Tag Archives: appetizer

Eggplant Caponata

3 May

I’m always looking for different recipes to utilize our over abundance of eggplants. One person can only eat so much Baba Ganoush. This particular dish is our favorite. I hope you enjoy it as  much as we do.

This fabulous recipe was borrowed from the Food Network, courtesy of Mario Batali.

Recipe

1/2 cup olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

2 tbs pine nuts (we substitute sunflower seeds)

3 tbs currants (we substitute sweetened cranberries)

1 tbs hot chili flakes

4 cups diced eggplant

2 tbs sugar (or any substitute)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa or cacao  powder

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe to follow

****the recipe calls for 1/4 cup, we add the entire batch of tomato sauce to the recipe. We found the Caponata to be too dry with only 1/4 cup of sauce.

Directions

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat oil, add onions, pine nuts, currants and chili flakes and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Add eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add thyme, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.

Tomato Sauce Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

3 tbs fresh thyme leaves

1/2 medium carrot, grated

2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain

salt

Tomato Sauce In a 3 qt pain, heat olive oil, add onion and garlic, and saute, for 8 minutes. Add thyme and carrot and cook for 5 minutes more, until carrot is soft. Add tomatoes and juice, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with toasted baguettes.

 

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Muhammara

21 Mar

I was so proud of myself for discovery this dish and ‘expanding my horizons’. One day at work, I started talking to a coworker from Jordan about my new find. I was so elated that I had finally moved beyond the standard hummus and couscous. Not knowing very much about muhammara, I was asking questions about it origins, how it’s served, what to eat it with, etc. Only I couldn’t pronounce it correctly. Not even close. My coworker kept looking at me, well you know, with that ‘crazy girl’ look. Frustrated, I finally googled it with a picture. Oh, he says (light bulb glowing brightly), moo hahm’ mah rah.

Sigh!!!

Muhammara, by the way, means ‘of reddish origin’, or something like that. It’s traditionally made with red berries native to the middle east. Because we don’t have these berries in North America, this dish is often substituted with pomegranate juice or molasses. I’ve never seen pomegranate molasses so I substitute good ol’ Pom brand pomegranate juice.

This is a hot pepper middle eastern dish made of walnuts, sweet and hot red peppers. Don’t worry, you can adjust the ‘hotness’ to your liking.

Food processor required.

Recipe

2 cups walnuts, soaked in water for 8 hours

4 red bell peppers, quartered

1 cup sundried tomatos

1 garlic clove minced

1 lemon, juiced

1 Tbs olive oil

4 Tbs pomegranate juice

1/2 tsp cumin

salt to flavor

red pepper flakes, to flavor

1-2 tsp water, only if needed

Instructions:

1. Rub peppers in oil, place in dehydrator, sprinkle with salt, dehydrate on 115 degrees for 4 hours till soft. Of course, bell peppers can be roasted, or store bought too.

2. Drain walnuts and place in food proccessor. Process till crumbly.

3. Add red bell peppers,  sun-dried tomatos, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and cumin in processor, process till smooth. Add water if needed.

4. Season with red pepper flakes.

Serve with bread pieces, or crackers. I use *chia crackers*. (recipe posted)

When gathering with friends and family for parties, reunions, game night, etc, there is always junk food everywhere…. chips, dips, cheeses, ooey-gooey tempting macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, chicken wings slathered in sauce, desserts made with sugar and flour. So, I always try to bring dishes I know won’t stray to far from my lifestyle. If other people enjoy my dish, then that’s wonderful.

This dish was definitely a hit at a small family gathering. Instead of exchanging super secret cookie recipes, these ladies wanted my muhammara dish. Fabulous:)