I love the bounty that my garden and other people's gardens provide me this time of year. A tomato picked right from the vine will never compare with a store bought one. The problem with all this bounty is that I don't want to eat it all. I want to see it grow, and look luscious in my backyard and I even love picking it. It's great when my bowls are overflowing with vegetables, but I want the yucky ones to simply vanish when they start to fade and lose their beauty.
I wish that some of my plants could just produce one or two edible treats. Do I really need a bucket full of chili peppers? I know I can dry them and save them all year, but really will I ever get there. Can't they do that themselves? Haven't I done enough already? I planted them and fed them all season. The least they could do is preserve themselves, jump in an attractive jar and nestle themselves comfortably amongst their alphabetical kin in my pantry. Am I asking too much? Am I the jerk here?
One of the prettiest and most horrid of the vegetables is the eggplant. It sure looks great in it's purple tracksuit getting all fit and fleshy on the vine all summer. Recently I picked a bunch from my front garden, and I've been watching them get a little wrinkly. I kept hoping they'd pass me a note that gave me a secret recipe that made them taste good. A recipe that didn't involve loads of tomato sauce and cheese. They said nothing. Who's the jerk now?
I did find a recipe on my own accord that worked fairly well with my Asian eggplant. It's still eggplant but at least it tastes better. If you have to eat eggplant, this recipe is not a bad one to try.
Asian Eggplant Salsa
from Bonnie Stern's Heart Smart
5 or 6 thin Asian eggplant, trimmed and diced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot Asian chili paste
2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped
4 green onions, chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Combine soy sauce, sugar, water, vinegar, sesame oil, and chili paste. Set aside.
Heat oil in large pan on medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and cook for 30 seconds, and then add the eggplant. Cook for a few more minutes and then add soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue to cook until mixture is thick. Add green onions and cilantro. Serve cold or room temperature.