I've called you all here today because I had a couple of revelations about vegetables over the past week that you might be interested in. Or not, but since when does that ever stop me. I'm not really sure how to import PowerPoint presentations into my blog, so I'm just going to read them off:
Bullet Point Number One: Spaghetti squash is delicious layered like lasagna with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan. Especially if you use a nice thick homemade tomato sauce so it doesn't get too watered down. Simply cut squash in half, scoop out guts, roast cut-side-down on oiled sheet pan 45 min. at 350 F until tender. Scoop out the stringy contents of one squash shell into square baking dish, layer with sauce and cheese, repeat with second half. Bake until bubbly, 20-30 minutes. The kids didn't notice that it wasn't spaghetti and I didn't tell them. The result was that both of them gobbled up the whole thing even though neither one of them likes tomato sauce. I know! I've given up trying to figure kids out, but sometimes it works to your advantage.
Bullet Point Number Two: YOU MUST MAKE THIS EGGPLANT RELISH!!!
Put aside that maybe you don't like eggplant, not to mention that what the hell is it doing in relish form? Put those things aside and keep them there. My neighbor brought me a taste of this one afternoon and it changed my world. I then made two batches in a week, using up four of those long, skinny CSA eggplants and a bunch of little ones from the school garden, as well as two red Italian frying peppers we got in our farmshare. I am crazy for this relish. It's delicious scooped up with pita chips, makes a nice side dish next to lamb, and could totally work as a sandwich topping. Husband wants it as lasagna filling. It's awesome! AND it's totally healthy—there's nothing bad in here at all. To put this in proper perspective, I've just spent the past month making almost nothing but cakes, pies, and strudels, and the only thing I want to eat right now is this eggplant. Either my cookbook blows or this eggplant is really something.
And that concludes my presentation. This meeting is adjourned. You are hereby dismissed from work early to go make this eggplant relish.
Spicy Eggplant Relish
If you peel the eggplant, no one will know it's eggplant and everyone will eat it. Swear to god.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1 medium globe eggplant or 2-3 long, skinny ones, diced small (peeling optional)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium red bell pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Cayenne to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, eggplant, cumin, and salt, and sauté over medium heat until eggplant is tender, 10-15 minutes. Add pepper and sauté another 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and lemon juice and cook several minutes more. Add cayenne a few shakes at a time until you get the desired heat. Add more salt if necessary. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold with pita chips, lamb chops, roast chicken, or all by itself with a spoon.
Source: An old Moosewood cookbook.
Eggplant, peppers, onions, garlic: Waltham Fields Community Farm, Waltham, MA