mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: beets

cooking summer vegetables in the morning! . . .

raw eggplant, quarter-cut

eggplant cooked in garlic, peanut oil, soy, honey & grated fresh ginger root

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!

 

thank you, “mother earth”! . . .

I’ve debated about joining a CSA for the growing season and this year, I decided as usual to take my chances going to farm stands for vegetables and fresh corn when it’s in season. Berberian’s Farm is about 20 minutes drive from my house and today, I was especially impressed with the produce – locally grown at the farm and picked at the peak of perfection – small beautiful eggplants, rosy radishes, patty pan squash, golden beets and of course ears of their wonderfully sweet butter and sugar corn. (They also have Silver Queen white corn later in August which is even sweeter and more succulent than the B&S they have now.)

This armful of freshness cost less than $15.00! The end of July and beginning of August is sweet corn season – and some years, we’ve had it available all the way to November, believe it or not! Rolled on a stick of chilled unsalted Kerrygold butter and sprinkled with Maldon Salt, bathed in freshly ground peppercorns: this is heaven for everyone – whether you’re going on vacation in August or staying home like us to savor the bounty of Mother Earth in the peak of summer! YAY!

a winter supper . . .

flowers and candlesGjelina, a restaurant in Venice Beach, California, serves simple vegetable dishes and has recently come out with a cookbook. It arrived on Sunday and the dishes looked appetizing, promising flavors that might be more complex than usual.

Since we are wanting to pare down on all the things that we should be eating less of (red meat, potatoes, sugar and bread) I thought we’d try changing our mindset so that we would share a vegetable dish as our our dinner, rather than as a side dish to add to a heavier meal.

Michael Pollan, in his little paperback called “Food Rules” says basically that we should eat primarily what grows above the ground (greens) and eat less, stopping when we feel 70% full. Thus, I thought it might be a novel idea to shift our expectations and cut down by sharing a vegetable side dish that preserved flavor and that also retained foodie cooking flair that I would miss terribly if all we ate was steamed green vegetables! I took macrobiotic cooking lessons years ago and while it might be healthy, it wasn’t long on flavor or culinary interest, at least not to me.

So tonight, I roasted orange beets, marinated them in a sherry vinegar, orange juice, olive oil dressing to which I added avocado and fresh segments of mineola oranges, topped with toasted, crushed hazelnuts. It was satisfying and tasty too. Next time, we thought we’d put this dish on a bed of arugula and watercress greens.

vegetable dinner

Other dishes in the line-up for supper this week are cooked coarse corn grits (polenta) topped with a fresh mushroom melange and a poached egg on top; roasted acorn squash with brown butter and fresh rosemary and caramelized Japanese sweet potato wedges served with yogurt and fresh lime sprinkled with sliced scallions. A bountiful green salad of arugula, baby spinach, watercress with a sharp soy-ginger-lime vinaigrette might be tasty alongside. Or add some garlicky shrimp scampi to the aforementioned green salad.

To break the monotony, I did come home with a Bell & Evans organic chicken that I’ll brine on Wednesday and roast with potatoes for dinner with an old friend on Thursday night. AND, since fresh crabmeat from Maine is still available, I might make a crabmeat quiche as a treat for the weekend!

And so it goes.