One of the marching orders about local eating is you eat what’s ready.
Perhaps this removes a lot of choice. Choice, though, is suspect. Frankly, I don’t like the idea of eating asparagus in September or raw tomatoes in January. It does not feel right to me: those poor vegetables have been carted in to us from many thousands of miles. How many calories are expended, by diesel and jet fuel, for the few measly calories these things yield us on our plates?
Choice-wise, though, the late August garden is chock-full. This week for One Local Summer, I scanned the supplies and the recesses of my brain and I said: Eggs. Eggplant. Tomatoes. How about moussaka?
The menu was as follows:
Eggplant moussaka (eggplants, parsley, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and veg stock from the garden; eggs from the chickens; and local smoked gouda cheese; nonlocal EVOO and salt and pepper.)
Cucumber-yogurt soup with scallions (cukes, onions, garlic and veg stock from the garden; nonlocal milk that I made into yogurt)
Steamed Haricot vert (green beans) from the garden
Whole-wheat/oat bread (local flour and oats, our sourdough starter)
Peaches, nectarines from town
Classic Demi-Sec white wine from Tabor Hill
I will say this for this meal. When things are super fresh, I know that my cooking talents can’t really compete with nature. It seems somewhat heretical to, say, really cover up a dish with tons of spices when a fresh green bean really just needs a quick steam to be its best. This meal went a bit more toward the alchemy that is winter cooking for me. Not that I minded the change that this extra work took: the moussaka was really good!
ooh, I’ve never made moussaka and snagged a bunch of nice, smallish eggplants at the farmers’ market this weekend. I think I may have to find a recipe for that and give it a whirl.
Is it still moussaka if there’s no lamb? 😉
I adore eggplant. I had more than enough for eggplant parm last night and it was soooo good. But now I’m thinking moussaka should make an appearance *very* soon.
I just made moussaka too, and it was yummy. I really like the addition of cinnamon in the saucy mix of tomatoes, onion and garlic, (to which I occasionally add ground meat) and then layer with the eggplant and top with a thick ricotta custard. I also made a curried eggplant and garbanzo bean stew recently, which is a nice change from the Mediterranean style eggplant dishes.
I’ve been meaning to make a cucumber soup for a month. Maybe this week.