George has had a love of all things culinary from a very young age, and throughout his career, has worked with renowned chefs and food technologists. He discovered his passion for cooking at the age of five after spending time in his grandmother's restaurant. From then on, under his mother's guidance (who is a talented cook of her own accord) George recalls cooking anything his mother would let him, starting out with scrambled eggs and hamburgers and quickly moving on to fine Italian and French dishes.
After many years of honing and perfecting his culinary craft, George still enjoys what he humbly considers: "complimenting my family culinary experience," by taking courses in regional cuisines pertaining to the vegetable ingredient products his family specializes in, namely: Asian, French, Mediterranean, Mexican and Tex Mex.
Because of George's extensive knowledge and passion for food, he is a great resource to customers in helping them find the right ingredients for their recipe needs. "I need to understand what's happening in the kitchen," he explained. "If my client has an unfavorable flavor note, I need to be able to assess the situation to understand why." That extra level of service and care undoubtedly stems from his love of food and his work alike, which fortunately for George, go hand and hand.
1 large eggplant, cut into 8 diagonal slices
3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Dash freshly ground black pepper
10-ounces coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 1/2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 - Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 - Place the spinach in a large nonstick skillet and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook, tossing frequently, over medium-high heat for several minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
3 - On a large sheet of wax paper, dredge eggplant slices in bread crumbs, coating both sides; place on 2 nonstick baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes; turn and bake 15 minutes longer, until tender. Cool slightly.
4 - Meanwhile, spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray; add onion and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, and red and black pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Set aside.
5 - In medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients until thoroughly blended.
6 - Spread 2 heaping tablespoons of spinach mixture on each slice of eggplant and roll to enclose.
7 - Pour half the sauce into 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Arrange eggplant rolls seam side down; pour remaining sauce over top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.