There is no question in my mind that the best way for every family to eat is to eat closer to the ground. Sometimes that hard, and it can’t be done all the time. However, I can tell you from personal experience that just planting one or two vegetable plants can excite any child, and add to the family table. And anyone can do that on a window sill. A whole garden? The neighborhood comes alive.
In my neighborhood, 65 years ago, all the households planted gardens, front and back yards, meridians, everywhere. They shared the harvest. But I digress and that is worthy of a post on its own.
But I live alone, and what I don’t see among all the posts and chats is how damn hard it is to cook for one. I love to cook, and am damn good at it. My favorite meals to cook are what is now known as Sunday Dinner, and that can be any night of the week when I can grab an ever-evolving cast of family and family-friends and cook.
When you cook for one, it’s pretty hard not to get bored. It hard not to just eat cereal every night. It’s hard to think of what you can do differently with ONE chicken breast. Give me dinner for 12 any day. Really. I am a child of the 60’s-we invented real food eating AND dollar stretching!
Now that I am home again full time I can think about meals and what I can cook with more creativity, and less feed-me-fuel attitude.
This past Sunday when marketing at my favorite independent grocer with my favorite only daughter, I spied the MOST beautiful eggplant. Dark purple, glossy and firm-is there anything prettier?
I was consumed by a craving for eggplant caviar and decided then and there I would make and can a batch. Yes, I can “put up”. It’s a craft that any food lover should learn. You can have your garden right there in January.
Eggplant caviar has as many recipes as there are people that make it. Thomas Keller makes one, and so do I. And you can too.
This is a snack that doubles as an entreeat the drop of a hat. There is no limit –I think, to what you can do with this versatile food. What follows is my recipe for eggplant caviar, and one of my favorite pasta dishes that I make from it.
5 firm eggplant
1/2 red onion fine dice
½ red pepper fine dice
½ green pepper fine dice
Garlic to taste (I used about a tablespoon minced)
Salt and pepper
Squeeze or two of lemon juice
Take the oil and juice that has come from the roasted eggplant and put into skillet with about 2 Tb of olive oil, heat to medium.
Prepare the remainder of the veggies. I use the food processor and just pulse a few times. Put the processed veggies in the heated pan and sauté for about a minute. Throw in the garlic and sautéfor another minute.