Dying for Dinner
Looking to serve your beloved a delicious meal this Valentine’s Day? Look no further—Killer Nashville is here with tried and trued recipes that’ll leave your mouth watering.
Because what’s more romantic and intriguing than a recipe procured from a mystery/suspense magazine?
Caroline’s Eggplant Parmesan
By Caroline Davidson
As a new year rings in, the cold weather lingers, and Valentine’s day is right around the corner, there is something romantic about this time of year. It’s a time to reflect on what we want to accomplish over the next 12 months and time to maybe start a new hobby, or spend more time on one we already have! For me, cooking is my hobby and I always wish I could spend more time in my kitchen experimenting and trying new dishes. Maybe if you fear the kitchen and find it stressful, this year you can step outside of your comfort zone and impress your significant other with a warm, romantic dish on a chilly evening. I am sharing with you one of my personal favorite recipes, one that has taken me years to perfect after reading through recipe after recipe from both celebrity chefs and home-cooks. Pour a glass of red wine and dive into this comforting (& vegetarian) romantic dish…
Disclaimer: I’m a cook who doesn’t really measure anything…a dash of this, a spoonful of that…eyeball it and trust your tastebuds!
Serving Size: 4
Cooking Time: 1 hr and 30 min
Salt & Pepper
2 to 3 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
3/4 to 1 cup Flour
3-4 cups Marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 large ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese (cut into 1 inch slices…or you can use shredded if that’s more convenient!)
12 fresh leaves of Basil
Angel hair pasta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Slice the eggplant in 1 inch slices. You’d like to have 6 slices from each eggplant…creating stacks of 3 eggplant slices for 4 servings.
- The key to a delicious eggplant parmesan is taking the bitter flavor that can sometimes be tasted when roasting eggplant. I have your answer! After slicing your eggplant, line them up on a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides of each slice with salt and let sit for 20-25 minutes. Why? This actuallypulls out juices that carry bitter flavors and it collapses the air pockets in the eggplant’s sponge-like flesh, preveniting it from absorbing too much oil and getting greasy.
- While your eggplant is soaking it’s “salt bath” prepare your marinara sauce…this can be homemade or from your favorite store brand. Although, I will admit homemade marinara is SO easy that once you learn to make a big batch of it at home you’ll never go back to buying it at the store! You can also freeze whatever you don’t use in ice cube trays and save in the freezer for months….pull out a few cubes when you want to whip up an easy spaghetti dish or a homemade pizza!
- Preheat over to 425 degrees
- Now you can set up your frying station. Here is how I organize my ingredients:
- On 1 large plate—spread about 3/4 a cup of white flour
- In 1 medium size bowl—crack the 2 eggs and add a tablespoon of water…add salt and pepper and beat until yolks are broken down
- On 1 large plate—spread at least 1-2 cups of panko breadcrumbs and sprinkle a generous amount of italian seasoning into the panic.
- Once the eggplant are finished soaking, rinse them off and pat dry
- Heat about a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in your frying pan until simmering. Note: you can drop a piece of panko into the pan—if it starts frying, you are good to go!
- For each eggplant slice, follow these steps:
- Pat both sides of eggplant slice in the flour
- Dredge the eggplant slice in the egg wash
- Dip both sides of the eggplant slice in the Panko Breadcrumb mixture (after about 4-5 slices, you may need to add some more panko to the plate so that the additional slices are coated well also)
- Place in frying pan and fry at least 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown
- Place all slices on a paper towel after they are fried and golden brown!
- After all your eggplant slices have been fried, you are ready to assemble & pop in the oven!
- In a casserole dish, cover the bottom with a layer of your marinara sauce
- For each eggplant stack, follow these steps:
- place 1 eggplant slice on top of the marinara layer in the casserole dish
- top with a slice of mozzarella, 1 basil leaf, and a spoonful of marinara sauce
- place the second eggplant slice on top
- top with a slice of mozzarella, 1 basil leaf, and a spoonful of marinara sauce
- place the third, and last, eggplant slice on top
- top with a slice of mozzarella (no basil leaf here, it will turn brown and ugly in the oven…you will add it at the end for presentation!)
- After you have your 4 stacks completed and in the casserole dish, pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes
- When your eggplant has about 10 minutes left, cook your angel hair pasta. Be SURE to toss the cooked angel hair with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil…the pop of flavor here is incredible!
- Pull your eggplant out of the oven and top each eggplant stack with one large basil leaf
- To assemble:
- On a large plate or in a large pasta bowl…add a layer of angel hair pasta
- Add a spoonful of marinara sauce on top of the pasta
- Top with 1 eggplant stack & add a few crack of fresh black pepper and a pinch of salt
Arista alla fiorentina/Florentine Roast Pork
By Alana White
MAKES 6 to 8 SERVINGS
PREP: 10 MIN.; BAKE: 1HR., 15 MIN.
STAND: 15 MIN.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 475 DEGREES THEN REDUCE TO 350 DEGREES
1 (4-lb.) boneless pork roast
4 sprinkles fresh rosemary
4 cloves peeled garlic, thinly sliced
5 whole cloves (the spice)
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
Aluminum foiled-lined broiler pan, 4-qt. or 9″x13″
1. With a small knife cut slits in the pork roast. Insert the thinly sliced peeled garlic and the cloves.
2. Rub pork loin with the olive or canola oil
3. Insert meat thermometer in thickest portion of the roast
4. Bake at 475 for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350, and bake 50 to 55 more minutes or until the meat thermometer registers 160. Turn off oven.
5. Sprinkle rosemary over the roast and return to oven. Let stand in the warm oven for 15 minutes or until thermometer reaches 170.
6. Remove from oven, slice and enjoy!
Caroline Davidson graduated with honors from Belmont University with her Bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship. She worked for a start-up company a few months after college and learned the inside world of the distribution business. After this business dissolved, she joined Turner Publishing in Nashville as the marketing director. She organized marketing campaigns for 30-35 books a year and worked directly with Ingram distributors. Caroline joined JKS Communications as a publicist in the fall of 2015.
Alana White’s debut historical mystery novel, THE SIGN OF THE WEEPING VIRGIN, is set at the height of the Italian Renaissance. The book features powerful (real-life) Florentine lawyer and diplomat Guid’Antonio Vespucci and his nephew and secretary, Amerigo Vespucci, as they investigate a plot involving a painting of the Virgin Mary that has begun weeping in the Vespucci family church, a missing girl, and Pope Sixtus IV’s scheme to overthrow the Florentine Republic.
Alana’s first short fiction featuring the Vespuccis was a Mystery Readers International Macavity Award finalist. Her book reviews appear regularly in the Historical Novel Society “Historical Novels Review.” Her lifelong fascination with Renaissance Italy has taken her to Florence for research on the Vespucci and Medici families on many occasions, and she is currently writing her second Guid’Antonio Vespucci mystery.
In addition to fiction set in 15th-century Florence, Alana is the author of a biography of Sacagawea, SACAGAWEA: WESTWARD WITH LEWIS AND CLARK, and of COME NEXT SPRING, a novel set in 1940s Appalachia. She is a member of the Author’s Guild, the Historical Novel Society, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Women’s National Book Association.
These recipes are so good they should be a crime. If you concoct either of these great recipes, let us know what you think and send us a picture. We may include it here with a link to your website.
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