Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Photo by S. Auberle
When the first winds of autumn roll in I'm ready to cook. I love the fragrance of soups and stews filling my house. Today the sun plays hide and seek in the clouds between light rain showers. A large pot of soup simmers on my stove.
I walk down the road to a small farm where you never know what you'll find for sale. The little red barn by the side of the road, with its locked mailbox for depositing your money on the honor system usually contains some wonderful, fresh local produce. A few days ago it was the last of tiny sweet plums which, unfortunately, I'd missed till the last day. The farmer still had bags of luscious pears--$2 each bag, and pecks (how often do you hear that word?) of small apples, in many different varieties for $2.50. Baskets of the last, juicy tomatoes, $2 each and bonus...under a bold sign stating FREE, six gorgeous purple eggplants, or the more elegant name--aubergines.
I'm at a complete loss as to why these beautiful works of art should be free, I can only guess it's because most people don't care for them. Or maybe the farmer doesn't like them. I took three, saving the other three for another appreciative person and carried them back to my kitchen. They are now baking, in preparation for making a new dish--Melitzanosalata Agioritiki...Athenian Eggplant Salad.
First, of course, I had to photograph them and then I may paint them (from the photo) because they're just too beautiful not to. In case you're interested, here's the recipe:
1 large eggplant; 1 tomato seeded and chopped; 1 small onion, diced; 2 T chopped, fresh parsely; 2 T extra-virgin olive oil; 2 T red wine vinegar; 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, salt to taste.
Pierce the eggplant a few times with a fork and bake on sheet in 350 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours, until eggplant is tender. Set aside till cool enough to handle. remove skin from eggplant and mash the pulp. Mix with all other ingredients and refrigerate for one hour. season to taste with salt. Serve as salad or with good bread, pita or crackers.