Just another meatless Monday

IMG_0877If pepperonata is a dish made with peppers as the main flavor, then caponata features one of my personal favorite ingredients.  Those wonderful little salt bombs, stars of piccata everywhere, ladies and gentlemen put your hands together for…..capers!

I whipped up a quick caponata the other nite, featuring mini eggplants cut into 1” pieces, cauliflower florets ( fresh, not frozen) and a medium yellow onion cut into thick slices. Tossed with olive oil and a little pepper.

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Out of the oven, I added more olive oil, some red wine vinegar, some  parsley, capers, and kalamata olives along with some sliced mini roma tomatoes.

So many things you can do with it. Toss with fresh arugula and some lemon juice and large fresh croutons for a fattoush like salad, topped with crumbling of feta cheese and stuffed in a pita or wrap, or served over brown rice and topped with some golden raisins for a little sweet, the caponata is a master of disguises!

 

Tapenade Promenade

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I found this recipe on Pinterest, under the category of puff pastry appetizers and it came together in a snap and was unbelievably delicious! And it portions itself!

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Start by processing sundries tomatoes in oil with capers, kalamata olives and a little extra olive oil (about a tablespoon). You don’t want it too wet…

Take a sheet of thawed puff pastry dough and roll it out until you can place a 12″ dinner plate on it. Trim the excess dough so you have a round of dough and place on a baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment to prevent sticking. Top with the tapenade mixture up to 1″ of the edge and sprinkle on a teeny bit of shredded cheese.

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Repeat with a second sheet of pastry dough an press the two together to form a filled pie.

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Lightly press the edges together and place a glass in the middle of the pie. Press down lightly on the dough with the glass to mark the guide. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter ( which I found easier) to cut rays in the dough starting from the circle. Mark 12,3,6 and 9 on the circle first and then cut each of the quarters in half and then half again, so you have 16 cuts all together. Cut the rays all the way through both layers of dough/tapenade, but leave the middle circle intact.

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Beginning with the section closest to you, twist the section once or twice and lay flat. Continue by turning the pan. Bake in a 400° oven for about 20 to 25 minutes depending on your oven. Keep a close eye on it. I put a 12 minute reminder on the timer to check it and then finished it for an additional 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whip some no fat or lo fat cream cheese with some crumbled feta, a drizzle of olive oil, and juice of half a lemon and zest from same. Season to your liking, I added a little crushed red pepper and some ground black pepper, the feta gives you enough salt. Set this aside as dip for the pull apart of the pastry.img_1860

I cut some stars out of the leftover dough for garnish. Just break off a section to eat and dip in the whipped feta. This works up quickly and easily and really can be used for sweet or savory applications. Enjoy!

Just another meatless Monday…

The French Version…

Eggs are always a quick and dependable meat substitute and this week, the Hubs and borrowed from our visit to Reims, France last fall and had a delicious and simple green salad with poached eggs on top. It was topped with a very French dressing of shallots, cornichons, capers and mustard. 


Whisk with some olive oil and champagne vinegar and season to taste. I added some French bread and butter and voila!

Just another meatless Monday …

 
I whipped up a sort of mezze platter for us for meatless Monday this week.

  

I started by charring the heck out of these teenage size eggplants, because they weren’t quite baby size. While the grill was going we also did some long slices of zucchini and some baby sweet peppers.

  
I peeled the blisters off the peppers and added some olive oil, smoked paprika, and about a quarter cup of hot vegetable broth and whazzed it up with the stick blender. Just a few seconds yields a sweet, smoky sauce. Add sautéed spinach, some oily black olives, capers for garnish, some feta cheese and a little squeeze of lemon to brighten everything up!

   

 

Just Another Meatless Monday…

We had really fallen off “ye olde healthy option wagon” while I was home for the two week yoga pant vacation, so in an effort to right the ship, or should I say wagon, I did some cooking over the weekend to get ready for the work week. 

 
Carrots, onions, red lentils, curry, turmeric, cardamom and veggie broth turn into curried lentil soup. Once cooked down, I hit it with my trusty mix stick and add about a tablespoon of cream right before service. You can make as spicy, or not, as you want.

  
I had half of a bag of French green beans, that were about a second away from getting schlammy, so I threw them into another pan with lashings of lemon, red pepper flakes and some olive oil. The Hubs was snacking on them off and on, the ultimate compliment… Would be great with some crumbled feta cheese.

 

  
Lastly, the darling of the “but it could be steak” delusional hoax, currently front and center on every cooking site and recipe list…behold the roasted cauliflower. I’ve made it hundreds of times, and have never had a leftover, but I was inspired by a half hour with Lidia Bastianich, on Saturday afternoon, and ginned together this “bagna cauda” or “hot bath” of a sauce for the cauliflower featuring lemon, olive oil, capers, bottled artichokes, some onions, garlic and basil. I wasn’t  too sure on Saturday, but a couple of days in the fridge got the flavors to settle in nicely.

   
   
 
The little bit of leftover sauce might just get tossed with some rigatoni, arugula salad, Parmesan strips and maybe a few cannelini beans! “Hmmmmm, tastes like steak…”

 

“He’s from Barcelona…”

Quick, what 80’s TV show is that from? 

 
Well it was Basil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers referring to his busboy Manuel ….

Just my way of introducing my gourmet box this month from Espana!

   
 
A truly lovely assortment including rose petal jam and sardines with lemon (I never met an oily fish I didn’t like..)

  
Look for projects involving said ingredients soon!

What to do with …..

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Because the Hubs and I are really, really working hard on being smart about what we eat, we are eating a lot of non red meat items, i.e. garden burgers, and chicken sausage.

I wanted to jazz up the chicken sausage I cooked one night last week and to do that, I caramelized some zucchini…

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Tossed with some boiled creamer potatoes and small onions….

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Then I added slices of the cooked and grilled to be good looking sausages…

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I tossed the whole thing with a tiny bit of lemon juice ( about 1tsp) and 2 tsp of olive oil, a tablespoon of capers and salt and pepper. Then I tossed all that with arugula, so it became an entree salad. Satisfying and fairly healthy and very filling.

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