Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Silly and Serendipitous

An empty fridge. Two roommates go separately to the grocery store. Each returns with a handful of things from the market. Each toss their purchases on the counter. And then they realize. Everything is purple!

One has bought a handful of baby eggplants, a small purple cabbage, and a plump head of lilac-tinged garlic. The other has bought a fat magenta beet, inexplicably purple asparagus spears, and two artichokes, a soft purple creeping to the tip of each leaf.

Instead of spacing out the vegetables through the week, everything is cooked at once. How could all that purple be served separately?

Asparagus is roasted. Artichokes are steamed. Beet is grated. Eggplants are stuffed with garlic and herbs. Cabbage is julienned.

And then, just to make sure everything isn't too beautifully purple, crumbles of pale feta and leaves of green cilantro are throw in here and there.

Baby Eggplants stuffed with Garlic and Herbs

10 or so baby eggplants, no bigger than your thumb

2 cloves garlic, slivered

2 or so tsp fresh thyme leaves

juice from 1/2 lemon

3 or so tbsps olive oil

salt and pepper

1/4 cup crumbled feta

1) Preheat oven to 350. Slice the eggplant lengthwise, leaving the stem and bottom skin intact. In each slit, push in a sliver of garlic and a few thyme leaves.

2) Place eggplants in a small casserole dish. Squeeze the lemon over the eggplants. Drizzle the olive oil over the eggplants, making sure to get a couple drops into each slit. Season with salt and pepper.

3) Cover dish with aluminum foil, then bake 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplants, until soft and easily pierced with a fork. Take off aluminum foil, turn the temperature up to 400, and roast another 5-10 minutes until browned.

4) Sprinkle with feta. Serve.

Cabbage and Beet Salad

1/2 head cabbage, julienned as finely as possible

1 large beet or two small beets, finely grated

1 small handful cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup fava beans, already shucked and cut in half, if large

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sesame oil

salt and pepper

feta, for garnish

1) Combine vinegar, oils, salt and pepper in a bowl. As you chop and grate, add to the bowl. Toss to coat. Serve topped with crumbled feta.

Note: This salad is fine to sit for a while, and I feel even benefits from a good half hour wait. The cabbage softens a little and becomes more slaw-like.

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