Eggplant and Red Pepper Caponata

by Jenn on November 18, 2010

in Dairy Free,Diabetic Friendly,Gluten Free,Snacks,Vegetarian

Eggplant and red pepper caponata

I can’t believe that I was actually wishing for snow to fall today.  It seems silly, right? I mean Summer just ended and Fall is upon us, and yet the thought of Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays finds me yearning for a few crystals to float in the air, sparkling in the low sunlight.  To get our Winter-time “fix” we took a little train ride to Swiss-German-speaking land in the Alps to get up and close with our favorite mountain range.

Fate led us to the end of the SBB line in the little resort town of Grindelwald, just south of Interlaken in the canton of Bern, a post-card perfect village nestled right up next to some of the most famous giants of the Alps – the Wetterhorn, Schrekhorn, and the Eiger.  Much to our surprise, it’s not Winter in the Alps yet either!  The sun was shining throughout the valley, cresting ever so slightly over the wall of the Eiger, releasing a soft yellow glow over the entire landscape for most of the day.

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Maybe this was the last great weekend of the year before the long gray months set in.  Maybe the world just wanted us to enjoy another lovely walk through the Swiss countryside.  Whatever the reason for our serendipitous weather fortunes, I’ll take it and enjoy it.  And we did.

I just don’t have the proper words to fully articulate the beauty that I saw.  You know those people that cry when they drive down the street and see a wedding happening (like my mother)? Well I’m kind of like that when I go hiking.  It’s just an overwhelming sensation to believe that I am really here amidst nature’s glory.  I feel I am duty bound to take a photo of a place that is so magical, to attempt to capture the essence of it and the moments we were lucky enough to experience. It sounds so corny, I know, but sometimes there are places in the world that are just too beautiful to keep in only a memory.  So I did my best to bring our hike to you.  Do you want to go on a little journey into the Alps with me?

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While we took our nice leisurely walk throughout this absolutely mystical alpine wonderland…we stopped often for snacks (and I subsequently learned why quince is meant for jelly and not sinking your teeth into – just because it looks like a pear, doesn’t mean it should be eaten as one! ewww).  Snacks were our breakfast and lunch, making it one of my favorite food days.

You see, I am a total snacker.  I love snacks.  If I could eat snacks instead of meals, I would.  Well, actually we do sometimes, which is why if you haven’t noticed yet, on this blog you can see that we eat a lot of dips and spreads, and I have no problem eating something like bruschetta for dinner.  Some snacks are healthier than others, I’ll admit.  For our hike we had mostly cured meats, cheeses, and fruit.  But if I have a kitchen stove around (aka when I’m home), I can make my snacks a bit more complex and turn them into veritable meals.

Today’s dish was one such snack – I had eggplant lying around waiting to be used, and normally for me eggplant gets roasted and goes into a rich tomato sauce that cooks on the stove for a while.  This time I wanted to make something that didn’t take as long, and was something a little different from my “usual”.  I came across this recipe in the NY Times for Eggplant Caponata, and knew it was exactly what I was looking for.

Eggplant and red pepper caponata

For my version I cut out the celery and added in roasted red peppers instead.  It’s no longer the traditional Sicilian dish, but it’s darn yummy (oh wait Dianne all but banned that word from food writing!) err..scrumptious, and works well over some toasted or fried bread slices, mixed into a cold pasta salad, or as a sandwich filler with a little sliced cheese.  For some reason the sweet/sour taste was a bit unexpected for me given the main ingredients that I chose, but it worked surprisingly well with the eggplant and red peppers.  I highly recommend making a double (or triple) batch of this and getting creative with the different ways you can use it!

Eggplant and red pepper caponata

Also linked to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays