ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Laid Back Memorial Day

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
white wine
Large pearl couscous
Vegetable broth
red pepper flakes
Parsley and mint, chopped coarsely (mostly mint)
fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
olive oil
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

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. The one thing we know for sure is Italians know how to eat and time with the family is always a big affair.It sounds like you had a perfect holiday:D

  2. Sounds like a great menu! Pepperoni bread...yum...hope you can get her to share the recipe :)

  3. What a menu! We were lucky to get a couple of burgers and some beans and chips on the table! LOL! Wish I'd been at your house!

  4. What a delicious looking salad and a tasty sounding feast!! I love the big pearl couscous. One of my favourite things!

  5. What a beautiful table you set and God Bless America and all who serve and gave their life for us. ~Emelia~

  6. Pattie, I really love this recipe and will be using it very soon. I'm sure your family enjoyed the feast you prepared for them. It certainly sounds wonderful. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. Pattie, I have never heard of so much meat on the grill in my life, amazing!! as always I always leave your post hungry!! Thanks for always being the first one on my post to comment. You know I can always count on you and Allie!! In a couple of days I am going to show you a water feature you can do NOW and it is easy and cheap so stay tuned sweetie. It is small enough to put anywhere in your yard. Have a great Tuesday, I am going shopping for some summer clothes, Oh dread!! Kathysue

  8. Sounds like you guys had a nice relaxing Memorial Day! Something we all need. We ended up slow grilling a dry rubbed pork roast for our dinner yesterday. Some salads and grilled bread along with home canned salsa's. It was just so nice to do nothing! LOL

    BTW, I LOVE that picture in the background!

  9. Sounds like a great Memorial day! Love the couscous and eggplant salad.

  10. Please tell me that you have an army of people helping you make all of your goodies that you post here. i feel so inadequate!

  11. Patti-THAT is low key? :)The eggplant sounds wonderful--I love it in all forms! I love and whole heartedly agree with the traditions on your sidebar! I am a real stickler about thank you notes and the ma'am and sir thing! And pearls DO go with everything :) I am sorry you didn't show us where you "keep it all"---I really debated myself. You were smarter than I!

  12. Thanks so much for coming to visit. It's been a lot of fun seeing where everyone keeps it all!

    Your recipe looks delish. I'm going to try it this summer.

    I'm hosting a new meme starting Sunday and I hope you'll join in. It's called "Summer Sundays" and it's all about what summer means to YOU!

    - The Tablescaper

  13. We were in Virginia for a wedding this weekend, so our holiday was different than usual, but very enjoyable.

    I am roasting two large eggplants on my BBQ I might add them to a couscous salad! Thanks for the idea!

    xxoo Pat


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