A friend and I are splitting a CSA subscription this summer. A CSA is short for Community Share Agriculture. Basically, subscribers get a box full of fresh, organic, locally-harvested fruits and vegetables from a local farm weekly.
(If you're interested in finding your own CSA, check out localharvest.org.)
Being in a CSA has created all sorts of culinary puzzles. What do you do with five cucumbers, two onions, and two eggplants?
I posted this question to Facebook and got all sorts of answers, but decided to go with the advice of my friend Ryan.
I've known Ryan since I was fifteen. He is my real-life Don Draper from Mad Men because he works in advertising. That is, however, where the similarities end--- he is very nice to his charming wife and I don't think he chain smokes incessantly.
A digression about Ryan. He was watching the World Cup recently and was so into the score that he didn't realize he was watching the match with one Mr. Justin Timberlake. (He was at a commercial shoot).
Anyway, when I posed my question, Ryan suggested I make Eggplant Curry with Cucumber Raita.
This is why he's the creative genius who meets former members of N'Sync and I wipe butts for a living.
I gave it a whirl last night, and not only is it delicious, it has the required five or less ingredients. Plus, it's Indian, which is automatically awesome.
You need the following:
Two small eggplants (or one big one)
One small can of tomatoes
1. Peel and slice the eggplant. Add some salt to the eggplant (both sides) and let it sit for at least a half hour to get the bitter joo-joo out of it. Pat it dry after a half hour.
2. Add a generous amount of peanut oil to a skillet. Dice the onion and cook it in the oil until the onions are nice and soft.
2. Next, dice the jalapenos. Remove the seeds unless you really love heat. Cook the jalapenos for at least two minutes. While you are doing this, dice up the eggplant and cook it. I just popped it in the microwave for about three minutes.
3. Then, add at least two tablespoons of curry to the skillet. You can add more or less for taste. Open a window unless you love smelling like a call station in Bangalore.
4. Cook the curry and vegetables for about thirty seconds. Add the small can of tomatoes and then add a can full of water. Let it thicken. Add some cornstarch if it's too runny.
5. Add the cooked eggplant. Cook until flavors combine.
Serve with rice. (You can also use this sauce with chicken, lamb, etc.)
To make a full meal, add this Cooling Cucumber Raita.
1. Dice some cucumbers.
2. Add a bunch of dill.
3. Mix it with plain yogurt (I prefer Greek style).
And there you go! Dinner, courtesy of the coolest friend I have, (besides all of my other friends).
For other five-ingredient-or-less meals, hook up with Brandee at Share a Spoon.
PS--Click here for the funniest thing Justin Timberlake has ever done on Saturday Night Live. It's juvenile, yes, but it slays me every time.