Monday, July 19, 2010

Early Rooftop Eggplant and Tomatoes

Black Cherry are the first tomatoes to ripen on my roof.

Tomatillos will be ready soon.

I've also had a handful of eggplant ripen. Not having a camera handy, I cut and pasted these pics from google images.

and Diamond.

Learning to cook what you grow is part of gardening. It's not that hard; like anything, it's practice, practice, practice. When I want to do more than simply sauté (blah!) eggplant, I usually reach for one of my Indian cookbooks. Though in this case, it's an Americanized version of an Indian recipe.

Hot, Sweet, and Sour Chickpeas with Eggplant

(Slightly adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.)

Serves 4. Cooking time 45 min.

  • 1 or 2 medium eggplant, peeled and then shredded on box grater (This is key: the small pieces of eggplant melt into the liquid, forming a delicious, almost unidentifiable, sauce.)
  • 1 or more cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon peeled & grated ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
  • 1 or 2 hot fresh chilies, seeded and minced (or substitute red pepper flakes)
  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves, or a few dried (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, with about 2 cups of cooking liquid (Or if you're desperate, two cans of chickpeas + 2 cups water).
  • 1 tablespoon Sambar Powder (2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds) or curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch of asafetida (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste or freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
  • 8 oz. frozen peas (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  • Chopped roasted peanuts (for garnish)
  1. Put eggplant, ginger, curry leaves (if using) and 1 cup of water in 4 quart saucepot and cook/simmer for 20-30 minutes, until eggplant is almost tender.
  2. Add the chickpeas with liquid, Samba/curry powder, turmeric, brown sugar, asafetia if you’re using, and lime juice/tamarind. Add enough water to make it slightly "soupy". Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened. Add peas, stir, cook for 4 min more. Taste and adjust seasoning/liquid.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts.
I served it over short grain brown rice.

It wasn't pretty, but Spain won the World Cup. Nicely done!

Behind the flag, and looking down from my roof, is a tiny triangular piece of land owned by the city that's has been turned into a community garden; a process that I've been working on for the past 3 years. We just started planting 2 months ago, and now there are 13 individual plots as well as a common herb area, picnic table, and (future) compost bin.

[Click on image to enlarge.]

More on the community garden in another post.


Rob said...

Your Tomatoes are looking good. I'm sure the community garden will be very popular.

Law Office of Ava George Stewart, P.C. said...

The eggplant doesn't get mushy in this recipe? I've had the pleasure of smelling food cook in your home before so I guess I will give it a whirl when Alistair is back. He can't get enough of these eggplant and is already talking about how many plants we need for next year.- Thanks

Bruce said...

Hi Ava,

Yes, the eggplant gets mushy and turns into a sauce. Something like what happens to tomatoes when you cook them down into pasta sauce.

Debbie said...

Bruce your community garden project is wonderful! Congrats on all your efforts! Did you work through neighbor space? They have a community garden tour coming up at the end of the month. Would love to hear more about your project!

LeAnn said...

Your blog just makes me happy.

Bruce said...

What a nice thing to say. Thanks LeAnn.