Velcome to My FrankenMess: When Art & Food Go Awry

Velcome to My FrankenMess. photo: jparadisi 2012

Welcome to my FrankenMess. For Halloween, I tried dipping pretzel sticks into melted icing to make them look like candy corn on a stick, à la Pinterest. This is what they turned out looking like before I gave up. I’m an artist, damn it! Curse You, Pinterest!!!

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Grilled Eggplant & Grilled Radicchio With Endive Salad

Grilled Eggplant photo: jparadisi 2011

The fatal flaw of left-handed, creative polymaths, I’ve mentioned, is not finishing what we start. Today I’m following up last week’s post with how I prepared the eggplant and the radicchio bought a week ago at a Farmers’ Market while David and I visited Newport, Oregon. Just so you know, those beautiful vegetables did not meet their demise by rotting in my refrigerator.

Grilled Eggplant

3 medium eggplants

A good quality olive oil

1-3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Fresh ground black pepper and salt

1/8 -1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (or to taste)

Wash and pat dry the eggplants after trimming away both ends on each, but leave the skins on. Slice each eggplant length-wise into four 1/2-inch slices. Brush both sides of each slice with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. On a medium grill, cook eggplant slices until there are grill marks on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Don’t over cook.

Arrange the slices on a platter and sprinkle with the fresh basil and crushed red pepper. Makes a dozen slices. The next day, I used the leftovers in Panini along with the heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Grilled Radicchio With Endive Salad

1 medium head of fresh radicchio

3-4 large Belgium endives

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons of a good quality olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Wash and pat dry the head of radicchio and the endive. Quarter the head of radicchio into wedges and brush the cut sides with the olive oil. Place the first oiled side onto a medium grill and lightly char the edges, then turn to the second cut side, and slightly char it too. Do not walk away from the grill while cooking the radicchio; they char quickly. Remove from grill, and set-aside until cool enough to handle with your fingers. Slice the endive length wise, then chop into 1/2 or 1-inch chunks. I like mine chunky, but I noticed David set the bigger pieces aside on his plate. I don’t think he knew what endive was until he met me. Put the chopped endive into a large bowl. Chop the cooled radicchio and add to the endive. Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar; toss to coat and adjust to taste, along with the salt and pepper. Add the shredded Parmesan cheese and toss one more time.

Pair with crusty bread, and a crisp Pinot Gris.

Recipe: Risotto Cakes

One of my readers asked what risotto cakes are. 

They are delicious. 

 And an elegant way to use leftover risotto for another meal. It’s easy.

First, make your favorite risotto recipe. The traditional saffron risotto of Northern Italy works well. I also like the new recipes recently published in The New York Times Health section. You can find the recipes( by Martha Rose Shulman)  clicking on this link:

     Make the risotto of your choice, and try to leave some leftovers (that’s the hard part). Refrigerate the leftovers until the next day. Using small handfuls, shape the risotto into balls, then flatten into cakes. Bread each cake by dipping into one beaten egg, then into panko flour. Brown 3-4 minutes each side in a pan, using olive oil. Drain on paper towels and serve with a salad or sautéed vegetables.

You can also serve risotto cakes as a base for Eggs Benedict, instead of english muffins.