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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Eggplant Salad with Peppers, Mint and Caper-Feta Vinaigrette

Where to start...  We got most of the house done.  Parties do wonders for creating deadlines.  Big parties do even better.  Big parties with lots of folks who've never been to your house.  Well, let's just say we had incentive to get as much done as possible.  MANY boxes of wall art are still to be unpacked.  Some linens.  Connie's shoes.  But, for the most part, we're done.  And, the old house finally sold.  Closing in a month.  Hallelujah! 

Why were we having a party?  Our friends Joseph and Juan got married about a year ago.  Their friend Dave, the judge, pulled them out of the line at the City County building and took them up to his chambers and performed the marriage.  You see, there was this one day that Indiana joined the ranks of the states that allowed gay marriage.  Before another judge shut it down.  Then, it became legal again.  But, Joseph and Juan got in on that first day.  After 25 years together it felt really good for them to be married.  The interesting part of all of this is that Joseph is the chef at our favorite restaurant.  Juan is the best waiter in the world at the same restaurant.  Because we've gone to their wine dinners for so long, we've gotten to know a bunch of the other folks who go to the wine dinners.  And, for the last few years we've all been hanging out together.  Sushi on a Sunday.  A trip to Jungle Jim's followed by a pitch-in at Ed and Cynde's.  Lunch at a dive bar.  A limo up to Perkinsville for dinner at Bonge's Tavern.  These folks have become friends.  How often do you find a group of friends who hooked up because of a restaurant???  Not often, I'd imagine.  At any rate, I said to Joseph, let's have a pitch-in at our house!  That was back when I was still delirious and thought I could get all of this stuff unpacked in less time than it took to pack it.  LOL. 

July 12th was the date.  By Friday the 10th I was getting a bit panicky.  The house was not ready.  NOT ready.  By Sunday morning, I was fine.  We could do it.  And, with 20 minutes to spare we sat down to read the papers.  Amazing.  Everyone brought a dish and some wine.  We provided some champagne and a beautiful cake (thanks to Taylor's Bakery!)  Judge Dave presided over Joseph and Juan renewing their vows.  We drank great wine and ate great food. And, decided this needs to be an annual event! Here's what the party looked like:


Monday evening Connie played bridge.  I washed some of the wine glasses but spent most of the evening trying to get the living room computer to connect to the network so I could do the work I brought home.  Tuesday was a totally crazy day at work.  Five appointments.  Which leaves just enough time for potty breaks.  We got home and I had nothing thawed.  A couple of really fun dishes on the menu.  But, nothing to make them with.  Except for the veggies for the week's side dishes.  Tomatoes and eggplant.  And, a pile of cucumbers from a volunteer vine at the old house.  Vegetarian it was then.  Connie kept pushing me to make a dip with the eggplant.  But, I was fixated on a recipe I'd found in one of the New York Times emails.  Eggplant salad with peppers, mint and caper-feta vinaigrette.  Sounded fabulous.  The tomatoes were for tomato and goat cheese napoleons.  A recipe we had several times last summer.  And, to round out the meal, thin spaghetti with garlic oil, pasta and grated gruyere. 

What did we think?  Connie was pretty darned glad he didn't win the eggplant battle!  This was a five.  Simply amazing.  And, so simple to put together!  Toss the eggplant with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Roast it.  Cool it.  Toss it with the rest of the ingredients.  Inhale.  This is one we'll make and make again!

Eggplant Salad with Peppers, Mint and Caper-Feta Vinaigrette


2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T lemon juice
salt and pepper
one eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes (not peeled) (the recipe called for 1 3/4 lbs, but the eggplant we bought was closer to a pound)
3 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T capers
1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
6 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 c fresh mint, chopped


Preheat your oven to 425F.  Toss the eggplant cubes with the 2T evoo, 1 T lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes.  The cubes will brown just a bit.  Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.  While it's cooling, mix the other ingredients.  Then, mix in the eggplant and serve.  This is a dish that'll be just happy as all get out in the fridge for a day. 

adapted from the New York Times


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