My friend Elise has a sterling palate. She has traveled the entire world and spent weeks in places like Armenia, the Greek Islands, most of Asia (including long jaunts in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand), on safari in Africa, to most of the world’s islands, South America and all of Europe. Interestingly, she is bored with Italian food. Not including pizza, she says, for which there is no right time.
In my home growing up pizza was a real treat. Sometimes my father would pick up a pizza from Nicky’s on the way home from work. Nicky’s pizza was a long rectangle, topped with tomato sauce and small squares of cheese. The crust was thin, the sauce was ladled judiciously and the pieces of cheese were less than 1/16th of an inch thick.
I’m not sure there was any left in the refrigerator the next morning, but if there had been, my brother and I would fight for it. (We would also fight for the leftover ravioli that a family friend occasionally gave us.)
I have always loved pizza, and Connecticut is home to some of the best pizza anywhere. I will eat it fresh, cold, hot, warm, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Yet, like Elise, I have something I think it is never the right time for: as hors d’oeuvre or appetizer, all dips will ruin my appetite for dinner. And why can’t I double-dip on dips, since I’m not sure I love crackers or chips, either. But this dip below, which a friend brought to my house a couple of weeks ago, is luscious. There was dip left over, so the next night, with a few pita chips, I had it for dinner.
Roasted Eggplant Spread
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, New York, 1999)
Yield: serves 6 to 8
1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons of good olive oil
1 and one-half teaspoon kosher or sea salt
one-half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut eggplant, bell pepper and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly.
Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add tomato paste and pulse 3 to 4 times to blend. Toss with salt and pepper.
Serve with crackers or pita chips.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
As an avid reader of The Day, I saw an article about a new restaurant called Moe’s Southwest Grill at the Waterford Common. My mouth watered: could this be like one of my favorites, Chipotle, of which we have none in our area?
It is, and it may even be better. I had a burrito twice. Atop a warmed wrap, you can choose from 20 fresh ingredients, from rice and beans, to meat (or no meat at all), with guac or sour cream, salsa or pico de gallo, chopped cilantro, corn salad and more. There are also rice bowls, quesadillas, nachos, fajitas, tacos or salads. Chips and salsa is free. I am so happy it is here.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
903-915 Hartford Turnpike (Waterford Common)
Waterford, CT 06385