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Caponata

I posted this recipe for Caponata years ago and I am afraid it’s been a long time since I have made it. This came about partly because I had gone a little overboard during my last visit to the farmers market, I tend to do that every time I go and I think I have mentioned this before but I hate to waste food. My Mom used to serve Caponata from time to time, usually it was purchased from the Italian supermarket commercially prepared. I liked it but thought it was too sweet, the basic idea is wonderful and it makes a delicious condiment slathered on some good bread. It really is so delicious. I think of Caponata as the Italian ratatouille. Its very easy to make, you can add what you like and subtract what you don’t.

I am going to bring this along with a loaf of homemade bread to Fiesta Friday #186 and this weeks co hosts are  Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck and Alex @ Turks Who Eat

Farmers market haul

Caponata

Makes 1 quart

2 medium size eggplant stem end cut and sliced in half

2 cups chopped tomato or cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 small onion chopped

1 shallot chopped

2 stalks celery

3 cloves garlic minced

2 bell peppers medium size (I used a purple and red)

1/4 cup capers

pinch (or more) crushed red pepper flakes

pitted olives – didn’t measure but a generous handful cut in half if large

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tsp sugar

Heat oven to 425 degree’s. Line baking sheet with parchment. Brush the eggplant with olive oil on both sides. Place on baking sheet cut side down and roast for 15 minutes. They should be browned on the cut side but not mushy.  Cut the eggplant into bite size pieces and set aside.

Nicely browned

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add the onion, cook until softened, add the celery and pepper and cook until soft and fully cooked. Add the tomatoes, capers, olives, crushed red pepper and continue cooking until the tomatoes are cooked through, add the eggplant, vinegar and sugar and cook until thick and most of the liquid from the tomatoes is reduced. Spoon into storage containers let come to room temperature and then refrigerate. I find it’s always better served the next day and served at room temperature.

caponata and a egg fried in olive oil on homemade bread

 

Caponata and Tomato Balsamic Jam

Caponata is a Sicilian dish which is used as a side dish or condiment. I can remember my Mother serving on toasted Italian bread as a starter or appetizer. This is my version of my Mothers recipe, its less sweet and the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape. It makes a wonderful sandwich with a sharp cheese, like aged provolone. I used peppadew peppers but you can use a red bell pepper instead, my Mother also sauteed the eggplant but I like to brush with olive oil and roast in the oven. I suggest having this on a thick slice of rustic Italian bread from the Solitary Cook. Tomato balsamic Jam is so simple to make and absolutely delicious. All you need are good tomatoes, olive oil, shallot or onion and balsamic vinegar, and you will have a tomato condiment that can be used in so many dishes. I spread on bread and top with a poached egg, or make a quick pizza, there are so many uses. Keep in a jar in the fridge it will last for at least a week or more refrigerated.

4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on.

1 Medium size onion chopped

2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

4 Peppadew peppers chopped (If you do not have these use red bell pepper)

1/2 Red bell pepper chopped (if using instead of peppadew increase to 1 cup)

4  Fresh tomato’s peeled and seeds removed, or 1cup canned tomatoes diced or 1 cup tomato balsamic jam

3 tablespoons capers rinsed, rough chop

1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives

2 teaspoons Sugar (add 1 tsp taste and add another if needed)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with aluminum foil brush a little olive oil  on each half, both sides, place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
  2. In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don’t let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,peppers, capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

IMG_3621

2 cups fresh tomatoes cut into pieces

1 shallot minced

1 tps sugar

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to coat pan

Coat your fry pan with olive oil, heat should be med/high. Add shallots and saute until translucent, add tomato, sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cook until tomato starts to caramelize but there should still be some of the juices from the tomato you don’t want it too dry. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook stirring frequently for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat,let cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

IMG_3583

Wild Yeast, Fruit Water Yeast Bread

 

I follow Elaine@foodbod’  both her blog and other social media outlets like Instagram, lately she has been cultivating her own wild yeast and making the most amazing bread, I have been so intrigued and inspired to try her recipe. You make wild yeast simply by putting fruit, in water and let it sit until it ferments it only takes a week sometimes less.  My first attempt I used raisins which for some reason didn’t work so I tried apple and that worked perfectly.

The bread did not have a tremendous rise, it was modest. When making the semolina bread I did add a very small amount 1/4 tsp of instant yeast, I did that because I felt the semolina is pretty heavy and it might need a little bit of a boost, I’m sure it would be fine without it, so that is optional of course. Elaine’s bread is beautiful and the crust is amazing, I’ve made this a number of times and my crust just doesn’t have the same look as hers, it’s still good mind you, but her crust is crusty looking for lack of a better word and meant in a really good way! I have asked her about this and she thinks it could be the difference in flour or some other factor, she is in England and I must say has this down pat. Check Elaine out both on her blog and Instagram.

The first loaf turned out beautifully and you can find the recipe on her blog by clicking on the link in the first paragraph, I was so pleased at the rise and the flavor was delicious.

fruit water bread

The second loaf I made was from date water, I saw Elaine’s beautiful loaves on Instagram and wanted to give that a go. I deviated a bit on the bread recipe using semolina and adapting a recipe I found on King Arthur Flour site. The biga/preferment or poolish is Elaine’s recipe.

Dates after a week see the bubbles

Date water semolina bread

adapted from a recipe by Elaine at Food Bod and King Arthur Flour

Biga or Poolish

10 oz fermented date water (150 grams)

1 1/2 cup bread flour (150 grams) (add more if the dough is too wet, by the spoonful) It should be soft but not runny. Use equal parts flour and water pretty much.

Mix together and let sit overnight covered in plastic wrap and a tea towel. In the morning it should be bubbly.

Bubbly biga

The Bread

1 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup semolina flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 scant tbs salt

1 cup cool water

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for about 5 minutes, it will become a cohesive dough. Turn the mixer off, cover with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes. Turn the mixer back on medium speed and knead for another 5 minutes. Remove dough to a clean lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and put in the refrigerator overnight.

The following morning take it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Shape into desired shape (I made a boule), place on parchment lined baking sheet.nCover with oiled plastic wrap loosely and a tea towel and let rise for approximately one hour. When you press your finger in the dough it should leave an indent.

Heat oven to 475 degree’s. Slash the dough with a razor, knife or lame, dust with some flour and place in the oven, throw a few ice cubes at the bottom of the oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 425 degree’s and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. Bread when tapped will sound hollow and it will be a golden brown. You can also place a parchment round in a dutch oven and bake covered in the pot. You will need to bake a little longer using this method. Elaine gives instructions in her recipe.

King Arthur’s recipe offers a great idea for keeping the bread, place cut side down on counter or cutting board, don’t cover it with anything. The crust will stay pretty crisp and the inside of the bread stays soft. It works.

Stand the bread on a counter cut side down the bread stays soft the crust fairly crisp. This loaf was made with a little more yeast than the one below. You can see the difference.

I did experiment with the semolina bread the first loaf I added a half tsp of instant yeast, the second loaf 1/4 tsp. There is a marked difference in the texture of the bread and I think both are good.

Exciting Offer From Farmigo And A Sandwich

product-carrots

The good people at Farmigo saw my post and generously offered to you,  my readers $25 off your order use coupon code “Puglife”. I love the concept, the food which is uber fresh, organic and delicious and the fact that it’s all local means a lot to me and I am very picky when it comes to food. Right now they are in 2 parts of the country,  so if you happen to be in  the New York area (this includes parts of New Jersey) or the San Francisco Bay area you’re in luck. Check here to see if there is a pick up location near you. My pick up location is directly across the street, how convenient!!

product-eggs

I am excited for any of you that live in the two area’s to give Farmigo a try and $25 off is a great incentive. Food shopping makes me happy, finding great deals and new avenues to find fresh healthful food makes me really really happy, like you all I love to cook and am always searching out the best sources for the freshest food I can find. I am not being paid or compensated nor was I asked by Farmigo to do this post this is all my idea. This is a CSA like no other, you get to pick what goes into your box, an a la carte CSA if you would, and they really do make it easy with lots of pick up locations. Give it a try, use coupon code  “pug life” and get your discount and you will be giving yourself the gift of fresh farm to table food.

My photo

My photo not so good

Now for the sandwich. I have been meaning to share this sandwich with you for a while now but got caught up with stuff and forgot about it until the nice people at Food52 decided to feature it. I was taken by surprise and very flattered that my sandwich was featured on the site.

It has a rather long name Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Caponata and Pesto Sandwich  if you click on the link you can see the recipe on Food52. I fried thin chicken cutlets in a panko/parmigiano coating, had some good bread, a baguette, some homemade pesto and some homemade caponata. You simply slather the bread with pesto and grill it, pile on caponata and then chicken, close it up and eat. Really pretty simple and really delicious. I thought using both pesto and caponata as condiments would be pretty tasty.

photo by James Ranson for Food52

photo by James Ranson for Food52

 

Italian Tapas For Fiesta Friday #32

Caponata

Caponata

Italian tapas, well it’s not really tapas in the truest sense of the word but it certainly can be eaten on small plates and it’s more of a prelude to the actual meal, I thought caponata, some good cheese and bread would be a nice addition to the party this week. Caponata is a Sicilian dish which is used as a side dish or condiment. I can remember my Mother serving on toasted Italian bread as a starter or appetizer. This is my version of my Mothers recipe, its less sweet and the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape.

Angie@The Novice Gardener is hosting this weeks event, she is always there for us and our co host is Hilda@along the grapevine. I hope everyone enjoys a little bit of Italy or Sicily. Buon Appetito!

Caponata

4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on. (Or use 1 large eggplant)

1 Medium size onion chopped

2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 Red bell pepper de seeded and chopped

4 Fresh tomato’s chopped (I used 1 very large heirloom tomato and 1 smaller heirloom)

1/4 cup capers rinsed, rough chop

1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives

2 tsp – 1 tbs organic brown Sugar (add 2 tsp taste and add more if needed)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with parchment brush a little olive oil on each half, both sides, place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don’t let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

Caponata, bread and cheese

Caponata, bread and cheese

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

What I’ve Been Up To

Things have been very busy lately, with work and cooking related things that I am working on and I haven’t really been posting as much as I would like to. This week has been a whirlwind, so I thought it would be nice to post something about what I’ve been up to.  It started last Saturday when I met a dear friend and fellow blogger from DC, Emily here in Brooklyn, we had fun going to the farmers market and flea. Sunday I had the potluck which was so much fun, lots of great food and friends.

I work in real estate and it’s crazy and incredibly trying times in the NYC/Brooklyn market. There is a serious lack of housing stock and more people who want to buy than product available which makes for a very challenging market. So I have been really busy trying to find homes for the many people looking, Not fun.

I am also sure you have seen in several posts that I am involved with the startup company, Mealku, a food cooperative matching hungry eaters with eager cooks who prepare the food and it’s delivered by bicycle or skateboard (really, the delivery person came to pick up from me yesterday on a skateboard) amazing. Mealku asked me to cater an event for 40 people, breakfast foods to be ready this last Tuesday morning, very early 6:30 AM.  I was up for the challenge so of course I said yes, I would do it. I made muffins, scones,  banana bread, apricot/pistachio loaf and a seasonal fruit salad.

Packaged for Mealku event

Packaged for Mealku event

Mealku event

Mealku event

I made a small batch of tomato balsamic jam with some of the heirloom tomatoes I got at the farmers market.

Tomato Balsamic Jam

Tomato Balsamic Jam

I had leftover peaches and assorted plums so I made a galette

Mixed stone fruit galette

Mixed stone fruit galette

Yesterday I had a Mealku request for my Meatballs and Sauce, so I made it, slowly simmering the sauce and meatballs pretty much all day. Posted this a while back https://apuginthekitchen.com/2012/03/02/meatballs-and-tomato-sauce/

Meatballs

Meatballs

Pizza Margherita

I felt like I had to include probably the most beloved of all Italian foods in this week long foray into my Italian roots, pizza. I can probably count on one hand the number of times my Mother made pizza growing up, that few really. I learned to love and appreciate pizza when I lived in Italy and this is very close to what I had there.  I used The Solitary Cooks recipe for pizza dough, slathered on some of my tomato balsamic jam, some fresh mozzarella and grated pecorino romano and here you have it. Pizza Margherita. The pizza dough rested all night in the refrigerator and was ready for me this morning. You must try this recipe for pizza dough, not only is it simple and quick to make it’s so tender and well, sheer perfection. Here is the link to the recipe, http://thesolitarycook.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/weekend-pizza/

It’s so easy to go to the pizzeria or restaurant and get a pizza to go, but if you have the urge for pizza try this. It really is foolproof and quick. Go to the links above for the recipe’s for the pizza dough and tomato balsamic jam. You can make a more traditional pizza sauce or buy a good one in the market whatever works for you. Add whatever toppings you like, let your imagination go wild, pizza is one of those foods that can become whatever you want it to be.

A thing of beauty