20 August 2008

War with Eggplant

The battle to use our veggies was a tough one tonight.  Eggplant!  Not that I don't like eggplant, but eggplant six weeks in a row gets old.  I guess I am slightly less tolerant of eggplant than others because when we were first married, my husband had planted eggplant in our backyard.  He was doing all of the cooking at the time and in my memory, fixed nothing but eggplant until I swore I would never touch another eggplant again!  I'm exaggerating a little, but besides ratatouille (which gets old real quick in my opinion) and eggplant parmesan (which takes a long time to make and is very rich) what else are you supposed to do with the little suckers?  I found a recipe tonight which uses eggplant and also our plethora of tomatoes.  Best serve it over pasta as it wasn't very filling on its own.  If you have any ideas for eggplant, please let me know.  Summer isn't over yet which means we have at least 4 more weeks of eggplant coming!

Roasted Eggplant Casserole  adapted from The French Market:  More Recipes from a French Kitchen by Joanne Harries and Fran Warde.

4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 small to medium eggplant
4 large, ripe tomatoes
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper to taste
15 oz. can of vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Rub an earthenware baking dish (about 10 inches square) with 1 garlic clove and 1 Tbs. olive oil.  Dice the remaining garlic and sprinkle a little in the bottom of the pan.  Slice the eggplant and the tomatoes about 1/2 inch thick.  Put all the vegetable ends in the bottom of the dish and arrange the slices in alternating layers seasoning with garlic, salt and pepper in between each layer.  Pour the stock over the dish and drizzle with the remaining oil.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes more.  Serve hot or cold over pasta.

Summer abundance

My family and I belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Basically, one buys into a farm at the beginning of the season thereby taking on some of the risk of the farmer and supporting the local guy.  In turn, you get a box of produce every week throughout the growing season.  August is always the time of year that we struggle to use all of the produce as the abundance is almost embarrassing.  For example, this week's box contained the following:

Onions (both bulb and green)
string beans
purple potatoes
red cabbage
hot peppers
bell peppers
2 melons
sweet corn

We are not talking just one of each either.  There were 6 ears of corn, 4 huge cucumbers, a plethora of eggplant, a huge bunch of kale, you get my point.  In order to tackle this bounty, I have gotten in the habit of making my weekly menu and shopping list after I know what is coming in the box.  I thought I'd share my dinners this week with you.  Last night was a very simple melon and shrimp salad, a cucumber dill salad, and some chocolate pudding chocolate chip cookies.  Enjoy the recipes and stay tuned for more recipes from this week!

Shrimp and Melon Salad adapted from The French Market:  More Recipes from a French Kitchen by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde

Serves 6

1 ripe melon
1 lb. shrimp cooked (I used baby shrimp)
A bunch of dill, chopped (probably about 2 tsp)
2 Tbls. olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon

Slice the top and bottom off of a melon so that it stands flat on your cutting board.  Carefully cut away all of the rind.  Cut the melon in half, scoop out the seeds, then cut melon into serving sized slices.  Arrange melon slices on a fancy plate or plate individually.  Top with shrimp and dill.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.  Serve immediately.

Cucumber Salad  taken from The French Market:  More recipes from a French Kitchen by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde. 

Serves 6

2 large cucumbers
A bunch of dill, chopped (probably 2 tsp)
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Peel the cucumbers and slice in half lengthwise.  Run the tip of a teaspoon down the middle of the cucumber halves to remove the seeds.  Slice the cucumbers finely at an angle and place in a bowl.  Add the dill, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss well and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Pudding chocolate chip cookies by Joie de vivre!

Made a lot....not sure, but at least 4 dozen

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 c. butter
1 30z. package instant chocolate fudge pudding
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips
2 1/4 c. flour
1 c. walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Soften the butter and mix well with the brown sugar.  Add each ingredient in order, mixing well before adding another ingredient.  Roll into walnut sized balls and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten cookies with spatula or fingers (they do not spread much)  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.  (Mine baked in exactly 9 minutes)

Enjoy and stay tuned for more recipes using this week's produce!