Eggplant Parmesan & Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms & Cipollini Red Onions

“I no longer say, as I once did, “I have to work in the garden today.” I say, with deep contentment, “I’m gardening today.” I have truly reaped the bounty of the garden.”
Martha Stewart

Eggplant is not on everyone’s radar… including mine I must admit. Dave swore by this recipe, but of course I had to add a twist… hence the shiitake mushrooms & Cipollini red onions! I honestly can’t believe how good this was… even my picky Aaron liked it!

Added bonus tip: To find recipes like this one & more, you can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Our Favorite Recipes

INGREDIENTS:

  • I medium to large eggplant
  • Pink Himalayan salt- you’ll use this to sweat the eggplant
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 cup all purpose white flour
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil for frying eggplant
  • 3 ½ cups Marinara sauce- See my recipe here.
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 TBSP shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 TBSP Salted butter
  • 2 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 fresh garlic clove minced or 2 tsp jarred
  • 4 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms- about 8 ounces
  • 1 cup diced red cipollini onions
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

PRO TIP:  When using vegetables like eggplant, summer squash, & zucchini salting the slices draws out the moisture. By doing so the vegetable is not as mushy or slimy when cooked.

Part 1: 
*Take eggplant and slice 6- 1” slices horizontally.
*Place slices on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
*Sprinkle with salt evenly, about ½ tsp on each slice; let set for 15 minutes.

*With a paper towel dab off all the water droplets until dry.
*Turn each slice over and repeat the process.

Part 2:
*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
*In a frying pan add the ½ cup oil; heat on medium-high until a drop of water sizzles when dropped into oil. 
*While oil is heating up, put eggs, flour, and bread crumbs in three separate bowls.

*Taking 1 slice of eggplant at a time, dip in flour making sure both sides are covered evenly; dip into beaten egg; dip into bread crumbs making sure both sides are covered evenly.

Place breaded eggplant into heated oil and fry on both sides until golden brown, turning once- approximately 1 to 1 ½ minutes on each side. Once they are browned evenly on both sides remove eggplant slices onto a paper towel lined plate; pat dry with paper towel being careful not to rub breading off. Set aside

In a 9×13 pan pour 2 cups of the marinara sauce evenly; place the 6 slices of fried eggplant into the pan

Sprinkle ½ cup of mozzarella cheese onto each slice; Pour ½ cup of the marinara sauce onto the mozzarella in the center; sprinkle 1 TBSP parmesan cheese onto the marinara sauce.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Part 3:
*Remove stems up to the cap of shiitake mushrooms and slice into ¼ inch strips; Dice onions.

*In a frying pan add butter, oil, garlic, mushrooms, onions & 1 tsp of Himalayan salt; sauté on medium-high heat until mushrooms are golden and onions are caramelized- about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve eggplant slice topped with the mushroom & onion mixture along with any Italian bread you enjoy and a delicious salad!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to Like, Share and of course Follow me here and at my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778.

Happy Day,
Jean

Marinara Sauce

“To get the best results you must talk to your vegetables.”
Charles, Prince of Wales

The late summer garden calls out with her exuberant abundance in a teasing way. Almost saying… “Whatcha gonna do with all this smarty-pants?” Well this weeks bounty made more salsa & this wonderfully easy marinara sauce.

To see more recipes like this one (and my spaghetti sauce recipe) click this link https://bit.ly/3PzAkXG
to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the testimonial page while you’re here as well!

Our Favorite Recipes

Aaron & I went out to the garden this afternoon to check on the harvest… and wow did we score! After he saw the load of tomatoes he said, “Let’s make spaghetti sauce!”

This recipe is for a single batch, but can easily be adjusted for canning by simply multiplying the quantities. It’s super easy and so delicious. You can add other ingredients to spruce it up, however it’s great just the way it is.

If you want to make this a meat sauce, just add 1 pound of lean organic ground beef or pork. Delish!

Pro-tip: Be sure to use only the ripest tomatoes as these will give you the most flavorful sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of pureed tomatoes- about 8-10 tomatoes- Heirlooms are the most flavorful

1- 8 ounce can of tomato paste

¼ cup minced onion- about 1 medium onion. NOT white onions

4 fresh garlic cloves minced or 4 tsp of jarred

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP sugar

4 tsp basil- dried

1 TBSP pink Himalayan salt

Dave’s Eggplant Parmesan

Keep posted for Dave’s delicious eggplant parmesan recipe coming soon!

Our garden harvest!

What you’ll need to have to make the marinara sauce:
Large stock pot
Food processor
4 cup measuring cup
Measuring cups & spoons

Chop onion in food processor

Prep before you start:
Chop onions in food processer before sautéing and wash the tomatoes. Be sure to have all your ingredients ready.

Make sure you have all your ingredients before you start!

1. While the onions & garlic are sautéing, chop washed tomatoes into quarters removing any bad spots and the stem; place in a large bowl. After all the tomatoes are quartered begin pureeing them in your food processor until you have 4 cups.

Cut tomatoes into quarters
Put quartered tomatoes in processor & puree

2. Leave the pureed tomato in the processor; add oil, onion & garlic mixture, spices and sugar, blend until completely pureed. Move the mixture back to the stock pot.

Add tomato mixture back into stock pot and bring to a low boil

4. Bring tomato sauce to a low boil on medium heat covered, stirring often; cook on medium heat covered for 2 hours or until mixture has cooked down one third.

5. Add the tomato paste and whisk in; cook for an additional hour stirring often so the bottom doesn’t scorch.

If you would like to add meat, cook thoroughly and add to sauce for the final half hour of cooking. 

Serve over pasta noodles, or make a delicious eggplant or chicken parmesan!

If you enjoyed this post, please LIKE & Follow me for more great recipes and home & garden tips. Be sure to visit me at my Facebook page for more informative & fun posts! Be sure to say “Hi!”.

Happy Day,
Jean!

Start Planting Your Fall Garden Now!

Russian Red Kale- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Did you know August is ideal for planting lettuces, spinach & other greens along with beets, broccoli, kale, and peas?

These crops are cold-weather hardy and even love a light frost- it makes them sweeter!

Most of you know I am a die-hard for heirloom varieties. The flavors, textures, and overall hardiness is incomparable. 

I thought I’d share some of my favorite seed companies along with varieties to get you excited to plant your fall garden!

As the scent of autumn begins to fill the air, most gardeners are dreading the season’s end to their garden. But don’t despair! If you’re a newbie gardener or a die-hard, I’m sure there’s a few tips I can share here to help you get your fall garden going!

My favorite seed catalog is Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. They have seeds from all over the world, and varieties that will tickle any gardener’s fancy! To see their catalog click this link https://www.rareseeds.com/

Kale Variety- Russian Red- 1885 Russian red is very tender & mild with a wonderful nutty flavor. This variety is delicious at all stages, but makes a great addition to a salad as a baby green. 60 Days.

Sugar Ann Peas- Annie’s Heirloom Seeds

This is an extraordinary early and sweet pea with edible pods. The compact plants require very little garden space and don’t need to be staked. 3” pods are tender and crisp! 50 days.

Chioggia BeetSeed Savers Exchange

This beautiful & unique French Heirloom is good for both eating fresh or canning. 50 Days

Pro tip: If you decide to can these, be warned as they don’t stay striped!

Forellenschluss- Speckled Like a Trout Lettuce- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

An old Austrian heirloom; the name means “speckled like a trout.” This is a remarkably beautiful romaine type lettuce with speckles in deep red on large leaves! My personal favorite! 60 Days.

Giant Winter Spinach- Annie’s Heirloom Seeds

A cold hardy, winter warrior with huge semi-savoyed leaves. Giant Winter is a flavor packed cool climate favorite. Unfazed by nasty weather, this hardy heirloom is perfect for overwintering. 50 days.

De Cicco Brocolli- Seed Savers Exchange

This Italian Heirloom will produce a nice center head & several off shoots. You will need to start these seeds indoors & transplant. 48-60 days from transplant.

Bellezia Arugula- High Mowing Seeds

This beautiful arugula is tender with a lovely spice flavor & will be a delicious addition to fall salads. Direct sow into your garden. 50 days.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Please LIKE, comment, and Follow so you don’t miss out on future blogs!
P.S. It’s almost time to plant your garlic. Keep posted for that upcoming blog! 

Happy Day,
Jean

My Cookbook is Returning… mid to end of September!

Gardens, a wedding, and more!

It has been awhile since I penned any lines here. This was a place I often meandered to when a reprieve from the daily chaos was needed. This was my happy place… and it will be again!

I’m so excited to return and share the many wonderful things which have happened in my life since my last entry.

Over the last six years a couple of my children have grown & had children of their own (I’m a grandma two times… more boys!), one became a Marine, and my youngest started playing football. My life is filled with so much joy… and still some chaos- but we focus on the joys. Life is too short! 

In just a few short weeks I will marry my best friend, and the best thing that has ever happened to me.

But that’s not it friends! I have a few big projects in the works.

I am working on publishing a new cookbook with all my favorite recipes, AND a compilation of For Dragonflies & Me blogs in one concise book both in print & eBook!

Even more exciting is my new Podcast in the making… you’re gonna love it!

Of course these will all take some time, but I promise to keep you updated on the progress.

I might even have a call out for my book cover!

Keep posted for weekly blogs and of course follow me on Facebook for updates, beautiful photos, and fun memes!

Thanks to Moonlight Photography for taking our beautiful engagement photos!

See them at https://www.moonlightphotographymi.com/

How-to Start seeds in-doors, Homemade Liquid Fertilizer Recipe

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The longing of my soul for warmth and sunshine is becoming deeper everyday… especially now that the calendar says it’s truly spring. I, as I’m sure so many others, are anxious for warmer days. This winter was a trial for many of us die-hard gardeners… even for winter lovers.

I long to place my hands into the warm soil… sense the life force that dwells within the seeds… watching life spring forth out of nothingness… yes we are gardeners.

Many of you who are my friends on For Dragonflies And Me Facebook page have witnessed many changes take place in my life over the last several months. I’ve sadly left my beloved farm in the thumb of Michigan for a newer, brighter location that I now call home. I am blessed to be living at a wonderful greenhouse/nursery that I am in my literal heaven on earth. I would like to thank all of my followers for their patience as I needed a hiatus from the love of my life… my writing… But now things are in order and I feel that I can put my whole heart back into my passions…

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We are like plants… we are conceived… we are born… we live… we struggle… then all too soon we will die. But… in the midst of all this we find joy in life and living it to the fullest…

It is spring… and I am ready to live my life to the fullest… I hope all of you will continue to join me here as I share my love with all of you…

It’s time to start thinking about starting seeds and planning our gardens. Starting Seeds in doors is very easy and extremely rewarding! All you need is a few everyday household items~

*If you buy organic baby lettuce, greens or spinach than you will have access to those handy clear plastic containers with lids. These are perfect for seed starting. Be sure to poke several drainage holes on the bottom of the container.

*Fill your container about 2/3 way full with a good organic potting mix. Plant your seeds as package describes. Be sure to follow planting dates on packet. Water accordingly.

*Put the lid on, which will give a greenhouse effect. You will not have to water due to the condensation that will be created.

*Put in a sunny window and wait until seeds start to sprout see seed packet instructions.

*Once the seeds start to germinate, remove lid and water according to packet instructions. Another easy but more extravagant way is to set your flats on a table and hang lights on ‘s’ hooks with light chains from the ceiling in a warm basement or other room. The lights must be no more than 3 to 6 inches from the top of the flat (or the plants once they start growing), so be sure to make your light set up adjustable. Plain old fluorescent shop lights work best for starting seeds, or you can even purchase ‘grow lights’ from greenhouse supply companies or seed catalogs.

*You can go to any big box retailer and purchase really slick ‘seed starting’ kits. Follow instructions on kit…. and enjoy! Transplant outdoors following packet instructions.

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Here’s an easy and inexpensive recipe for liquid fertilizer. You can use this for both house plants as well as your outdoor potted plants. I’ve shared this recipe before, but it’s worth a repeat.

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Easy Liquid fertilizer~ to give your house plants and potted outdoor plants an extra boost, add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt and 1 teaspoon of fish emulsion plant fertilizer to 1/2 gallon of water, then stand back and watch’er grow! Extra fertilizer water can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Please feel free to share this information with your friends… and I hope you’ve found it helpful.  Please be sure to follow me on Facebook for daily posts!

Happy Day,
Jean

 

 

 

 

Heirloom Seeds: Why they’re better and my favorites varieties

Hello all…

Check out my new post over at Farm to Table, Field to Plate!

http://outdoorsexperiencejournal.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/heirloom-seeds-why-theyre-better-and-my-favorites-varieties/

 

 

Garden Themes!

 

My breakfast patio is one of my quiet spaces...

My breakfast patio is one of my quiet spaces…

Have you been dreaming of a new garden but just can’t figure out what you want to do? Well… check out my new post at Your Home with Karie Engels for 4 awesome ideas!

Click the link to take you right on over!

http://yourhomewithkarieengels.com/2013/11/21/garden-themes

Happy Day,
Jean

The Season of Autumn

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“I must have flowers, always, and always.” -Claude Monet

The Season of Autumn truly does hold much beauty and awe…
The leaves as they change from brilliant green to all the shades of the beautiful sunset…
Waking to an early frost as it glistens… the sun touches it and the frost becomes a deadly killer.
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The sounds of the geese flying overhead with their graceful bodies against the fall sky …
There is something magnificent about a fall sky…
You know what I mean… the clouds put on a performance that leaves one standing, staring in awe… simple elegance.
Massive waves of swirling color, not grey yet not white, billowing over head so low it seems you’d only have to reach up to touch them…
The night sky as the sun sets… its rays reaching down into the depths of your soul… waves of fire.

DPP_0001Autumn is when I get to start my cook stove again… oh the aroma of burning wood leaves a feeling so comforting. Like being wrapped in an old quilt…  I love my cook stove.  The memories of days gone by as a child, spending time at my dad’s folks in Northern Canada. There was no electricity or indoor plumbing until my young teen years.

I can still close my eyes and imagine the aromas that rose upstairs as grandma was frying  fresh eggs just laid that morning and bacon for breakfast… covered and cozy under her quilts… not really wanting to venture out into the cold… the heat would start to move slowly through the old farm-house upstairs and then I’d jump out of bed and quick get dressed and run downstairs. Everyone else was already up and moving long before I. It was a happy feeling… a cozy, homey feeling that I had there.

Now I have a cook stove of my own and although I only use it in the cold months, I can’t imagine winter without it.

But my heart and my soul belong to the sun and warmth… I live to be in my gardens… to touch the dirt… to breathe deep into my soul the life my gardens gives me.

I am of the same mind as Claude Monet… “I must have flowers, always, and always”…

So today I’ve decided to share, in between my new organization series, an Essay Of My Flowers.

My heart and my soul are happiest in the garden.. my garden of flowers.

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Please note that these photographs are owned by me… If you’d like to use them in something, I don’t mind so long as you give me proper credit and direct them here to my site. Thanks…

Happy Day,
Jean

Kitchen Gardens: How-to tips and ideas on how to create your own

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NEW POST!
Follow this link to read my NEW article on kitchen gardens at Farm to Table, Field to Plate.

Happy Day,
Jean

http://outdoorsexperiencejournal.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/kitchen-gardens-tips-and-ideas-on-how-to-create-your-own/