Week 17: A Chilly Start to Fall
The last several evenings, temperatures have dipped well into the 30’s bringing frost to the fields. We’ve been experiencing temperatures more common for late October than for September. And as reported by the Washington Post, we’ve had some of the coldest weather during mid-to-late September since about 1930 and the coolest fall equinox since 1999. Summer is behind us and the summer crops are on their way out. The Moutoux crew is going to get the most off of each plant before it’s all said and done, but the tomatoes and peppers will soon be gone for the season. Although eggplant is also on that list, the farm currently has an eggplant overload! Eggplant is versatile and can be frozen, dehydrated, pickled, canned, roasted and pureed. Make this week’s focus on cooking and preserving some eggplant, your winter self will thank you. Keep reading for some of our favorite eggplant recipes!
Enough on the weather… have you noticed anything new on the farm?! Well, there are several correct answers to that question. But we are referring to the big, beautiful hoop house! The crew is hard at work building the framed tunnel that will be the largest on the property. It’s already being put to use with freshly planted kale and spinach inside. And smaller in size, but bigger in cuteness, is the new baby calf named Turbo (Bo for short). There is always something new going on around the farm.
Before you dive into our eggplant recipes below, check out the 2019, Week 8 post that was all about the FRUIT (yes, eggplant is a fruit).
EASY BAKED EGGPLANT PARMESEAN
EASIEST EGGPLANT DINNER EVER
1 pound ground beef, thawed
Few eggplants, cubed
Jar of tomato sauce
Few cloves garlic, minced
Herbs and Italian spices (optional)
Add ground beef and garlic to a sauté pan and cook together, breaking into smaller pieces with utensil.
Mix in herbs and spices of choice, cubed eggplant and jar of tomato sauce. Cook until eggplant is tender and flavors are blended, approximately 15 minutes.
Note: Courtesy of Sarah Henry, Moutoux member who LOVES eggplant!
MISO COCONUT ROASTED EGGPLANT
BRAISED PORK AND EGGPANT
1.5 pound pork shoulder (labeled Pork Picnic or Boston Butt), trimmed and cubed
½ pound eggplant, cubed
4 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
2 green onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
½ tsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooked rice for serving
Heat a Dutch oven or large, deep frying pan over high heat until very hot. Ad 2 tablespoons of oil. Add pork in a single layer and sear until golden on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to a plate.
In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups water, soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, five-spice powder, a few grinds of pepper and cornstarch. Set aside.
Return pan to high heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add eggplant and sauté until lightly browned and beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Return pan to medium heat, add ginger, green onions, and garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 10 seconds. Pour in soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, and stir in seared pork cubes. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook until pork is tender, about 1 hour.
Uncover, add reserved eggplant, and simmer until eggplant is tender and flavors are blended, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and serve with rice.
Notes: Serves 4. Recipe courtesy of Cooking with Spice by Jennifer Newens (2012).
EASY GREEK-STYLE EGGPLANT
TANGY EGGPLANT AND TOMATO SPREAD
1 large eggplant (about 1.5 pounds)
1 pound tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups red wine vinegar (make sure it’s 5% acidity)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed or minced
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
½ tsp coarse black pepper
½ tsp citric acid (if canning)
Prepare a boiling water bath canner and four half pint jars (if canning). Note: This recipe will freeze beautifully too, just delete the addition of citric acid and leave room in the jars for expansion.
Peel the eggplant and dice it into small cubes.
Peel the tomatoes and dice them into bits that are similarly sized to the eggplant.
Heat the olive oil in a low, wide, non-reactive pan and add the eggplant and tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the red wine vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for 20-25 minutes, until the liquid reduces and the vegetables soften. If the eggplant isn't breaking down, use a potato masher to help the cubes meld into the spread.
Taste and adjust the salt and pepper levels, as necessary.
Remove the pot from the heat. Divide the citric acid between the four half pint jars (if canning) and ladle the spread in on top. If not canning, use within a few days or freeze leftovers. If canning, continue to Step 8.
Use a chopstick or plastic bubbling tool to remove any trapped air bubbles and to work the citric acid into the spread.
Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.
When time is up, remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
When the jars are cool enough to handle, check the seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable for up a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
Notes: Yields 4 half pints. The resulting eggplant tomato spread is a luscious, tangy condiment. It is perfect on slices of toasted ciabatta or in place of tomato sauce on a homemade pizza. We also love mixing 1 half pint of spread with 1 pound ground beef to make delicious tangy burgers.
4 Ways to Preserve Eggplant by Rebekah White of The Homesteading Hippy; great resource on eggplant preserving with directions and recipes
Pickled Fairy Tale Eggplant by Marisa McClennan of Food in Jars
Pickled Eggplant with Mint and Garlic by Marisa McClennan of Serious East