I have always been enamored by vegetable gardens. Tiny seeds, planted in dirt, a little sun, a little water, and bountiful produce. I believe that because I saw the vegetables grow in the garden when I was young, I was more likely to try them. Watching my dad tend to the garden, weeding it, watering it, and my mom out there roto-tilling in compost during the spring, made me appreciate all that goes into producing one little eggplant. It's not easy work, but it is so rewarding when you harvest.
When I moved to Florida and bought a house, I had big garden plans. So far I've had hits and misses as I learn about the Florida climate, soil, weather, and insects. I started my eggplant from seed in January, planted them outside in March, and they're just now producing. Nine months... my eggplant are my babies. I have about 20 more on the vines, and every weekend more buds appear, so it looks like well into December I'll be picking them!
I've found that if I let them stay on the vines too long, they start to get pocks, which are light brown, eventually spreading and turning white. Anyone know what causes this? Every Sunday after my run, I do some weeding, planting, pruning, watering, and then a photo shoot for my garden blog (basically just photos to show growth progression). I decided to pick the three largest eggplant because they would probably start spotting if I didn't.
When faced with three eggplant, I find myself with two options: Eggplant Parmesan or Baba Ghanoush. Since we planned to spend the afternoon watching the Red Zone channel and following our fantasy football teams, I decided a quick dip would be better than an afternoon in the kitchen tending to eggplant.
I've seen many recipe variations depending on the country of origin for baba ghanoush, so I tasted and added ingredients as I made it. While grilling the eggplant is preferred, I was about to make granola and decided to roast it and kill two birds with one stone.
Nothing makes me happier than spending the morning in my garden, harvesting vegetables during the day, and eating the veggies in a delicious dish at night.
Tips and Trades:
-My eggplant are an Heirloom variety, but any eggplant variety will work!
-Tahini is ground sesame seeds. While a jar can cost around $10, it should last quite a while. If you do purchase some to make baba ghanoush or hummus, try this recipe - you won't regret it!
3 eggplant, roasted or grilled and peeled, about 4 c. pulp
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 c. tahini
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Parsley, for garnish
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, run until smooth.
If necessary, add EVOO or tahini to thin.
Taste and adjust seasonings (more salt might be necessary)
Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.