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Eggplant Rolls (Vegetarian)

In Fun Foods, Vegetables On May 4, 2024 0 Comments

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Prep time: 16 minutes for roasting eggplant; 15 minutes for filling and 15 minutes for baking
Makes: 4 to 5 rolls

Ingredients for Roasting Eggplant:
One large eggplant
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for brushing eggplant slices
salt, for sprinkling over eggplant slices

This eggplant recipe is made with fresh vegetarian ingredients. The end result is a surprising blend of flavors inside these Eggplant Rolls. Everyone will love this luscious vegetarian dish!

Directions for Roasting Eggplant:

1. Wash and dry the eggplant.

2. Cut the eggplant (lengthwise) into 1/4-inch thick slices (cut & discard stem & tip).

3. Line an 18 X 12-inch rectangular baking sheet with aluminum foil and then brush it with vegetable oil. WARNING: DO NOT USE PARCHMENT PAPER AS IT WILL BURN WHEN SET UNDERNEATH THE BROILER ELEMENT OF OVEN.

4. Set eggplant slices on the oiled baking sheet.

5. Lightly brush the eggplant with olive oil, followed by a sprinkling of salt.

6. Place baking sheet with eggplant on an oven rack set 6 inches below the top oven broiler element.

7. Set oven on “BROIL” and roast eggplant for 8 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Using a flat spatula, gently turn the eggplant slices over and roast other side for an additional 6 to 7 minutes.

9. Remove baking sheet with eggplant slices from oven and set aside to cool on a cold surface.

10. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Ingredients for Filling:
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet potato (1/4-inch cubes)
1/2 cup chopped zucchini (1/4-inch cubes)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (1/4-inch cubes)
1/4 cup chopped yellow or white onion (1/4-inch cubes)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup precooked lentils, drained & cooled
1/4 cup finely-chopped parsley
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup premade tomato sauce (use your favorite recipe or buy the premade sauce)
Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese, for garnish

Directions for Filling:

1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.

2. Add the sweet potato cubes to skillet and stir-fry on medium-high heat until slightly charred.

3. When done, transfer the sweet potato cubes to a 4 to 6-cup glass or porcelain mixing bowl; set aside.

4. In same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add zucchini cubes. Repeat the stir-fry instruction as above. When done, transfer zucchini cubes to the bowl with sweet potato cubes.

5. Repeat above stir-fry instructions as follows: in same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the chopped red bell pepper and onion.

6. Stir-fry about 2 minutes or until tender and onion is translucent.

7. When done, add red bell pepper and onion to bowl with other vegetables.

8. Add the lentils, chopped parsley, salt and ground black pepper to all vegetables in bowl and gently mix together. Set aside.

Assemble & Bake Eggplant Rolls:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a 12 X 12-inch baking dish.

3. Next, add 1/2 cup of the precooked tomato sauce; set aside.

4. Spread about 3 to 4 tablespoons of filling over each eggplant slice; roll up the eggplant.

5. Place eggplant roll in baking dish with tomato sauce.

6. Repeat filling and rolling remaining eggplant slices and place alongside each other in baking dish. You may have leftover filling – this can be refrigerated, heated the next day and enjoyed with bread.

7. When all eggplant rolls have been placed in baking pan, spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the rolls.

8. Bake eggplant rolls for about 15 minutes.

9. When done, serve immediately with a garnish of grated cheese. Enjoy this dish with a green salad side or other vegetarian or vegan side with crusty Italian bread!
Text & Photograph ©2024 Nancy DeLucia Real

Springtime Orange-Lime Cookies

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets On March 27, 2024 0 Comments

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Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 12 – 14 minutes
Makes: 22 to 24 cookies

These cookies are made with freshly-squeezed orange juice and topped with a lime glaze. They’re beautifully decorated with pastel sprinkles – Springtime colors! Serve the cookies as part of a dessert table or by themselves. Happy Spring, Happy Easter!

Ingredients for the Cookies:
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose, unbleached flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice

Directions for the Cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two 18 X 12-inch baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a 6 to 8-cup bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In a separate an 8 to 10-cup bowl, beat the softened butter with the sugar until mixture is creamy and uniform.

4. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well-blended.

5. Gradually (a little at a time) and alternately add the flour mixture and orange juice into the butter/sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.

6. Once the cookie dough has formed, set bowl aside.

7. Prepare a small bowl with cold water at your work area.

8. Slightly wet your fingers, grab about 1 tablespoonful of dough and shape into a 3-inch log; form into a circle, sealing it gently, and place it on a cookie sheet.

9. Continue shaping cookie dough circles, until you have set about 12 circles on each sheet, spaced 2 inches apart.

10. Bake in preheated oven for about 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, switch top cookie sheet with lower cookie sheet.

11. Continue baking cookies for an additional 6 to 7 minutes or until edges look golden brown.

12. Remove cookie sheets from oven; place them on a rack or wooden board to cool completely.

13. When cookies have cooled completely, prepare the lemon glaze:

Ingredients for the Glaze & Decoration:
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
juice from 1 to 2 limes
Pastel-colored sprinkles

Directions for the Glaze:
1. In a 4-cup bowl, stir and beat together the powdered sugar and juice from 1 lime.

2. You should form a smooth glaze with a syrupy consistency. If mixture is too stiff, add juice from an additional half a lime.

3. Using a fork, drizzle glaze over cookies. Immediately top with sprinkles.

4. These cookies can be made 1 to 2 days ahead, set on a serving platter, covered with aluminum foil. Cookies can be kept on a counter at room temperature.
Text & Photograph ©2024 Nancy DeLucia Real

Sautéed Celery Tops (Vegan)

In Meats On March 12, 2024 0 Comments

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

Don’t know what to do with those celery tops? This recipe infuses celery leaves with aromatic garlic and olive oil. This Italian side dish is great with everything.

Ingredients:
Tops from 2 bunches of farmers’ market celery (leaves and stems up to the stalk’s seam), rinsed, drained & chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. In a 4-quart saucepot, heat the oil until hot but not smoking.

2. Add garlic cloves to the heated oil and stir-fry until they turn golden brown.

3. When garlic is golden brown, add the chopped celery tops.

4. Stir fry until they’re wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.

6. If a more tender consistency is desired, stir-fry the celery tops for an additional minute or two.

7. Serve immediately as a side dish to meat, fish or poultry; or enjoy as part of a vegan/vegetarian meal.
Text & Photograph ©2024 Nancy DeLucia Real

Raspberry Panna Cotta

In Desserts, Creams & Sauces On February 7, 2024 0 Comments

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Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Makes: 8 servings

January came and went (it was diet month, remember?). Now that we’re in February, Valentine’s Day celebrations rule! I brainstormed re: recipes and I finally came up with this luscious Raspberry Panna Cotta. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup cold water
2-3/4 teaspoons Knox unflavored gelatin (for a less “firm” dessert, reduce this to 2-1/4 teaspoons)
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/8 cups milk (whole or reduced-fat*)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (white or non bleached)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 fresh blueberries (for garnish)
8 small sprigs fresh mint leaves

Directions:
1. In a 6-ounce glass bowl or cup, combine the water and gelatin. Stir and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the raspberries; strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Set aside.

3. Combine the heavy whipping cream, milk, pureed raspberries, sugar and vanilla extract in a 4-quart sauce pot.

4. Set the sauce pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.

5. As soon as the mixture boils, remove sauce pot from heat.

6. Using a wire whisk, stir the gelatin into the raspberry-cream mixture; whisk until the gelatin dissolves.

7. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture evenly among 8 ramekins.

8. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator 3 hours to overnight.

9. At serving time, garnish the Panna Cotta with fresh blueberries and mint leaf sprigs.
*NOTE: Low fat or nonfat milk may be too “thin” for this recipe.
Text & Photograph ©2024 Nancy DeLucia Real

Zucchini “Pasta”

In Meats On January 22, 2024 0 Comments

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Prep time: 5 minutes (after you make your favorite sauce)
Makes: 2 servings

In January, most of us have the post-holiday blahs and we’re thinking, “OMG, I gained 5 pounds over the holidays”.

Maybe we’re eliminating rich foods and carbs, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up delicious flavors, right? So why not make this zucchini “pasta”? Zucchini is a water veggie; one cup sliced zucchini = 19 calories! Need I say more?

Ingredients:
16 ounces (1 pound) zucchini, precut into “spaghetti”
3/4 teaspoon salt
Tomato sauce or other sauce (prepared ahead)
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Dried crushed red pepper (this is hot/spicy)

Directions:
1. In a 4-quart saucepot, bring water to a boil.

2. Add the zucchini to boiling water with 3/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Boil 1 to 2 minutes, until “al dente” or “crunchy-tender”.

4. Drain the zucchini in a colander.

5. Return the zucchini to saucepot and add 1 or 2 ladles of tomato sauce or your favorite sauce and stir.

6. Serve the zucchini “pasta” immediately; top with grated cheese and crushed red pepper (optional). Enjoy this delicious “pasta” with a glass of wine!
Text & Photograph ©2024 Nancy DeLucia Real