My Top Ten

Monday, September 21, 2009

Caponata - "an Italian dish of eggplant"

This dish is a bit time consuming, but produces a very flavorful and hearty vegetable medley. It can be served along side a meat, atop toasted bread, or mixed in with pasta. The first time I made it, I mixed it in with rigatoni pasta and topped it off with crispy proscuitto and parmesan cheese. This time I served it over chicken breast. Both were excellent!

Side note: to bake off proscuitto, pre-heat your oven to 450 and bake it for 7 minutes. It crisps up nicely as it cools.

Onto the good stuff, Caponata:


1 pound eggplant, choose a firm one

sea salt to taste

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 medium onion

3 ribs celery, trimmed cut in 1-inch chunks

½ pound fresh plum tomatoes

½ cup olive oil + more for cooking

1 ½ tablespoons capers, drained

5 large fresh basil leaves, lightly chopped


Peel the eggplant. I like to partially peel them, leaving some skin on/peeling every other “row”

Slice the eggplant into 1” thick rounds, blot dry with paper towel (this helps them fry up better). Then cube eggplant into bite sized pieces.Toss with some salt and let rest.

Meanwhile pour the red wine vinegar and ½ cup water into a small pan, stir in the sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced and syrupy, remove from the heat.

Chop onion, celery, plum tomatoes and basil.

Now fry the eggplant. Pour ½ cup of olive oil into the skillet and set over medium heat. Spread all the eggplant chunks in the hot oil and fry for 15 minutes or so, tossing and stirring frequently, until the eggplant is soft, cooked through and nicely browned on all sides. Lift the eggplant out of the oil with a slotted spoon and lay on paper towel to drain. Discard frying oil.

Pour fresh olive oil in the skillet and set it over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery, season with salt to taste. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add the capers, and then gently fold the tomatoes chunks in with the other vegetables. Cook until the tomatoes are softened but still holding their shape, about 5 minutes. Mix in fresh basil. When everything is sizzling, pour the vinegar syrup all over. Mix well, reduce heat to low, and add eggplant back to dish. Gingerly mix eggplant back into dish to warm it. Serve & Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When life gives you watermelon......make Margaritas!

Do you ever have this same problem? I buy a big old watermelon, we eat watermelon to our hearts content, and there's still half of it left over. This has been our summer solution to using up all of the left over melon. It is T-A-S-T-Y. (I know summer is technically over, but there's bound to be a few more sunny days that are just right for this refreshing beverage. Have faith!)

Blender full of *seedless watermelon, cubed
2 ounces Tequila (What can I say, we are lightweights)
2 ounces Lime Juice (I highly recommend the Organic Lime Juice by Santa Cruz)
1 ounce Agave Syrup (If you dont know about Agave Syrup, you should. Use it anytime to sweeten anything, especially in sauces and drinks. Replace corn syrup with Agave when baking.)

Top off your blender with a few ice cubes to cool it down....and push that magical button.

Salt (or sugar) your rims, pour over ice and Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time for a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Here it is: my latest version of the Chocolate Chip Cookie. I try not to make the same recipe twice when it comes to the good ole fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie. To be honest, I've never come across a recipe that truly thrilled me. So I press on in my quest to un-veil or perhaps create the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie. But right now, today is all we have! And today this version of the Chocolate Chip Cookie produces a nice, light and crispy treat. So if you're hoping for dense, chewy and gooey -- this recipe isn't for you.

Also, I try to make recipes as simple as possible. So take the ingredients listed below and start adding them (in order) to one bowl, yes that's right Ladies & Gents, one bowl and stir them together with one humble wooden spoon.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
1/2 c grapeseed oil
1/2 c brown shuga
1/3 c granulated shuga
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips

Roll into balls and bake batches for 15 minutes

Recommended varition: I will make these again, and when I do I am going to add 1/2 cup all natural/organic creamy peanut butter at the beginning of the recipe with the oil. Yum. I might go for Milk Chocolate Chips too at that time instead of the Dark Chocolate Chips.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Temecula, California (aka Wine Country)

This glorious path that Garrett is strolling down with the little man leads to a room of delight. We recently had the opportunity to taste several wines from the Tememcula region, and it was most enjoyable. Although, there was definitely a highlight to our evening when we were given Wilson Creek's infamous Almond Champagne. Oh yum, double yum. I have never in my life tasted a Champagne that I actually liked, well ladies and gentlemen, that has changed! The Almond Champagne was amazing. Close runners up were the Decadent Chocolate Port served in mini Dark Chocolate shot glasses and the Cream Sherry Spritzer. All in all, a very pleasant evening spent in the beautiful wine country of the southern California region. Not to mention the exquisite meal we ate afterwards to help soak up the wine. We revelled in our week spent along the breathtaking California coastline, but we did look forward to returning to our Rocky Mountains! We really enjoy visiting the ocean, and are thankful we've had the opportunitiy to do so very often in our six years together. We look forward to many more vacations spent at the ocean, breathing in the fresh salty air, digging our toes into the sand, and soaking up the westcoast sunshine. Until then....Cheers! Now go find yourself a bottle of that Almond Champagne.