Sicilian Caponata Appetizer

Sicilian Caponata Appetizer

This sicilian caponata appetizer is so delicious especially when created from fresh garden vegetables at the end of the growing season.  I like to make extra and freeze it in batches to have as an appetizer throughout the winter when I am really craving the taste of the freshness of summer.  This appetizer can be served hot as a vegetable side dish; or cool to room temperature and served as a relish or on an antipasto/charcuterie tray. Recipe adapted from Italian Cooking Class Cookbook by Beekman House.

Serves:  Makes about 5 cups; 8-10 servings.

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 1/2 pounds (675g) eggplant (about 1 large or 2 small)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) salt
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 to 1ml) dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces or 415g) whole peeled tomatoes or fresh tomatoes with skins removed* (see recipe below for an easy way to remove tomato peels)
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) sugar
  • 8 Italian or Greek style black olives
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) drained capers
Sicilian Caponata Ingredients
Instructions:
  1. Rinse eggplant; cut into 3/4 inch (2cm) cubes.  Place in a large colander; sprinkle with salt and toss.  Let stand and drain in the sink or bowl, tossing occasionally, 1 hour
  2. Rinse eggplant and drain well; squeeze in a clean kitchen towel to extract moisture. Reserve.
  3. Core and seed bell peppers; cut into 3/4 inch (2cm) chunks.  Chop onion coarsely.  Cut celery diagonally into 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) thick slices.
  4. Heat oil in a 10-inch (25 cm) non-corrosive skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bell peppers, onion, celery, and pepper flakes; sauté 5 minutes.  Add reserved eggplant, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.
  5. Press tomatoes and their liquid through a sieve into vegetables in a skillet;
  6. discard seeds.  Mince garlic; add garlic to skillet.  Stir in vinegar and sugar.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  7. Pit and chop olives.  Add olives and capers to the skillet.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally; until most of the liquid has evaporated and sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.

*How to Peel Fresh tomatoes

I like to focus my plant-based eating habits on what is in season and what is grown locally. When I have time at the end of the growing season, I will preserve through canning or freezing the fruits and vegetables that I love the most which I can enjoy in other seasons.  Currently there are so many varieties of tomatoes available. In the recipe provided above, I chose to use freshly peeled tomatoes.  There have been times when I do not peel the tomatoes however; it does make for creamier sauces to take the shortened amount of time to do so.  If you decide to peel the tomatoes and not add them to your compost you can dry them in the oven and then pulse them in a mini food processor for a delicious tomato sprinkle which can be added to your favorite recipes.

Total Prep and Cook time: 11 minutes cook time

Cooking tools required; a cutting board, a large bowl for cut tomatoes, a large bowl of ice water, and 3-6 quart pot for processing the tomatoes.

Instructions:

  1. Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil while you prepare the tomatoes.
  2. Turn tomatoes over to the bottom and, using a paring knife, cut a shallow X in the bottom of each tomato. Core tomatoes, if you like.
  3. Carefully lower tomatoes into the boiling water, in batches. Remove after about 30 seconds, once skins start to crack.  Be careful to not boil too long, otherwise the tomatoes will start to cook and get too soft to handle easily.
  4. Immediately put tomatoes into the bowl of ice water.  Heating and then shocking the tomatoes in this way makes the skins peel right off!
  5. Once tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel skins from tomatoes and use in your favorite recipe.
Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Nature Infused Water Recipes

Nature Infused Water Recipes

Nature infused water tastes fresh and delicious and is a low calorie beverage.  Simply add your special blend of fruits, herbs, berries, and vegetables to fresh water and let it infuse! 

Makes 24-32 ounces of infused water.

Here are some of our favorite Infused Water blends.

Ingredients:

Begin with the following;

  • 24 – 32 ounces Ball jar, glass pitcher or bottle
  • 24 – 32 ounces of filtered water (or mineral water)

Try these three infused water blends:

Lemon, Cucumber, and Thai Basil

  • 2 fresh lemon slices
  • 5 fresh unpeeled mini cucumbers slices
  • 2 – 3  large sprig of fresh Thai Basil leaves (optional)

Orange, Blueberry, and Spearmint

  • 3 fresh orange slices
  • 2 large tablespoons fresh blueberries
  • 2 – 3 sprigs of fresh spearmint

Diva Water*

  • 1/2 cup fresh red or black raspberries or a combination of both
  • 2 – 3 sprigs fresh mint (or you can substitute with apple, pineapple, peppermint, lavender, or chocolate)
  • 2 fresh Lemon or Lime slices

*Diva water was named after my neighbor’s English bulldog, Diva.  She loved this water as much as I do!

Infused Water Ingredients
Instructions:
  1. Add fruit, herbs, berries, and vegetables to the fresh water in your selected pitcher or jar.
  2. Let the flavors infuse for 1-4 hours. The longer you let the water infuse, the stronger the taste will be.
  3. Serve over ice with a fresh sprig of mint and garnish with sliced fruit on the rim of the glass.
  4. Refrigerated infused water is best enjoyed drinking within 24 hours.
  5. Discard herbs and fruit after 24 hours.
Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Spring Vegetable Skillet

Spring Vegetable Skillet

This super satisfying one dish recipe made of fresh carrots, sugar snap peas and tarragon cooked into a delightful spring vegetable skillet brightens any meal.

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients:
  • 10 ounces of small carrots or 4 large carrots
  • ¾  teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 12 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Snap Peas
Instructions:
  1. Peel carrots and cut off tops; cut in half lengthwise.  For larger carrots, cut into quartered lengthwise strips.
  2. Place ¼ teaspoon salt in a large saucepan of water and bring to a boil.  Add carrots and peas; cook 3 minutes or until crisp and tender. Drain.
  3. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add carrots and peas and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat.  Stir in remaining ½ teaspoon salt, tarragon, and pepper; cook for 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in rind and juice.
Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Hearts of Palm Ceviche

Hearts of Palm Ceviche

This lovely dish embodies summer.  The cool citrus flavor combined with the texture of the traditional ceviche makes this a winner in taste, good for you and the environment.  Hearts of palm are rich in immune boosters vitamin C and zinc.  On a hot day, this 10 minute recipe of the heart of palm ceviche is just what your taste buds crave.

Servings: 3

Recipe from The Blue Zones Kitchen
100 Recipes to Live to 100
By Dan Buettner
Photographs by David McLain

The Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook
andIngredients:
  • 1 cup hearts of palm sliced into small rounds (use fresh, canned, or jarred)
  • 1 small sweet onion (like Vidalia) quartered and sliced (Note my onions were larger so I only used ½ of the onion)
  • 2 small sweet red peppers, cut into ¼ inch dices (can use any pepper you have hear but the more colorful the better)
  • ¼ small habanero pepper, seeded and minced.  (can be omitted for a gentler ceviche or I use a tiny pinch of dried crushed red pepper to give it some heat)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (can use a combination of cilantro and parsley, or just parsley depending on what you have on hand)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Hearts of Palm Ceviche Ingredients
Instructions:

 

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the hearts of palm, sweet onion, sweet peppers, habanero or other pepper for heat, and cilantro.
  2. Drizzle with lime juice and a tiny pinch of salt.  Toss to combine.
  3. Serve immediately.  Enjoy alone or serve with crispy chips (tortilla chips).
Lorie Buckingham Home Chef

OPL Founder & Wayfinder Lorie Buckingham shares a favorite recipe.

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Delicious Green Smoothie

Delicious Green Smoothie

This delicious smoothie is the perfect nutrient-rich pick-me-up for breakfast or as a snack during the day.  It is so easy to make.  Feel free to experiment with other ingredients to make it the most appealing combination for you.

Makes about 3 8oz servings

Ingredients:

 

1 cup of pineapple juice

1 banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves

Green Smoothie Ingredients
Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Drink and enjoy!

Optional Adjustments:

If you prefer it to be sweeter add a tablespoon of maple syrup or honey.  Try it using orange juice instead of pineapple for a slightly different flavor.  

Chef Amy

Recipe compliments of Home Chef Amy Bates and OPL Community Member

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

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