Bounty of the Garden

Those of you who know me have heard about my mom’s multiple versions of coleslaw. Sometime after I “took up housekeeping” I realized the motivation for all those different slaws.  Mom was a child of the depression. They grew their own vegetables and raised their own meats.  They “put up” provisions for the winter but that still left them with a plentiful bounty of summer’s garden gems.  Beyond boiled or fried cabbage and “putting up” sauerkraut they were left with a lot of cabbage.  I think that’s where mom got creative and the slaw varieties were born.

The past two visits to Memphis Farmers Market I’ve been smitten with eggplant from Wilson Gardens.  Thus, I’ve had to channel mom in order to keep from gorging on eggplant fries.

The Monday night F & W eggplant and potato salad was certainly a new approach.


Another, use of eggplant I’ve enjoyed but never prepared is Caponata.

Monday Night Dinner

Grilled Duck Breast with BBQ Peach Salsa                                                                                 Black and White Parmesan Orzo                                                                                       Caponata Salad


Classic Caponata

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1 1/2-pound eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup spanish and kalamata olive mix, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons cornichons, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • salt and pepper

Heat oil in heavy saute pan over high heat. Add eggplant, shallot, and garlic; sauté until eggplant is soft and brown. Add tomatoes, vinegar, olives, capers, cornichons and sugar. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in basil, parsley and pine nuts. Serve warm or cold.

Grilled Duck Breast with BBQ Peach Salsa


We love D’artagnan products.  The first thing I ever ordered from them was foie gras…spectacular. However, we quickly moved on to many of their other incredible offerings.  Their duck breast is the best I’ve ever purchased.  I guess you could go to a lot of trouble with rubs and/or marinades but we prefer simple.


Remove from refrigerator one hour before cooking.  Pat dry and sprinkle both sides generously with garlic powder, kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  Grill on high heat fat side down for 3 minutes; turn 90 degrees and move to another section of the grill for 2 more minutes.  Flip breast and repeat the 3 minute, turn, 2 minute routine.  This will yield a relatively rare breast.  Use indirect heat if you want a more throughly cooked breast…or take inside and finish in a 400 degree oven.

The BBQ Peach Salsa is very simple…1 juicy summer peach; finely chopped…6 Peruvian Peppers; halved…2 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce.  Stir well and serve.

Black and White Parmesan Orzo

While passing the Whole Foods bulk nut and grain aisle a jar of black and white “something” caught my eye. To my surprise it was orzo.  Orzo is the perfect starchy side dish.  It gets the job done but it’s not as heavy as potatoes, rice or beans.  Needless to say the visual of black and white rocked my world. A little research tells me it’s also known as “tuxedo” or “black tie” orzo.  Our dinner wasn’t formal but the orzo made for a really dressy accompaniment to the duck.

  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup parmesan reggiano, grated
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat parsley
  • salt and pepper


Bring stock to a boil; add pasta and garlic. Return to a boil, cover, and simmer until pasta is al dente.  Just before serving finish with butter, parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir well and serve.


I hope these ideas makes your dinner lovely so a good time is had by all.

One Comment Add yours

  1. marciadid says:

    Eggplant and potato salad sounds intriguing!

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