Saturday, July 31, 2010

Turning on the Oven in Summer

It's a transition day! When you try to eat with the seasons, the year becomes a series of phases: when you first get to eat wild weeds in the spring, the first blossoms on your veggie plants, the first ripe berries, the first fresh pesto, the first flower you pop into your mouth, the first bulb of garlic, the first pepper that turns red, the first watermelon, the first pumpkin, the first freeze, the first food out of the root cellar, the first window sill greens, and back around. To me, everything tastes new each time, like a revelation.

Today, this last day before August and after many meals of summer squash, we have produce we've been waiting for: tomatoes, eggplant, and corn. (That came out sounding like I don't marvel at the arrival of summer squash, which I do.) Surprisingly, it was also cool this morning (in the fifties!), so after I threw a peach raspberry tart in the oven to warm my shivering self, I got to work on roasting a batch of eggplants for baba ghannouj.

While everything was in the oven, I marveled for the umpteenth time about how The Joy of Cooking is not the mayonnaise-y casserole-y tome I sometimes think of it as. A re-read of the "Condiments, Marinades & Dry Rubs" section alone shows it's reach: Georgian garlic and walnut sauce, picada, harissa, chutneys, flavored oils, sambal, mojo, curry pastes, and recipes for ketchups that actually taste good—unlike those we're familiar with eating out of squeeze bottles.

I heartily welcome August with baba ghannouj, bruschetta, and pickled corn rounds.
Smoky Baba Ghannouj Recipe
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • 10-12 Chinese eggplants
  • 1 1/2 T tahini
  • 2 T sesame oil that's gathered on top of tahini paste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 3 small lemons
  • 3/4 t smoked sea salt
Pierce eggplants and oven roast in a pan with a little water and little vegetable oil, approximately 45 minutes. Eggplants should be soft, and the flesh should separate from the skin relatively easily. Let cool, then scrape flesh into food processor, composting stems and skins. Yes, you can keep the seeds in. Add all other ingredients and pulse until smooth.
Now, to find a source for good local bread . . . .


  1. Fantastic for midsummer! which by the way is 8/8.

  2. no new posts??