This week, you’ll be receiving Athena cheese–a delicious cheese from Monforte Dairy, one of our favorite local cheesemakers. We hope you’ll also enjoy the fresh cukes, pepper and sprouts and enjoy GMO-free cornmeal!
Frozen Strawberries (Nude Fruit)–A great local alternative to fresh strawberries, which are still a few months away!!
Pears (Lincoln Line Orchards)
Cucumbers (Always Fresh Greenhouses)
Eggplant (St. David’s Hydroponics)–see feature below
Red Pepper (St. David’s Hydroponics)
Salad Greens (Sleger’s)
Living Sprouts (Sleger’s)
Parsnips (Hillside Garden Farms)–check out the warm cake recipe below!
Boiler Onions (Greenbelt Farms)–we loved these cute onions, so here they are again!
Kennebec Potatoes (Rose Mountain Farms)
Pantry: We have two pantry items for you this week!
Cornmeal! from K2 Milling. This amazing cornmeal is organic, so it’s GMO free! This is a bonus for cornmeal, since most commercial corn products are made from genetically modified corn!
2% Plain Yogurt from Hewitt’s. This 750ml tub will be delicious with the frozen strawberries. Make it into a smoothie too!
Athena Cheese from Monforte Dairy. Athena is a semi-firm aged sheep’s milk cheese, similar to Monforte’s famous Toscano cheese. This cheese was rubbed weekly with olive oil as it aged for six months!! This hard cheese makes a great substitute for Parmesan, so grate it over pasta, shave it into salad or simply pair with a glass of your favourite wine. Delicious!
Veal Scalopini–Select Fine Foods. Veal thinly sliced from our favorite butchers at Select Fine Foods. See below for a simple recipe.
Featured Ingredient: Eggplant!!
Eggplant, aka aubergine, is a fruit from the Solanaceae (nightshade) plant family. As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato. And being part of the nightshade family, it was believed for a long time that the fruit was poisonous!
Eggplant is native to India, not the Mediterranean, as many Westerners would probably believe!
It’s been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory, and became known in the Western world only around 1500. Since it has numerous Arabic and North African names for it, it indicates it was introduced to the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages.
Different varieties of the plant produce fruit of different size, shape and color. Here in Ontario, the most common eggplants are elongated ovoid, 12–25 cm long and 6–9 cm broad and purple in colour. We also see white and graffiti (speckled purple and white), along with some Asian varieties which are long and thin (like the Japanese Eggplant) or small and round (Thai eggplant).
Cooking with Eggplant
Raw eggplant has a bitter taste, so it is almost always eaten cooked.
To salt or not to salt…?
Eggplants used to taste a lot more bitter than they do now, so it is not necessary to salt and drain the eggplant before cooking to remove bitter flavour.
If, however, you want to remove some of the moisture from the eggplant, which in turn will reduce some of the oil that will be absorbed into the eggplant (eggplant is like a sponge, and can absorb a lot of oil!), you may salt and drain it before cooking (about half an hour). For a simple roasted eggplant, for Baba Ganouch for example, you can drain the cooked eggplant after it’s been roasted (and no need to salt it excessively).
The skin of the eggplant is edible and thin, so often there is no need to peel it.
I find that many people are afraid of eggplant, and find it hard to cook with it. Start with a simple recipe, like grilling it on the bbq, or making it into a dip. You can also slice it and season and bread it and then shallow pan fry it for a few minutes on each side—great for a sandwich or the base of eggplant Parmesan. You can also use your cornmeal to crust it before frying!
Do your kids not like eggplant (can’t really blame them from the name!)? Peel the raw eggplant, cut into chunks and puree it. This pureed eggplant can be easily added (re: hidden) in tomato sauce, especially if you make your own sauce with canned tomatoes. Sautee the pureed eggplant along with onion and garlic, add tomatoes and herbs and let it simmer until done. This makes a great sauce for everyone to enjoy!
See more eggplant recipes below!
Storage: Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate. It will last about a week in the fridge.
Baba Ghanouj (Eggplant Dip)
Try this simple recipe as it is. I’ve also made it with half the eggplant and replaced it with a 1-2 roasted red peppers–just roast them along with the eggplant, then pureed it all together. I add chopped parsley to it too! Yum! Also—instead of oiling the whole baking sheet, I brush the cut side of the eggplant with oil, then place it face down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. This makes clean-up sooo much easier!
Miso Glazed Eggplant
This is my favorite dish to order in Japanese restaurants! Most miso recipes call for Japanese eggplants, but yours will do! I would cut the eggplant into discs, then brush both sides with oil and broil both sides before adding the miso sauce.
More Recipes…Cornmeal Recipes!
Creamy Polenta Recipe
This is a basic polenta recipe that you can make your own by adding cheese (maybe some Athena?) or herbs at the end of the cooking time.
Pear, Apple and Polenta Crunch
Got some apples and pears you want to use up? Cornmeal on top is a great change from standard oats…
East Coast Grill Corn Bread
This cornbread recipe is easy to make–great with a veggie chili filled with root veggies! If you like your cornbread less sweet, you may want to reduce the sugar. If you click on the article of this recipe, you’ll see over 200 comments, mostly praising the recipe and the debate on the level of sweetness a cornbread should be! Those Southerners are really passionate about corn bread!!
Ginger Root and Parsnip Cake
I saw this a few weeks ago, and have been curious to try it ever since. This recipe sounds delicious AND it uses parsnips and whole wheat flour! This would work well with the flour from a few weeks ago, if you still have it!
Veal scallopini with Brown Butter and Capers
Another easy recipe that you can cut in half to use your portion of veal.
Some tips from Ann, one of our dedicated OAS members!
Ann, an OAS member, wrote to me saying that she tried and loved the following Canadian Living recipe for Saag Paneer. Although the ingredient list looks never-ending, it’s mostly just spices! Saag Paneer is paneer in a spinach sauce—by far one of my favorite Indian dishes! So if you still have your Paneer cheese from a few weeks ago, you may want to try this!
And Ann’s tip on making Latkes….and pear sauce!
Ann writes: We’ve also found that various root veg (I’m sure everyone has a few lurking in the fridge at this point) can substitute for up to about 2/3 of the potatoes in your favourite latke recipe with great success (look for a recipe that goes by weight, and just weigh out what you have – potatoes, white carrots, parsnips, sunchokes, etc., and don’t forget an onion).
Nice with a pear sauce made similarly to applesauce - just peel, core and chop, throw into a heavy saucepan with a little bit of water, lemon juice, sugar, and a good pinch of ground cardamom is very nice — cook until softened. I’ve found that pear does not break down as much as apple tends to, so chopping into smaller pieces is helpful. The pear sauce is also great with pork chops.
Thanks for your tips, Ann!
Have a great week everyone!