Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Party Pizzas

It's been really hard for me to come back here.  I haven't wanted anything else to replace Dexter's picture at the top of the screen.  And yet, I've also avoided even looking at the home page, because seeing him brings me too much pain.  But here I am, and I come bearing pizza.  It's the not the first time I've done fancy pizza for Oscar night and with how delicious these turned out, I'm willing to bet it won't be the last.

The plan had been to make pizza topped with smoked turkey from the delicious looking turkey legs they have at Whole Foods, but Whole Foods was unfortunately without turkey and I was left wandering aimlessly.  Which is when a yogurt maker (I am not even kidding you) who was giving out samples asked what he could do for me.  I told him I really didn't need yogurt, I needed smoked turkey legs because now I had not one clue what to do about dinner.  

Luckily, he did.  Claiming to have been a chef in his pre-yogurt making days, he recommended dried plums (*cough* prunes *cough*) to complement my likely cheese choice of gruyere.  And then while wandering through the dried fruit section I scooped up some dried mission figs as well.  

And behold.  Two amazing pizzas, both of which I would gladly eat again.

Unfortunately my recipes are a bit sketchy.  I've got to ease back into this thing, you know?


1/4 recipe dough
1 C mozzarella
4-5 oz ricotta cheese
3-4 slices duck bacon, chopped into bits and sautéed until crisp
8-10 small figs (maybe about a cups worth?) sliced thin
fresh baby spinach
balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Bake the dough for 5-7 minutes at 450 or until it starts to harden.  Top with the cup of mozzarella, the duck bacon bits, the figs and spoonfuls of the fresh ricotta.  Rinse and dry the baby spinach, tear off any overly long stems and quickly toss the spinach in a bit of balsamic and olive oil, just enough to barely dress it.  Lay the spinach over the pizza and then pop it back into the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty.  


1/4 recipe dough
1/2 C mozzarella
1/2 C comte
1/4 C fontina (although play fast and loose with the cheese amounts, really)
1/2 an onion, sliced very thin, cooked in a bit of olive oil over low heat until soft and golden
5-6 dried plums, sliced

Bake the dough at 450 for 5-7 minutes or until it starts to harden.  Top with the cheese, sprinkle over the caramelized onions and place on the dried plums.  Pop back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and delicious.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Goodnight Sweetheart

I'm sorry I haven't been here.  My heart just hasn't been in it.  My sweetheart, my beloved Dexter, had to be put to sleep right after Christmas.  I sat up with him the night before we said goodbye and I wrote him this:

Dear Dexter,

I miss you already.  I miss the way you learned to lick my ears because I would turn my face away when you tried to cover it with kisses.  I miss how you demanded tickles, pawing my arm relentlessly if I dared to stop.  I loved how you wanted attention and cuddling, even sticking your nose right over the top of a book and leaving it there or smacking it until I put it down, the hell if I was trying to read.  At night when I watched TV I would lay on my side and you would come curl up in that empty space.  I hate having that space empty.  I chose you because I wanted a dog that would love me back.  Thank you for loving me.  For letting me carry you in my arms like a baby, with your hindpaws on each side of my hip and front paws around my neck.  

I wish I could see you again as a puppy, bouncing up and down so high that you once jumped straight in through the open driver's side window of a car shocking my friend who had double parked.   I wish I could again find you snuggled into a special hiding place, like the laundry basket or the second shelf of my closet.  

I will never see a blizzard without wishing you were there to bound into and over the snowdrifts, shoving your muzzle deep and coming up with a little snow crusted beard.  I will not hear a middle of the night thunderstorm without thinking I should bring you into the bedroom so you won't be scared and waiting while you went back to bring your stuffed elephant, Lovey, in with us too.  

I will NOT miss your houdini like escape skills, breaking out of a kitchen that was gated, then a kitchen that was gated and secured with a bungee cord.  I will NOT miss your Usain Bolt level speed if ever you managed to escape, leading me on a not so merry chase through city streets needing to be lured back by a stranger's kindness and her chicken sandwich.  

In the morning I will let you nibble a few bits of scone, since you prized baked goods above all other foods.  And then I will have to say goodbye.  It's going to hurt me a lot more than it will hurt you, because slowly you have stopped doing all these things that made you your very own self.  And I know I need to let you go.  But I wanted you for years before I had you and I will want you still for years after you have gone.

Who is going to lick away my tears now bear?

I loved this little dog so very very much and miss him every day.  Here he is in all of his fuzzy glory.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bird's Nest Cookies

In the midst of all the chaos, there is still Christmas.  Maybe it's having a child of my own, maybe it's just that I've always been violently attached to traditions, but this year, I have no tolerance for change.  A few years ago, we overthrew the family bird's nest cookie recipe in favor of Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprints, which are delicious, rich, buttery and shortbready.  But this year, with my mother making a gluten-free version for my dad, I wanted nothing more than the original.  Of course, no one HAD the original. My mother had tossed the original recipe deeming it too fussy to deal with.  She claimed her brother might have a copy, but nope.  And the whole time I couldn't get the recipe out of my head.  I could picture it so clearly.  Why could I picture it so clearly?  Maybe because I had it all along.  Safely written in the cookbook my mom gave me full of family recipes, was our bird's nest cookie recipe.  So with my little one safely in my mother-in-law's arms, I whipped up a batch.  They are every bit as good as I remember.  They are also, a bit fussy in parts, but I'll try to help you through that.

Makes ~ 3 dozen
recipe courtesy of someone my mother's family once knew (a  little help on this mom?)

2 sticks of softened unsalted butter (this is 1 C)
1 C brown sugar, lightly packed
2 T vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
2 eggs (reserve the white of one, so you need 1 whole egg + 1 yolk for the cookie, 1 white for rolling)
2 C flour
1/2 t baking powder
2 C chopped nuts (I used a mix of walnuts and pecans)
assorted jams, jellies and marmalades

Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Cream together your butter and sugar. This was a bit harder than usual.  Maybe brown sugar is softer than white and can't break up the butter as well?  So maybe soften the butter properly (I am notoriously lazy and rarely soften the butter enough).  You don't want it to be liquid, but it should be soft to the touch.  Then add your eggs, mixing well after each. Next add the extracts and quickly mix again.  Finally, mix together your flour and baking powder and slowly add to the wet ingredients.

I used a mini-prep to chop my nuts.  They should be small so they stick, kind of like this:

Prepare to roll the cookies.  You'll need a small plate covered with nuts, a bowl with the egg white and an ungreased cookie sheet.  

First, create a small ball with the dough.  If you make them too small, it's hard to make an indentation for the jam. If you make them too big, well, you don't get as many, and it's a lot harder to fit in your mouth.  I think about 3/4" is the best which is a bit smaller than I usually make cookie balls.  

Next, dip the ball in the egg white.  Then roll it in nuts and place on the cookie sheet.
You may not need the full two cups of nuts and if you'd like to save nuts, I'd say only pour some on the plate and replenish periodically.  You can't save what's left on the plate after you've rolled because of the egg white.  Ew.

The balls should be 2" apart on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. This baking thing is the other fussy part.  If you over bake it's extremely hard to make an indentation.  If you under bake, well, you have gross raw cookies.  So watch them carefully.  I had some take longer than 12, but most came in at 12 minutes.  My mom's recipe said 10.  In order to check for doneness, I wanted them to sort of slide off their spot when poked, have a light golden underside if checked.  When you pull them out, make a small indentation in each and allow to cool on a cooling rack.  You can make your indentation with your thumb (ow! hot!) or with the back of a teaspoon measure (which isn't great because it's more likely to make the edges of the cookie split apart).  Your call which you use.

When the cookies are cool, place a small amount (about a teaspoon) of jam into the indentation. I used blueberry, raspberry and apricot for these, but you can use whatever you like!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hungry Hippo Gift Guide 2013

Happy Holidays! Oh, the hell with it.  Merry Christmas!  If you're Hanukkah shopping right now, you are more than a day late and a dollar short, so lets move it along.

Want to shop for your favorite kitchen loving pals?  Take a gander at what I've picked out for you this year!

1. Measuring Cubs - $36 at Anthropologie
If I weren't already in possession of the world cutest hedgehog measuring cups I would want these, badly.  Do you see the fish in his belly?  Adorable!!

2. Fridge Phrases - $15
Perhaps your favorite chef also has a fridge.  One that things stick to (this is getting increasingly hard to find, my fridge is wood paneled, bizarrely enough).  Maybe that friend also lives on the east coast and needs a regionally specific set of fridge magnets.  Clearly, I would choose the Boston edition myself.
3. Maptote $17
You know your foodie friends are shopping for local organically grown produce at the farmer's market and would love a made in the USA cloth bag to use to carry their groceries home.  I have Seattle and Cape Cod.  I need to add Paris, Boston and Philadelphia to my collection.  Available in a range of places and styles.

We're getting to the point where just about everyone knows someone who is gluten-free.  My father, who knows good food better than just about anyone I know, heartily endorses this cookbook as the best source of gluten-free baked goods.  I've sampled them and let me tell you, they're not just good for something that's gluten-free, they're actually delicious.  

I think my nana is on a one woman mission to convince the world that this is the best pan ever.  If you live alone, or enjoying eating one egg, it really might be.  The egg turns out the perfect shape (really! no squiggly edges!). Plus the pan is so small and easy to wash! 


Look, I don't know if this is the best waffle maker on the market.  All I know is that I need a waffle maker.  I have always wanted a waffle maker.  I have never had space for a waffle maker.  Currently, I have space for a waffle maker.  Also, I would greatly appreciate it if you threw in someone to operate the waffle maker.  That would be truly exceptional. 

NB: Although I know next to nothing about waffles I do know that they should be square. Not round.  

It's only too bad these are fox terriers not welshies.  I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere about terriers and caffeine delivery devices but I am entirely too exhausted to work it out for you.  

I have no clue whether or not this works, all I know is that I never have the foggiest notion how much spaghetti to make.  

9. Blossom Trivet 2 for $19.50
Look, I haven't a clue how it does all those other things it says it can, but it's still pretty cool for a trivet. Plus, it seems like it would be fun to play with.  Functional + toy = win!

My math skills are decent, but cooking (particularly baking) isn't exactly a place to be taking chance.  And fractional division is far from my mathematical strong point.  So why not make life easier with a recipe divider magnet (Who cares if it's magnetic? IT DOES MATH).  I know my husband* would love to no longer hear "Babe? What's a third of three quarters?"echoing from the kitchen in frenzied tones.

*this is in no way intended to read as "girls are dumb at math and need to ask boys for help".  My husband is a human calculator freak.  It's just so much faster to ask him.  At your house, it's entirely possible that the lady of the house is the one with the math skillz.  The only relevant fact is whether the person who cooks (regardless of gender) is also the person in possession of the ability to quickly and accurately divide fractions.  If not, helloooo recipe divider!

What's on your kitchen wish list?  Let me know in the comments!  I think I need #3 (in any one of the cities named), #6 (or similar, WAFFLES!!! WAFFFFFFFFFLESSSSSSS!) and #7.

Interested in last year's list?  Many items are still available!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dooooo It

This is not a recipe, this is a public service announcement.  In the mad dash to use up the Thanksgiving leftovers  I found my self staring into a container of leftover stuffing.  We're partial to the cornbread/sausage variety around here, and my mother had made a delicious batch of it for us.  But days after Thanksgiving (or more accurately, after days of Thanksgiving leftovers) even my favorite treat was looking hard to swallow.

So I did what any self-respecting desperate person would do.

I added an egg - I had maybe a cup to a cup and a half of stuffing left.
I rolled it into balls.
I gently rolled those balls in flour (you could use cornstarch).
And I dropped them into hot oil.

Mine are a bit on the, erm, dark side shall we say?  That's what comes of not using a thermometer for your oil and generally being distracted while cooking.  Not recommended.

If you use a thermometer, keep your oil at about 350 and cook your balls for only a minute or two per side.

The result was so good.  Like a sausage-y hush puppy.  Like a ball of corn dog.*

Stuffing wins.

*what does cornbread have to do with dogs?  No really.  I'm asking.

PS - You all know by now that the salad greens are purely an effort to pacify my husband.  I just used lettuce, apple, carrot, pecans and a dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and salt and pepper.  It did nothing to detract from the fried stuffingy goodness.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pizza (and a Friend) to the Rescue!

As I've mentioned before, one of the true drawbacks to having a child is that my brain no longer can manage its usual everyday level of function.  And as such, figuring out dinner can be a really bad scene, especially when I haven't planned ahead.  On this day, I had planned exactly as far as "pizza", which gave me a complete false sense of confidence in dinner because once the appointed hour rolled around I realized I had absolutely no idea what to put on the pizza (given that there were no sausages in the fridge or freezer, something I hadn't bothered to check).  So I did what everyone should do in desperate times, I begged for help.  I e-mailed a friend a short list of what was in my fridge and she sent back a step-by-step list of what I should use and how.  In this list was included absolutely no judgment or shaming for the fact that I needed someone to tell me to move my right foot, move my left foot, just helpful advice.  So, thanks to my friend, I not only made dinner, I made an amazing dinner.  And I will share the love with you.  Just in case you're having the kind of day the necessitates someone else making the decisions for you.

1/3 recipe dough
3-4 C washed, chopped kale (ribs removed)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C finely chopped onion
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 C grated mozzerella
6 slices of bacon, crisped (you know, cooked until crispy) and chopped into bits.
5-6 eggs
olive oil
cornmeal for sprinkling on pan.
Preheat your oven to 450 F.  Roll out your dough.  Sprinkle your baking sheet with cornmeal.  Carefully place dough on baking sheet.  Bake 5-7 minutes or until it just starts to crisp up (we do like a crispy crust around here).  While the dough is baking, prepare your kale.  In a largish pan, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil.  With the heat on medium low, add the garlic and onion.  The heat is too high if they make any sizzling noises.  You want them to gently heat up and turn pale golden.  Add your kale. The kale will turn bright green and begin to wilt.  I don't like mine cooked down all the way, so I only cook it for a few minutes until it's bright green and tender.  Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Give it a taste and add more salt, pepper or vinegar as needed.  Remove from heat and set aside.  When your dough is done, remove it from the oven and use a brush to brush the whole crust with olive oil.  Lay down your kale evenly over the crust.  Then cover the kale with mozzarella.  Next, sprinkle your bacon over the pizza. Finally, it's time for the eggs.  It's much safer to do your eggs one at a time.  Hit it on your counter, open it into a bowl, make sure you have no shells, then slide it onto the pizza.  Repeat until all eggs are placed.*  Bake 5-7 more minutes until the white of the egg has set and then yolk is just a titch runny (or however you like your eggs).

*If you do not anticipate being able to eat the whole pizza in one night, due to the number of people you're serving, you might only want eggs on the parts you're sure will be eaten so that you are saved the dilemma of trying to figure out how to save (and if it's safe to eat) leftover pizza with an egg on top. Although I did reheat an eggy slice the next day and did not die or get sick.  So there's a sample size of one to reassure you if you want to go that route.

Friday, November 8, 2013

With Apologies to My Mother

It can be difficult for me to pick a dinner menu when my parents come to visit.  My father has Celiac Disease which means I generally stay away from dishes involving gluten (which rules out all pasta).  My husband won't eat red meat or pork (which is my normal life) but my father isn't overly fond of vegetarian.  Which means that unless I'm going to serve chicken every night, I'm going to have to make fish.  So the last time my parents were here, we were standing in Whole Foods and I said to my mother, "I'm going to get cod for supper."  My poor mother.  She is not overly fond of fish, especially when it tastes like fish (and not like teriyaki sauce or fried deliciousness or the like).  My father hates fish that does not taste like fish.  So it was with grim determination that my mother said "ok."  But.  This cod is tasty! Delicious even! I'm about as much of a fish fan as my mother (show me a crab, lobster, clam, shrimp, squid or octopus and I'm there, but fish? eh) and I like this!  But I did not waste my breath trying to convince her.  I simply made the cod, with a light fresh tomato and balsamic topping and let it do the convincing.  I think we may have won her over.


Equipment: You really do need a cast-iron skillet, large enough to fit your cod without touching.  A small pan will make this much harder to make and also, it will not turn out as well.  Why?  Well, you want your cod to be crisp (or at least kind of crisp) and the fish will give off moisture as it cooks.  Too many filets in your pan means too much moisture, means no crisping.  Also, you have to turn the fish over.  It can't just sit there.  And if you've crammed the pieces in, there is no room for the spatula.  Oh right, also, you need a spatula, and you'll be far happier with a fish spatula, you know the long narrow metal kind.

1/2 lb cod per person
1 tomato per person
1/2 T balsamic per person
fancy balsamic to finish - I have some aged orange balsamic that is amazing.
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the cod -
Make sure your cod is deboned.  I buy mine from Whole Foods and generally don't have any trouble with it, but you may have a few pinbones in there.  If you do, pull them out gently.  Pat your fish dry then, sprinkle it with salt and pepper.  Add about 2 T of olive oil to your cast iron pan.  Basically you want a very thin covering over the whole bottom of the pan, so don't try to undercut the amount, and don't pour a ton, you're not frying it.  Heat the pan on medium or until the oil looks a bit shimmery.  Then add the cod.  Reduce your heat to medium low (cast-iron keeps the heat) or even low if it seems out of control sizzle-y. Cook for 4 minutes.  It should come up easily for flipping.  Try nudging your spatula under one edge.  If it doesn't budge, you may have to let it go another minute.  If the fish flakes apart and you can't do a perfect turn, no worries, you can hide it under the tomato sauce.  Anyway, flip the fish over and cook it another 2-5 minutes.  The cod should be white and flaky.  Carefully transfer it to a plate.
For the tomatoes with balsamic - 
In a small pot or non-stick fry pan, pour about a teaspoon of olive oil.  Chop up the necessary tomatoes (I cored mine, then cut in a large dice) and toss in the pan over very low heat.  Add the balsamic.  Let cook while your cod is cooking, you should end up with the balsamic thick enough to coat a spoon.  Right before I pulled it off the heat, I added an extra tablespoon of my fancy balsamic (I served 4 people, so I guess that's a 1/4 tablespoon fancy balsamic per person).  If you are lacking in the fancy balsamic department, just add an extra tablespoon of the regular stuff at the start.  It will cook down just fine.

Spoon the tomatoes on top of the cod.  Please fish lovers and the fish neutral alike.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Just in the Nick of Time

Ironically, while I cannot for the life of me come up with appropriate treats for Valentine's Day, the day when you express your love in the form of exquisitely decorated baked goods, I seem quite competent at it for Halloween, the day when you celebrate ghosts and witches and other possibly dead (or undead) things.  I don't really know what that says about me, but it can't be good.  In the past I've made Halloween sugar cookies but this year I needed to simplify.  I also needed to use up yogurt. So just in the nick of time, with a mere two days to go before Halloween and not a whole lot longer before the yogurt's expiration date (I know, I know, yogurt is immortal), I pulled together this happy chocolate cake.

The recipe for the chocolate cake part is here.  You're best off finding your own icing, because I winged it, trying to use up cream cheese and heavy cream.  I often go to Martha Stewart for things like that because her recipes usually work.

So here's your set of directions for a fast last minute Halloween cake:
1. Bake the cake.  Be very careful taking it out of the pan.  It sticks.  Also, it will stick to whatever you place it on once you remove it, so choose well.
2. While the cake is baking, whip up your icing.  You could even use canned. I won't tell.  Then add your food coloring.  My box of poison food coloring had very nice instructions on how many drops to add to make orange.
3. I make my life easier by frosting only the middle and top.  So basically I put the bottom of the cake on a plate, then slather on half the frosting, then press the next layer gently on top and slather on the other half of the frosting.  It's cool with this cake, because then you can see the layer of orange in between the dark brown cake layers and it looks more Halloween-y (shut up, it's a word) than just frosting the whole thing in orange.
4. Grab a few squares of chocolate.  I used 3 squares of Ghiradelli 60% cacao because that's all I had.  Use whatever you like.  Microwave it for 30 seconds, stir, check for melting.  Repeat until your chocolate is melted.
5. With a steady hand and a spoon, carefully draw a jack o' lantern on the orange surface.  Pumpkin lines are optional.
6. EAT.  Because of course, it's not like you'll have a slew of candy to contend with in the next few days or anything.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


It is entirely possible that my brains have been eaten by zombies.  It is awfully close to Thanksgiving * Halloween, after all and I'm told that creatures of the night are fond of the holiday.+ Unfortunately, this means that I am completely lacking adequate ability to describe food.  So I'll keep it simple.  I saw this recipe for a miso sweet potato broccoli bowl on SmittenKitchen and thought "that looks tasty".  But far more importantly, I thought, "that looks easy."  This is probably the driving force behind all of my cooking right now.  Easy.  So I gathered the necessary ingredients (I got the miso paste - the hardest to find ingredient, at Whole Foods), whirred some stuff up in a food processor, roasted some stuff up in the oven, pressed start on my rice cooker and warmed some beans in a skillet and then dumped it in the bowl.  And then I tasted it.  It is so incredibly delicious, roasty and sweet and salty with a bit of crunch. I want it all the time.  Always.  I am Sam I Am.  It is my Green Eggs and Ham.  (At the end of the book, when he's eating it every where.  With a fox. In a box.  You get the idea.)  Yum.

*I really did type Thanksgiving.  I thought I'd leave it so you could see exactly how brainless I am.
+I'm sure that there are some zombie/werewolf/vampire zealots out there that know all possible rules pertaining to these imaginary baddies who would love to advise me why I'm wrong in associating them with Halloween, but while I may have been kidding about the zombies eating my brains, I am certainly not kidding about my current mental capacity.

Recipe on Smitten Kitchen

My notes:
1. I made brown rice in my rice cooker. It's not fancy, like her rices, but I had it in the house and it was easy.  I think the dish really benefits from having a non-white rice base, but white rice would work in a pinch.
2. I warmed up some canned (rinsed and drained) black beans in order to add a protein to the dish.  They were delicious and I would do it again, partially because I like keeping the dish vegetarian.
3. I think this would be delicious with beef or pork if you happen to live with someone *cough*myfather *cough* who doesn't think a meal is complete without meat.
4.  The dressing in insanely good.  I would put it on anything.  Everything.  You may feel the same way.  The good thing about this is that you will no longer second-guess your decision to drop $10 on miso paste.  Because you can now imagine running out of that huge jar, and soon.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In Which a Miracle Occurs

I had a spectacular weekend.  My uncle and cousin came to visit, drawn in by the siren lure of an adorable baby.  I swear, if I'd known how much more often people would visit me, I would have had one years ago!  Ever the gracious hostess, I planned to take my guests out to dinner on Saturday and for Friday night, I expected them to cook for me.  Well, I expected my uncle to cook for me anyway.  He made an absolutely delicious roast chicken which I will try to replicate at some point, some lemony roast broccoli, but most miraculously, he made delicious eggplant.

My friends, there are exactly two vegetables I do not eat: zucchini and eggplant.  Zucchini is pretty much the food of the devil, but eggplant and I have a very touchy relationship.  I want to like it.  I really do.  I've never really minded the flavor, but for whatever reason, eggplant has always made me gag.  I've had it made in the Parmigiana style.  Nope, didn't work.  I've pureed it in pasta sauce, alas, a deep and thorough failure.  But the way my Uncle John made it was so tasty, I went back for a second piece.  That's right, I took seconds of my second most loathed vegetable.

Does that tell you everything you need to know about my uncle's cooking?  No?  You want the recipe too?  Okay!  I got it!  (Totally selfless I am, always thinking of you).


2 eggplants
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
2 T red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T of capers with juice
1/4 of a small red onion (optional - Uncle John was not pleased with how it turned out using the red onion, I think I liked it, but will try it without next time)

Slice your two eggplants into 1/2" thick slices.  Set your oven to broil.  Lay out the eggplant slices on a cookie sheet and brush them with olive oil.  Flip them and brush the other side with olive oil.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Put in the oven to broil for 10 minutes.  Flip them and let them broil for 10 minutes on the other side.  Whilst they are broiling, find yourself a large serving dish with sides.  We used my lasagna pan.  Mix together your olive oil and red wine vinegar.   In the bottom of the pan, pour about 1/4 C of olive oil and the red wine vinegar  and sort of swish it about so it's evenly distributed.  When the eggplant is done, lay it out in the dish.  Add the garlic, capers and onion (if you use it) to the remaining oil and vinegar.  Drizzle this over the eggplant layer.  Add another layer of eggplant and pour over more of the good stuff.  Continue until eggplant is used up and all topping has been poured out.

Let marinate at room temperature for 6 hours.  Ours only sat for 4 hours and was delicious, but don't try to cut it any closer than that.  Uncle John says it's great for dinner parties, because you can make it in advance, but also it takes up no room in your fridge!


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