Squash on Fire: “Spaghetti” Puttanesca

On a recent trip to a local market we were greeted by a gorgeous array of orange pumpkins and irregular gourds. Instead of heading straight for the quintessential Halloween symbol, we simultaneously reached for the oblong, sunny spaghetti squash. When roasted, the bright yellow squash is transformed into pasta-like strands, so we thought it was only appropriate living, in the North End of Boston, a historic Italian neighborhood, to use it like spaghetti.

While in Italy, we were big fans of the famously pungent and spicy Puttanesca sauce. The deep, rustic red sauce with bursts of green briny capers transforms any pasta, or in this case, the subtly sweet squash ribbons. With the addition of earthy eggplant, a sprinkling of fresh chopped basil and Parmesan cheese, it’s our fresh, seasonal take on an Italian classic.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

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Indian Eggplant Parm

Editor’s Note: New contributor Prof. Fusion, an English professor, kitchen dabbler and Dora the Explorer antagonistjoins ES with pretty much our favorite thing…a new sandwich!

This is basically your classic Italian eggplant parm sub, gone Indian—although there’s no Parmesan inhabitant on this blissfully delicious breaded island, just Provolone. The inspiration behind the Indian eggplant sub spawned from  the Food in My Beard’s chicken crispy masala. When I first made this, I made a few adjustments to Dan’s amazing recipe (i.e. how I breaded and fried the chicken—dusted with salt and curry powder), and this salaciously cheesy dish quickly became my wife’s favorite dinner option. One night, I planned to do the same thing to eggplant, when my food muse spoke to me in a garlic-infused whisper, “Why not make this into a sub?!”  And there’s our causal chain, people.

Note: if you’re not a big fan of eggplant (my pal Russ hates its texture, whereas Caitlin finds it tolerable—she’s far too polite), then use chicken instead. I really dig the fusion of Indian/Italian flavors; these yield great pairings when using Indian spices instead of Italian ones.  And what can honestly go wrong when there’s tomato sauce and cheese involved?

Indian Eggplant Parm

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Towering Food: Greek Eggplant Stacks

The eggplant is a vegetable famous for its glossy, deep purple beauty. With its pleasantly spongy texture and mild flavor, it complements any ingredient. Looking at the tear-dropped gem, we got creative and brainstormed whether to take an Italian route incorporating mozzarella and basil, an Indian route with curry and raisins, or a Thai route with spicy basil and coconut milk. Ultimately, we opted for a Greek-inspired stack. The salty, briny feta paired perfectly with the mellow eggplant. To add some pop in taste and color, we layered sautéed spinach and tomato sauce.s

When we prepare food, we almost always have the same vision. This time around, we had slightly different approaches, so decided to each make our own layered stack. While the eggplant towers both follow the same recipe, they differ slightly in presentation.

Eggplant, Spinach, Tomato and Feta Stack

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Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know Taste Delicious With Chocolate

There’s nothing better than chocolate, right? Or is there? Foodies have figured out that everyone’s favorite candy gets even better when combined with some surprising ingredients. Here are our top 10 favorite crazy chocolate recipes.

10. Avocado

It might sound gross, but avo mixed with chocolate chips makes an amazingly rich filling for Russell Warnick’s chocolate avocado pie.

 9. Eggplant

No, this is not a joke. Just give it a try. Salted fried eggplant drizzled with dark chocolate, from What You Give Away You Keep.

8. Goat Cheese

Chocolate is great. Cheese is great. Why the eff not? Macheesmo makes goat cheese raspberry brownies.

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Where There’s Smoke…There’s Bacon

I appreciate the idea of hummus because it’s such a stinking fantastic dip and it’s not even based in fatty sour cream or cream cheese. I think eggplant based dips, to be honest, aren’t as delightful as bean dips, but I keep trying anyway, especially with almost-out-of-season eggplants filling crates at the farmers market.

I googled for a few baba ganosh recipes and turned to my friend Justin’s fav, David Lebovitz. Lebovitz accentuated the smoky qualities of the dip and I ran with it, adding extra smoky flavor everywhere I could.

Smoky Eggplant Dip with Bacon-fried Tortillas

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Pop-Up Filipino

Everyone in the foodie world is always looking for the newest, coolest cuisine, and these days that usually means the weirdest. Well in terms of far-out food, it’s hard to beat Filipino. If you think Korean tastes are funky, wait ’til you try Filipino. These folks eat every part of their animals, they marinate their pig in soft drinks, and they prefer their eggs, um, shall we say…developed. More on that later.

So predictably, Filipino food is having a bit of a moment, with trendy new restaurants like Brooklyn’s Umi Nom and San Francisco food trucks Adobo Hobo and Senor Sisig. But it’s not a food trend until it has a pop-up restaurant. Enter Maharlika, which started a few months ago as a Saturday and Sunday only pop-up restaurant, serving brunch at Resto Leon in New York. This week it moved to the larger 5 Ninth, still serving only brunch.

The dish above is arroz caldo — a traditional Filipino rice porridge with shredded chicken, ginger, garlic and omasum (the third chamber of a cow’s stomach, if you must know). Hungry yet? Oh we’re just getting started.

 

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Super Bowl Grub: Top 10 Dips

Bravo to the NFL marketers! The Super Bowl has turned into something that is as much about food, commercials and friends as it is about football. Standard at almost every Super Bowl party is a dip of some kind. Here at ES we have covered dips, been covered in dips and we even have a theory as to why dips are so universal. Today we’ll just stick to sharing our Top 10 dips as you prep for the thundering herds.

10. Poblano and Garlic Scape Dip
Highlight: Roasted poblano lends a heat gentle enough for all crowds.

9. Tequila Mango Salsa
Highlight: One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

8. Texas Caviar
Highlight: Creamy mustard meets sweet-tart apple cider vinegar, which encircles black eyed peas and fresh corn.

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