Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Adventures with Produce

As promised, we hit the produce market yesterday, and scored a couple of Arkansas tomatoes so firm, heavy, and juicy that they were nearly obscene. Since neither of us really felt like a big meal last night, we bought some good whole wheat bread, some bacon (for me), some vegetarian salami (for him), and red onion and I made BLTs (or a vegetarian variation).

Years ago, when I worked across town in a posh area, I would often eat lunch at a local health food store that's since been bought out by Wild Oats. Their vegetarian BLT rocked my world, and I still love it (despite my rather unnatural love for bacon). The substitute for B? Toasted sesame seeds. They toasted them in a skillet, and as soon as the seeds began to brown, they poured them over the already-spread-with-mayonnaise slice of bread. Truly, it has the essence and aroma of bacon, without the pesky animal products. And sesame seeds are really good for you - rich in vitamin E. They used a pretty generous amount, maybe a tablespoon or two per sandwich.

Add to the haul a gorgeous, glossy eggplant, a red bell pepper, and some petite homegrown zucchini, and I have a dinner in mind for tonight. Maybe it's inspired by that new movie, the one that I might see without the kids.


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 eggplant, cubed
1 red bell pepper
4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves (chopped)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

*with the fresh herbs, I usually just leave the thyme and oregano on the stems, then remove the stems after it's cooked.

I'll heat the olive oil over medium heat in my chef's pan, then add the garlic and onions.

I'll cook those until they're soft. Then I'll add the eggplant and stir, and repeat with the pepper. And cover that and let it cook for ten minutes, with an occasional poke with a spoon.

Finally I'll add the other ingredients and cook until the eggplant is soft but not mushy.

I might make some brown rice to go with it, but maybe not. Maybe a side of bacon instead.

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