Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From "EEEK!" To Chic - The Floors!

I've taken a few days off - been wearing myself a little thin - and now I'm on vacation in Cali. But on Saturday I got a bunch done, thanks in large part to my mom. She introduced me to the angle brush to do all my cutting in around the trim...til now, I've been using just a small painters brush, like for canvas painting. Hopefully it will go a lot faster now.

Another thing I learned - Behr Primer & Paint in 1 is totally not worth the extra $10 per gallon. The paint people at Home Depot said it would just take one coat, even on yellow walls. FALSE. It didn't even put an even coat on the white walls in the kitchen. I was pretty annoyed with that, my mother could testify. I spent a lot of Saturday afternoon complaining about it.

The best part of Saturday is that we started painting the floors. Another helpful hint: paint swatch colors can be lightened or darkened at the paint counter. I brought an espresso brown swatch to the counter, but the guy told me that the special Behr Porch and Floor paint couldn't be tinted that color. He showed me a walnut, but I told him it was too light. He said he could darken it by adding more black tint. The color came out way better than I could have imagined.

Another tip- if you're painting a wood floor, I highly suggest Behr Floor and Porch paint. My mom painted most of the floors with just a brush while I finished painting some walls, and she was surprised how well it was taking to the floors. It really only needed one coat -- if I was going for perfection, maybe two coats, but I think it looks 100% better just with the one coat.

So here are some pictures of Saturday's progress. I didn't get a chance to go back Monday, on account of a bad cold that started Sunday and had me in bed until Monday morning. And now I'm on a little vacation until New Year's. Definitely have a bunch more to do, but energized to get it all done.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Talk to you in a week!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

From "EEEK!" To Chic - More painting...

Last night was a little frustrating, I'm not going to lie. I had planned on tackling the ceilings, and ended up doing so quite literally. There seem to be some air pockets between the ceiling boards and the plaster appliqué, and I could hear it crackling as the paint roller went over them. I tried to be extra careful, but inevitably some of it splintered and fell to the floor. ::sigh::

I didn't take any pics of it, because I was pretty irritated, but I'll grab a few shots and update later. After that I really loaded the roller so I wouldn't have to press so hard, which I think wasted more paint, but I was able to avoid breaking off any more pieces. I did grab a before-and-after shot of the part of the ceiling that was repaired in a different colored plaster:

And my apologies now...I'm using the Blogger app, and I can't format this post as I normally so. When I get to a real computer I will fix this up.

After the ceiling was done, I was determined to finish touching up paint in at least one room. I chose the bedroom, because it's bigger, and boy did it take me a while. This project is a good test of patience. But I think it definitely pays off in the end. Here are some pictures of the bedroom with the walls finished:

So today is another big day. Going to look at rugs in a bit, then it's back to the apartment for more painting. Tonight I'm finally getting to the floors!! Very exciting...stay tuned!

Friday, December 21, 2012

From "EEEK!" to Chic - Floorplan

I realize that describing these rooms in terms of room numbers doesn't really paint a full picture of what I'm working with here.  I created this really really rough floor plan - not totally to scale, but as close as I could make it without a design program.

So there you go.  I really wanted to make Room 1 into the dining room, Room 2 into the living room, and Room 3 into an office...but I don't know if my couch is going to fit into Room 2.  The more time I spend in it, the more I realize Room 2 isn't really set up to watch TV in.  Some people think Room 1 should be the living room and Room 2 should be the dining room, but I prefer to have the dining room next to the kitchen.

Decisions, decisions.

I'll have plenty of time to think about it because I'm not moving any stuff in until after the new year.  I'm taking all suggestions...

From "EEEK!" to Chic - Painting

So it's Friday morning, and I'm planning on spending the whole weekend working on the apartment.  I already spent all of last weekend on the apartment and some of this week doing mostly painting.  I've painted before, but I don't remember it taking this long.

It's taking forever.

I've been paying painstaking attention to detail thus far.  I want to make sure I do it right and that it looks super nice, so I've been taping walls, washing baseboards, painting even coats.  I've been playing around to see what works, and here's what I learned.

Tip #1 -Taping is not always necessary
I'm painting walls and trim that already have several coats of paint already on them.  The borders between the trim and the walls is sort of blurred and filled in with old paint.  I spent a couple hours meticulously taping the trim, only to find out that the paint bled underneath and I have to go back and touch-up all the perimeters anyway.  I read on some DIY site that you could apply painters' caulk over the tape, before painting, and that it will help you keep those clean lines.  But really, who has time for that?  Not me.  Instead I painted the walls with a roller right up to the edges.  I went back with a small brush and cut into the edges slowly to make sure I had perfect lines.  Cutting in takes quite a while, to make sure it's done perfectly, but it also totally replaces the time you'd spend taping the room.

Tip #2 - Cut in edges with your darker color over your lighter color
I read somewhere that you should paint your trimn first, and then your walls.  This didn't seem right to me, so I painted my walls first.  When I went back and painted the trim, I found it was sort of difficult to cut in the white trim next to the "Bleached Denim" walls -- I was making a mess.  So the next room I did, I painted all the trim first and then painted the walls.  I found it was SO MUCH easier to cut in with the darker color up against the white trim - it made for much cleaner lines.

Tip #3 - Definitely wash your trim
I'm actually not sure how necessary this step really is, but I found my baseboards to be caked with dust.  Same with the window sills.  I don't know if more dust settles in those places more than anywhere else, or if they just aren't washed as often.  But I'm doing a high gloss on all my trim and I want it to look really nice, so I took a rag and washed those suckers down and let them dry before painting them.

So, some more pictures.  I haven't quite settled on what each room will be - except for the bedroom - so I've taken to numbering the rooms instead.  Starting with the room you walk into, that's Room 1.  You work your way to the left until you get to Room 4, which will be the bedroom.  To the right of Room 1 is the kitchen and bathroom...you still with me?  Below are some pics of Room 4:

And here are some pics of Room 1:

You see now, I've definitely got to repaint those floors.  They're a mess.  That's a high priority for the weekend - I'm going to keep them the same dark espresso brown color.  The walls, I decided, were going to be blue and gray.  It took a long time to figure out the color scheme, but I decided on "Bleached Denim" and "Manhattan Mist" from Behr.  I didn't want all the walls to be white, but I also didn't want a kaleidescope effect.  But I had a vision of looking down the hallway and seeing the last room in a bold color.  So I decided to paint Rooms 1 & 4 the blue, and Rooms 2 & 3 the gray.  You can see at the top of this post how it started out after I painted the blue rooms first.  And below you can see the effect with the gray rooms painted:

You can also see how messy I got with the trim paint after I had already painted the walls.  On top of the light on dark thing, it was hard to get paint into all those grooves.  I definitely, highly recommend painting trim first, especially if you are doing it in a lighter color than the walls.  You can see below in Room 3 how much better it came out when I ditched the tape, and cut in with the wall color instead:

I still have a some touch ups to make, but I feel pretty satisfied with this one room.  One down, three to go...and then the kitchen and bathroom.  Oy.  I also decided last night that I have to paint the ceilings...I was trying to avoid it, but it is unavoidable.  I really had wanted to tackle painting the floors tonight, but that will have to wait until tomorrow night instead.

Ready for a busy, busy weekend!!  Stay tuned!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

From "EEEK!" to Chic...The Introduction

Poor Man is getting a new cupboard!!!
(Spoiler alert: It will still be bare)

About a year and a half ago, I had to leave New Jersey's (unofficial) promised land: Hoboken.  But I am happy to announce that I am making a(n unofficial) triumphant return!!!

"Triumphant" is a little subjective.  I found a great apartment, great location...it's just a "smidge" run-down (I'm putting it nicely).  I should have known when I first saw pictures of the place from the broker:

These pictures actually do it more justice than it deserves.  And friends and family have pointed out that, as a young professional, I deserve to live in a nice place (my boyfriend tells me I live like a divorced bachelor, and my mom tells me that I have too high a threshold for blight).
If you know anything about me, then you know that I can't help but root for the underdog.  You also know that I can't help myself but take the long way around.  So even though there's a seemingly endless list of things that need to get done, I see this place as the "apartment that could."  I'm on a mission to prove to everyone that I do deserve to live in a nice place, and that with some time and some elbow grease that I can make this apartment shine.
So follow me as I get to work and restore 721 Willow Ave.  I'll be jotting down tips, mistakes, and other things I learn along the way.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Apple Blueberry Pie

Daaayummmmmm...I'm sorry y'all, but this shit 'good!

Seriously, despite my culinary intuitions, I really didn't think this was going to come out as good as it did.  The crust is just incredible -- it's crispy and flaky on the bottom, not soggy at all!  Gotta pat myself on the back for that.

So, how is this Poor Man's Cupboard?  Well, I didn't have any recipe before making this pie, and just used whatever I had in the house.  First thing's first - the crust:

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
6 tbsp cold butter, cubed
4 tbsp cold water

The first thing I did was to make the pie crust.  I found a recipe online that called for 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of butter.  So, 1/4 cup of butter is 8 tablespoons, or 1 full stick of butter.  The butter wrappers usually have measurements on one side.  Problem is, I had already used some butter for something else, and didn't have a full stick.  I saw on the side that my stick of butter was only 6 tablespoons, but I thought that might be close enough (this was the first point where I thought my baking project might go totally awry.  I know baking is more of an exact science than it is an art, but I decided to just go with it.)

I put the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and "sifted" it together using a wire whisk.  I know this isn't true sifting, and Martha would probably tsk-tsk, but it's all I have.  Then I cut the less-than-full stick of butter into cubes and dropped them into the flour.  Using just a fork, I cut the butter into the flour until it turned into a sandy consistency.  Then I folded in the water, two tablespoons at a time, until the dough came together in a ball.  I wrapped the ball of dough in plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge for 4 hours.

Then, the filling:
3 medium apples
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

Right before I took the dough out, I made the filling.  I have a mixture of apples that I've taken home from work and never ate -- one red delicious, one gala, and one golden delicious.  I peeled them, sliced them, and tossed them into a bowl.  I know you're supposed to use an acid to keep the apples from browning (and for flavor contrast), but I didn't have any lemons.  I did however have some orange juice in the fridge.  I poured in a little - JUST a little - enough to coat the apples, but conscious not to make the filling too wet.  I also had some blueberries in the freezer -- I had bought them a while ago, but never got to eating them.  Before they went bad, I threw them in a ziplock and into the freezer for a rainy day.  Or a brisk Sunday perfect for baking.  So, in went about a cup of blueberries.

I recently watched some program where they were talking about apple pie (hence it was on my mind), and I remembered that they put in a mixture of flour and sugar to help make that gooey filling.  I couldn't remember the proportions, so I just guesstimated it.  A quarter cup each of flour, brown sugar, and regular white sugar, mixed together, and then tossed with the fruit mixture.  I set that aside and took the dough out of the fridge.

So, aside from the not-full stick of butter, the orange juice, and the borrowed apples, this shit is about to get reeeaalll Poor Man's Cupboard, y'all.  And I have no shame in my game, because that's what this blog is all about.

I don't own a rolling pin.  I needed to roll this dough out.  I look around, and what I came up with was an empty wine bottle.  Yes.  I rolled out my pie crust with a wine bottle, starting in the center and rolling out (Not sure if Martha is tsking, or applauding).  I rolled the crust out a little thinner than an ordinary pie crust (ie, frozen Pillsbury), because I was making sort of a free form pie and wanted to make sure I had enough to wrap over the filling onto the top.  As I was rolling it out, I could see the little bits of butter in the dough, which I took as a good sign.

After I had my pie crust rolled out, I needed something to put it in.  Don't judge me, but I had this empty pie container sitting on my table from a pie I bought about a month ago.  I totally washed it, dried it, and greased it with a butter wrapper (p.s. I save old butter wrappers in the fridge for whenever I need to grease something).  I carefully transferred the dough to the pan, put in the filling, and wrapped the dough over the top of the filling.  No need to put vents in this dough, as the steam can escape from the center of the pie.

I like a nice, golden crust, and knew I needed to use an egg wash to get the effect.  I had some eggs in the fridge -- the problem, they had a use-by date of October 31st.  I had seen something about testing eggs in a cup of water to see if the float -- some sort of Salem witch trial for eggs...if they float, they're evil or something.  I did the test, and they sank, so I figured they were good to use (liability disclosure: I am not actually suggesting you use this method - for witches or for eggs).  I also did the ever-accurate smell test.  We were all good to go.  I couldn't remember, though, if an egg wash is both egg white and yolk, or just egg white.  In the end, I used just egg white, and I think it was a good choice.

So, I popped this baby into a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, and then reduced the temp to 350 degrees and baked for another 35-37 minutes.  I had seen this baking time technique on one of the googled recipes, and it really seemed to work.  What came out was a beautifully goldened pie.

And after it cooled - WATCH OUT!  Man, this was one excellent pie.  Seriously, I couldn't put it down.  36 hours later, this is all I have left:

Another success of the Poor Man's Cupboard.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Carrot Chicken Curry Soup

I've been thinking about soups for a while now, and it's finally the perfect season!  I've got this corn chowder recipe from America's Test Kitchen that I want to try out, but I wasn't really up for it today.  In fact, I wasn't up for much -- I drove back down from the city today, and I had no desire whatsoever to stop at the grocery store.  I just wanted to get home.  Except I knew that I had barely any food in the house, and so as I was driving home I was already trying to come up with a game plan.  I knew I had at least a couple eggs, some bread-ends, and seltzer, so I knew I wouldn't starve.  So, yea, I just went straight home.

When I got home, I checked the fridge, and this is what I had: bag of baby carrots, a big red onion, a small red potato, and a slightly soft tomato.  The beginnings of a soup, but I wanted to make it more interesting.  I checked the cupboard - McDonalds Tangy Barebecue packet, soy sauce galore, Hidden Valley dressing mix, and curry powder.  Hmm, roasted carrots and curry...could be amazing.  But what about a protein?  I checked the freezer, and I found some chicken drumsticks.  I had bought them a while ago when they were on sale and was going to make chicken salad, but they weren't the easiest to break down.  There was still so much meat left on the bones that I didn't want to throw them away and waste them, so I threw them in a ziplock thinking I could use them in a soup some day.  So I took them out of the freezer and let them defrost a bit.  Then I went for a run.

When I got back from my run, I took a shower and decided it was time to get started.  I figured I could roast the carrots along with the drumsticks, so I put them on a baking sheet together, sprinkled them with a little olive oil and some of the curry powder, and threw them in the oven on 400°.  It didn't take long for the drumsticks to cook, less than ten minutes (if the were full drumsticks, probably longer).  I put the drumsticks to the side, but the carrots needed more time.  I thought it might be nice to roast the tomatoes, too, and maybe some of the onion and a clove of garlic.  I threw them on top of the chicken drippings on the pan so they could take in some of the flavor, and popped the baking tray back into the oven until everything was nice and roasted. 

In the meantime, I chopped the rest of the onion, the potato, and some more garlic (can't have enough, really).  I heated up a little olive oil in my soup pot, and tossed in the onions and garlic.  After they sweated through a little bit, I put in the potatoes so they could start cooking.  I kept the pot on medium heat so that they wouldn't burn while I tended back to the roasted veggies.

With the onions and potatoes going, I took the baking tray out of the oven.  I wanted to puree the carrots and make it the base for my soup, and I thought pureeing it with some of the other roasted vegetables would add a nice complexity.  So I threw in the carrots, the roasted garlic and onion, and one of the pieces of roasted tomato into my food processor.  I also poured in the juices at the bottom of the bowl that the chicken was resting in.  I put in a table spoon of curry powder, and a little salt and pepper.  I wish I had a little coconut milk to add in, that would be a nice touch.  I had some sour cream in the fridge leftover from tacos last week, so I used that as a substitute.  I also threw in a little water, so that I'd end up with a nice, creamy puree.  After a couple minutes in the food processor, I got the consistency I was looking for.  And man, was it tasty -- it didn't need any seasoning adjustments, it was perfect.

Going back to the stove, I chopped up the remaining pieces of roasted tomato, and threw them in the pot with the garlic, onions and potatoes.  I went to town on the drumsticks, taking off any meat I could find and adding them to the pot.  At this point, the potatoes were still a little firm, so I added the carrot puree to the pot, and maybe about a cup of water.  I turned the heat up to medium high, threw in another pinch of salt and pepper, and let it simmer for a while.

After a few more minutes, the potatoes softened up nicely, and I had myself two servings of a really great carrot chicken curry soup.  I topped it off with a little more of the sour cream to balance the heat of the curry.  So good, I couldn't help but eat the second serving immediately!
If I try this again, I might try the coconut milk instead of the sour cream -- I think that would be really tasty.  And I think a little chive on top would be really good too!  But, for being a little bit lazy, and a little bit creative, this turned out really great.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chocolate-covered Peanut Butter Bananas

Chocolate morsels were on sale today for $1.99 at my local grocery store, so naturally I got a bag of semi-sweets (the dark chocolate ones were sold out, otherwise that would have been my first choice). I planned on just eating them right out of the bag, but I came up with an idea for dessert: Chocolate covered bananas.

I am not the biggest banana fan, but I know they're good for you, and I know they can fill you up. So, I tend to grab one at work, but inevitably I just let it sit on my desk all day, and end up bringing it home. So, I've had this lonely banana sitting on my dining room table all weekend, and I decided it couldn't go to waste. So, why not jazz it up with a little chocolate?

Then, I had the grand idea to take it even further -- why not add a dollop of peanut butter in there? I just tasted five to make sure they're good -- they are!

1 banana, sliced
6 0z. (half bag) semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
Peanut butter

I melted the chocolate morsels using a double-boiler method -- I guess you could use a microwave, too - just careful, the bowl will probably be hot.

So, while the chocolate was melting, I just sliced the bananas and had the peanut butter ready. I wanted the entire banana covered, so first I dipped the bottom of the banana slice into the chocolate, and then set it on a baking sheet covered in wax paper. After I had all the bottoms done, I took a spoon and put a little dollop of peanut butter on top of each slice. When that was done, I used a spatula to cover all the bananas. As you can see, some got better coverage than others, but these are just for me so I wasn't too concerned. I will say that I used up all of the chocolate, so if you want better coverage, I'd melt some more morsels. Maybe 3/4 of the bag, instead of 1/2? What I love about this is, you can play around with it. Maybe Nutella instead of peanut butter. Or how about Fluff! Mmmm.... Enjoy!

Roasted Corn and Red Bean Salad

The summer is practically here, and one of my favorite things about summer are fresh cold salads. Tomato salad, cucumber salad, arugula salad, cole slaw -- I love it all.

I was recently introduced to a really great salad with roasted corn. I don't think I've ever had roasted corn before. This salad was great - it had crunch, zest, and was easy to recreate in my kitchen. And it's perfect for the Poor Man's budget.

3 ears fresh corn, or 1 package frozen corn
1 can red beans
1 tomato
1/2 an onion
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder

First, I roasted the corn in the oven - 400° for about 40 minutes on a baking tray, turning the corn halfway through. Interestingly, I've made this a couple times now, and during roasting the kernels towards the outside start roasting a lot faster than the kernels in the center of the tray. So you'll definitely need to mix the corn around halfway through. Also, I'm sure roasted on the grill is even better, and I definitely suggest you try. But, I don't have a grill, or grilling pan, or a George Foreman, so the oven had to do.

While the corn was roasting, I drained the beans, chopped the tomato, and diced the onion. The onion I threw into a fry pan for just like two or three minutes. I love onions, but I wanted to take the bit out of them a little -- the true star here is the roasted corn, and I didn't want anything overpowering that. You could probably use red onions too, and skip the fry pan.

So, once the corn is done, just combine everything: the corn, beans, onions, tomatoes. I chopped a handful of cilantro, which I LOVE in this because it adds a touch of pepperiness. (Speaking of, I lightly salt-and-peppered this salad, not too much.) Also, the juice of half a lemon really helps to break down and combine all the flavors together.

Now, if you like an extra kick (which I do), I suggest 1/4 teaspoon of red chili powder. I think it really compliments the sweetness of the corn, the freshness of the cilantro, and the zest of the lemon. And there you have it -- a great, healthy summer salad that's also easy on the wallet. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mozzarella-Stuffed Chicken Meatloaf

New creation that I just took out of the oven. Smells awesome, tastes even better!

I'm a big fan of using chopped-meat chicken for meatloaf. Usually, I toss in half a packet of powdered ranch dressing and call it a day. But, I had some store-brand part-skim mozzarella cheese I got on sale for $1.99 that I wanted to use up, so I made this an Italian-style meatloaf.

With the ground chicken, I tossed in one egg, and about a cup of homemade bread crumbs. I had some leftover stale Italian bread laying around, and used a hand grater to make my bread crumbs. I mixed in about a tablespoon of oregano, and maybe 1/2 tablespoon each of salt and pepper -- really just eyeballed it. After tossing the crumbs and seasonings, I dropped it into the chicken and egg mixture and did a quick mix with my hands. At the last minute, I decided to grate in a quarter of an onion I had sitting in my fridge. Mixed it all together, and was ready to assemble the meatloaf.

So, I guess I could have shredded the mozzarella and combine it with the chicken, bread crumb and onion mixture. Instead, I decided to build the meatloaf in layers. I cut the block of mozzarella into the thinnest slices I could make. On a greased baking tray, I put down a layer of the meat mixture, then a layer of cheese. I kept making layers until I used up all of the meat mixture on top. I smoothed out the sides of the meatloaf with my hands, making sure all the cheese was covered. Then I popped it into a 400° oven for 40 minutes, until it was cooked all the way through and was golden brown all the way around.

I guess I should stop here a moment, and tell you that I always cook a meatloaf on a baking tray. I guess you could use a loaf pan, but I like a nice golden brown crust all the way around. Also, in a loaf pan, I feel like the fat drippings just collect at the bottom of the pan and make the meatloaf soggy. On a baking tray, the fat spreads out away from the loaf and leave it with that gold brown crust that I like. To each their own, I suppose.

So, after taking the meatloaf out, I let it sit for a while. I didn't want to cut into it and have all the cheese run out, so just something to keep in mind.

This meatloaf turned out really, really good! You can see the layers of mozzarella, which gives this another layer of texture along with the grated onions and the meatloaf itself. Garnished with a couple sprigs of thyme I forgot I had. Time to eat!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eggplant Rollatini

The triumphant return of Poor Man's Cupboard.

This little creation is an eggplant rollatini, stuffed with ricotta cheese and a parsley-cashew pesto. I had actually wanted to make eggplant rollatini like a week and half ago as part of the first meal I cooked for my new boyfriend, but I was already making a roasted chicken, with roated potatoes and onions, garlic green beans, and a tomato & fennel salad. I thought the rollatini would be too much, so the eggplant remained forgotten in my fridge until tonight.

The thing is, I've never actually made rollatini before, much less cook eggplant. I did a bit of googling, and man-- there are a lot of conflicting opinions. Do you pre-salt the eggplant, or do you not pre-saly the eggplant. Do you fry the eggplant before stuffing and baking, or don't you? Well, I decided to lightly salt and pepper the eggplant, bread it and fry it, and drain it on a paper towel before stuffing. This method was successful for me, but to each their own. (p.s., the breading was homemade, using a dried out loaf of bread, dried oregano, and the food processor. I didn't add any salt/pepper, because the oregano was already giving it such a flavorful aroma, I didn't think it needed it)

So, the stuffing. This is where Poor Man comes in. I had the ricotta and the parsley, along with the eggplant, from last week still sitting in the fridge. But, I was trying to figure out how I could make this sort of special. I had brought some cashew trail-mix home from work last friday, to bring along for a weekend hike, and I had some leftover. Parlsey and cashews -- just the sort of mild flavor I was looking for, I didn't want anything to be overpowering. I didn't make a true pesto-- no oil, no mortar and pestle. I picked out about half a handful of cashews from the trail mix, and roughly chopped it with the parsley. I took the parsley-cashew mixture, and mixed it into the ricotta with one beaten egg. I also added in maybe two table spoons of tomato sauce, and a little salt and pepper.

Now, the tomato sauce. I'm not gonna front -- I used a jar of Francisco Rinaldi Chunky Garden tomato sauce that I got on sale for $1.29.

With the stuffing made, I took the fried eggplant, smeared the stuffing on one side, and rolled them up into pinwheels. I sauced the bottom of a Pyrex dish before placing each rollatini into the dish. I put just a little sauce over the top of each rollatini -- I really wanted them to stay as crisp as possible, and not get all soggy and mushy. They went into a 400° oven for about 15-20 minutes, just so that the egg in the stuffing mixture would cook up and set.

I gotta say, for my first time making eggplant rollatini, this was BANGING! The parsley was nice and peppery, but tamed down by the mildness of the cashews. And the rough chop of the mixture gave the rollatini a nice mix of texture compared to the creaminess of the ricotta. Definitely one for the recipe collection.

So, how do you make eggplant rollatini? What are your secret, special ingredients?