Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 17 -- Eggplant

Roots Farm CSA Week 17: August 23 & 26

This Week:
-Tomatoes!: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust
-Eggplant!: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Carmen (sweet red bullhorn), Red Bells, Golden Bells, Mellow Star, Habanero, Ahi Dulche
-Beans: Red Noodle
-Okra: Burgundy, Clemson Spineless, Burmese, Star of David
-Sugar Baby Watermelons, Mixed Other Melons

On the Farm
The weather is cooling off and we’re in the midst of Fall plantings. We transplanted kale, cabbage, and broccoli last week and finished the cabbage and cauliflower this week. We’re direct seeding radishes, turnips, and arugula, and our direct seedings of beans, summer squash, and cucumbers are already up and going! The carrots and beets are taking a bit longer, and the grass in that part of the garden is really giving us a run for our money. We may have to re-seed to beat it, which means a later start on carrots. Always something to manage. Thankfully, there’s nice, cool weather to do it in.

Take the Survey!
Every year, we like to get feedback and try to do a better job by our members. For that, we need to know what you think! So we’ve created a super short, 10-question survey that you can take online. Click here for the survey. Please tell us how we did and what we could do to make our services more desirable for you. We developed in-town pickups per request, have grown more strawberries and less eggplant (if you can believe that), more lettuce, more arugula, more cantaloupes. We’ve created half shares, instituted a market-style pickups on-farm, gone to online newsletters, accepted memberships online, and more! What would YOU like to see in your local CSA? Let us know.

September CSA
We’re still accepting members to the first of our Fall CSA offerings--September! We’ve got about 15 shares still available, so spread the word. Tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, okra, and more! Oh my! We’re only offering one share size--half share for $21-23/week ($21 on farm, $23 in town). Click here to sign up today! Or, go to our website for a few more details. Hope to have you with us!

The mighty eggplant is in the spotlight this week.

Eggplant Fritters
2 cups all-purpose flour (you can also use seasoned flour or add desired seasonings)
1 scant tsp salt
dash of freshly ground pepper
3/4 - 1 cup flat beer or water
olive oil, for frying

In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, and pepper. Make a well in center and add beer or water. Stir with a fork until a thick batter forms. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours before using. Reserve remaining flour for dredging vegetables. Wash and dry eggplants. Slice into either thin rounds or long thin strips. Salt, if desired, to rid them of any bitterness for 30-60 minutes. (If you do this, rinse them very well and pat dry.) Dip in batter and deep-fry in very hot oil. From The Food and Wine of Greece.

Tomato & Eggplant Salad
1 large or 2 medium eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp ouzo
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt, to taste
2 medium to large plump ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash eggplant and pat dry. Puncture skin lightly with a fork and bake whole in an ungreased pan for about 25 minutes, or until soft and slightly shriveled. Remove and cool slightly. Remove stems, cut eggplant in half lengthwise, and remove skin and seeds. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide, then cut strips in half. Place in a small deep bowl and marinate in olive oil, ouzo, garlic, and salt for at least 2 hours before using. In a medium bowl, combine eggplants, tomatoes, and parsley. Toss well and season with freshly ground pepper. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4 servings. From The Food & Wine of Greece.

Baba Ganoujh (or Ghanoush)
2 lbs eggplant, cut in half, flesh side scored deeply in crosshatch pattern
2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp virgin olive oil
Lemon juice to taste (1-2 lemons)
4 Tbsp yogurt
4 Tbsp tahini (or substitute mayonnaise)
1 tsp salt, to taste
minced fresh parsley

For an authentic smoky taste, grill or broil the eggplant first. If you’re using a grill, maintain heat at a medium-low temperature. If you’re using a broiler, preheat first and then turn it down to the lowest possible temperature. Brush the eggplant halves with olive oil and place, flesh-side down if using a grill, flesh-side up if using a broiler, and cook until charred and very soft, turning once, about 40 minutes. Set the eggplant to drain in a colander in your sink until it’s no longer warm to the touch. Scoop the flesh into a food processor or food mill, discarding skin. Process the eggplant with a few off-on pulses or force it through a food mill into a mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, tahini (or mayonnaise) and salt. Place the mixture in a serving dish and sprinkle the top with parsley. Chill well. Serve as a dip with raw veggies or pita bread. Makes 4 servings. From the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.

Thai Eggplant Dip
2 medium eggplants
3-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
pita bread

Cut off eggplant stems. Pierce eggplant several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and cook in a 350-degree oven until very soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, remove skin. With the motor running on a food processor, add garlic and ginger and mince. Add eggplant and whirl until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except bread. Refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze. Serve with warm pita bread triangles. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Baked Eggplant “Lasagna”
Olive oil for greasing pans and coating eggplant and peppers
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 green bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup tomato sauce, divided
4 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3 cup pitted, finely sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease an 8– or 9-inch square baking dish with olive oil. Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheet, season with salt, and lightly brush the tops with olive oil. Bake until eggplant is soft and golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a plate and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Toss the peppers with a few dashes of olive oil in a medium bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, egg whites, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, basil, parsley, cayenne pepper, and a generous dash of salt until all of the ingredients are well combined. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in the baking dish. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the slices. Pour half of the tomato sauce evenly on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Arrange the pepper and olives on top of the mozzarella. Top with the remaining tomato sauce. Add the remaining eggplant slices and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until all the layers are heated through and the cheese is melted, about 45 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

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