Eggplant Charmoula

Charmoula is a Moroccan spice blend that can be used for eggplant, but it is also commonly used for fish, other meats and vegetables. Other spices not mentioned in this recipe that can be used in Charmoula are black pepper, chilli peppers and saffron.

2 medium eggplants, about 1 1⁄2 lbs.
Coarse salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp. sweet paprika
Pinch hot paprika
3⁄4 tsp. ground cumin
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Slice eggplant into 3⁄4″ rounds and sprinkle lightly on both sides with salt. Place in a colander, cover with a cloth, and weigh down the slices with a heavy pot or cans for 30 minutes, until the eggplant exudes its bitter juices.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°. To make charmoula, whisk together garlic, paprikas, cumin, half of the cilantro and parsley, lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of the olive oil, and salt to taste in a small bowl; set aside.

3. Pat eggplant slices dry with paper towels and lightly brush each slice with olive oil. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until tender and golden, about 25–30 minutes. This will prevent eggplant from absorbing too much oil during frying. Remove eggplant from oven and set aside to cool completely.

4. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add slices one by one to hot oil and fry until crisp and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels and transfer eggplant slices to a shallow dish.

5. Whisk charmoula once more and drizzle over eggplant. Sprinkle remaining cilantro and parsley on top. Let stand 1 hour, then serve at room temperature.

Baba Ganoush

This is a Middle Eastern eggplant dish that can be used as a dip or spread.

  • 1 1/2 lbs eggplant
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Minced fresh garlic
  • 3 tbsp Sesame tahini or yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup Toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


Directions

1 Preheat oven to 400 °F.

2 Prick eggplant all over with a fork.

3 Bake whole until tender (about 30 minutes).

4 Remove from oven, halve and scoop out the flesh.

5 Blend in a food processor with the lemon juice until smooth.

6 Mash the salt and garlic together and combine with the eggplant, along with the tahini or yogurt or sour cream.

7 Cool and stir in the parsley and pine nuts (optional).


Here at Orchard Hill Ken has been thinking about what to do with the excess grain we grow as part of our crop rotation on the farm. In the winter, when he has time and energy, Ken dreams up all sorts of plans. Like feeding laying hens…we all know how successful that has been- due to predators. He also thought about selling flour and found a hard wheat he could plant in the fall. Hard wheat is what we us for bread flour, because it has a higher gluten content. Gluten holds the bubbles in the flour when the bread rises. In this part of Canada the winter wheat which is commonly grown is a soft wheat with a low gluten content that is used for cake and pastry flour.

Some of you may have noticed our flour mill in the pick-up room. We are planning to sell flour from our farm. We have a picture of our new combine at work harvesting our wheat this year. It will be freshly ground whole wheat and can be used in bread, muffins, pancakes and cookies.

We just thought we would show a picture of the tomatoes! Within one week the tomato plants went from being lush beautiful plants to brown foliage. Many of the tomatoes have brown spots on them as well. We are shocked to see this at this time of year. It is not unusual to have some Late Blight later in the season as the name suggests. However, by then we have already harvested many tomatoes. To have this occur the end of July is something that we have never experienced in our over 30 years of gardening. Apparently, early Late Blight is a widespread problem all over the Northeast this year.

The good news is that the peppers and eggplant (from the same plant family) are fine and producing well. We hope to still be able to harvest some tomatoes, but the yield will be considerably reduced.

The melons have started and we will continue have sweet corn as the successive plantings mature. Look in the index for recipes for Corn Cobs. The cobs make flavorful soup stock and there is a recipe for Corn Cob Syrup too. In the same entry there is a Creamed Chard recipe we usually have Swiss Chard in an “Extra Bin”.