Grilled Eggplant Caponata

We did it! We grew our first eggplant of our new garden! Just like any proud parent, I must show off my little bundle of joy. Here he is:

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Ok, now it’s time to cook him!

Caponata is a traditional Italian dish, and the very first thing that came to mind when looking to cook this guy. My version is the traditional version with a couple of twists that I hope you like! You can serve it in dip form as an appetizer, or substitute it for bruschetta. I will be topping grilled chicken with it tonight. You can also toss it with some pasta. Use your imagination, and please comment to let me know some of your awesome plans for it!

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Ingredients:
1 medium to large eggplant
1 large red pepper
1 large onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – minced
20 olives of your choice – pitted and chopped
2 Tbsp. pine nuts – toasted
1 Tbsp. capers
10 leaves fresh basil – chopped
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat grill to medium high heat.
2. Trim the ends off eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Cut pepper in half and remove seeds. Drizzle a little olive oil on veggies, and grill for 5 minutes per side.
3. While eggplant and pepper are grilling, sauté onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until onion begins to caramelize.
4. Remove veggies from grill, allow to cool until you can handle them, and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.
5. In a large mixing bowl, combine veggies, onions with garlic, olives, pine nuts, capers, basil, vinegar,and olive oil. Careful stir and season to your liking with salt and pepper.
6. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold… But please let me know how you serve it!

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Grilled Greek Packet

I used the oven at lunch today, and realized that’s a bad idea in 90 degree heat with probably 99% humidity! Dinner tonight will be cooked entirely on the grill in one nice and easy packet made of foil! The oregano and kalamata olives will really bring out the rich Greek flavor!

Tonight’s meal is awesome for a few reasons:
a. I finally get to use oregano for the garden!
b. It can be be prepared ahead of time and thrown on the grill. Perfect, because I will be at our high school graduation ceremony.
c. No inside cooking.
d. You can prepare this ahead of time for a camping trip and cook in the campfire.
e. Greek food is scrumptious!

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Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts – cut into 1 inch cubes
1 zucchini – cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 large red bell pepper – cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1 clove garlic – minced
Juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp. white wine
2 sprigs fresh oregano chopped (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. pepper
Pinch of salt

1. At least two hours ahead of cook time, mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Scoop contents onto a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, and make a packet put of it. It may be easier to split it into two packets. Make sure it is sealed so you don’t lose any goodness while cooking. Refrigerate to allow for marination.
2. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium high heat. Cook packet for 15 minutes, then flip over and cook for 10 more.
3. Remove packets from grill and carefully open. The steam inside is VERY hot! Scoop contents onto plates and enjoy!

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