10 October 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Wild Asters

Wild asters blooming along the Farmington River.

07 October 2018

An Excess of Eggplant


Look at that handsome Under-Gardener with his arms full of aubergines. Does he look a bit stunned by the number of fruits cradled in his arms? Does he wonder what suspicious aubergine-enriched meals await him?

As you can see, we are suffering from an excess of eggplant (that's "aubergine" if you're English). When I planted three wee, spindly seedlings in May I hardly expected them to amount to much. At best, one might thrive while the others dwindled and died. More likely, none would survive to fruit. And then, this.

These plants aren't anything special -- just your classic Italian eggplant -- and I did absolutely nothing for them aside from a bit of fertilizer early on. But the amount of fruit coming off them since late August has been, well, bonkers.

So what do we do with all that eggplant? While I've taken an occasional basket to work, mostly we've just eaten them.

Betty Crocker's "Baba Ghanoush" is definitely my go-to recipe. It's easy, delicious, keeps well, and is well-suited to my snacky lifestyle. I've tried other baba ghanoush recipes, but Betty Crocker's is the one I keep coming back to. The addition of roasted chickpeas just gives it that extra bit of something.

I've also made Martha Rose Shulman’s "Lasagna with Tomato Sauce & Roasted Eggplant" from the New York Times with fabulous results. It reheats well, so don't be concerned about the amount of leftovers it makes.


In a pinch, I roast cubed eggplant with cherry tomatoes, onion, and garlic and then toss the vegetables with cooked multigrain pasta, feta, basil, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Most recently, I made Betty Crocker's "Stuffed Eggplant." This was an delicious, easy Sunday dinner that even The Husband enjoyed. I did make some alterations to the recipe, cooking the onion, pepper, and garlic together in the olive oil, then adding the beef so I didn't dirty two skillets. I also used a blend of shredded cheddars instead of pecorino Romano, because cheddar is all I had.


And there are still more eggplant.

05 October 2018

Around Connecticut: The Sweet Beet


I've been following The Sweet Beet, a vegan health food market in Granby, on Instagram for almost a year now and their postings invariably fill me with a strong desire to get in my car and head north. Unfortunately, Granby is about 45 minutes from here and that always seemed like a long way to go to get a smoothie or chickpea salad sandwich. Until Friday, that is.

This was my Friday off -- the perfect time to tootle around the northern part of the state, admiring the fine beginnings of fall, collecting my farm share, and drinking vegan yumminess. I headed north from West Hartford after therapy, reducing my trip to a mere half hour. Pulling into Sweet Beet's shared parking lot, I found myself full of a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I had looked forward to visiting for so long ... surely I had overhyped the place in my head?


Happily, no. The Sweet Beet is charming and staffed with very nice, helpful people who want you to have an exemplary shopping experience. I obtained the "Candy Corn" smoothie (boo-nana, pineapple, mango, turmeric, carrot, hemp, cinnamon, and coconut ... best smoothie I've had in 2018) of my recent fantasies, as well as a number of interesting krauts and pickles, several store-made ready meals for work, and a few mini cupcakes ("Sweeties") to share with The Husband.

04 October 2018

Easy Salmon & Summer Vegetable Bake

I love my farm share, but there comes a point every week where I become overwhelmed by the contents of my kitchen and feel ALL.THE.VEGETABLES.MUST.GO. This salmon dish is one of my favorite easy ways to use those vegetables up as it makes for both a filling and colorful supper. Prepping and assembling the dish only takes a few minutes and then I can just ignore it as it bakes.

I like to serve this over rice, drizzled with the delicious pan juices, but sometimes the tomatoes aren't so juicy and then I serve it with mashed potatoes. Basically, we like carbs.


Easy Salmon & Summer Vegetable Bake

Yield: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boned salmon fillet
  • 8 oz small zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch thick coins
  • 2 oz coarsely chopped shallot
  • 6 oz small grape tomatoes
  • 3 oz red, yellow, and orange bell pepper strips
  • Olive oil
  • Penzeys "Florida" salt free seasoned pepper (or what have you)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Lightly oil a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  3. Place salmon in dish and surround with zucchini, shallots, tomatoes, and peppers.
  4. Drizzle salmon and vegetables with olive oil. Season as needed.
  5. Bake 30 minutes or until salmon reaches 145°F and flakes easily with a fork.

03 October 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Sage

Love the soft, velvety texture of sage leaves.