Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Saturday, October 6, 2012

eggplant everywhere...

Our eggplant is rejuvenated by the cooler temperatures this month.  Both varieties in our garden are producing beautiful fruit, er, veg, in abundance.  We like to roast eggplant or grill it, with a marinade of orange juice and balsamic vinegar.  And we prepared a beautiful supper of eggplant parmesan with spinach fettuccine just a few nights ago.  YUM!

On Thursday, I picked up the first of my Fall/Winter CSA baskets.  It was filled with gorgeous, local, organic items such as arugula, basil, red radishes, green beans, green peppers, spaghetti squash... and one huge eggplant!  Now what?

I had a ton of black cherry and red cherry tomatoes on my counter, along with a couple of Lemon Boys.  There were Cubanelle and Jalapeno peppers in the garden as well.  And some onion, too.  Salsa it is!  But how do salsa and eggplant go together?

Eggplant tacos were born in our home today.  I know, other people have done eggplant tacos.  But these are a new favorite in our house.  Crunchy, oven-fried slices in taco shells with veg.  Oh my.

To prepare the eggplant for cooking, I sliced it into large rounds and then half moons.  I then placed the slices on a rack in the sink, sprinkled both sides generously with kosher salt, and left them to weep for 20 minutes.  This process allows the excess liquid from the eggplant to escape, and reduces the bitter flavor sometimes associated with eggplant.

When the weeping process was complete, I rinsed each slice well under cool running water, then pat it dry with paper towels.  Now my breading station...  The first bowl had unbleached all-purpose flour, the second contained beaten local eggs, the third was filled with the secret ingredient: crispy Panko breadcrumbs spiked with cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and a dash each of salt and cayenne pepper.

Each slice of eggplant was dredged in the flour and the excess was tapped off.  Into the egg on both sides, then into the Panko mixture.  The breaded eggplant slices were placed on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil, which is my favorite kitchen invention ever.

Then into a 435-degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes.  The pan was pulled out, the eggplant slices flipped over, and put back in the oven for another 10 - 12 minutes, until golden brown on both sides.

So, we warmed up some white corn taco shells, placed a perfectly-sized, oven-fried, half-moon eggplant slice in each shell, added Vermont white cheddar, shredded lettuce, and salsa fresca.

I wanted more.  I really did.  But I'd already eaten too many tacos and my tummy hurt.  Maybe I'll find more ripe eggplant globes tucked under the leaves of the plants tomorrow morning...

Monday, October 1, 2012

When it's hard to give thanks...

Sometimes the world with its woes crowds in.  Sometimes the news seems all bad and the clouds loom dark.  Sometimes the body is too frail and too exhausted.  Sometimes we lose the ones we love so dearly.

It's these times that thanksgiving gets stuck in our throats, not quite uttered.  Almost too afraid, not wanting to to utter thanks for fear of inviting more trouble.  Wondering, wondering... why can't God be seen?

I have been there.  Too many times.  

My friend, He is there.  He is faithful.  He is Creator AND Sustainer. He is always and knows all ways.  He is beside and behind and far ahead.  God is there, working in every detail, caring so tenderly for each of us.

Give thanks.  He is good.  He is worthy.  Write just one thing.  Offer gratitude for this one gift.  Soon another gift will come to mind.  And then another.  Before long, the list will grow, overflowing with gifts.  Right there in the middle of the world and its woes... finding Crazy Joy...

- slow healing, giving me time to rest

- prayers of friends and family

- smiling Sunday faces

- trading wares

- a brother and a sister

- computers allowing me to work and create

- women gathering to study the Word

- warm socks

- Autumn, sweet Autumn

- Jesus' love and example, preserved in Scripture, available to even me