Happy Memorial Day!
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with those you love while remembering those who are serving and have served our wonderful country. So many who have missed holidays and special times with their loved ones for the benefit of the rest of us.
Today was a very laid back day. I decided not to do a Meatless Monday post because today is traditionally a day for cookouts- that and I was too lazy this weekend
Now, Italian families probably don't "do" cookouts the way the rest of the country does! Here today we had burgers, steaks and hot dogs (lots of homemade relishes and salsas and blue cheese sauce for the steaks). A grilled pork tenderloin, stromboli, pasta salad, caprese salad, and an eggplant couscous salad. Corn, roasted green beans napped with tomato sauce, pasta with butter and parmesan cheese, and bruschetta. I know my best friend had pepperoni bread in her oven.
If I beg a little I might persuade her to share a recipe :)
Dessert?? Of course! Cannoli and ice cream sundaes!
Ice cream with your sprinkles??
Pool time, wrestling with your brother, and helping Dad clean the barbecue can tire a guy out!
Couscous and Eggplant
This isn't an exact recipe as I didn't measure. For a lovely presentation at a less casual affair, you can serve it in hollowed out eggplant halves. I place the hollowed out shells in a ziploc freezer bag (partially open) and microwave for about 6 minutes. Drain upside down on a rack, fill, and heat in a 350 degree oven till hot. Today, I served this cold as a side salad
6-8 large Roma tomatoes, roasted-** see note
I used 6 small eggplants- a combination of Japanese and Sicilian
Mixed olives- Kalamata and green
large roasted red pepper, chopped
Large pearl couscous
red pepper flakes
Parsley and mint, chopped coarsely (mostly mint)
fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
pine nuts- optional
While tomatoes roasted, I salted the eggplant and prepared the couscous.
Cut eggplant in half and scoop out meat, leaving a 1/4 inch shell. Cube the pulp and put in a mesh strainer. Salt well, cover with a sheet of waxed paper and weight down a bit with a couple of cans. Let sit for about 30 minutes, rinse well, drain, and squeeze in a towel to remove excess liquid.
Heat a couple of TBLSP. olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous (I used 2 cups) and stir a few minutes till toasted and golden brown. Add vegetable broth (4 1/2 cups for this amount), bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer about 10-12 minutes till liquid is absorbed stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Saute a large chopped onion in 2 TBLSP olive oil till softened. Add 4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped and eggplant. Raise heat a bit, and saute till eggplant is soft and starting to brown. Add white wine (about 1/2 cup) and saute till almost evaporated. Remove from heat, add olives and reserved juices from drained tomatoes. Allow to cool.
Add a handful of coarsely chopped parsley and mint, roasted tomatoes which have been sliced, and cubed mozzarella to taste. Season well with salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste; combine with cooled couscous. If it appears dry, drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Add pine nuts if using. Can be served heated in eggplant shells or cold
** NOTE- To roast tomatoes: Preheat oven to 275-300 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and toss with a little olive oil. Place in a roasting pan sprayed with Pam and roast for 3 hours. Turn upside down on a rack over a plate or pan and drain, reserving juices. When cool, slice crosswise
Have a wonderful weekend and remember to say thank you to a veteran
Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie