cooking summer vegetables in the morning! . . .
Since I came home last Thursday with an armload of fresh vegetables from the local farm, I’ve been meaning to cook the slender asian eggplants, not wanting to have them languish too long in the fridge. I’ve discovered that cooking in the morning after breakfast suits me very well because it’s still relatively cool and most of the cooking for supper is done before lunch!
So today, I washed and sliced the golden beets in half and put them into a Japanese donabe pot with lid and about an inch of water. I placed the vessel in a cold oven and brought it up to 350 degrees and then 375 degrees, setting the timer for an hour. I’ve been putting off cooking these too because it’s too warm to heat up the oven around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. So, I’ll dress the beets in a Japanese vinegar, honey dressing when they’re cool for a side dish tonight.
In the meantime, I heated up a deep pot with a layer of peanut oil and chopped up a huge clove of garlic, letting it cook gently while I quarter cut the thin eggplants (cut on a diagonal, turn 1 quarter, cut diagonally, in chunks) until the vegetables were cut up and ready to toss into the simmering garlic oil. I used four slender eggplants and cooked them, adding just a little more vegetable oil over high heat midway, and a dressing of Ohsawa soy sauce (organic from VitaCost.) Mixed the eggplant well and added a dollop of honey (vs. sugar) and let it cook. Taking a large piece of fresh ginger root, I hand grated it on the large holes of a box grater (microplane was too small) and added a hefty amount into the cooked eggplant. Stirred it around and turned off the heat.
The eggplant and the beets will stay at room temperature on top of the stove until supper time to serve with bowls of hot jasmine rice. Right before serving, I’ll chop up some fresh cilantro leaves and sprinkle it on top of the eggplant. So the only thing left to do is to start the rice cooker before dinner. Sounds pretty good to me!