Friday, September 16, 2005

Laughter, at last, and Eggplant

Something finally made me giggle tonight. It's about damn time. D and I get season opera tickets every year to Opera Delaware (the cheap night), and I was just reading the synopses of this season's operas: Rigoletto, Pirates of Penzance, and Don Giovanni. I've never seen any Gilbert and Sullivan (except for what was included in Topsy-Turvy), so didn't know what to expect, but so far I am pleasantly surprised at what looks to be a perfectly silly story. Premise: a nursemaid apprentices her charge to a PIRATE instead of a PILOT. (She's a bit deaf.) And the agreement is that he's indentured until his 21st birthday, but darned if he wasn't born on LEAP DAY. Hilarity ensues.

In other news, I am sad that I finished off the last of the caponata tonight. I am up to my ears in organic eggplant from the farm, hence we've recently enjoyed eggplant lasagne, ratatouille, and now caponata. I'm going to have to steam and freeze some more fruits tomorrow or we will lose several pounds to over-ripening. I'm also going to make eggplant parmigiana tomorrow, as I have been craving that mightily but do not have time on weeknights to assemble it. Caponata is easy (except all the chopping) and versatile. There are endless variations, but here's what I threw together, based on what was on hand. You can put it on toast (bruschetta), pasta, rice, eat it out of the bowl, or whatever seems appropriate. You can make it saucier than I did by adding more tomatoes or tomato sauce. I like it more salad-y. You can also add fennel, basil, and/or parsley for varied flavor. Oh yeah, some people put bell peppers in it, too. I was fresh out, though.

about 2lbs. diced, drained eggplant
one finely chopped onion
three ribs finely chopped celery
two cloves garlic, minced
half cup golden raisins, soaked in a 2-3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
two-ish Tablespoons little capers, chopped
two plum tomatoes, chopped
about 1/2c tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
about 1/4c toasted pignoli
about 1/4c olive oil
black pepper
salt to taste
Saute the eggplant in the olive oil until it soaks it all up and softens (5m). Add everything else but the pignoli (including the vinegar you soaked the raisins in), and saute for about 15m. Adjust the moisture content as needed with tomatoes/sauce, depending on how dry you want it. Add the pignoli at the end, then plenty of black pepper and salt to taste. Let it chill for at least five or six hours, preferably overnight to marry the flavors. I've eaten it for lunch on toasted Italian bread every day for the past five days. I'm sorry it's gone.

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