mulberryshoots

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

Tag: eggplant

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!

grilled eggplant supper. . .

Tonight, we’re going to have a little change of pace for dinner. I love eggplant and am going to try a recipe that doesn’t call for it to be fried in breadcrumbs (which I usually do when making eggplant parmesan.) Instead, I’m going to peel the skin and slice one eggplant into three thick slices. Then, I’ll sprinkle with olive oil, seasoning salt and pepper.

A few holidays ago, I found Le Creuset cast iron round grill pans on sale. I bought a yellow one for myself and gave one to my daughters. The other day, I spied it in one of the pantry shelves, rinsed (scrubbed) it off and have been looking forward to using it, perhaps for a thick ribeye steak later in the week or grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato.

Tonight, I’m going to cook the eggplant on the grill pan for about 3-4 minutes each side. While it’s cooking, I’ll wash and chop up some fresh Roma tomato, seeded cucumber, red onion and feta cheese. When the eggplant has cooled a little, I’ll plate it and add the feta mixture on top. A hand squeeze of fresh lemon and some cracked pepper finishes it off right before we begin to eat.

I’ll heat up a wholegrain croissant to split between us on the side.

Light and healthy! Hope it tastes good too!

Footnote: grilling the eggplant required some olive oil added to the pan for each side; plus I used a cast-iron grill weight with paper towel while the eggplant cooked. This ensured that the eggplant was cooked through.

temple food . . .


So yesterday, while I had some free time to myself in the quiet of the house and kitchen, I took out my books on food and solitude, Japanese Zen temple dishes and recipes for preparing somen noodles since it’s been so hot and humid. Somen noodles are thin white noodles that are eaten cold, dipped in a sauce with dashi, soy, mirin and a little sugar. Once cooled, the dipping sauce is enhanced right before eating with strips of nori, some grated ginger and some prepared wasabi (horseradish). Dipping bitesize helpings of the cool noodles in the piquant sauce was not only delicious, but also calming and peaceful.

I had a small eggplant in the refrigerator that I poached in a similar sauce to the dashi dipping sauce, slits made lengthwise to allow the vegetable to soften and take on the flavors of the simmering broth. At room temperature and drained of the cooking liquid, I made a marinade of Japanese flavored vinegar, sesame oil, a little soy and sugar with some freshly grated ginger, which I poured on top of the eggplant after slicing it diagonally into pieces easily picked up by chopsticks.

Finally, my daughter had told me a couple of weeks ago about a dish she had made of matchstick sliced Japanese yam and hijiki seaweed, soaked ahead of time. Having scoured our local vietnamese grocery and natural foods stores for hijiki to no avail, I had to resort to ordering it online at Amazon.com! It arrived yesterday and this afternoon, I sauteed the vegetables with a little of the hijiki soaking water, soy, mirin and sugar until the dish cooked to a golden brown.

Tonight, there have been thunderstorms, lightning and rain. Our days seem to be filled with the same kind of intense activity plus lots of knitting and watching the olympics on TV. The sun is now shining on windows streaked with rain. The evening is coming to a close led by this peaceful and tasty repast drawn from Zen temple food traditions. Another way to change my life, I thought to myself.