A Caponata Twist

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eggplant caponata

Apparently it’s giant vegetable week. No jokes this time around though, these giant eggplants aren’t pinned together with straight pins, they’re legit, ginormous purple wonders.

Caponata is a Sicilian dish usually made with eggplant, olives, and capers in a sweet and sour sauce. I mixed the veggies up a bit and left out the capers 1. because I didn’t have any and 2. because I don’t like them anyway but it still turned out seriously delicious. eggplant 

caponata

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and toss 1 inch eggplant chunks with 2 Tbls. of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Heat the other 2 Tbls. of oil in a skillet and add chopped onion, zucchini, and olives. Once they begin to get tender, throw in the chopped tomato. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water to the skillet, the 2 Tbls. of vinegar, and the sugar. Cover and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half (it took about 6 or so minutes for me).
  4. Add the roasted eggplant pieces to the skillet and coat with the sauce mixture.
  5. Top toasted bread slices with the caponata for an appetizer, or mix in with pasta or meat as a sauce for an entree.

The original recipe called for green olives instead of black, celery instead of zucchini (you could use green bell pepper as a substitute too) and capers (which I left out completely) so you can pretty much tweak this recipe whichever way your vegetable cravings swing. Also, a recipe that can be both an appetizer or an entree!? I’m all about that kind of multi-tasking. I only used half of my roided-out eggplant but one normal grocery store eggplant would be perfect.

eggplant caponataeggplant caponataeggplant caponata

- <3 A.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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diy paper vegetables

How does your garden grow…such big lettuces?? With paper and masking tape, paint and wire of course:

You will Need:

  • newspaper
  • poster-board
  • masking tape
  • wire
  • acrylic and watercolor paint
  • 5 inch embroidery hoop
  • straight pins
  • hot-glue

for the headdiy paper vegetablespaper veggiespaper vegetables

For the Head

  1. For the head, crumple newspaper into a ball and cover the entire ball with masking tape.
  2. Make four, differing sized leaf-shapes from the paper and wrap those in tape as well.
  3. Paint the ball and leaves with acrylic paint (the watercolor paint won’t adhere to the masking tape) in different shades of green, cream, and yellow to give some depth.
  4. Once the paint is dry, attach the four newspaper/masking tape leaves to the ball using straight pins. **this is a little tricky but the “leaves” are pliable so you just have to work with it until the formation looks like a lettuce**

For the Leaves and Stem 

  1. Cut out squiggly shaped diamonds in different sizes out of poster board.
  2. Paint with different shades of blue, yellow, and green.
  3. For the stem, wrap more masking tape around strips of wire.
  4. Hot-glue the taped wire pieces onto the painted poster board leaves and paint the stem with acrylic paint. **the stems make the leaves look more realistic,and the wire helps the leaves to bend and stay in any direction you want so don’t skip this step!**

diy vegetables

Putting it all together:

After you’ve made the head, leaves, and stem, start hot-gluing the poster-board leaves to the head. Start in the center with the smallest, lightest-colored leaves and work outward. Bend the wire stems until the leaves are cupping the head like a real lettuce. This part is probably the most difficult, and it helps if you have another pair of hands to help you shape everything together! It takes some trial and error to place all the poster-board leaves, but the end result is hilariously realistic looking.

If you want to turn your lettuce-head into a door adornment (who wouldn’t want a giant lettuce on your door??) hot-glue a 5 inch embroidery hoop to the base of your lettuce. Wind a piece of wire around the base and leave one end long for hanging and you’re done!diy paper vegetablesdiy-paper-vegetablesdiy paper vegetablepaper vegetables

Eccentric, unexpected, humorous, completely unique and possibly my favorite DIY of all time. It was a little time-consuming because of all the different little pieces but it was so worth it and if you’re not a lettuce fan, other veggies might be a little easier. Check out the radishes and carrots Anthropologie magazine made in a similar way here. Pumpkins would be fun for October, or apples for November, but nothing says summer like a garden of paper veggies and giant lettuces and I’m in love with this DIY. 

**This is blog launch week btw, so, get excited, because I am all a-tingle!!!** 

- <3 A. 

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