Farmer’s Market Bounty Hunter

This past weekend, I was driving East on the Mass Pike when I spotted one of those signs for a farmer’s market at the rest area.

“Damn,” I thought, “it’s after 5:30, they’ll be closed!” But I decided just driving through the rest area couldn’t hurt.

Thank goodness I did! Though they were packing up, the farmer’s market still had lots of produce. I bought a quart of blueberries, about a pound of green beans, an eggplant, an Asian eggplant, a bunch of beets, a bunch of carrots, and a cucumber. The total was $14.10. Such a bargin for so much organic produce! I was so overjoyed with the fact that I’d made it in time, I gave the farmer $15 and told her I didn’t need change. She looked surprised, then grateful. (And then she told me to take another cucumber!)

We devoured the blueberries en route. I thought we’d munch on the green beans, but I never want them quite as much as I think I do. I think I confuse them in my head with snap and snow peas. I’ll make those with garlic and lemon sometime this week. The beets and carrots will get shredded and make a nice salad.

Tonight, though, I tackled the eggplants and the cucumbers: I sliced the cucumbers, salted and peppered them, and tossed them in some vinegar and olive oil with some freeze dried dill.

And then, whoops, I ate them all. SO TASTY!

For the eggplant, I braved the summer heat and warmed up the oven. I sliced them up, laid them on a cookie sheet, coated them in olive oil, sprinkled on kosher salt, pepper, and dried rosemary.

(Now, in retrospect, I can see that I need a pastry brush, since I definitely used too much olive oil. But if there’s one thing I hate, it’s chewy eggplant, so I erred on the side of caution.)

I stuck the eggplant in the oven on the top rack uncovered at about 350ish (my oven is old and I don’t think that it gets up to its temperature sometimes), waited about 10 minutes until everything was crispy and delicious. Then I put them in a bowl, got a fork, and devoured them all. The regular eggplant got softer than the Asian eggplant, but really, they were all SO TASTY!

(Now, in retrospect, I really should have blotted them with a paper towel. But man, they were so perfectly charred and the greatest combination of crispy and velvety that I couldn’t resist. But really, could they have been any worse for me than fries? I doubt it. Somehow organic eggplant plus olive oil can’t be as bad as partially hydrogenated oil-coated potatoes.)

Plus, while the eggplant was cooking and while I prepped the cucumbers, I marinated and then roasted some chicken for lunch this week. With fresh basil from my little basil plant, hooray!