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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A favorite

Tonight's dinner is one of my favorites.  Although there are quite a few ingredients it's easy to prepare and makes a lot so you'll have leftovers.  Ordinarily leftovers are not something I want but for this dish I happily make an exception.

Eggplant Caponata and Herb Polenta
Rachael Ray

Eggplant Caponata
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I leave out, Kevin and I can add to our dishes)
1 red bell pepper
1 large sweet onion (or any onion that I have)
2 ribs celery
1 jar (2 ounces) capers (or whatever I have left in a jar)
1/2 cup golden raisins (or regular if that's all I have)
1 medium firm eggplant, diced
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes

Herb Polenta
3 cups veggie stock
1 cup quick cook polenta
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Dice pepper, chop onion and celery. Preheat a big, deep pot over medium heat.  Add oil, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes.  Add veggies to pot.  Coarsely chop olives, and stir in along with the capers and raisins.  Dice and salt the eggplant and stir in.  Increase the heat a bit, add diced and crushed tomatoes and stir well to combine.  Cover pot and cook, 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat

Bring 3 cups veggie stock to boil.  Add polenta and stir constantly until the cornmeal masses, about 3 minutes.  Stir in herbs, cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

Serve caponata on top of the polenta.

The above picture was taken 4 years ago, just a few months before Gus died.  Kind of hard to believe.  I still miss the little rascal.  It's a real mystery to me, this incredible affection for him.  I'm not even close to what you'd call a dog person.  If you have a dog, I probably don't remember.  Even if I meet your dog multiple times I surely won't remember its name or type.  I don't love dog stories or find it cute that people treat their animals like humans.   I don't like their shedding or their jumping or their howling.  Except for  Gus.  He had all of the above annoying traits and then some and I still loved him.  I loved him so much that my heart felt broken after he died.    That cooky, smelly, shedding dog loved me so much that there was really no hope for me.  People have asked me when we'll get another dog and my answer varies, mostly I answer, someday.  I'm not sure if I don't want another dog because I don't think any other dog could ever measure up to Gus (which is a bit comical if you knew Gus) or if my heart can't quite handle another Gus.

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