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Celebrating Single Awareness Day

February 12, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOK I know I might have a little bit of a jaded view of the whole weekend expectations. Romance is in the air, people spend obscene amounts of money for imported flowers that don’t grow this time of year in the US, and make financial gestures in chocolate, meals and other things they don’t do any other time. It’s couple bliss, or not if it’s not mentioned or nothing is on sale.

Take heart fellow single folks – there’s advantages to being single in the middle of February. We can watch what we want and the only one to notice the movie choice is the dog or cat. They usually don’t object. We can get our own chocolate, or not. Or we can stay in and create a meal that we want, without objection. Maybe like Eric Neznik’s stuffed French toast (OK couples can do this for each other too!).

Or for a healthier – and hotter – alternative to sugar and chocolate, make this Caper Studded Caponata and snack with crackers, flatbred, celery sticks and thinly sliced cucumbers. From The Healthy Slowcooker book, this is a vegan friendly recipe. Treat yourself to the book instead of the expensive flowers and make a change for you!

Caper Studded Caponata

1 medium eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and drained of excess moisture

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup reconstituted sun dried tomatoes (soak dried tomatoes in 1 1/2 cup boiling water for 15 minutes)

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 tablespoon drained capers

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves.

1. In a small bowl, combine vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves, Set aside.

2. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat. Add eggplant, in batches, if necessary, and cook, stirring and tossing, until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes per batch, adding more oil, if necessary. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add garlic, peppercorns and salt to pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add sun-dried tomatoes and vinegar mixture and stir to combine. Stir into stoneware.

3. Place a large piece of parchment over the eggplant mixture, pressing it down to brush the food and extending up the sides of the stoneware so it overlaps the rim. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours, until mixture is hot and bubbly. Lift out parchment and discard, being careful not to spill the accumulated liquid into the mixture. Stir in bell pepper and capers. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes, until bell pepper is soft and flavors blend. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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