So tonight my husband and I are giving up more of those precious summer daylight hours needed for farm work to go to a neighborhood party. I am taking one of my all-time end of summer recipes that uses local vegetables in season right now. Eek - guess what? I didn't even check until right now to see if I had also posted this recipe on my blog in addition to being on my website. (I remember years ago when I heard my boss/friend tell a doctor at the hospital where I worked that "Diana's brain is usually 2 miles ahead of what is coming out of her mouth" - aha! more insight here, right now - writing is also good for slowing me down!) Nope, whew, this recipe has not yet made the transfer over, so today is a perfect day to do just that.
Caponata is a variation of Ratatouille, served cold with crackers, baguette slices, or just a spoon (my favorite way to eat it is right out of the bowl!). I am going to post the original recipe, but note that the recipe is very flexible. Today I didn't have any olives on hand, so I didn't add them, but I did add a full teaspoon of salt instead. I used Chesok Red garlic (6 small-medium cloves) as this variety wins contests all the time for holding its flavor with cooking. I also added some spicy peppers - woohoo!
My only photo is the one of it simmering in the pot. I always make the full recipe, even for a small party because I enjoy eating it all week long, and in the rare case that I get tired of it, any remaining mixture can be frozen and added to any future stir-fry or soup or even served right over baked fish.
So here goes! I hope you run right out to your own garden or down to your local farmers' market to round up these locally-grown organic vegetables, garlic, and fresh herbs to make this recipe and then share it with your family or at a gathering.
• 2 small or 1 large eggplant (~1-1/4 lbs.) - unpeeled, cut into small cubes (dark purple or white eggplant works although a purple eggplant will give more color to the final dish if you do not use black Kalamata olives)
• 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
• 1 red sweet pepper, seeded and chopped (I added a fresh slightly spicy Italian pepper and a small piece of roasted jalapeno pepper found in my freezer)
• 3-6 ripe tomatoes (about 4 cups worth), chopped (may use 1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes)
• 1/2 cup chopped olives (green or pitted Kalamato - do not use plain black olives from a can)
• 3-6 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
• 1-1/2 teaspoon dried basil (triple if using fresh herbs)
• 1-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (triple if using fresh herbs)
• Combine all chopped ingredients in a large soup pot, mix well.
• Bring to simmer and cook uncovered for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally (I'm doing that while writing out this post - so yes, I'm 'double-dipping' with my time but I could also be folding laundry, a much better non-daylight hour job!).
• Cool to room temperature.
• Serve in a pretty bowl surrounded by whole grain crackers or whole grain baguette slices. (Save the spoon for later after the party if there are any left-overs!)
|(Photo: Caponata, just starting to simmer in a large soup pot, steam rising!)|
Yes, there is more to follow. I envision 4 installments: 1) The Universe calling Diana (done and posted), 2) Diana's thoughts and blocks/side-tracks, 3) Wham-bam!, 4) Diana back again listening and acting on #1, re-looking at her motto at the top of her blog and her sign-off (how did I miss it?). Hang in there with me!
"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"
Diana Dyer, MS, RD