Roasted Peppers & Marinated Eggplants, by Susana

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“I think that cooking is one of the most gratifying chores in the house. I love it! If I’m in a bad mood or having a bad day, cooking always cheers me up,” Susana assures.

Susana Saporiti is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She graduated from the Industrial School of Applied Arts Fernando Fader as a Drawing, Engraving, and Metal Teacher. Throughout her career as a painter, Susana has experimented with many materials and artistic styles, such as charcoal, pastels, oil, collage, woodcut; portraits, nature, interior, figures, landscapes; realism and abstraction…Her intrinsic artistic sensitivity makes an appearance in many other aspects of her life. “When I cook,” she says, “I feel that the color combinations and the presentation of the food, in the menu and on the table, are essential.”

Color is, indeed, a very important factor when pursuing a healthy and balanced diet. According to registered dietitian, author, and former Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Karen Ansel, adding a splash of colorful seasonal foods to your plate makes for more than just a festive meal. “A rainbow of foods creates a palette of nutrients, each with a different bundle of potential benefits for a healthful eating plan,” she explains.

These recipes, Roasted Bell Peppers and Eggplants in Vinegar, are a small sample of Susana’s palette.

To learn more about her artistic career and follow her on Facebook, visit Susana Saporiti’s page.


Roasted Bell Peppers

♥ Bell Peppers→ great source of antioxidants, vitamin C and A, carotene, folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, and riboflavin. A bell pepper’s nutritional content increases as it ripens, so allow your bell peppers to ripen outside of the fridge before you eat them. Also, their nutritional content varies with their color (green, yellow, orange, red, purple, and black). Since high temperatures can damage the vegetable’s phytonutrients, eating your bell peppers raw maximizes their health benefits. Red bell peppers have a higher nutritional value than green, yellow or orange bell peppers. Purple or black bell peppers, which are usually more difficult to find, also have a high nutritional content, so if you ever see them at your local farmers market, make sure you give them a try, or even better, grow them at home!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 bell peppers (two orange, two red, and two yellow)
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves
  • Pepper corns
  • 3 or 4 bay leaves
  • A large glass jar
  • Vegetable or canola oil

PREPARATION:

  1. Wash the bell peppers and place them on a cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cookie sheet in oven and let the peppers bake for about an hour, or until they get wrinkly and brown.
  2. When they are ready, take them out of the oven and wrap them in newspaper (or any paper you have) until they cool off.
  3. Once they have cooled off, remove the paper, peel them, and remove the seeds and stem. Cut them into slices and put them in the glass jar. Try to mix the colors and add the garlic cloves, bay leaves and pepper corns in between layers of peppers.
  4. Do not add salt. Salt can cause your peppers to spoil sooner.
  5. Finally, fill the jar with oil, enough to cover all the peppers. Do not use olive oil because it will thicken once refrigerated.

Eat your delicious roasted bell peppers in sandwiches or on crackers. Use them as a pizza toping or to decorate and enhance any dish!

Note: “Once you ate all the peppers, you can recycle the oil and use it for salads or for cooking, or you can roast more bell peppers and refill the jar,” Susana says, and she adds, “These roasted bell peppers are great to accompany with a glass of wine!”


Marinated Eggplants 

According to Susana, these marinated eggplants are simply delicious when served with bread or crackers. They are also a great compliment to salads and sandwiches and can be served as a side to other dishes.

♥ Eggplant→ also known as aubergine, eggplant is a species of nightshade–members of the family Sonalaceae–which are usually grown for they economical importance (tomatoes, bell peppers, and potatoes are also part of this family). Nightshade plants are also known for being poisonous to humans, belladonna or “deadly nightshade” is an example of a toxic nightshade plant. Eggplants are rich in fiber and a great source of vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, potassium and manganese. They are also effective antioxidants and help lower LDL cholesterol levels.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants (if you want less seeds, avoid large eggplants, the bigger they are, the more seeds they will have)
  • 1 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • Pepper corns–or freshly ground pepper–and chili flakes
  • Chopped parsley
  • Canola oil
  • A large glass jar

PREPARATION:

  1. Cut the eggplants into 1/2 inch slices. Then cut slices into quarters.
  2. In a medium pot on high heat, boil the water and vinegar. Add salt, a crushed garlic and bay leaves. Once the water has begun to boil, add the eggplants to the pot. Allow eggplants to cook for 4-5 minutes or until they look cooked.
  3. With a skimmer, remove the quartered eggplant from the pot and place them in a colander (save the vinegar-water in the pot). Allow eggplants to completely cool off.
  4. Put eggplant quarters in the glass jar. Add chopped parsley, one or two crushed garlic cloves, chili flakes, pepper corns or ground pepper, and a generous squirt of oil.
  5. Finally, fill the jar with the cooled vinegar-water, enough to cover all of the eggplants. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Buen provecho!

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