Eggplant Caponata

My next recipe comes from a Sicilian cookbook that my sister bought for me while she was in Sicily. She got to go on a Mediterranean cruise with my aunt. I was very, very jealous of this because I had wanted to go but couldn’t because of school. I did get to go to Italy eventually, however. My aunt took me on another visit where I even got to meet my distant Italian relatives.

My Italian side is from a small town called Fontana Liri, which is south of Rome and the birthplace of a famous Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni. I’m guessing you don’t know who that is, but you’ve probably seen his face. He is the lead actor in La Dolce Vita.

Fontana Liri is gorgeous as you can see from my picture below. My relatives didn’t speak any English, but we had an Italian friend who translated for us. They were extremely nice and accommodating. A lot of relatives came over for a family dinner where we were served Spaghetti alla Carbonara as well as some other amazing Italian foods. After dinner the male relatives gave me a shot of grappa which I found to be very strong. Grappa is supposed to help you digest a meal which is why it is served after dinner. My face after sipping it was very comical to my male relatives. I didn’t understand what they said to me, but I knew they were teasing me about it.

I mean look at this place!

The reason I’m mentioning all of this is because the paternal side of my family migrated to Fontana Liri from Sicily. Which means I’m part Sicilian which is one of the reasons my sister knew that I would love a Sicilian cookbook. I have always been a bit obsessed with my Italian heritage. I tend to be a little jealous of people who have more Italian blood than me.

Unfortunately my blood is not Sicilian enough to appreciate anchovies. Sicilians love anchovies and most of the recipes in this book contain those salty, weird little fishes. I hate anchovies. I tried them once. Never again.

Thankfully Eggplant Caponata contains no anchovies at all nor is it difficult to make. You fry the eggplant in a pan for a bit and then you add sliced onion, olives, and capers. Saute that for a few and then you add a little bit of tomato sauce, basil, and a pinch of sugar and vinegar.

I prefer to eat this side dish warm, but it is traditionally served cold. I prefer most of my food warm. I’m very American like that. No disrespect to my Sicilian ancestors.

This is also traditionally a side dish, but for my leftovers I got creative. I used it as a topping on some brauts and I made a baked veggie sandwich with parmesan cheese. I’m sure people will question the decision of putting eggplant on a sausage, but trust me, it was actually pretty good. The sandwich, however, is a no-brainer good idea. At least I think so.

The caponata being sauteed.

The caponata being sautéed.

Eggplant Caponata!

Eggplant Caponata!

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Caffeinated Banana

This admittedly is a boring recipe to talk about. The good news is that it’s another easy and delicious recipe. It comes from a book called Cook This, Not That. It’s another cookbook that focuses on cutting out calories and making better decisions on ingredients and etc.

I like it because it compares its recipes with chain restaurant counterparts. It’s a little shocking how many calories, fat, and sodium can be punched into some food items.

I also like that they divide the recipes up by breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Right now I’m in the breakfast section. They start each section showing off the worst breakfast items in major chain restaurants. For example, I’m in a smoothie section and apparently there is a smoothie at Smoothie King that is almost 2,000 calories! Granted this a 40oz sized drink, but it still blows my mind. If you don’t know how much 40oz is and you’re an alcoholic it’s the same size as a Colt 40. This is why Colt 40s are called Colt 40s by the way. Hopefully you do know that though, because if not, then you’re either sheltered, poorly educated, or not observant. If you are these things I have faith in the powers of self-improvement and I’m sure you will be able to overcome your flaws.

If I’ve made you feel bad, just check out my grammar in this blog. It sucks sometimes because I’m not good at paying attention to detail and I’m too lazy to brush up on my grammar. We all have our flaws, it’s ok kids.

We should be jealous of the caffeinated banana though. It’s a slim and attractive drink of 300 calories. All you have to do to make it is blend a sliced banana, peanut butter, a bit of milk and coffee and a pinch of agave syrup with ice. Mix them all together, rub your blender, and a caffeinated banana will magically appear and grant you three wishes.

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Magical Smoothie of Caffeine and Bananas

Tomatoes and Olive Oil

My next recipe is from The Italian Mamma’s Kitchen. This cookbook has, in my opinion, very standard Italian-American recipes. I made some bruschetta from this book, as well as a caprese salad. Both were delicious. I suppose they were simple too, but this next recipe is the easiest one so far. All it is, is tomatoes with olive oil and salt. That’s it.

I thought maybe since they had it in a cookbook there’d be something more elaborate to it, but no. I will say my mother used to do this all the time with tomatoes that she grew in our yard. She’s a half Italian mamma, with a kitchen. The only difference is that in this recipe you cut the tomatoe in half, scoop out the seeds, and pour the olive oil in the scooped out crevices. My mother would just slice tomatoes and drizzle olive oil on it. She also sprinkled pepper in addition to salt.

I think just slicing the tomato is fine though. It all depends on how you want to eat it. I’ve tried both. You get more juice when you ony slice the tomato in half, but it’s good either way. I also like having a bit of pepper with it too. So I do recommended adding that.

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