Friday, September 9, 2011


2 medium eggplants
olive oil cooking spray

2 TBS olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 fresh lemon, sliced very thin

2 TBS fresh oregano, chopped
3 TBS fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 lb ground lamb
1 lb extra lean ground beef

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1-30oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained well
4 oz tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
sea salt, to taste

8 oz fresh goat's milk feta, crumbled
8 oz freshly grated Parmesan

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in 4 qt Dutch oven or heavy saucepan; add onion, garlic & lemon slices. Saute until soft & fragrant. Stir in oregano & parsley; saute 2 minutes more. Add lamb & ground beef, stirring to break up; cook until no longer pink. Add cinnamon & cloves; stir to combine. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste & red wine. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often, until sauce thickens. Salt to taste.

As sauce simmers, prepare eggplant.
Preheat oven to 375; wash & thoroughly dry eggplant. Slice into 1/4 inch slices. Spray large baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray; place eggplant on sheet & spray generously. Bake for 6 minutes; turn eggplant pieces & bake for another 6 minutes. Remove from oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 350.
Spoon 1/2 c. meat sauce into bottom of 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover with a single layer of eggplant slices, tightly placed. Spread half or the remaining meat sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle with 4 oz of the feta & 4 oz of the Parmesan. Repeat the layers.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden. Remove from oven & let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Hazelnut Olive Oil Shortbreads

2 c. toasted hazelnuts, finely ground
2-1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil*
2 large eggs, beaten until frothy
1 TBS freshly grated orange zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine toasted hazelnuts, flour & baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, olive oil, eggs, orange zest & vanilla on low speed until well moistened. Increase to medium speed & mix an additional minute. Add the dry ingredients & mix on low until just combined & dough sticks together.

Spread 2 sheets of plastic wrap on counter; divide dough in half & form into 2 logs about 10 inches by 2 inches. Wrap tightly & place in freezer for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Line large baking sheet with baking parchment.

Remove one dough log from freezer; unwrap & slice into 1/4 inches slices. Place on prepared parchment & bake for 11 minutes until dry but not brown. Careful to not overbake. Remove to wire racks to cool; repeat with remaining log (or keep frozen for up to one month for later use.)

Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

These are perfect after a heavy meal with a cup of coffee or nice glass of red wine.

*Or use orange-infused olive oil if you have it available for a stronger orange flavor.