Spicy Eggplant & Kalamata Olives from Kara Emmons

2 small eggplants, about 1 ½ lbs. (not enough eggplant? add zucchini)

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2-4 medium cloves garlic, minced

¼-1 tsp. crushed dried red pepper flakes (if you don’t like it too spicy, use less)

Green onions or scallions, trimmed, cut into 1” pieces (as much or as little as you like)

1 Italian frying or sweet pepper, cut into 1” pieces

1 ½ tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. salt

½ cup slivered pitted Kalamata olives

Peel eggplants; cut into 3”x¼”-thick strips. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in heavy skillet or wok over medium heat. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes, then eggplant, green onions and pepper flakes. Sprinkle with oregano and ¼ tsp. salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl; stir in olives.

Variation: For Pasta Salad, whisk together ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbs. mirin and olive oil and chopped fresh parsley to taste. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture in bowl; cover and let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Cook 1 lb. rigatoni or other pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold running water to cool. Drain well. Stir into vegetable mixture. Makes about 8 servings.

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