Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Saga Continues

Eggplant Butter turns out to be a great component to have on hand. It is one of those "goes with" ingredients that inspired me to try it out in a variation on one of our favorite appetizers from a "back of each issue" Texas Monthly Recipe my family has enjoyed for years.

This is not so much cooking as it is combining great elements to build a tasty tower of Yum! I called these "butter boats" for lack of a more proper name. If I spoke French fluently I am sure a descriptively elegant moniker would be a breeze. At any rate, here is what you are looking at from bottom to top:

2) Filone bread, thin cut into angled oval slices, and marked in a panini grill to close off the bread surface and add a bit more texture, then cut in half again to provide a two-three bite sized piece.
2) Approximately a tablespoon (a "ploosh") of eggplant butter at room temperature
3) Two freshly boiled/peeled Texas Gulf Shrimp to create a "ring"
4) Two angle cut pieces of asparagus, grilled after being coated with olive oil, sea salted and peppered to taste

These treats were a real party in the mouth. My husband (who likes to live dangerously) looked at the platter amply covered with the "boats" and asked what we were having besides appetizers?! A fair question in a way - the recipe did evolve from an appetizer as a starting point. But what we ended up with was more like loads of small open faced sandwiches.

We had the Butter Boats, a lovely mixed green salad with a vinaigrette to echo the balsamic in the butter prep, and a glass of Campus Stella, one of our favorite AlboriƱo wines from the Rias Baixas region and readily available from Twin Liquors among other vendors.

If you haven't tried the Eggplant Butter recipe, now you have additional incentive to give it a whirl. You'll be rewarded with several cups of wonderfully balanced rich winter goodness to use in all sorts of dishes. Let your imagination go - you won't be sorry.

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