can add some, let it cook down a little and then add the rest.

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4. Add the lemon juice and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until the kale has wilted, about 8 minutes, enjoy!

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