I’m happy to report that my Bell’s Palsy is improving. I’ve gotten a bit of my smile back, and I’m hoping my eye returns to normal soon.
I’ve kept busy harvesting all the eggplants. What to do with them? That’s the question.
Why do anything with them? Is that what you’re thinking?
Well, like a lot of people out there (the other 99% of us), Dave’s and my little retirement portfolio has tanked, so self- sufficiency is seeming like a pretty good plan. Fortunately, I can handle it, and, as another writer—Susan Gregory Thomas—has discovered it’s really “no big deal”.
While Ken Lewis—the BofA CEO egomaniac who wrecked my stock portfolio with his avaricious little grab of Countrywide– is, I’ve been told, traveling in Europe (How nice for him, and he can afford it since he hot-footed it out of there with $84,000,000,000. Count it. EIGHTY-FOUR MILLION DOLLARS, people.), I’ve been very busy gardening, canning and freezing vegetables, making bread, cheese, jam and just about anything else I can figure out how to do. And the good thing? Unlike Ken Lewis, I get to feel righteous. I have a clean conscience.
Back to the eggplants. I’ve made vegetarian moussaka, eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, caponata, grilled eggplant with mint and hot chilis, and my friend, Bonnie, just gave me a recipe in which you marinate the grilled slices in an herb vinaigrette before freezing them.”Try putting them on panini with provolone cheese and grilling,” she told me. What a great dinner for the middle of winter with a bowl of minestrone. I’ve frozen those ingredients, too.
I’m sure Ken Lewis in his European travels is not dining half so well.
Anyway a while back, a friend brought an eggplant dish to a potluck that was so delicious I went home and immediately ordered the cookbook from the — The Bombay Cafe — just so I could reproduce it. This, with some homemade flat bread (piece of cake from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, was supper last night.
Eggplant Layered with Tomato Conserve and Ginger Yogurt
1 cup vegetable oil
For the Conserve:
1 1/2 TBS vegetable oil
8-10 fresh kari leaves
1 TBS Panch Puran
11/2 tsp. fennel seeds
16 ozs. drained canned or fresh (remove skins first) San Marzano tomatoes roughly chopped
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
For the Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup yogurt
1 clove garlic minced
11/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 TBS. chopped cilantro
Slice eggplants into 1/2 inch rounds, salt with kosher salt and set in a strainer over a bowl for about half an hour. Rinse well and pat dry
Fry eggplant slices in 1 cup of very hot oil for about 2 minutes a side. Drain on paper towels and set aside in a warm oven.
To make the Tomato Conserve:
Heat 1 1/2 TBS of oil in a 2 qt. saucepan. Add Panch Puran, fennel seeds, and kari leaves. Cover immediately to avoid splattering and cook for about a minute.(BTW I didn’t have kari leaves. They’re the new lemongrass I’ve been told, so I’ll hunt them down at Whole Foods.)
Add tomatoes, cayenne and salt. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
To make the ginger yogurt:
Whisk garlic and ginger into yogurt. Set aside for 15 minutes.
To assemble the dish:
Arrange slices of warm eggplant on a platter. Spoon tomato conserve over them, covering all but outer edges of eggplant. Drizzle the ginger yogurt on top and sprinkle with cilantro.
If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard that’s not getting foreclosed on, grow something on it. Remember Woody Guthrie? This land was made for you and me? Do something with it. You know, my grandmother who was from Appalachia told me something I never forgot. She said she hardly noticed the Great Depression, that nothing much changed on the farm. ” It wasn’t the country people that was jumpin’ out of windows, ” she said.
And now the city people are catching on, too. You’ve got to read Susan Gregory Thomas’s op-ed piece in the New York Times — Back to the Land, Reluctantly.
When a divorce left Thomas impoverished and with kids to feed, she built a few raised beds behind her apartment in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn, folks, Brooklyn.
She didn’t know how to garden. She didn’t even know how to cook! Now she’s feeding a family of five on $100 dollars a week.
YES WE CAN.
We can (or freeze) tomatoes, apples, beans, corn, squash, apricots . . . .