Eggplant Recipes for Fall 10/26/2017

Well, Texas fall sure is unpredictable. Last night temps dropped to the 40’s. I had to cover my tomato plants with a planket (plant blanket) to protect the still ripening fruit. Tonight is in the 50’s. Later on this week the low is predicted to be 38. With those sorts of temperatures limping along the summer plants is likely not going to be possible. It’s unfortunate since my eggplants are looking like mini trees and would still be going strong. Plants are capable of surviving lower temperatures than their fruit are, so I picked all the eggplant two days ago in anticipation of a cold snap. If I get lucky, maybe it will be warm enough after to set a few more before winter comes. I won’t get my hopes up too high though.

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Roasted Eggplant

The easiest way I’ve been enjoying eggplant this fall is super simple. If you love sautéed mushrooms you will like this. And the best part is it requires no measurements, which is my favorite.

Ingredients:

Cut eggplant into rings and place on a tin-foil lined cookie sheet. sprinkle in olive oil. The eggplant act like a sponge and can hold a lot of it, I just like to drizzle a few lines on both sides of the vegetable slices. Dust with basil salt. Move the oven rack onto the top shelf, set the oven to Broil and wait about 15-20 minutes for the eggplant to soften. I just pile my little rings in a bowl and have that for dinner. One good sized eggplant will easily keep me satisfied for the evening.

I’ve been eating most of my beautiful eggplants this way selfishly.  Unfortunately, my husband hates mushrooms. He tried a bite of roasted eggplant and immediately rejected it since it not only has the flavor of mushrooms, but also the texture, which is the part he truly does not like.

There was only one plant of eggplants left to pick before the cold snap. In an effort for him to enjoy some of what I grow, I decided to make some with my possibly last batch of eggplants for the season.

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I found a recipe on pinterest that looked promising and gave it a shot. I had no idea it would take me 3.5 hours to complete when I started this project. The roasting of the eggplant whole took a very large chunk of that time. It probably would have been shorter if I hadn’t been in such a baking mood lately.  There were leftover pumpkin seeds to toast from the pumpkin pie I made the night before. Pumpkin seeds require a lower temperature than the eggplant. I decided to bake them both at the same time and in the end didn’t really speed up the eggplant cooking. I’d be willing to bet you could roast and peel the eggplant and freeze the pulp in quantities for the recipe then thaw it out and complete the rest of the recipe later which I will try doing if I ever get a bumper crop.

Baba Ganoush

A hummus type dip made with eggplant instead of chickpeas. My husband loves it. Never have I ever made it before. But it didn’t look too daunting. I settled on this recipe from Little spice jar:

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne (or more if you want it spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Roast the eggplant at 375 for an hour and a half. This took me a little longer since the lower temperature only made the outside brown and shriveled but not soft. basically you’re looking for them to become squishy, not firm when poked. This part by far took the longest.

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While the eggplant was baking I made my own tahini paste which is essentially crushed sesame seeds mixed with a little olive oil. I already had roasted sesame seeds on hand so I measured out three tablespoons into a mortar and pedestal and crushed away adding olive oil to make it more of a thick peanut butter consistency.

When that was done I put the paste and two cloves of garlic in the food processor along with some lemon juice and pulverized the garlic into little bits. I let this mixture sit until the eggplants were finished roasting in the oven.

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Peel the eggplant. I kept all my seeds in because the eggplants I picked were slightly under-ripe and their seeds weren’t hard yet. That, and I wasn’t sure if I would have had the equivalent of two medium store bought eggplants. If you buy them in the store the seeds might be better removed. Apparently they can make your end product bitter so just take a the chunk of the core with the seeds out.  The roasted eggplant and the rest of the ingredients (except yoghurt and parsley) were added to the food processor and blend until it looks like a consistency you would joy. I actually omitted the olive oil also. I figured I had used it while making the tahini paste.

I trotted out to the garden in my head lamp and picked some parsley to wash, stirred it in along with a little thick taziki that I had on hand in the fridge. ( I ran out of plain yoghurt and this was the best alternative I could find).

This is the result:

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Let it sit overnight in the fridge or at least 8 hours. This recipe would be so easy if you already had roasted eggplant on hand. It would literally be tossing stuff in a food processor and whirring it together. Now a husband taste test is all that’s required.— YAY!! He LOVES it!

This is the first time I have ever grown eggplants successfully. In Washington they never set fruit and the plant stayed small. I all but forgot about this lovely plant until this year in Texas when we finished a raised bed in August and I was trying to figure out what plant wouldn’t die in the high heat of summer besides hot peppers and ocra. I will certainly be planting eggplant again next year. I’ll also be looking for more recipes that both my husband and I can enjoy.

Do you have any eggplant recipes you like? I need all the ideas I can get.

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