Cooking from the Farms: Kitchen Update

Resolving a Cliffhanger

Last week I gave you pie fillings but no finished pie.  Remember, the blueberry was up first, and here it is before its turn in the oven.

I keep no shortening in the house in the summer but plenty of butter in the freezer, so the pie has an all butter short pastry.  An all butter pastry is optional, but vanilla ice cream on the side?  Mandatory.

Eggplant Red Curry

So, yes, you need to invest in nam pla (fish sauce), red curry paste, a few Thai herbs, and coconut milk for this eggplant preparation, but the red curry sauce makes a nice change from a summer’s worth of parmagianas, rollatinis, stacked towers, and row after row of grilled eggplant slices straight off the grill.  Curries don’t have to be spicy; this one is only mildly so.  But I love its warmth and depth of flavor, and I especially love how it adds a little exoticism to a meal.  This curry is equally satisfying as a side dish or main course.

I ask you to use dried lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, but if you can find fresh, use them.  You’ll need about 1/4 cup of chopped lemongrass as a substitute for the dried, and a few additional fresh lime leaves.  If you can’t find either dried or fresh, substitute 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest for the lemongrass, and 1 teaspoon lime zest for the lime leaves.  The results will be different but still delicious.

  • about 4 cups of cubed eggplant
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into long and thin slivers
  • 1 cup sweet red pepper, any variety, seeded and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. red curry paste, depending on your taste
  • 1 14-ounce can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. dried lemongrass
  • 4 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • the juice of two limes
  • 1 Tbsp. nam pla (fish sauce)

Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large dutch saute.  Add to it the onion and stir to soften.  Add the red pepper and cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes until the pepper slices begin to soften.

Stir in the red curry paste and blend it into the vegetables.

Add the coconut milk, the lemongrass, the lime leaves, and the brown sugar.  Stir over medium heat.

Let the mixture come to a gentle boil and reduce it a bit.  When thickened, add the lime juice and fish sauce.

Stir, then add the eggplant cubes to the sauce.

Stir to coat.  Bring the mixture back up to a bubble.

When bubbling, cover the pan and reduce the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant pieces are tender but not mushy.  Serve.

Pick of the Produce

Cider Hill leeks and red fingerlings

Cider Hill broccoli (my choice after swapping out a butternut squash)

Heron Pond shallot

Heron Pond sweet red pepper