at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Appetizer Plate: Garlic Goat Cheese Spread, Roasted Red Pepper Spread, Caponata

After going out with Tom for drinks and appetizers a few weeks back -- and the appetizer plate not coming as specified on the menu -- I had been wanting to make my own appetizer platter as a fun and different dinner. I wanted to do a set of spreads that I could put over warm slices of a French baguette, and possibly pair with some cured meats. The first couple of recipes that I had in mind were some sort of goat cheese spread and a roasted red pepper spread -- two things that I had had before and liked, but never tried making myself. The Garlic Goat Cheese Spread, was basically taken from a recipe I found on -- and included a mixture of goat cheese, plain Greek yogurt, roasted garlic and herbs (I think I used basil and oregano rather than thyme).

roasted garlic
Started with some roasted garlic -- perhaps the second time I've ever done
this...I should roast garlic more often!

Mixed goat cheese, yogurt, roasted garlic, green onions, herbs/spices and
olive oil together in a food processor -- very simple!

roasted garlic and herb goat cheese spread
Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese Spread - ready to serve!

Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese Spread - goes great on bread!

The next recipe I wanted to make was a Roasted Red Pepper Spread.  I ended up finding a great recipe for this on, as well. I think I followed all of the directions on this recipe (roasted red peppers, parsley, roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese) -- except that I decided to try roasting my own red peppers.  I found some on sale at the store and gave it a shot!

roasted red peppers
Very simple - just quartered peppers, roasted in a hot (maybe 500 degree)
oven until skins browned; cool and remove outer skin. Stored in olive oil.
Roasted Red Pepper Spread
Just mix all of the ingredients in a food processor and voila!

The final recipe that I wanted to make was a bit more complicated. Mostly because I wasn't sure what to call it, and hence, wasn't sure how to search for a recipe. We had recently had an appetizer that included tomato and eggplant and I wanted to try something similar. After lots of searching, I decided that what I wanted to make is what is called Caponata. From what I could gather, Caponata is basically an eggplant relish, and the recipes varied quite a bit. I decided to take what I liked from several different recipes (some called caponata, and some other similar dishes), and create my own. 

Roasted Eggplant Caponata

  • 2 small eggplants
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 roasted red pepper, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Salt


Dice eggplant into small cubes. Sprinkle with sea salt and toss to coat. Place in a strainer for 20-30 minutes, until eggplant starts to "sweat" (supposedly, this helps take the bitterness out of the eggplant). Rinse eggplant and pat dry. Place eggplant on an oiled baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. I was surprised, but the roasted eggplant by itself was delicious!

Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onion is translucent. Add roasted eggplant and tomatoes and stir until warm. Add spices to taste. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add chopped basil. Chill in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature.

I thought the caponata turned out great. It was something very different and unique.  I am also considering putting in a couple of eggplant plants in my garden this year, and this was a fun way to test out a different use for them.

garlic goat cheese spread and caponata panini
The Garlic Goat Cheese Spread & Caponata paired together
nicely to make a DE-licious panini!

Yummy lunch, with the goat cheese/ caponata panini, pears, and salad

And for my appetizer dinner.. we ended up with quite a nice little assortment!

appetizer platter with various spreads and cured meats - with baguette
Appetizers for dinner!

Caponata, Roasted Red Pepper Spread, Garlic Goat Cheese Spread - on warm baguette slices
Caponata, Roasted Red Pepper Spread, Garlic Goat Cheese Spread -
on warm baguette slices

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!