Monday, September 15, 2014


We've reached this point where I've started to realize that in just a few short weeks the tomatoes, corn, and zucchini that are currently ABUNDANT at the farmer's market, will be gone.

I am going to be so sad when they are gone.  

The plus side is right now we are experiencing that kind of epic weather that only ever exists during the first couple of weeks of September.  I live for this time of year.  When summer produce is still bountiful and things like turning on an oven doesn't break me out in a sweat.  I love being able to coerce new flavors out of summer ingredients through cooking and roasting and baking.  It allows the foods of summer to take on a whole new level of flavor.  

This caponata is the epitome of everything I want to eat right now. It's chock-full of all sorts of summer deliciousness (tomatoes! eggplant! zucchini!! peppers!) but when cooked together it takes on a whole new dimension.  Caponata is kind of like an Italian sweet and sour stew.  It's traditionally eaten as an anti-pasta (and I've been known to eat entire bowls of it like that) but it also makes for a great side to sausages or served over a bed of pasta. However you choose to eat it, you will find yourself returning for seconds.  

Caponata Modo Mio
Recipe adapted From Urban Italian

Serves 6 - 8

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced large
1 red pepper, diced large
1 yellow pepper, diced large
2 Japanese eggplants or 1 Italian eggplant, diced large
2 small or 1 large zucchini, diced large
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
½ cup raisins re-hydrated in 1 cup water
1 cup basic tomato sauce 
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves 
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Basil for sprinkling

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, peppers, and eggplant. When the vegetables have softened a bit (about 5 minutes), add the zucchini. Season  with half the salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients together and continue to cook.

After ten 10 minutes, add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cover and reduce the heat to medium, and let the steam roast the vegetables for 5 minutes.

Remove the raisins from the water and add to the pot with the tomato sauce.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft but not falling apart and the sauce is well incorporated.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, Add the fresh oregano and season with remaining salt and pepper. Mix in vinegar. Serve in a large bowl with pine nuts sprinkled on top.

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