A taste of my #CripCooking!

Hello world! I have discovered the art of cooking and it has been incredibly zen addition to my life. Think slow smooth movements in a sand garden, a place where your body can take over and let your mind be free and relaxed (as it can be). There is something to cutting items finely, lining them up and then putting them together to create a visual medley; all of this appeals to many aspects of me despite being new to #cripcooking. The first meal I cooked was on Sara’s birthday – April 16, 2014. It rocked. From there I have cooked a number of dishes and. I tend to cook for than 2 people and take my sweet SLOW time! My most recent favorite was a slow cooker red beans and rice dish (changed: 4 cups of chicken broth, rather than water PLUS two heaping tablespoons of cajun seasoning; also I cooked the beans on high for an hour at the outset and at the closing of the 7 hour crockpot session). It smelled amazing in the house!

The mobile accessible kitchen all due to this short table on wheels. It is supposed to be used for a computer monitor, with an adjustable height. Sullivan the mighty pup photobombs!

ALL of my cooking is due to one simple accommodation – that my lovely wife found for me. I will post a link for the above table when I have it!

Tonight I am editing a recipe for eggplant caprese sandwiches or inverted eggplant parmigiana.

The marinara sauce, which is still cooking on low, took me one hour to get together! Total anticipated time with this NYT recipe I altered was 25 minutes – yes, there is reality to #criptime! I added a 2nd can of tomatoes, along with a can of tomato paste, doing both fresh basil and dried oregano, and I let my garlic and onions warm more.

Marinara Sauce
7 cloves of garlic minced
1 large onion chunked
teaspoon  kosher salt
1 teaspoon oregano
3 basil leaves
1 red chili
1 can 6 ounces of tomato paste
2 cans 28 ounces of whole tomatoes
Splash of olive oil in pan

Items needed to make marinara sauce on the crip table

My process
1) 5 minutes to gather items, place oregano and kosher salt in a little dish for ease in tossing into the mix, as well as take a photo of items to be mixed

2) part of my slowness, comes from taking my time in the kitchen and cleaning – some say a clean chef is one you can’t trust, they say the same for thin chefs and I don’t get down with that kind of shaming;

A close-up from my POV of the stove-top, with a faint reflection of me in the silver mixing bowl to the left.

3) peel garlic and onions – this is one of my favorite parts of cooking! I love the slow parts. I cut the ends off the garlic and push the knife down in hopes that part of the skin will come off – this works in about 1 in 7 cloves;

4) mince these items;

5) place splash of olive oil in saucepan on medium heat – not deep pan – wait until hot, and add minced garlic and onion. I like to leave that for a good 8-10 minutes for the parts to condense and brown a bit;

6) take a dance break;

7) while the the garlic and onions are heating, pour the cans of tomato items together in a large bowl and blend slowly with an immersion blender to your liking in terms of chunkyness;

8) stir in the salt and oregano;

9) pour over garlic and oregano, mixing it all together;

10) submerge 3 basil leaves and 1 red chili, turn to low and let sit for as long as you can wait!

Recipe for Caprese Eggplant Sandwiches

⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
1- 2 medium to small sized eggplant, cut crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices
a good couple of 2 tsps kosher salt, to taste
1-2 cups marinara sauce (see above); depending on how much sauce you want
extra virgin olive oil
2 vine-ripe sliced tomatoes
fresh basil leaves; torn
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
freshly ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2) Wash eggplant and tomatoes, cutting both into about 1-0.5 inch slices;
3) take slice of eggplant – dip in flour, then whipped egg, then breadcrumbs;

Getting stations for dipping eggplant ready to go, Murphy the cat photobombs
Lovely slices of eggplant

4) place on baking sheet;
5) I often go by when I “smell it’s ready” but with eggplant there is extra cooking needed. Consider 45 minutes, and cut off a piece to taste if it is moist enough to be yummm;

The crip chef on my armrest to reach the counter, stacking the eggplant, mozzarella, and more eggplant
Crip chef balancing on arm rest to reach the assembled sandwiches to smother in marinara

6) stack eggplant, mozzarella slices, tomato, basil leaves, another slice of eggplant and covered in 1/4 a cup of marinara;

7) bake collective for 15 minutes or so, you want bubbly melting awesome cheese – however long that takes!! Enjoy! 🙂

*Domestic Diva Side-Note*

This weekend I washed our dishwasher with 1 cup of white vinegar – just threw it in the bottom and did a hot water wash. The second step in the wash was putting a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the washer to let it sit overnight. After running a simple cycle your dishwasher will be so fresh and less likely to provide spotty glasses! If you have any kind of odor I recommend it, after cleaning out your filter. 🙂