A cooking and baking journal

Finally, Eggplant has Found a Home!

9/20/09: Rigatoni with Creamy Eggplant and Mozzarella and Homemade Donuts for Dessert

Meal details: For the main course I made a pasta dish that included eggplant, mozzarella, onion, garlic, tomato puree, grape tomatoes, and zucchini. The donuts were for dessert and they were not your ordinary donuts--they were baked in the oven! Intriguing, huh?

Defining moments: This is the first time I ever cooked with eggplant. And this is also a special moment for me because I actually made donuts in the oven! I wanted to try the baked method since day one of Sabbath Supper!

Recipe sources: I am included in the Food Network Challenge (FNC) that is hosted by the writer of the I Blame My Mother blog. The challenge is this: each week, for a year, I'll try to use a recipe from each Food Network chef and blog about it. Perfect challenge for me, don't you think? The FNC members are going through the list of chefs alphabetically so the first week was Aaron McCargo, Jr. (host of Big Daddy's House) and the following chef is Aida Mollenkamp (host of Ask Aida). See Aaron's burgers that I did a week ago by clicking here. So Aida is next for me and I chose her eggplant dish because it sounded the easiest for me to do and it also included eggplant, an ingredient that is hard to find good recipes for. If you have a tasty recipe that has eggplant as an ingredient, please share it with me by leaving a comment. Thanks!

The donut recipe came from 101cookbooks.com. Click here for the recipe.

What I learned: Hm, let me think. The pasta dish, for me, was so easy that it felt like I was putting together a Hamburger Helper dish! The donuts required extra TLC, however. :) The dough was hard to manipulate, it felt like I was dealing with a pizza dough that had a bit of Lycra folded in! They were fun to do and they didn't take as long as I originally thought. And for those people who think they need to run to the store for cookie cutters for donuts, you probably don't need to. Just browse through you glass cabinet or pantry to find glasses and jars that have the right diameter. I found two that worked out splendidly and we don't have that wide of selection.

Any modifications? Yes, I made modifications to both recipes. I'll first talk about the pasta dish. I was reading the comments left by other cooks on the Food Network website and one word seemed to be popping up everywhere. And the word happened to be BLAND. Ouch. I didn't want that to be the case with mine, so I added zucchini and tiny grape tomatoes (Sugar Plum variety) to the mix. Hey, they're in season so why not? I also used our homemade tomato puree instead of the canned tomatoes. I think that small substitution really made the dish something special. And lastly, I omitted the cream and used precut macaroni instead of the rigatoni, just because we had a box in the pantry!

The donut recipe was changed only in the amount of yeast and the amount of time I left the dough to rise. We have quick acting yeast so I only had to leave the dough to rise for one time and that was only an hour. I like that! And I placed about 2 1/2 tablespoons of yeast into the milk mixture; you have to use more yeast when using the quick acting type.
Oh yeah, I also gave the donuts different coatings. I did a sugar glaze, honey glaze, melted chocolate, and of the course the cinnamon-sugar, just like the recipe demonstrated. The sugar glaze was made by putting together 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon salt, and about 4 tablespoons of warm milk. The honey glaze was created by adding about 2 tablespoons of honey to the sugar glaze.

How it tasted? The eggplant pasta dish was extremely tasty and my Papa, whose a meat connoisseur, said that he couldn't tell meat was missing! :) Thanks, Aida, for this wonderful recipe.
The donuts were a bit too chewy for my liking, but their flavor was good. As my youngest sister pointed out, their texture is like a soft pretzel.

How about a 2nd time? Definitely for the eggplant recipe. The baked donuts may see the light of day upon request but I don't think that will be anytime soon.

Don't you just love when glaze drips?! ;)

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to try the donut recipe! My mom has wanted to try to make some for awhile, this seems to be the easiest recipe we've seen so far. And your eggplant looks amazing!!!
    Thank you