Early this spring, my friend Holly Sander got me interested in organic gardening at a community garden near our neighborhood (Holly runs a food blog called Taste And See and has been instrumental in helping me learn quite a few wonderful things about food blogging). I had always toyed with the idea of growing my own produce, and got excited about this ‘farm-to-table’ concept where I’m truly in control of what I consume.
I made my way over to the Sanford Community Garden, signed up for a 30 sq. ft. plot (for USD $50 a year) with absolutely no idea on how I would go about gardening. I was told that a master gardener would help me out but I could not speak with her, until much later. I just went over to the nearest Lowe’s and bought myself some tomato, eggplant and chili pepper plants, some green bean seeds and started planting (the garden has a tool shed with just about anything you need for gardening).
I started making two trips a week to the garden to water my plants and was amazed at how fast they grow! In about 4 weeks, I actually started seeing these lovely vegetables popping up. And one problem I did not anticipate was the problem of plenty. By about the 10th week I started harvesting and subsequently I realized that my garden was producing a lot more than we could consume. Even after I gave stuff away to my neighbors and friends I’d still have a lot left over. Tomatoes especially started growing out of my ears!
I blanched and froze a bunch of tomatoes. I made Tomato Chutney, Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Chutney and started giving those away, since most folks don’t cook that many veggies around here. I also started trying out new recipes to make things more interesting, as I got tired of the same few recipes. Baked Eggplant is one of those new recipes that turned out amazingly good, with the fresh , organic eggplants from my garden. It’s super easy, with limited ingredients.
Did you know that eggplants are called the King of Vegetables? I suspect it is because of the crown-like structure on the top. If eggplants are your thing, check out our other eggplant-based recipes: Broad Bean Eggplant Saute, Baingan Bartha, and Baba Ghanoush.
Ginger Garlic Paste: Usually, it is good to make fresh ginger garlic paste, but if you are in a hurry, you can save yourself time by prepping ahead of time. Here’s how to do it: Peel and chop 4 oz. fresh garlic and 4 oz. fresh ginger root. In a food processor, combine the garlic and ginger. Pulse to blend, adding small amounts of olive oil (or any oil of your choice) to facilitate the blending, until it makes a smooth paste. I am too lazy to use my food processor, so I pound ginger and garlic with my mortar/pestle until it turns to mush. Refrigerate or freeze.
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- 1/2 Pound Eggplant Cut into wedges
- 1/2 Cup Onion Fine cut
- 1/2 Cup Tomato Fine cut
- 1 Teaspoon Ginger & Garlic Paste See storyline on how to make this
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt (or to taste)
- Finely chop onions and tomatoes. Wash and slice eggplant into wedges. Grind ginger-garlic to a paste (see storyline on how to make this)
- Line up a baking tray with aluminum foil and spread 1 teaspoon oil evenly on it. Place the the eggplant wedges on the foil - cut side facing up.
- Mix tomatoes, onions, ginger/garlic paste, salt with the remaining oil and evenly spread the mix on the eggplant slices.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Set the baking tray in the oven and allow the contents to bake for 25 minutes. Now turn the oven to broil and keep for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a plate or bowl and serve. You can sprinkle some chili pepper flakes if you want to add a kick to it.