Amazing Easy Parmigiana

One of my favorite comfort foods is eggplant parmigiana. The combination of warm gooey cheese and tomato sauce is like a warm hug, and when it's done right...the eggplant is like delicious slices of happiness.

Well, below is my recipe for eggplant parmigiana. I promise you it's so good that you will want to cook it pronto! It's so good that it was the romantic meal for Valentine's Day...

Amazing Easy Eggplant Parmigiana

First, you must prep your eggplant. Cut off the ends of the eggplant and slice into one inch slices (you can make them them thicker or thinner depending on your tastes). Place slices in a big bowl or dish in a single layer and sprinkle with salt let sit for about 20 minutes. This will take out some of the bitterness and sweat out some of the moisture. You can skip this step, but I wouldn't reccommend it.

Next, prepare to bread some eggplant. You'll need a bowl of flour, a small bowl with two eggs beaten, and a small bowl with breadcrumbs ( you can use panko, seasoned, gluten free, whatever you like).

Dip each slice in flour, making sure you cover it thoroughly. You can use whole wheat, a wheat flour substitute (if you are gluten sensitive) or just plain white.

After taking the slice out of the flour, dip in the egg. Make sure you have egg on both sides. If the beaten eggs seem thick you may need to thin out the egg with a little water.

Next, dip each slice in breadcrumbs of your choice. Make sure the slice is completely covered in crumbs.

Put a large skillet on medium heat with a few glugs of olive oil. Place each slice down, making sure you don't crowd them. Cook until lightly browned and carefully flip to the other side. You may have to do several batches.

Now it's time to build it up! You have some of that lovely red sauce made...right? No? Well, mix up a batch right quick...the eggplant will keep. Next, You need to preheat the oven to 400*F.
Take a big ole baking pan and put down a thin layer of sauce. Place a layer of eggplant evenly spaced down on your sauce.

Put down a thick layer of cheese. You can do a mix of whatever melty yummy cheese you choose. I used a combination of Mozarella, Fontina and Parmesan. You could always substitute in some low fat or fat free cheeses if you are watching your waistline. Fresh mozzarella is always the perfect thing for this.

Next, sprinkle a few fresh basil leaves on top of your cheese.

Alternate layers of eggplant, cheese, and fresh basil until you run out of eggplant or overflow your pan. After your last layer of eggplant, add another layer of cheese. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and pop into the oven until everything is brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes (Make sure you take the foil off halfway through to allow for browning).

This will serve four hungry folks... or two with lots of leftovers.
I find this is fantastic with crusty bread, pasta, and salad.


PS - if you aren't too keen on eggplant try out sliced zucchini, veggie patties, or even chicken, if you like that sort of thing....

My Sleep Remedy : Tea

After three years pulling constant all-nighters to get me through fashion school, I find that now I am plagued with an erratic sleep schedule. Nine months after graduation, and I am still occasionally haunted by insomnia. When I have those nights, I find the best thing to do is brew up a pot of tea and read something nice and sleep provoking; like a soothing book of poetry. Now my favorite thing to brew up is chamomile. Not just any chamomile, but spiced chamomile.

Instant Sleep Spiced Chamomile Tea

First, start a kettle brewing. In a large tea pot, place 2 chamomile tea bags (or the loose tea equivalent into your choice of tea infuser), 1 star anise, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 2 tablespoons cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. If you don't have a teapot, you can make this in an infuser or a tea ball, but you may have to half the amounts.

When your water is almost at a boil, pour into your tea apparatus. You may want to give it a quick stir to allow the spices to be distributed at least somewhat evenly. Steep for about 3 minutes (this depends on how strong you want your tea; adjust steep time for your individual tastes). For each teacup, pour milk (can be dairy, soy, almond, etc) about 1/4 of the way up, then fill the rest of the cup with tea.

Enjoy with a smidgen of biscuit or bread with butter and many sweet dreams, my friends.

PS - How awesome is that teapot by Richard Notkin?

Lament of a Plant Killer

I am one who loves plants. I imagine a living space filled to the brim of green growing things reaching towards the sunlight. Fragrant herbs overflowing windowsills, florals popping their bright colorful heads on tables, and indoor palms with their fronds lightly dancing on drafts from the air conditioning.

Alas, I am a plant killer. As soon as I bring a new plant into my home, it will quickly turn brown and shrivel up. I have attempted most herbs, ferns, indoor palms, flowers, and cacti. Amazingly enough, I have even had cacti drop dead on me.

This does not appear to be genetic. My grandparents have lovely roses in their garden and african violets crowding a shaded windowsill. My mother has aspirations of a plentiful vegetable garden for this spring. And yet, a completely dead rosemary cone awaits my disposal.

Not all is lost, however, I have two small pots of basil that have survived me thus far. Not thriving, but not on the pathway to destruction yet either. Three small cacti are still hanging on, although my christmas cactus had one measly bloom and several buds that dropped out of this world before meeting their full potential(The sad thing is, I had gotten this christmas cactus in a 'just about to flower' state). I also have one bamboo plant that suprises me. It's not only still alive, but is...growing? One day, perhaps I will master the art of a green thumb. Until then, I will simply have to content myself with being what I am: A PLANT KILLER.

How to Make an Easy Red Sauce and Look Like You Know What You Are Doing

Ever since I first learned to cook, I always wanted to make a great tomato sauce. The canned or bottled stuff was expensive, or full of ingredients I couldn't pronounce. I wanted something delicious to pour over pasta, use on a homemade pizza, or even use to make some odd concoction. Over the years, I haven't created the perfect sauce, but it has certainly evolved and become perfect for me. I find the secret to making a great red sauce is experimentation - so the recipe below has some tips on how to change it to your tastes.
So, without further ado...

First things first, you need aromatics. Chop up 2 shallots, finely, for the aromatics for this red sauce (you could also use onion - a sweet yellow onion is a great option too). Garlic is always a must; even if you don't care for garlic, it still is necessary. Dice up 3 cloves (if you are really anti-garlic just add one). Toss your aromatics into a large pan with about 2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and cook until the onions are translucent and the air is perfumed with loveliness. Now, add a little sweetness to cut some of the acidity of the tomatoes. This time honey is involved; add about a tablespoon (A few other options are; a carrot diced extremely fine, sugar, agave nectar, wine )

Now it's tomato time! There are several options for tomatoes. You could use a variety of types of canned tomatoes, or you could use fresh. If I'm in a bit of a rush, I use crushed tomatoes (two 15 oz cans) because it has a nice consistancy. You could also use pureed or tomato sauce, but tomato sauce is a bit too smooth for my taste. Whole tomatoes canned are great, just make sure you chop them up well, before adding them to your pan. Fresh tomatoes are a tiny bit more tricky, you might want to precook them a little bit and toss them in a food processor, otherwise you could be stirring sauce for quite a while waiting for your tomatoes to break down.

Next, come your spices and seasonings. What you add is entirely up to your personal taste, preference and what's in your cupboard. Basil is a great choice. I always add it, whether fresh or dried. If you are using dried add about 2 teaspoons. If fresh, add one whole handful of fresh leaves. I also toss in about a teaspoon of fennel seeds, but if fennel doesn't work for you, don't add it. The key here is taste as you go. You could also add
oregano (dried or fresh) and/or thyme (dried or fresh). To umph up the flavors of onion and garlic I added a tablespoon each of garlic and onion powder.

To make this a meat/protein laded sauce: Add your choice of meat or meat substitute with the aromatics at the beginning and cook until mostly done.

To add extra veggies: Toss in a few bell peppers, mushrooms, or any other vegetable of your choice, chopped roughly, with your onions and garlic at the beginning and cook until tender.

Now, you know how to make a sauce that is perfect for your tastes, and changes it up in ways that are perfect for you!

Ruby Dutchess Cupcake...Vote for it!

Hey, everyone! My friend Cait over at BeanandBarley came up with a super amazing cupcake recipe for a POM Wonderful cupcake contest! It's really yummy... inspired by a Ruby Dutchess cocktail!
Feel free to check it out, try out her recipe and vote for it!


Check out her blog and try out the recipe here!

To vote click here!

Better Late than Never

I was perusing sites, streaming video and catching images of New York's Fashion Week (which I will get to in another post), when I happen to come across Dior's Haute Couture Collection for 2011. I know, I know, the show happened weeks ago, and I don't know how I missed images of it. But I have to be honest, my heart stopped a little bit and it and I just had to share. As many of you know, I have a great love for vintage inspired fashion. Dior's Haute Couture show? Total throwback to the New Look that put Dior on the map.
Proof? Take a gander...

To top it off? The bold makeup...Gorgeous! yes?

Now take those lovely images with you today! (and I promise I'll post my favorite images from New York fashion week so far soon...)

Triple Your Randomness, Triple Your Fun!

It's Random Find Time here at Miscreant Misadventures, yet again. Since my posts this week have a been on the scarce side, I have a bit of a treat for you. Not just one random find, but three!

PS- They are all on auction based sites, so if the auction has ended before you can check out their full description; I apologize.

First on the list is a Elvis skeleton bust. Now, I know there are a myriad of strange and tacky things that were created to memorialize Elivis, but a skeleton? A bit much. Or perfect; depending on your point of view...

Click here for some Elvis action.

Next up, just in time for Valentine's Day, we have a heart shaped Russet potato. Now, It's not neccessarily that the potato is shaped like a heart, more that someone is trying to sell it.

For potato action, click here.

Now, our final strange find of the day is a rather creepy doll. I personally find porcelain dolls in general a bit creepy, but this doll here gives me a case of the shivers. It's almost like something from a horror movie. It could be the paleness of the doll maybe?

for doll info, click here.

Now, I know that not everyone finds the same things weird, bizarre, or creepy and it's all subjective...but still!

What do you think?

Perfect for Puddles!

I have never owned a pair of rain boots. Always, I have carefully leaped over puddles and streams of water in the road, on sidewalks, and parking lots in an attempt to keep my feet dry and my shoes unharmed. Despite my best efforts, however, many a shoe has been ruined over the years. As this winter promises to be overrun with water and the many recent rainshowers have inspired me to search for the perfect rainboots that will not only look sassy and cute, but prevent the dreaded soaked shoe phenomenon.

First up on the list are cowboy rainboots.

The seller of these beauties makes them in all colors (can even customize to your favorite sports team...however, I'm not that fanatical about any team...but I do like the dots!)

How about some paisley cowboy rainboots?

What about a pair of rain mocs?

Or yummy Ballet flats?

Or the option is always there to go with the traditional shape and get a pair with a great print...

Like the super classic Burberry print...

Or something fun and bright to cheer up a rainy, gloomy day

Or a great nerdy graphic novel/comic book print

Or an illustration...

So many choices! Tons of great rainy day footwear makes it a bit of a dilemma... Maybe I should get one of each!

Disturbing Discovery of the Day (wow.alliteration.)

Yes, folks, it's time again for the random find of the week! What have I scoured the far off distant regions of the internet to bring to you for your viewing pleasure this time? Well, of course, I have nothing but the best here on Miscreant Misadventures!

Have you ever wanted a super unique decor item for your desk? Well, if you have, then today's find is perfect for you! Imagine your friends' faces when you tell them that your unique and amazing pencil cup is made specially from a bull's nether regions?

Not quite your cup of tea? Not really mine either, but it sure fits the bill for a random discovery for today.

If you want to check it out for yourself click here. It's on auction and has about eight days from the time of today's blog post!

Fashion of the Future

Did you ever read a novel or watch an old movie that is set in the "future" and they give a year that has already passed? You know, a story that is set in a place where cars fly and people wear shiny plastic-looking clothing. The writers of those stories, tv shows and movies imagined a future age where the clothing of the future was made of materials that may have been revolutionary at the time, like the early stages of synthetic fibers. The point is, what is in our future may not look like we imagine it to be, especially in the fashion of the future.

One trend that is looking like it is in our future, however, is the green movement. At the London science museum they have an exihibit displayed proudly on the next thing in green fashion. Called "Trash Fashion" it examines the next wave of green technologies to potentially hit the industry. They divide it up among three categories: green dyeing/coloring techniques, the materials and how the garment is actually made.

The wierdest green method? Bacterial Cellulose. Yep folks, clothing made out of bacteria. Actually, it's made of what's leftover when you make kombucha (It becomes a flat mass of fibers). Only downside is, you're left naked if you get wet! Before this cool fiber ever comes to market, I'm sure that the scientists have to do a ton more experimenting...

This jacket is an example of its possibilities ( It's BioCouture by Suzanne Lee)

Another green method that caught my eye uses light tricks in the same way that butterfly wings and peacock feathers do, so dyes simply aren't necessary. This Morphotex fabric is created with nanotechnology and the potential for this is really amazing.


Anyway, with these kind of developments in the future, who knows what clothing will become. Of course, however, it's possible that everything will still be essentially the same...

PS - Check out the full exhibit online here

Pasta with Brown Butter, Sage and Walnuts

I am a recent convert to the Cooking Channel. An offshoot of the Food Network, it's geared toward a younger, hipper crowd that combines fresh, new faces with well-known celebrity chefs' new shows (even Rachel Ray is less annoying on here). A couple of my favorites off this channel are French Cooking at Home with Laura Calder and Good Deal with Dave Lieberman. Dave Lieberman's whole schtick is great food on a budget...yay!

Last night I decided to test out this simple, delish recipe featured on Good Deal ; it consists of only four ingredients (plus salt and pepper to taste). I subbed in some whole wheat spaghetti and tossed a little spinach salad dressed with vinegar onto the side to try to 'healthy' this rich deliciousness up.

Twisted Pasta with Brown Butter and Walnuts
Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman
Prep Time:8 min Inactive Prep Time:-- Cook Time:25 min
Serves:6 servings
About 1/2 cup walnut halves
1 pound twisted pasta such as campanelle, caserecci, or cavetelle
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 small bunch sage leaves, about 10 or 12 leaves, large stems plucked
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lay walnuts on a baking sheet and bake 7 to 10 minutes, until toasted and
fragrant. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.

Continue to heat and stir the butter until it turns light brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the sage leaves.
Cook until crisped and the butter has turned a dark shade of
Toss the butter and sage gently with the pasta, being careful not to break the sage leaves up too much. Divide pasta among serving bowls and top with the crushed toasted walnuts.

Cheap, Rich AND Delish?? Perish the thought!

Ps - For more info click here

Shhhhh....It's a Secret!

Are you an ardent food aficionado? Are you a foodie with champagne tastes and a pbr budget? Do you love a secret?

Well, keep this a bit under wraps....but an underground food market is coming to the Atlanta area on the 26th of February! About 40 food artisans will pull out all the stops at a secret location. This will be announced to those who have already signed up to participate on the site beforehand and will be notified by email the day before. So if you aren't an Atlanta resident, you may want to plan your trip to the ATL for that weekend.

I'm going to mark this on my calendar, as the idea of an anything under the radar kind of thrills me. Especially food trends that start in San Fransisco...

Btw - check out another blog about it here.