Friday, November 7, 2014

Hors D'oeuvres Anyone?

Eggplants grow very well here in the Valley due to our mild winters. Whenever everything else has given it up in the garden, in the heat of the summers, the eggplants seem to thrive even more. I think more people would grow them if they just knew what to do with them.

One of the market vendors makes homemade babaganoush (pureed roasted eggplant, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil) and says he's going to bring me some but I'm still waiting. I've read you can stuff and bake miniature eggplants with a mixture of feta cheese, pine nuts and roasted peppers which sounds very tasty.

As I've said before, I like them sliced, brushed with olive oil and grilled for a few minutes on either side for a quick, easy tasty side dish.

Here's another way that has my mouth watering, just looking at 'em. Many thanks to my friend Angela Barnard for sharing what she did with hers.

Mini Eggplant Parmesan made w/garden fresh basil,
eggplant and homemade tomato sauce.

My friend Angela Barnard shared her photos
above and the 
Mini Eggplant Parmesan recipe link she used to
make these tasty hors d'oeuvres from her "Pot Black" eggplant
(see plant below).

Eggplant “Pot Black”
A compact variety for container
growing that produces many
2-3 oz. glossy oval black
fruits over a long growing
season. Attractive plants and
tasty fruit. Sun.
I am so excited about these compact varieties as they make such a pretty container plant and make great gifts. When Angela's husband came looking for a birthday surprise for her last year, I suggested this plant, as it was the first time I had brought it to the market so I knew she hadn't seen it before. As a fellow Master Gardener, we are always looking for the new and unusual, at least to us and I knew she would appreciate this one.

Another great new container variety that is really producing as you can see here is the "Patio Baby". I plan on potting a couple or one of each of these two to put in the entryway of our front porch as my new fall decorating scheme. Another good reason for us to sit outside and enjoy our front porch.

Eggplant “Patio Baby”
A 2014 AAS Winner. An eggplant
variety that is great for pots & container
growing. Plants produce lavender
blooms and a big crop of shiny black
small fruits that is bitter free.

I just love how eggplants come in all sizes and shapes.
Here's another new variety for us that I think I failed to mention, in my last blog on eggplants.

Eggplant “Shooting Stars”
A showy variety with small (4") oval white
fleshed fruits that are vivid purple
with white stripes. Good in the garden
or pots.  Height 30"x20" wide. Sun.
Maybe the trick to get more people to consider trying eggplant is to call it an Aubergine - that's the British English name for it. Try a search using aubergine recipes and you'll have lots to choose from.
(Plant photos by Debbie Cox)