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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

This weeks "Hot off the Blog" features one of the most tasty dishes ever.

Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

We are visiting my daughter and son. They have grown some of the best Hierloom tomatoes ever.
Summer is tomato and basil season, and there is nothing better than heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil from the garden and fresh mozzarella cheese. So I'm sure you are asking What are "heirloom tomatoes"? Heirloom tomatoes are what tomatoes used to be before all of the variety and flavor were bred out of them so they could be more easily transported in trucks to supermarkets.

Check out http://www.heirloomtomatoes.bizland.com/varieties.htm
This is a great place to buy seeds.

So, give this recipe a try. I think you'll like it!
Chef Robert

- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced I often us a hard boiled egg slicer
- 4 tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 ts. ground kosher salt
- 1/4 ts. fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tb. extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar (Italian: aceto balsamico) originating from Italy.

1. Alternate tomato and mozzarella on the plate.
2. Garnish with basil.
3. Drizzle with oil,vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Thats it simple and really good.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Frank Sinatra's Eggplant Parmigiana. Fly Me To The Moon!

Ok...so It time for one of my favorite events in my city the Riverfront Pops Concert.

The Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Steve Lippia performing the music of Frank Sinatra.
Now you must know my mom Charlotte was the biggest Sinatra fan I know. She Passed away last Feb. Now she told me a few years back she said "Robbie...when I die I want Frank to sing Fly me to the Moon and have gin and tonics there. We did!

So thanks Frank for the good times!!
Frank Sinatra's Eggplant Parmigiana

Serves 6

  • Eggplant

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut crosswise in 12-inch slices

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 (6 ounce) package Mozzarella cheese

  • Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup chopped celery

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomatoes, cut up

  • 1/3 cup tomato paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

  • 1 bay leaf

  1. Prepare tomato sauce and set aside.

  2. Combine flour and salt. Dip eggplant in egg, then in seasoned flour.

  3. Sauté eggplant slices in hot oil in large skillet for 3 minutes on each side, adding more oil if necessary. Drain slices well on paper towel.

  4. Place 1/2 of eggplant in single layer in 10x6x2-inch baking dish, cutting slices to fit. Sprinkle with 1/2 of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 sauce and 1/2 Mozzarella cheese. Cut remaining Mozzarella into triangles. Repeat layers.

  5. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.

  6. Tomato Sauce: Prepare tomato sauce and set aside.

  7. Combine flour and salt. Dip eggplant in egg, then in seasoned flour.

  8. Sauté eggplant slices in hot oil in large skillet for 3 minutes on each side, adding more oil if necessary. Drain slices well on paper towel.

  9. Place 1/2 of eggplant in single layer in 10x6x2-inch baking dish, cutting slices to fit. Sprinkle with 1/2 of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 sauce and 1/2 Mozzarella cheese. Cut remaining Mozzarella into triangles. Repeat layers.

  10. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Ah, the love of summer. Italian bruschetta "brusketta" is a great way to capture the flavors of ripe summer tomatoes, fresh garden basil, and garlic. I love this time of the year. I will be off to the farmers market in Davenport Iowa today. My tomatos were a bust this season...the deer liked them.
Facebook me at Chef Robert Lewis The Happy Diabetic Food Group


  • 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Let's cook

1 Take the tomatoes, cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers. Also cut out and discard the stem area. I like plum tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes. The skins are much thicker and there are fewer seeds and less juice.

2 Turn on the oven to 450°F to preheat.

3 While the oven is heating, chop up the tomatoes finely. Put tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4 Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. Once the oven has reached 450°F, place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn nice and golden brown.

5 Place the bread on a serving platter, olive oil side up. Place some topping on each slice of bread and serve. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do it right before serving or the bread may get soggy.

I like to top them with a small ball of fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of Balsamic Reduction. Go lillydiabetes,com go the the Virtual Kitchen and click on Caramelized Salmon with Fruit Salsa

Bon Appetit

Bruschetta of Love!

This week I spend some time with a old favorite Bruchetta (Italian pronunciation: [brusˈketta]. s a food the origin of which dates to at least the 15th century from central Italy.
It consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, and/or cheese; the most popular American recipe involves basil, fresh mozzarella, and tomato.

With that said, here is a traditional recipie and one made with one of my favorite foods Smoked Salmon.
If you like Bagels and Lox you will love this version.

Smoked Salmon Bruschetta



1. Toast bread, rub one side of each slice with the cut side of garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil.

2. Arrange smoked salmon and onion slices and olives on bread and top with a dollop of cream cheese.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Skewered Scampi of Love

Try this out!

Skewered Scampi of Love

Recipe by Robert Lewis,www.happydiabetic.com

Ingredients & Methods

Serves 4

Skewered Scampi of Love

For the Sauce:


  1. Season the shrimp with fresh ground pepper and olive oil
  2. Skewer the shrimp and sauté for 3-5 minutes on each side. When the shrimp turn pink, they are done.
  3. Remove shrimp from the heat. Add the oil and garlic to the sauté pan and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Add the parsley and capers. Sauté for another minute. Pour the sauce over the shrimp skewers and serve

Nutrition at a Glance (per serving)
Calories 146
Carbohydrate 0g
Fat 13g
Protein 38.4g

Taking the mystery out of Olive Oil

What does the Label say?

Olive oil vendors choose the wording on their labels very carefully.

  • "100% Pure Olive Oil" is often the lowest quality available in a retail store: better grades would have "virgin" on the label.
  • "Made from refined olive oils" means that the taste and acidity were chemically controlled.
  • "Light olive oil" means refined olive oil, with less flavour.
  • "From hand-picked olives" implies that the oil is of better quality, since producers harvesting olives by mechanical methods are inclined to leave olives to over-ripen in order to increase yield.
  • "First cold press" is generally a purely commercial wording with no factual meaning. It suggests that the oil in bottles with this label is the "first oil that came from the first press" of the olives and that no heat is used. This is incorrect.
    First of all, "cold" does not define any precise temperature. A certain exception is made for the European regulation which requires that the processing temperature be below 27 °C in order to be named "cold pressed". In cooler regions like Tuscany or Liguria the olives collected in November and ground often at night are too cold to be processed efficiently without heating. The paste is regularly heated above the environmental temperatures, which may be as low as 10-15 °C, in order to extract the oil efficiently with only physical means. Olives pressed in warm regions like Southern Italy or Northern Africa may be pressed at significantly higher temperatures although not heated. While it is important that the pressing temperatures be as low as possible (generally below 35 °C) there is no international reliable definition of "cold pressed".
    Furthermore there is no "second" press of virgin oil, so the term "first press" is meaningless.
  • The label may indicate that the oil was bottled or packed in a stated country. This does not necessarily mean that the oil was produced there. The origin of the oil may sometimes be marked elsewhere on the label; it may be a mixture of oils from more than one country.Remember the words Monounsaturated fat. These are the healthy fats, but remember FAT IS FAT. Their are about 125 calories per tablespoon So....TAKE IT EASY.

The Italian dinner party of Love

The Italian dinner party of Love

This year my bride and I will celebrate or 30th anniversary Italian style. Among our friends food from Italy that cuisine is usually everyone’s favorite, so you can rarely go wrong with an Italian-themed dinner party! Our selection of Italian wines, foods and condiments must all align with the stars. Ok cut the BS…

Here is what I think I know…

Antipasto, pasta, bread, meats a must… After all WWJD…yes I said What Would Julia DO?

Everyone loves Julia Child as evidenced by the opening of this week’s much-anticipated movie “Julie and Julia,” sure to be seen by foodies and food buffs all over the world.

During her long television career, Julia was known as the “French Chef.” Julia studied at length in France at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking school. However, Julia and her husband were gourmets and loved food from many nations. In fact, according to a Julia Child biography on Answers.com, Julia’s passion for cooking originated during her assignment to China in 1941 where she was influenced by her future husband Paul’s passion for food.

What you may not know, is that Julia Child had a great love for Italy and Italian food as well. This one-woman dynamo hosted an annual luxury tour to Italy for food buffs during her long career.

In 1987, Julia Child traveled to Italy for ABC’s Good Morning America and hosted a hugely popular, 5-part series on Italy and Italian food.

So over the next few months I will be cooking Italian. Now you might ask your self what does a Jewish boy from Encino who is diabetic www.happydiabetic.com know about cooking Italian. Plenty.

So Bon Appétit- Lets get cooking!