My sister-in-law celebrated her 45th birthday recently. And celebrated, and celebrated, and celebrated. True , it’s a birth-DAY, but the hell with what the calendar says; if you’ve got the desire, the stamina and a wide enough circle of friends to make the celebration last all month long, I say more power to you.
Different as it is from mine, I like her way of thinking. How often do we get to celebrate just being us? To acknowledge that our very existence is cause for cake and champagne? We certainly expend ample energy on self-doubt and criticism (at least I do). How about a little mojo to balance the scales every now and then? And while we’re at it, why not spread the love a little? You know, celebrate others, just because. No cards, balloons or flowers required; a simple smile will do.
Try it today — surely it will come back to you.
Roasted Eggplant Spread
Taking part in the extended birthday festivities for my sister-in-law brought a smile to my face, as well as an opportunity to whip up a quick appetizer in the kitchen. This Eggplant Spread, borrowed from the Barefoot Contessa, is simple, quick and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Even the eggplant non-enthusiasts at the party loved it.
1 medium eggplant, peeled
1/2 medium onion
1 yellow, orange or red pepper, seeded
1 green pepper, seeded
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
Cracked black pepper
1 T. tomato paste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the peeled eggplant, onion and peppers into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large bowl, and add garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat vegetables thoroughly. Spread mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast for approximately 35 minutes until vegetables are softened and starting to turn golden brown.
Allow vegetables to cool slightly. Place in a food processor, along with the tomato paste and pulse 3-4 times until mixture is slightly puréed but still has some chunkiness to it. Serve with crackers, baguette or crostini.