This weekend was very relaxing and I feel like I have a lot of things to say about it, despite its generally laid-back nature. So, here is installment one: eggplant adventure.
On Saturday morning I went to the farmer's market on my own. I do not know the last time I went alone was, there is always someone willing to meet me there, but unfortunately my normal partner's in crime were celebrating a Jewish holiday and my back-ups were all otherwise occupied. I did quite well for myself though. I recently borrowed a cookbook from the library called Simply in Season. As the title suggests, the book focuses on recipes for produce as it comes into season in the spring, summer, and fall. The recipes sound delicious, although the other notes in the book are both a bit too hippie and a bit to religious for my tastes. Of course, when I say hippie I am using the 90s version of the word (pot smiking, tree hugging, granola eating "one with the earth" types), not the 60s version (pot smoking, other drug taking, rock-festival attending types). Almost every page either included a bible quote, a story about how gardening ties you to the earth and is good for you, or both (or in the rare case, a mini-lecture on the evils of agro-business, of fast food, etc). Anyways, the recipes still are enticing, and they did inspire me to try some new types of produce. I am interested in trying Leeks and Kale, Eggplant, and a number of other things (these being the fall varieties). So, I embraced my book-inspired produce kick at the Farmers market and picked up much more than I normally do, including the first of my experiments: Eggplant.
I have had eggplant before, for sure. But, I have to admit I have never cooked it, and never had it in such a way that I was considering whether I liked it or not. I know that sounds odd, but it has been one of those things that when it came up I ate it and did not give it much thought. Sunday I cooked it up. I used a slightly altered recipe from Simply in Season called "Spicy Eggplant" that called for sliced Eggplant to be coated in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, fresh cilantro, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, and then broiled. The main alterations I made was replacing the lemon juice with lime juice, and using a curry blend that included coriander in lew of straight coriander. Incedently. I also took the opportunity to try a bit of raw eggplant, as my cookbook said "not normally eaten raw". I don't know why its not normally eaten raw, it was quite tasty, much like summer squash or zuchini raw, only crisper (which in my opinion is a good thing). I totally can see throwing it in a salad or putting it out to dip. Anyways, I also prepared a raw-corn salad of my own design w/raw corn cut off the cobs, plenty of cilantro, sweet peppers, hot banana pepper, and tomatillos (all raw), tossed in lime juice.
The final result? A delicious meal. The eggplant smelled wonderufl cooking with all of those spices on it, and once out was tasty and paired perfectly with the raw-corn salad. It was a hippie meal if I ever saw one, but quite yummy. I did miss having a bit of meat involved, but I think that in all reality we as a society should probably eat a bit less meat and the occasional meat free, wheat free meal could do us a lot of good. I will certainly make this again and continue to experiment w/Eggplant and other new ingredients.