Sunday, November 28, 2021

Italian Caponata Appetizer

We had a very Happy Thanksgiving and a very happy 40th Birthday celebration for our daughter! Thank you for all your good wishes!

Our Christmas tree was up and decorated for the very first time, ever, before Thanksgiving Day. We decided that getting a large real tree was getting too heavy and hard for us to bring in and out of our home every holiday, so we bought a new pre-lighted artificial tree.  Since we were concerned about supply chain issues we ordered it early online and put it together to make sure the lights were working.  It is 9 feet tall so once it was up we decided to keep it up and decorate it, and we were very happy with the final results.  Thanksgiving eve we had snow flurries, and our backyard Colorado blue spruce tree collected some snow but sadly not much else accumulated. The Denver area record for the latest snow was broken a week ago and has had temperatures into the 70s. It is very strange weather and a bit worrisome as it has been very dry

Some of our Thanksgiving Day appetizer lunch is in the first photo collage, and these were the entrees I made for our dinner. Lots of food, lots of favorites, and everyone took home leftovers.


Desserts were birthday ice cream cake, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, and apple pie.  The apple pie crust decorations before on the right, and after on the left. They looked better before baking!

One appetizer we really enjoyed this Thanksgiving was homemade Caponata. Caponata is a Sicilian sweet and sour version of ratatouille, with a mixture of eggplant, celery, red peppers, onions, tomatoes, olives, etc, in an agrodolce sauce. I made some crostini to serve with the caponata by thinly slicing baguette type loaf bread and toasting the slices in the oven, brushing them first with olive oil, garlic, and parsley on top,

To make the Caponata I used a New York Times recipe with the addition of pine nuts (pignoli nuts) imported from Italy.  Caponata is best made the day ahead of serving, so it can marinate and is best eaten at room temperature.



1 ½ pounds eggplant (1 large), roasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, from the inner, tender stalks (the heart), diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
Salt to taste
1 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably Roma, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped, or 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes (in puree) 3 heaped tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted green olives
1/2 cup toasted Italian Pine Nuts (pignoli nuts)--optional.
2 tablespoons plus a pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar (more to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste


1) Roast the eggplant, allow to cool, and chop coarsely.

2 ) Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet and add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes, and add the garlic. Cook together for a minute, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant, and add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring, until just about tender, about 8 minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil and the eggplant, and stir together for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. The eggplant will fall apart, which is fine. Season to taste.

3) Add the tomatoes to the pan with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Cook, stir, and scrape the bottom of the pan often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and they smell fragrant. Add the capers, olives, remaining sugar, and vinegar.  Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are thoroughly tender and the mixture is quite thick, sweet, and fragrant. Stir in the pine nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Allow cooling to room temperature. If possible, cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy spoonfuls of Caponata eaten plain or served on slices of crostini or crackers.

November has continued to give us some remarkable skies and sunsets. 
Let's hope December will bring us some well-needed snow!

Wishing all who celebrate this week a very Happy Hanukkah!

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eileeninmd said...


Your tree looks beautiful! Your meal sounds delicious and the desserts looks yummy. Thanks for sharing the Caponata recipe, I will give it a try. Beautiful collection of sunset captures. Enjoy your day, have a great new week!

Gillena Cox said...

Belated Birthday greetings to your daughter.
Happy Mosaic Monday


Michele Morin said...

Your tree is lovely, and I am intrigued by your recipe featuring eggplant!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Your tree is beautiful! Your Thanksgiving food all looks so yummy!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How nice to have family celebrations at this time of year and your tree looks beautiful! Happy holidays!

Samyuktha Semi Jayaprakash said...

I am hungry already! *___*

Lydia C. Lee said...

Looks like a wonderful time - those sunsents/sunrise are lovely. #SharonsSouvenirs

Barb said...

What a spread for Thanksgiving, Pat. Bob and I finally have eaten all our leftovers. We didn't have family visiting so it was our sole responsibility. I don't think Bob wants to see turkey on the menu for awhile! Happy Birthday to your daughter - she was queen for the day. Bob's 77th was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I didn't have a crown for him. Glad you got a tiny bit of snow. It's been way too mild here in the mountains, too - our meager snow is melting fast.

Ruth Hiebert said...

All the food you show looks amazing. I must really be getting old, because, I used to prepare big meals but now it just seems overwhelming . We are also hoping for lots of snow to relieve the drought conditions .

stevebethere said...

A very Happy Birthday to your daughter from London :-) 🎂

Wow all that lovely food fab photos I like your tree too

Have a caketastic week 👍

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Happy birthday to your daughter! How lovely to combine the celebration on Thanksgiving. Your Christmas tree is so pretty. Good for you having it up to enjoy for some time. We have an artificial tree now as well and hope to put it up soon. Your food looks wonderful. Such pretty pie crust! Have a happy week and hopefully snow will fall soon for you!

Lorrie said...

Your day of feasting looks amazing! The caponata sounds so delicious and I might make it for our family Christmas get together. Yum!

William Kendall said...

Wonderful shots!

Jeanie said...

What a fabulous, sumptuous holiday you had! It all looks delicious. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe for capanota!

NCSue said...

Wow! Looks amazing!
Thank you so much for sharing at

ellen b. said...

Beautiful tree. We caved last year and bought an artificial tree, too. Your celebration was amazing with so much wonderful looking food. Happy birthday to your daughter. Our middle son turned 40 at the beginning of 2021.

Veronica Lee said...

Your day of feasting sounds wonderful!

The food looks amazing!

Handmade in Israel said...

It looks like you had a lovely Thanksgiving. I love the turkey decorations on the pie! Your tree looks very pretty too.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

That's a beautiful tree. I'm a big fan of artificial trees. We've been using the same one for years. Just put it back in the box and up on the garage rafters after use each year!

Jim said...

Great skies.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

That's a beautiful tree you have there. Real trees are very expensive these days plus a lot of people are allergic to them. The new artificial trees are kind of narrow so they fit in better.

You guys ate well at Thanksgiving. Nothing like a large family gathering to share memories and food with each other.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Your tree is beautiful. I love that they come with lights on them. That to me is the hardest part of putting them up. I just love your desserts too. Beautkiful pies. Happy December!

Angie said...

Pat - Sorry for the delay in commenting - I had to make an emergency visit to Ohio to visit my brother in the hospital.

Due to my last-minute trip, we had to postpone putting up our Christmas tree - I am experiencing a little envy looking at yours!

That is quite the holiday spread. I love ratatouille, so I will have to give Caponata a whirl! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

Rambling Woods said...

Lovely to spend time with loved ones..I had to laugh. When my daughter turned 40 last year she commented on how "old" she was now.. LOL..Old not at all.....Michelle...

betty-NZ said...

Amazing decorations! Even after 15 years, I still have trouble getting 'Christmasy' in the summer!

Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!

Lowcarb team member said...

Your tree looks wonderful and your food delicious.

All the best Jan