Eggplant Tragedy

We get eggplants almost weekly in our CSA share. To my great delight, the folks we split the share with don’t care for eggplant, so we get to take it. Lovely.

Except this past week, I opened the veggie drawer to see that there were two eggplants in a sad state. One was so brown it was no longer purple, and the other was beginning to show similar signs of age. I resolved to cook it immediately, and sauteed it with some sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce.

Alas, when I sat down to eat it, it was… off. I couldn’t swallow it.

Let this be a lesson to all of you: Eat your eggplants while they’re purple.

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!