Kitchen & Pantry

A surprisingly good eggplant and tomato pate

A surprisingly good eggplant and tomato pate |

Yesterday at CASA Veneracion was all about pasta and a lighted bottle. The pasta was made with a “mistake” and the lighted bottle was borne out of boredom.

What mistake?

At the Salcedo Market last weekend, I bought a jar of tomato eggplant pâté for Sam. I was so excited to buy something vegetarian for her that I skipped reading the fine print like I usually do. Back at home, I proudly handed the jar to Sam who, as is her habit, dove straight to the ingredients list. The pâté has anchovies, she said, and I can’t describe how I felt at that moment — sad, embarrassed, sheepish… or, maybe, just plain bad.

But me being me, I don’t dwell on things that make me feel bad. I told Alex that her sister wouldn’t be able to touch the pâté so we might as well eat it ourselves. Alex toasted slices of sourdough bread, spread them generously with the tomato eggplant pâté and topped them with grated Parmesan cheese. Delicioso! And Alex doesn’t even like eggplant!

So that gave me an idea. By the time the jar was less than half full, I decided to use the remaining pâté as pasta sauce.

“Too thick,” said Alex, the in-house pasta authority.

“Don’t worry,” I said, “I’ll fix that.”

I browned chopped bacon, added the pâté and an equal amount of homemade tomato sauce. And we had a winner!

Pasta with eggplant and tomato pate

The next chapter, naturally, is to make my version of the tomato eggplant pâté. Sooner than soon. Two versions. One with anchovies and another without anchovies for vegetarian Sam. I’m thinking of char-grilling both the tomatoes and eggplants to give the pâté a smoky undertone.

Then, there was the lighted bottle. Speedy’s work, not mine.

Blinking Christmas lights inside a bottle

You’ve probably seen a dozen versions of this on Pinterest and elsewhere on the web. And you’ve probably told yourself — maybe even more than once — that you’ll make something similar. I know I have. Dreamed, that is, of making my own. But I never did.

What prompted Speedy to make one, I do not know. Boredom, maybe. Or he was desperately trying to keep his mind off the terrible heat that has been haunting us the entire week — no, I mean MONTH. Whatever drove him, he just came down from the family room, plugged something on the wall beside the fridge in my study then he called Alex and me saying he had something to show us. The bottle with the blinking lights inside was so pretty that my first reaction was to reach out for a camera. Definitely something to consider next Christmas.

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