I have been struggling with healthy eating lately, but that’s a different topic and one I explore elsewhere. I recently celebrated my birthday, both with family and friends. Pictured above was Pasta alla Norma done my way. And it ended up being pretty healthy. I did not use whole wheat pasta here (could have and it would have been still great), but I did use a trick with the eggplant that I found in the cookbook by Joseph Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali entitled Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favorite Food. In their recipe they roast the egglplant instead of frying it (and you know that frying eggplant is just a game of adding oil that the eggplant sokes up like a sponge). The tomato based sauce was one I had left over and was made with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, a little olive oil, crushed red pepper and capers. Add the roasted eggplant and a little riccotta salata and there was my Pasta alla Norma.
Along side of this dish, which I served to my daughter and husband just prior to my birthday, was some jersey fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and beautiful speck I purchased a Artista Salumeria in Chester, NJ. What a find – I understand they have been there for about a year and a half, but this was the first time (and not the last time) I visited.
A few days later I baked up a treat for one of my co-workers, whose birthday is the day before mine, and myself a dense chocolate bundt cake. This ended up to be more like a huge brownie.
Recipe can be found at Food Scientist Bakery. This was my not so healthy birthday cake – 1 1/2 cups of butter and 5 eggs just to start and a lot of chocolate. As I said more of big brownie than a cake. A couple of words of caution here, make sure your bundt pan is large enough – mine I believe is just a standard size pan and this cake overflowed it. Thank goodness I had a baking sheet underneath it. Second, due to the size I baked mine for almost 1 1/2 hours (versus the 60 – 65 minutes indicated in the recipe). The cake was a hit at the office, very chocolatey, and I did not make the chocolate glaze called for in the recipe, but just sprinkled with powdered sugar.
All pictures taken with my IPhone 6 – not fancy cameras or shots this time – I leave most of those to my husband.