Cinnamon Spiced Carrot Ginger Muffins

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 12 Muffins

½ cup old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

½ cup whole roasted and salted pecans (you will also need an additional ½ cup finely chopped pecans – see last ingredient below)

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 equal pieces

2 whole large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup (Zante) currants

¼ cup small diced candied ginger

½ cup grated carrots, grated on a Microplane

½ cup whole roasted and salted pecans, finely chopped

Set an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

Place oats on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray. Once oven is preheated, bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring halfway through, until toasted. Set aside.

Place the sugar and ½ cup of the whole pecans in a food processor with the blade attachment. Pulse 15 times until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pulse 10 times to combine. Evenly distribute the butter. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until it starts to resemble wet sand. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Pulse until the texture turns into a uniform, thick batter, approximately 25 times.

Add the toasted oats, currants, ginger, carrots and finely chopped pecans to a medium bowl. Stir gently to combine.

Transfer batter from food processor to the medium bowl with the ginger carrot mixture using a rubber spatula. Fold to combine with the spatula.

Fill each muffin tin equally with the batter. (It’s just over a ¼ cup per muffin.)

Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Test readiness by poking a toothpick or knife in the middle of a muffin; if it comes out clean, it’s ready.

Remove from oven. Place tin on a cookie rack and let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.

Tray Bake Eggplant Parmesan

traybakeeggplantparm

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

 

Tray Bake Eggplant Parmesan

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

3 medium Italian eggplants (approximately 2 pounds), tops removed

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups marinara sauce (your choice!)

6-ounces grated/shredded whole milk mozzarella

2-ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

5 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and sliced very thinly (chiffonade)

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise. With the skin side resting on a cutting board, score the flesh into a 1/4–inch crosshatch pattern. Score the flesh as deep as possible while trying not to cut through the skin. Open the eggplant, spreading and bending the eggplant so it lays as flat as possible, flesh side up. The goal is to have it lay almost completely flat – skin down. To accommodate this, you can make small cuts around the circumference of the eggplant to release any tension in the eggplant.

Lay eggplant halves flesh side up on a parchment-lined sheet tray.

Brush olive oil (1 tablespoon per eggplant half) evenly over flesh. Sprinkle each half with a little salt. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tray after 15 minutes.

Remove sheet tray from the oven. Spread ¼ cup marinara on top of each eggplant half. Then top each with mozzarella, followed by Parmigiano, some pepper and lastly the panko.

Transfer to oven and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.

Remove from oven. Top each eggplant with pine nuts, basil and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Notes:

  • Want to add a bit more marinara or a bit more cheese? Go for it – it’s only gonna make it better!
  • Although you can use Japanese eggplant for this recipe, I have found that the skin of the Italian eggplant variety is less bitter and therefore works best for this application