Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eggplant Surprise

As my tomato plants waned and I picked the last of those red beauties, I checked on the eggplants. I have grown eggplants for the last few years now and have had either pathetic-looking fruits that have been nibbled on by critters or loads of flowers too late into the season for any hopes of a crop. I even asked another gardening friend of mine--who gets much more sun and has a much larger space dedicated to veggies than I do--about his eggplants. His response, "I gave up a couple of years ago on growing them."

What can I say? I guess I like a challenge. Either that, or I'm terribly optimistic, thinking, "This year it's going to be different!"

I couldn't believe it when I crouched over the plants and spotted not one, but THREE eggplants. They were decent in size with a lovely dark purple color. I hurried them into the kitchen. I wasn't prepared for this crop and needed to bide some time. I didn't want to put them into the fridge and have them rot away. That would've been a shame. I thinly sliced them up and froze them for a later date.

Look at that fantastic jewel-toned color!

Last week, I made a vegetarian shepherd's pie from the UC Davis Coffeehouse Cookbook from 1996. This recipe showcases eggplant and bell pepper in a ratatouille-inspired base that is topped with sour-cream infused mashed potatoes. It calls for wheat germ, but I subbed in ground up quick oats for my wheat-intolerant friend. The perfect dish to start off our fall-like weather in Seattle.

ps: I'm not sure you can still buy the spiral-bound version of the 1996 edition, but the original 1986 edition has been reprinted and is available through the UC Davis Bookstore.