Curried Eggplant, Tomatoes and Chickpeas with Basil

Photo by Con Poulos appeared on the Real Simple website.  He's one of my favorite food photographers.  See more of his work at the link.

The expected vegetables in the Glade Road Growing farm share for the week of July 28 will be include:  tomatoes, head lettuce, summer squash, green peppers, basil, sweet onions and maybe an eggplant.  Here's a recipe for an Indian curry.  If you don't have an egg plant, you can make this with summer squash or with steamed potatoes and cauliflower.  (This share is also perfect for making ratatouille, a recipe I provided two years ago.)

Serves 4

1.  To cook 1 cup dry chickpeas,  in a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, cover with 2 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let stand over night or for at least one hour. Rinse a second time two cups of swater and bring to a boil again and simmer on low heat until soft, about 1 hour.

2.  In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, combine 1 cup basmati brown rice , 2 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave for 40 minutes until water is absorbed. 

3.  While rice is cooking, wash, peel and chop one onion.  If you are using cherry tomatoes, cut in half.  Otherwise chop coarsely.  Cut 1 eggplant (about 1 pound) into 1/2-inch pieces.

4.  Measure out these spices:
1/2 tsp gound cumin 
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5. Toast spices in a dry cast iron skillet and set to the side.

6.  Heat 1 TB extra virgin olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, spices, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until eggplant is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and cook just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables from heat and stir in  1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves.

7.  Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork. Divide among four bowls and top with vegetables and a spoonful of non-fat plain yogurt.


Eggplant, Tomato, Cucumber and Cilantro Pasta Salad

Photo from Joanne Mumola Williams recipe.

The expected bag of vegetables from Glade Road Growing for the week of July 21 will include: tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, garlic, and an eggplant.  This recipe includes the tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro, garlic and eggplant.  With days getting hotter, you may want to prepare the cooked parts of this pasta salad in the early morning while it is still cooler and then serve it in the evening for dinner.


Serves 4

1.  Wash and dice one unpeeled eggplant.  Place in a steamer basket and sprinkle generously with salt and toss to distribute salt.  Let sit in the sink for at least 15 minutes until the eggplant sweats.

2.  Peel and smash and finely chop garlic and  and one or more large portobello mushroom caps.

3.  While eggplant is sweating, bring water salted water with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a boil.  Add 4 ounces of whole wheat spaghetti and return to boil.  Cook for about 7 minutes or until al dente.  Drain pasta, reserving water in the pot to cook the eggplant.  Toss pasta with a bit more olive oil and set aside to cool and then chill in the refrigerator.

4.  Leaving the eggplant in the steamer basket, rinse off salt.  Bring pasta water back to a slow boil and steam eggplant until cooked - about 10 minutes.

5.  In a skillet, heat olive oil and stir in 1/8 teaspoon of pepper flakes, garlic and chopped mushrooms and cook until soft and add eggplant and cook for another five minutes to meld flavors.  Cool and toss cooked veggies with pasta and refrigerate.

6.  Chop tomatoes,  1/2 cup of cilantro leaves,  cucumber with skins on (but seeds removed if too large) and mince about 1 tablespoon of raw onions.

7.  Divide the pasta and veggie mixture among four small bowls.    If you would like this to be a main dish, you can also add in at least a half cup of cooked, chilled chickpeas or lentils  to each bowl. Garnish with raw veggies and with olives and feta cheese, if desired.


Summer Beet Borscht

Photo from Ina Garten from her similar recipe.

The expected farm share from Glade Road Growing for the Week of July 14 will include red beets, carrots, cucumbers, a sweet onion, a rosa de tropea onion, basil, sprig of dill and celery.  Here is a recipe for the beets, rosa de tropea onion, cucumbers and dill.  The carrots, celery and sweet onion would make a good base for a split pea soup, with the addition of potatoes and garlic and bay leaves.

Serves 6

1. Wash and rinse twice, 2 pounds of red beets and roast  in a convection or conventional oven at 450 degrees F until almost tender, about 30 minutes.  If you are using a countertop convection oven, as I do, no preparation is needed.  To roast in a conventional oven, preheat oven.  Coat beets lightly with a bit of olive oil. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet to roast.

2.  Remove beets from oven and let cool and then peel with a small paring knife and discard skin.  Chop into a small to medium dice.

3.  Cook beets until tender for about another 10 minutes in 4 cups of boiling water to which you have added 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Remove beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon and cool.  Strain the cooking liquid and cool.

4.  While beets are cooling, wash and dice cucumbers with skin on, but seeds removed to measure up to two cups.  Wash one rosa de tropea onion and chop finely to make 1/2 cup (or you can use scallions, both the white and green parts.)  Wash and chop 2 tablespoons of dill.

5.  In a large bowl, whisk together beet cooking liquid, 2 1/2 cups of plain non-fat yogurt, 1/4 cup demerara sugar, 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar  and 1 1/2 teasoons of freshly ground pepper.  

6.  Add the beets, cucumber, onions and dill.  Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7.  Serve chilled in six bowls and garnish with an extra dollop of yogurt and a sprig of dill.


Fennel and Cucumber Salad

Photo by Helene Dujardin accompanied her recipe for a fennel, cucumber, scallion and mint salad.  I first published this entry on 7/6/15 at 5:24 p.m. and updated on 7/7/15 at 9:45 p.m. to include a picture of the farm share, which can be found at the bottom of the post.

Since the expected Glade Road Growing farm share for week of July 7 includes fennel, cucumbers, sweet onions, carrots, and rainbow chard, I used the above photo as an inspiration and substituted the sweet onions for the scallions and also fennel fronds for the mint.

You could also make a delicious pasta primavera by chopping and sauteing any of the following and serving over cooked pasta, finished with some grated Parmesan cheese: fennel bulb, onions, carrots and chard.

Serves 4

1.  Wash the fennel,  cucumber and the onion in cool water.

2.  Peel the onion, cut in half and thinly chop to to make a quarter to a half a cup.  If you would rather use scallions, as pictured, cut 4 of them lengthwise, keeping all of the white parts and most of the green. Place in a bowl of ice water to curl, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

3.  To prepare the fennel, trim the stems and fronds close to where they connect to the bulb.  Chop some of the fronds to make 1/2 cup and reserve the remaining to use as an herb in salads or with pasta.  You can also use the stems in stews.

Trim the root end from the bulb to make a flat surface, for the bulb to stand on then cut straight down through the root of the fennel bulb in halves and again into quarters.  Peel off any wilted or rubbery outer layers and discard.  With the quarter on its side, thinly slice crosswise.

4.  With the skin on thinly slice the cucumber into disks.

5.  When ready to plate, layer the cucumber and fennel slices, top with the onions and fennel fronds. To make this salad hardier you could also add steamed string beans and new potatoes. If you would like this to be a main course, top each plate with 1 ounces of crumbed blue cheese and 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas.  You could also serve it over a bed of cooked, chilled quinoa.

Here's another recipe for fennel:
Gingered Fennel Peach Tomato and Red Onion Salad

The fennel, onions and carrots are also delicious roasted with a Freedom Ranger Chicken.

UPDATE:  Here's the actual farm share (small version) photographed by my neighbor, Blacksburg Town Councilman Michael Sutphin (twitter).  Notice the addition of Thai basil.

In the newsletter, Sally Walker, half of Glade Road Growing's proprietors, writes:

Thai basil is a type of basil that is slightly spicy and also is somewhat licorice-flavored. Try a few leaves chopped into a cold noodle salad with sesame oil. If you do nothing else, just put it in a vase of water on your counter and smell it periodically. If you have a pollinator garden, this would be a nice addition because it has beautiful purple flowers that honeybees love.