caponata modo mio


Here's the problem with having kids. First, to even find out if you are having one of those little buggers you have to either a. pee in a cup or b. on a stick... which is especially gross if you have bad aim. Not like I am saying I have bad aim or anything but I did have four kids, you do the math. Then you have to get regular under the hood maintenance checks like you are under factory warranty or something. Okay then there is the weight gain, people touching you or better yet... questioning whatever meticulously laid plans you have in place. Plans that you hope won't scar your kids for life or at the very least won't give them huge psychiatrist bills. Then somewhere along the line pain is involved sometimes for hours, maybe even days...someone might hand you some great drugs (that are legal!!! woot! woot!) at some point during this pain but you aren't able to enjoy them. Then the kid comes and it smells good for a couple months then even that wears off eventually. Pretty soon they learn how to crawl-walk-run which at some point gives you little jolts of panic. Some even learn how to eat snails off the sidewalk when you turn your back for one second. Then they learn how to talk back, ask questions, spell and the worst thing ever...read!

"Oh no you didn't just go there."

Oh yes I did.

My kids are all readers. Which right now makes moving a pain. I cannot even begin to tell you the about the book dilemma. How to move them, what to pack, what NOT to pack, and better yet how to pack them.

And quite honestly I wish they'd stop reading my cookbooks because lately all I have been hearing is a cookbook crack open and a few minutes later I hear footsteps running toward my general direction with whomever breathlessly yelling, "MOM! YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS NOW!!! PLEASE!!!" Like they will die of hunger on the spot if I don't make whatever recipe it is that they presented me with. This is one of those dishes.

This is more of a relish. In the Urban Italian cookbook, chef Andrew Carmellini suggests serving it with grilled bread. Nancy disagreed and demanded this for dinner served over pasta.

caponata modo mio: from the urban italian cookbook

serves 8

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced large
1 red pepper, diced large
1 yellow pepper, diced large
2 japanese eggplants or 1 italian eggplant, diced large (i prefer japanese)
3 stalks of celery, diced large
2 small zucchini, diced large
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
(at this point of the recipe it calls for 1/2 white raisins rehydrated in 1 cup water... umm no. that should be against some sort of culinary law... but whatever)
1 cup basic tomato sauce (right here, i broke the law. it calls for using a recipe out of his book but i opened a can of tomato sauce added some olive oil, basil and garlic and called it good.)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (oops didn't have any... used thyme)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Heat olive oil in a large saucepot over high heat. Add the onion, peppers, and eggplant. When the vegetables have softened a bit (about 5 minutes), add the celery and zucchini. Season liberally with half the salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients together and continue to cook.

After ten 10 minutes, add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cover and reduce the heat to medium, and let the steam roast the vegetables for 5 minutes.

Right here you are suppose to add the rehydrate raisins without the water but ewwww. Also add the tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft but not falling apart and the sauce is well incorporated.

Remove the saucepot from the heat, Add the fresh oregano and season with remaining salt and pepper. Mix in vinegar. Serve in a large bowl with pine nuts sprinkled on top.

I served mine over pasta with a little parmesan cheese sprinkled on top instead.

You can serve this hot, cold, or room temperature.


Uncle Enore said...

This is all very interesting, as far as it goes. The REAL mistake is letting the little shits learn to WALK. Holy crap, there is no where to go but down, after that!

And, you know, I don't mean to be too picky here. I just ran across your blog and I don't want you to yell at me just yet...but...I believe caponata is a Sicilian, dish, ain't it? I mean, those people are just barely Italian. They don't even SPEAK Italian. If my mom was still alive she might yell at you. My dad just wouldn't speak.


ntsc said...


Child raising advice from my first mother in law, she who gifted me with a cleaver.

When they are weaned nail them into a barrel and feed through the bung hole.

At 16 drive in the bung.

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Yeah, what's up with putting raisins in savory food? Not a fan.

Jennifer said...

Oh, man do I feel your pain about the books! As a military family, we move frequently. And the book boxes seem to go on forever. After every move, we promise to purge books and we do. But writers keep writing and we MUST have that book now and CAN'T WAIT for THAT book to come in at the library...

I guess there are worse problems.

(I should mention that this is one reason my husband used to justify his purchase of a kindle. Sneaky bugger.)

Amy said...

Pregnancy, birthing, child-rearing...it's all so hard. Isn't it amazing that millions sign up? And they usually make the first one easy, so you're brainwashed into having another one.

We are avid book readers and collectors/hoarders over here, too. My mother is a reading teacher and my father has his masters in English, so there you go.

I purged a lot of my cookbooks a few years back and regretted it. Keep them all! And by the way, did I miss something? You're moving? DOES THIS MEAN YOU GOT THE HOUSE??!!

SaintTigerlily said...

Still, there is someting to be said about getting input. There is nothing worse than not knowing what to make for dinner...sounds like you are drowning in options. :)


Humble Abode said...

Looks like we were bitten by similar cooking bugs. I made something quite similar last night only with quinoa instead of pasta.

TheKitchenWitch said...

I have wayyyyyy too many cookbooks. It's a sickness.

However, I'd pee my pants in excitement if my kids begged for such a healthy dish!! It looks beautiful, although I'd leave out the raisins because, you know, they only belong in oatmeal cookies.

Familia said...

delicious! good eye, nancy! i find the books easy to pack -- just stack them in box after box and pay the movers to carry those heavy suckers!

maybelle's mom said...

the indignities of childbearing are really humbling and somehting best forgetting--isn't that how you end up going through it more than once?

As to the raisins, totally need to disagree with you. They are good in this dish--we have done it.

Mayberry Magpie said...

I think Nancy had a fabulous idea. Pasta it is!

By the way, I once made a baked beans recipe with raisins. I thought it was incredibly good but my family hated it and picked them all out.

Unknown said...

As a second grade teacher...I apologize but they do put a lot of emphasis on us helping kids read so we don't have much choice. The dish looks wonderful. Thankfully I have no kids rushing me to make it so I can get there when I get there.

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

We make a very similar dish and serve it over pasta too. My kids hate eggplant tho, and hubby to, so I only make it when my side of the family is over.

My Nonna put raisins in her lasagna (hard boiled eggs too). It's a Sicilian thing.

Justin said...

this is soooo my time of cooking

Scott said...

get kids involved with the world recipe book! http://www.diyfather.com/content/Bringing_Out_The_Muffin_Man_In_You

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