Eggplants are peaking right now, in our garden and in the markets, so I wanted to share a round up of quality eggplant recipes to inspire you! Here’s a tip for picking a great eggplant at the farmer’s market or store: find one that is relatively heavy for its size. It will have less seeds and more delicious flesh. Papa Bird (our family’s resident farmer) says homegrown eggplants are ready to pick when you push in with your thumb and it leaves an imprint. He recently put up a shade barrier to protect our growing eggplant from the strong San Diego sun. For more tips on cooking eggplant, check out this post.
EGGPLANT RECIPES FROM BABY BIRDS FARM
Some of my family’s favorite, “regular rotation” recipes highlight eggplant.
- Baba Ganoush: a garlicky dip, similar to hummus, and delicious with veggies to dip. Makes great baby food, too!
- Pomegranate, Eggplant and Lamb Moussaka (above): a layered dish that is sweet and savory and spiced with cardamom and cinnamon.
EGGPLANT RECIPES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Maria Nasir of foodaholic is a Pakistani home cook and caterer turned international food blogging star. She has lot’s of delicious eggplant recipes from around the world. But this kid-friendly appetizer caught my eye:
- Eggplant Roll Ups: kid-friendly but with a delicious vinaigrette to please picky foodie parents.
Another international blogger I follow, Azlin Bloor of Lin’s food, recently shared the above treat featuring aubergine (eggplant with a British accent):
- Nam Prik Noom (Thai Green Chilli Sauce)
EGGPLANT RECIPES FROM FAMILY SPICE
Laura of Family Spice features eggplant in both Italian and Persian-inspired dishes.
- Roasted Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich from Laura of Family Spice (above): a nice, non-fried version of an eggplant parm.
- Pickled Eggplant and Vegetables with Pomegranate (torshi-yeh bademjan va anar): I have never even thought of using this combination of flavors and I am dying to try it.
- Persian Eggplant Stew (Khoreshteh Qiemeh Bademjoon) (pictured above).
EGGPLANT RECIPES FROM SIMMWORKS FAMILY BLOG
Danielle of Simmworks Family Blog makes a lot of delicious family meals that are often quick and easy for busy families – without sacrificing taste.
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan: an easy family dinner that will please adults and kids.
- Eggplant French Bread Pizza: simple, with just a few ingredients and perfect for lunch.
For even more eggplant ideas:
10 Fantastic Eggplant Recipes from Simmworks Family Blog.
Posted in Food, Healthy Recipes, Recipes for the Whole Family, Recipes from the Garden, Seasonal Recipes, Urban Agriculture, Urban Homesteading
Tagged easy entertaining, easy farm to table, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, farm to table, meals for the whole family, victory gardens
Summer in San Diego means the Del Mar Racetrack is open and an abundance of mint in our garden. Both were the inspiration for “mint julep” kale krunchies, our latest variation on kale chips. Using the same technique and creamy cashew base as my Cilantro Lime Kale Chips, these kale crunchies are flavored with the summer drink ingredients. Yes, even a splash of bourbon.
Mint Julep Kale Chips Recipe
- 1 head of kale
- 3/4 cups of raw cashews, soaked in water for at least one hour, then drained
- handful of fresh mint, washed
- 1-2 tablespoons of agave or coconut nectar
- 1 teaspoon of bourbon (optional but fun)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
- a little water, if needed, to process in the blender
1. Wash the kale in cold water. Holding the end of the stem in one hand, firmly and quickly slide your other hand down the center rib. The leaves should tear off of the rib in one move. Dry the kale very well and rip any large pieces into smaller bits.
Or – Purchase a bag of kale pre-washed and cut. Just make sure to remove the thick center ribs as they do not dehydrate well. (Little Bird likes to help rip and sort the kale.)
2. Blend the rest of the ingredients in a small food processor, like a Magic Bullet, or blender. If the blender struggles, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, until it blends well. Blend at highest speed until smooth, scraping down the sides at least once. Keep in mind the more water you add, the longer the chips will take to dry out in the oven.
3. Preheat oven to 200° F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, massage the “sauce” into the kale. Then spread it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake for 45 minutes or so, checking and gently stirring the kale occasionally, until it is dried but not overly toasted.
For step by step photos of how to make kale chips, please see my previous recipes for Easy Homemade Kale Chips and Cilantro Lime Kale Chips.
Enjoying the Mint Julep Kale Crunchies with the eponymous drink is optional, but highly recommended!
Posted in Food, Healthy Recipes, Recipes from the Garden, Recipes to Make with the Kids, Urban Agriculture
Tagged easy farm to table, farm to table, gluten free, naturally gluten free, paleo, Urban Homesteading, vegan, vegetarian, victory gardens
With the fall equinox, the season finally seems to be turning in Southern California. It seems as though the rest of the country has moved past apples and onto pumpkin, but we are still picking tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. (Complaining of SoCal problems sounds like humble bragging.) I’m sharing my favorite fig and feta salad as a farewell to summer. Our tree’s fruit are in their last stages and our mint barely survived the last heat wave. I had wanted to first post my feta recipe, but at this stage of my pregnancy, I don’t have the time or focus for a long cheesemaking post, like this one on chèvre.
Little Bird thoroughly enjoyed figs straight from the tree this summer. There is something lovely about eating them slightly warm from the sun. Here she is showing one of her best buddies where to find the ripe ones:
As I wrote the recipe (below), I felt a little silly typing out the ingredient list. With only the four ingredients in the title, it seemed a little pointless. This combination is so flavorful and balanced, it doesn’t even need salt and pepper!
Fig and Feta Salad with Mint and Balsamic Vinegar
- Balsamic Vinegar
Gently rinse figs. Cut off stems and then cut in half. Arrange in a shallow bowl or plate. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and chopped, fresh mint. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction. Gently mix and serve.
Posted in Food, Healthy Recipes, Home Dairy, Recipes for the Whole Family, Recipes from the Garden, Recipes to Make with the Kids, Seasonal Recipes, Urban Agriculture, Urban Homesteading
Tagged appetizers, cheese making, easy entertaining, easy farm to table, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, meals for the whole family, naturally gluten free, Urban Homesteading, vegetarian, victory gardens
I finally got around to processing our extra tomatoes this weekend. Out of 5 pounds of heirlooms and Roma’s, I made tomato sauce with garlic, based on Alice Water’s recipe. But my absolute favorite alchemy is what happens to cherry tomatoes when they are slow roasted in the oven. If you like the taste of sun-dried tomatoes, but could do without the leathery texture, then you will love these oven roasted cherry tomatoes. And you will be surprised how easy they are!
I love having the taste of summer throughout the year, and nothing speaks to the sunshine and vitamins of summer as well as these easy tomatoes. Try using them in place of sun-dried tomatoes in recipes, such as this Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto.
Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Recipe
- Cherry, Grape or small Roma Tomatoes
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Rinse tomatoes and cut in half. Spread, cut side up, on a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle, lightly with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Roast in a 225°F oven for 2-3 hours or until somewhat dried, but still a little juicy. Let cool.
Enjoy as is or pack into a clean jar, cover with more olive oil, and can or freeze. If freezing, leave a little space at the top. Tip: as awesome as garlic, shallots, and fresh herbs are with tomatoes, DO NOT put them in your jars. They contain moisture and will make it mold more quickly.
Click on any picture in the gallery below to expand and see the steps.
Posted in Food, Healthy Recipes, Preserving and Canning, Recipes from the Garden, Seasonal Recipes, Urban Agriculture, Urban Homesteading
Tagged easy farm to table, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, farm to table, heirloom tomatoes, homesteading, naturally gluten free, naturally paleo, Urban Homesteading, vegan, vegetarian, victory gardens
I love summer. I love having extra daylight in the evening. Best of all, our garden is at it’s peak. I often slack on grocery shopping. Driving home from work, I will approach panic and then realize, between the garden and the chickens, I can pull together a simple, easy dinner recipe without having to stop and buy any extra ingredients.
The other night was a classic example. Our refrigerator was extremely bare. But I had recently made fresh goat cheese, our chickens are laying eggs, and we had giant zucchinis, cherry tomatoes, a spaghetti squash, garlic and plenty of herbs all from the garden.
As soon as I got home from work, I threw the spaghetti squash whole into the toaster oven. (The regular oven works fine, but the smaller squash fit in the toaster oven, which saves energy and keeps the kitchen from getting as hot.) After about 45 minutes at 350°, it was soft. I cut it in half, pulled out the flesh, discarding the seeds and shredded it with a fork. Click here for the pesto recipe. This time I experimented by throwing in an avocado from a friend’s tree. It made it extra creamy.
Next up was a frittata. I sautéed the zucchini and garlic in some ghee a friend made, had Little Bird stir, stir the eggs, and then mixed in tomatoes and thyme. After baking, we topped it with our fresh chèvre rolled in truffle salt. For the full frittata recipe, click here.
Victory Gardens for the win!
Posted in Backyard Chickens, Food, Healthy Recipes, Home Dairy, Recipes for the Whole Family, Recipes from the Garden, Recipes to Make with the Kids, Seasonal Recipes, Urban Agriculture, Urban Homesteading
Tagged Backyard Chickens, easy dinner, easy farm to table, easy recipes, easy seasonal cooking, easy seasonal recipes, eggs, farm to table, homesteading, meals for the whole family, naturally gluten free, naturally paleo, Urban Homesteading, vegetarian, victory gardens