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More Salads

We’ve joined a gym, boys and girls. A real gym. With all sorts of wild machines and a pool and a sauna and racquetball and a basketball court and people to tell you what to do – or don’t do, as the case may be. And it was free – a perk from our new medical insurance!

One of the benefits of getting old!

On Friday we will get fitness assessments and see what we need to be doing to stick around on this earth a bit longer. I plan on outliving this disgusting sham of an Administration and Congress and want to be around to dance with glee as their lives and reputations are ground into the dirt. I need to be in good shape to celebrate and dance that much! I’m already working on the food end of things so seeing what we need to do on the physical activity end of things shall be interesting. No radical changes. Slow and steady wins the race.

On the food end of things I’ve been making various salads – most recently a Bean and Corn Salad with yellow beans we got from road stand in Lancaster on Monday. Today was a Caponata of sorts with a myriad of vegetables and our first zucchini from the garden. There’s a lot more out there and I’ve been looking at various things to do with them.

The bean salad was pretty simple:

bean salad

Bean and Corn Salad

  • 1 can yellow corn
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1/2 pint yellow string beans
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • basil
  • oregano
  • mint
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper

Cut fresh beans into small pieces. Blanche and then quickly cool in ice water. Drain.

Drain bean and corn and rinse well.

Chop the fresh herbs and mix everything together with the oil and vinegar. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as desired.

This is one of those recipes that you just make. Switch out the beans, omit the fresh beans, add a different fresh bean. Use corn, don’t use corn. Add cherry tomatoes. It’s just a simple, basic, throw-together salad.

The caponata I made is an agrodolce – sweet and sour – dish with a score of fresh ingredients. They usually won’t call for quite as many vegetables as I used, but… what the hell.

No precise measurements, here. It’s another just keep adding to the pot dish.

caponata

Caponata

  • leek, diced
  • white onion. diced
  • red onion, diced
  • carrot, diced
  • celery, sliced
  • red pepper, chopped
  • eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • zucchini, diced
  • yellow string beans, cut into thirds
  • assorted olives
  • broccoli
  • olive oil
  • red wine
  • passata
  • golden raisins
  • sherry vinegar
  • assorted fresh herbs – basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, mint

Saute the onions and leeks until wilted. Add the carrots and celery. Continue to slowly add the vegetables, stirring and cooking as you go. When all the vegetables are in the pot and have cooked down a bit, add  some red wine – half-cup to a cup, depending upon the amount of veggies you have.

Simmer until the wine cooks down a bit. Add the passata – tomato sauce. A cup or two. Then add the raisins, vinegar, ad the chopped herbs.

Stir everything together and simmer until everything is tender and the sauce has thickened – easily 30 minutes.

Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if desired.

Traditionally, Caponata is a Sicilian dish of eggplant, celery, olives, and capers. There are many variations – and some call for pine nuts or chunks of cheese – but one of my favorites is Little Gram’s Eggplant Appetizer – a dish we’ve made forever. I thought of adding pine nuts and pecorino to this batch, but decided the pot was full enough. I did make a goodly amount.

While this is absolutely wonderful cold as a salad, it also is fantastic as a pasta sauce, served over polenta, or used as a topping for bruschetta. It’s pretty much only limited by your imagination.

Can’t wait to order those dancing shoes!

 

 

 

 

 

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