I am absolutely terrible at packing my lunch for work — I try to bring leftovers every once in a while, but I tend to prefer heading out for lunch to get something fresh. When a copy of Mason Jar Salads and More showed up in my mailbox though, I figured it was good motivation to make something tasty to bring along with me to work this week. The book has lots of good tips for layering salads and meal ingredients in mason jars to keep them fresh and crisp (dressing on the bottom, and pack down ingredients over it to keep other ingredients from getting soggy!). I took inspiration from the book’s caprese pasta recipe and made my own version: spinach tortellini with pesto, mozzarella, grape tomatoes, red onions, grilled corn, and more tortellini on top — the flavors melded together great!

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On a recent trip to the farmer’s market, I spotted the cutest little mini eggplants (I learned they’re called fairy tale eggplants) and had to scoop some up to experiment with. Given the warm weather recently, I decided to use them in a summer-temperature-friendly appetizer — eggplant caprese bites. I washed the eggplants and sliced them into thin, 1/4 rounds, then dunked them in a whisked egg batter and dredged them lightly in Italian bread crumbs. Using a large skillet, I browned the eggplant in olive oil, and then let them come up to room temperature while resting on a clean paper towel to remove some of the oil. Then comes assembly time — on a toothpick I stacked up tomatoes, eggplant rounds, halves of mini-mozzarella balls, and fresh basil leaves. Right before I served them I sprinkled the bites with sea salt for a little extra flavor. Aren’t they so bright and cheery?

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This weekend I had major order envy when one of my girlfriends had an amazing eggplant caprese sandwich while we were out to lunch on Newbury Street. I was still thinking about yesterday afternoon and decided to make a salad version for dinner with my own twist. Breaded eggplant with some tomatoes and mozzarella, topped with sun-dried tomato pesto — it was such a nice combination of fresh summer flavors!

 

I did a little bit of shopping and a whole lot of eating. Popped into a brand new J.Crew outlet on Sunday just to browse and somehow left with a bag full of clothes. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? And some Summer staples were on the weekend menu — a fresh caprese salad jazzed up with pesto and olives, followed by fro-yo and sprinkles for dessert; doesn’t get any better than that! What were you up to this weekend?

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