‘Naan Better’ Eggplant Curry Salad

We’ve gotten in some delightfully adorable local eggplant, all festive in their stripes, from Shanti & Pete, our friends at Muddy Miss Farms. We’re coming up on the peak of local season and it’s time to eat like kings!

Genie's Naan Better Eggplant Curry Salad

Pete & Shanti are young farmers “passionate about maintaining biodiversity in agriculture, preserving heirloom crop varieties, and protecting Iowa’s prairies, woods and wetlands,” and I really recommend reading a little more about them – including where their name came from – here.  They farm sustainably about 10 miles down the road in Riverside.

Celebrate our local season (along with eggplant, the arrival of peaches and sweet corn mean it’s really here!) – in this great salad.

Naan Better’ Eggplant Curry Salad
Contributed by Genie Maybanks, New Pi marketing

Celebrate local eggplant with your greens of choice, flatbread, and curry dressing for a gorgeous salad.

Naan
(feel free to substitute pita bread)
1 c. water
1 package (2 ¼ t. – we carry it in the bulk department) active dry yeast
¼ c. plus one pinch sugar
4 ½ c. flour
3 T. milk
1 egg
4 T. oil, plus additional for the griddle
1 garlic clove, smashed and finely chopped

Mix together water, yeast, and pinch of sugar. Let sit 10 min.

Mix remaining ingredients – except oil and garlic – with yeast mixture. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise 1 hour.

Punch down and let rise for another 30 min.

Combine oil with garlic in a small dish. Heat skillet and spray or drizzle with oil.

Stretch a baseball-sized piece of dough to make an irregular flatbread, approximately 8 inches in diameter. Cook on hot griddle for 5 minutes per side, or to desired color, brushing with garlic oil mixture before flipping. Repeat.

Broiled Eggplant

1 small eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces with skin on
2 T. oil
1 t. coarse salt

Toss eggplant in oil and salt. Broil on center rack until brown, approximately 10 minutes.

Genie’s Curry Dressing
Whisk together:
4 T. peanut oil
2 T. Champagne vinegar
2 T. mayo
1 T. curry powder
1 green onion, finely chopped
½ t. chili powder
½ t. honey

Serve: eggplant, warm or cold, over spinach or baby greens with warm flatbread and curry dressing. Garnish with chopped hot or mild peppers, if desired.

Eat Local Week: Daddy-daughter Date Night

We’ll finish out JT’s Eat Local Week now – and look for his re-cap tomorrow!

Katie was with Chance at baseball practice, and Charlie was at Tae Kwon Do, so little Miss Alice and I had the evening to ourselves.

Corn goes over well!

Eating locally is easier for us grown-ups, since we have will-power, and higher levels of rationality that can override our urges to eat habitually, right? But how do we get the kids involved in this great endeavor? (If I ever write my long-postponed book on parenting, one chapter will surely be called ‘The Magic of Low Expectations.’ : ))

I can offer my sweet two-year-old garden-fresh kale salad, or honey-glazed ribs, but to expect her to eat it with gusto would really be deluding myself when her idea of a great meal is gummy bears. (Yes… just gummy bears.) So, I start small. I know she loves corn, and that’s one of tonight’s sides, so we can at least share that together!

The corn is from my garden. The watermelon is from the West Liberty Farmer’s Market. The ribs are from Beeler’s. The peaches are from Missouri (since those pesky squirrels ate the rest of mine!).

The muffins were a fun creation – I used Paul’s 7-grain Flour, Iowa Soy Oil, Bee Plantation Honey (instead of sugar), Kalona SuperNatural Butter, AE Milk, and some garden elderberries for sweetness. They didn’t rise much without baking soda (where WOULD one get that locally??), but the end result was delicious – kind of like the Morning Glory Muffins we make here at the Co-op. And the beer went perfectly with the glazed ribs and sweet fruit. Just a touch bitter (and strong, at 6.9%), even the HOPS in this Madhouse IPA were grown locally! You must try this super-hoppy, rich brew – if you haven’t already.

Breakfast made use of all the extra fruit I still had frozen. Yep, I’ve squirreled-away (just for this ONE week!): elderberries, currants, blueberries, Himrod grapes, aronia berries, strawberries, and raspberries from my garden. And yes, I overestimated how much I would need for this week, so as luck would have it, I have many, many pounds left! And, thus, the smoothie-popsicle Alice is eating!  She ‘really-really’ (as she would say) LOVES popsicles. The real bonus is that even my boys eat them. If he had any idea he was eating such healthy fruit, my picky 7-year-old Charlie would never touch it. (Chapter 28 in JT’s Parenting Book: ‘What they don’t know might actually be good for them’ : )

This, plus some boiled eggs, and last night’s elderberry 7-grain muffins made us a very well-rounded breakfast. The smoothie recipe was easy: AE Milk, Kalona SuperNatural Vanilla Yogurt, and the aforementioned berry blend. Just mix, freeze, & enjoy!

JT

Homemade Bread You Have Time For

Yeasted breads are wonderful things, but we all can agree there’s one thing they do take: time. Time to proof the yeast, time to rise, time to rise again. You can skip the kneading step if you like with the recipe in this post, but that time element is the replacement for kneading – though it has delicious results.

There’s another answer out there though, provided by our Irish friends: baking soda! I’ll take this opportunity to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!, and if you’d like the right treat, try this rich Guinness Chocolate Mousse on for size.

Back to bread. Irish Soda Bread allowed people without ovens (many people, back in the day) to make bread in a cast iron vessel in a fire, though now that most people have ovens we like to use them for this as well. Read more about the traditional Irish Soda Bread here, on Epicurious.

Nowadays, it’s just plain simple and easy! The payoff is great, particularly slathered with some high-quality butter. MmmmMmm.

If you don’t have buttermilk around and aren’t in the mood for buttermilk pancakes this weekend (though really now, how often is that the case?), sub in ‘sour milk,’ milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar per cup mixed in and set aside for five or ten minutes. It’ll do the trick.

Brown Soda Bread

from Epicurious

1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3 T. toasted wheat bran
3 T. toasted wheat germ
2 T. old-fashioned oats
2 T. (packed) dark brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 c. (approximately) buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Butter 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl; mix well.
Stir in enough buttermilk to form a soft dough. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles fine meal.

Transfer dough to prepared loaf pan. Bake until bread is dark brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack. Turn right side up and cool on rack.

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