Italian and Japanese Eggplant
Each year the sales increase as we move further into summer. I've always known that tomatoes are one of the staple breadwinners for small organic farms, and everyone knows how much better they are than those from the store. But what I've really come to notice the last few years is the tourists! For better or worse this is officially tourist season on Bainbridge. The restaurant sales quadruple per establishment this time of year as they also reach their peak season. I guess it works out pretty well for the small farm serving local high-end touristy restaurants, though it's impossible to find parking along Winslow Way to make deliveries!
So after driving around making deliveries today it was back to work on the farm. The girls (Ali and Mollie) had pulled up the majority of our onions this morning and inverted them so their roots were exposed to the sun for the day. This helps them dry out and cure more effectively as they can often still draw moisture through their roots. Late afternoon and into evening we carefully filled about 20 or so crates of onions and moved them onto mesh covered pallets in a shady covered area in case it rains. They will stay here with drafty airflow and out of direct sunlight until their necks/tops completely dry back. Then we will cut the tops and roots, grade them and put them into onion sacks or crates for longer term storage. The bets are on but we think we harvested about 1000 lbs so far. We harvested nice white, yellow, and red cipollini onions, beautiful maroon shallots, and yellow storage onions. Our red onions and our big sweet ones are not quite ready to harvest yet. Typically we wait for our crop to "top down" which means the tops just fall over at the neck of the onion. Once half the crop has done this you stop watering. We then wait a week or two for the onion to dry back and all its energy drawn into the onion bulb. Then we dig 'em up and cure 'em for a week or two more. These are subtleties that get neglected once one moves to more mechanized production and harvesting, which in our opinion creates a far less quality product. Well hopefully now at least you know our onions :-) Cheers and thank you for your continued support!
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium eggplants
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Rub 1 tbsp of the oil over both whole eggplants and place them on a baking sheet. Roast, turning once or twice, until very soft, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on size. Let cool.
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry, heavy skillet over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. Be careful not to over toast them, and immediately transfer to a dish to cool.
Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the flesh. Puree in a food processor or finely chop. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, salt, cayenne, and remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Mix until well combined.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with toasted pine nuts.
Enjoy with rice, pita bread, as a dip with fresh vegetables, or as a filling in sandwiches.
(from Farmer John's Cookbook)
Cucumber Tomato Salsa
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup diced cucumbers
1/4 cup finely chopped cipollini onions
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Add more salt and black pepper to taste.
(from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites)