Easy Appetizer:: Eggplant Camponata

 

If you have your copy of Cocktail Italiano, you know that it’s not only filled with cocktails but also delicious appetizers. In the section on Imperia, an industrial town along the coast, you’ll find three classic cocktails and several nibble recipes. This eggplant camponata is one of them. Camponata is one of my favorite, stand by appetizers. It’s creamy, spicy, salty, and of course, eggplant-y. It’s divine.

I like to serve mine with thin crackers or crostini, along with arugula and grape tomatoes. Plate it all with a touch of grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of the best olive oil you have. Enjoy!

Eggplant Camponata

You will need:

– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 small red onion, finely chopped
– 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or coarsely chopped
– 4 cups of cubed eggplant, skin on (1″ cubes)
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– 1 cup chopped fresh basil
– 1/4 cup capers
– 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
– 1/2 cup tomato sauce (from a jar is fine, unless you have homemade hanging around)
– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper to taste
– Parmesan cheese for garnish
– Crispy crackers or flat crostini (find this recipe in Cocktail Italiano, too!)

To prepare:

In a large pan, saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add all other ingredients, except Parmesan cheese. Cover and stir frequently, so camponata does not stick. Saute on low heat until combined and soft, about 30-40 minutes.

Serve as a warm appetizer on crisp crackers and plate with arugula and tomatoes. Enjoy alongside cold white or sparkling wine with friends.

xx Annette

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Aperitivo Recipe:: Parmesan Crisps

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If you follow along on Instagram, you know that I’ve been meeting a few friends weekly via ZOOM for a virtual aperitivo. We nosh on nibbles and sip on drinks and catch up.

These lovely little two-bite parmesan crisps are savory and salty with a crunch—perfect to serve with a chilled citrus-y glass of prosecco or rose and ideal for aperitivo. In my book, I serve them with a tomato jam and mozzarella (seen above), but they really are lovely alone, too!

Two Bite Parmesan Crisps
Makes about 32

You will need:
– 8 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
– Place 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on a cookie sheet fitted with a silpat.
– Arrange the spoonfuls about 3 inches apart as they will spread to form round crisps.

To prepare:
Place in a 350 F degree oven for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool before enjoying.

 

From my book Picture Perfect Parties RIzzoli NY

 

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Peach season is here!

Peach Cobbler

It’s finally here; peach season! The peaches at the markets are so fragrant right now and are pouring in from local farmers around the region.

Here’s my quick and easy peach cobbler recipe. This peach dessert is perfect because you can easily make a smaller or larger version as needed. Don’t forget to top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Let me know if you give it a try.

Easy Peach Cobbler
Serves 6-8

You will need:

– 8 ripened peaches cut into wedges
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 2 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup butter cut into small cubes
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup cold water

To Prepare:

Preheat the over to 375 degrees F.

Wash and cut the peaches into wedges and toss with 1/4 cup sugar, set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, butter, and sugar. With your hands, knead the ingredients until the dough becomes sandy then add water and combine until the dough pulls together. The dough should be soft.

In a ceramic baking dish place the peaches (I like an oval 9″:  9″ x 6 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ high; 1-qt. cap.), and then cover the top with the dough. The dough should be rustic and look cobbled. Place dish into the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until peaches are bubbling, and the cobbler is golden brown.

Enjoy warm with ice cream, whip cream, or at room temperature.

Photo Credit: Me

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AJS Team in Quarantine: Kate Blohm

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Hi there, I’m Kate Blohm, the on-staff photographer of La Fortezza. Quarantine has been a mixture of emotions, as I’m sure it has with everyone. I hope that you and yours are staying well and that after reading, you may be inspired to lean into the small joys in this new pace of living. 

When everything started happening, I was already in North Carolina for my niece’s birthday. The numbers in Atlanta started to grow, my jobs were being canceled and then my roommate was diagnosed with the virus (she has thankfully since recovered).

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I ended up staying with my family for a few weeks and at first, I felt really overwhelmed trying to figure out what I could do, how I could help and contribute as much as possible. I realized that I had to transition my thinking to be smaller, actionable items and focus on this day and what I can do next to help others and take care of myself. 

Each night I cooked dinner for my parents (who both work essential jobs), and each day I watched my niece Elliott for my brother and sister-in-law (who also work essential jobs). It was quite the opposite of my life here in Atlanta, so I tried to savor the slowness with that freshly turned two-year-old. We went for walks, baked cookies, danced daily and had pool parties. It was a nice change of pace, and it was very fulfilling for me to be able to spend that kind of time with my family. 

Since returning to Atlanta, I’ve been working a lot with my friends at Georgia Organics, a non-profit that connects Georgia’s organic farmers to Georgia consumers. Originally we were working on a video project for the G.O. Farmer Champion Campaign, a campaign designed to encourage and celebrate chefs and restaurants who focus their sourcing on buying local. There was an award ceremony planned for May, the video was 90% shot, caterer sourced, flowers budgeted for, the whole shebang, but like many things these days, it’s been canceled until further notice.

However, the work is still moving forward, and we’re transitioning the story to also cover G.O.’s responses to the outbreak, like Food Fight GA, “This new initiative is providing restaurant workers with weekly grocery boxes including ingredients sourced from Georgia farms and freshly baked bread from Root Baking Co.” It’s been really grounding to watch this movement unfold and see how the Atlanta food community is rallying together to support each other in this time of crisis.

At home, I’ve been able to do a lot of the things that I’ve been “too busy” to do. Over the years, I’ve saved recipe videos (mostly Bon Appetit) or bookmarked cookbook pages with the intention to cook it someday. “Someday” always feels like it’s coming but for some things, it never does. I’ve tried to utilize this time to be full of all of the “somedays”.

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For me, it’s things like roasting a whole chicken and not letting any of it go to waste or writing letters on those beautiful postcards that I got in Greece and mailing them out or finally scheduling time to complete Marie Forleo’s B-School. Having to find joy in daily (at-home) life is the new norm, for who knows how long…so I encourage you to reach out to people you care about, do some things that you’ve always wanted to do “someday”, eat nourishing food and support local as much as you can. I promise, it’ll help you feel better. 

Photos by Kate Blohm

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Advocate for Change, a Guest Post by My Daughter, Alex

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My daughter, Alex, a former federal prosecutor, volunteers her time to reform the criminal justice system. I asked her to contribute today in the hopes that her words will inspire others to volunteer and advocate for a more just world: 

I am passionate about criminal justice reform in my home state of Georgia. My parents (hi mom!) always encouraged me to speak up when I encountered injustice and to be a passionate, informed advocate for change!

It is time to radically overhaul our criminal justice system. 1 in 13 adults in Georgia are under some sort of supervision (this includes probation, parole, prison or jail). Additionally, half of the prison population and two-thirds of the jail population have a mental illness. As a result, our criminal justice system is the country’s largest mental health institution. The rise of incarceration is directly correlated to the destruction of our country’s mental health resources.

Prosecutors are the most powerful actors in the criminal justice system. And many people don’t realize it but sheriffs both (1) run a police force and (2) manage county jails. It is especially important to elect progressive sheriffs since they serve both functions.

This is why I volunteer with Informed Georgians for Justice (IGJ). IGJ is a non-partisan organization comprised of volunteers from across the state. The organization empowers citizens to advance criminal justice reform through informed voting in sheriff and district attorney races. Many voters do not realize the tremendous impact these elected officials have on criminal justice.

IGJ aims to educate the public about why these elections matter, and about the specific candidates’ policy positions. IGJ does not endorse any candidate.

Currently, IGJ is conducting a state-wide voter education project sponsored by the Georgia NAACP.  IGJ is gathering information from candidates for the 2020 sheriff, district attorney and solicitor races through a questionnaire containing approximately 35 yes/no questions regarding implementation of specific justice reform measures.

Questionnaire responses are posted on our website, and our website is updated daily as IGJ receives additional responses. if you’re in Georgia, please visit our website today to learn more about your local sheriff and district attorney races. If you are not in Georgia, please research local candidates and vote for progressive prosecutors and sheriffs!

Recommended reading and viewing: 

BOOKS AND ARTICLES 

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander 

Charged by Emily Bazelon

Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration 

Bail Reform, Explained 

MOVIES

The Kalief Browder Story (available on Netflix)

13th (available on Netflix)

Just Mercy (available on Amazon Prime)

Shelf illustration by Jane Mount

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