As I look out of the kitchen window at my beautiful garden, I can see at least one ripe eggplant despite being half my yard away. I just made babah ganoush out of the two I had in the fridge. (It turned out very smooth, but very bitter. I think I'm going to have to try it again. Anyone got any ideas on how to keep the bitter out? I've read to remove the seeds and juice of the eggplant, and I've read to keep them in for the sweetness. What is it?? What is the secret?) I have a lot of eggplant plants out there. I'm not sure what I'll do with them all. Even if you don't like eggplant, the plants are gorgeous to look at. The leaves are a grey-ish green with purple (eggplant purple) veins down the middle, and the fruit (vegetable) of the plant itself is one of the most beautiful colors ever painted (in my humble opinion). I am looking forward to eating eggplant parmesan (Deb's name for it, I call it Eggplant Lasagna) sometime in the next couple of days. Yum. (Can't taste the bitterness that so many people equate with eggplant in this dish, even with the seeds in. What is it about Baba?)
My tomatoes are starting to finally ripen. After relying on friends for my favorite summertime treat for the past few weeks, my garden is finally starting to give up the delicious ripe tomato flesh. Mostly Jubilees (more yellow, less orange than usual-what is with that?) and Brandywines. Most of the others are still languishing in small pots from when I planted them from seeds and got lazy and depressed and didn't finish planting them in their intended permanent homes. I may plant some of them into large pots to see if I can grow them inside later to have fresh tomatoes later in the year than normal for Michigan. I can't bear to buy tomatoes in the winter. They taste bad to me. No flavor, texture like water-soaked balsa wood and no personality to speak of. As "my kids" would say about someone who is only pretending to be a decent human being, but not really, "they are fake". Even though that isn't always an accurate portrayal of a person, I can pretty much unequivocally say that it is true about a winter tomato in the grocery store. (I will add a small bow here to select types of small, bite-sized tomatoes such as grape tomatoes and santa sweets, which in desperation, can almost pass for having a limited amount of tomato flavor, but really at that time of year, I hate to say it, but canned, frozen or dried are preferable most of the time and never as a big thick slice on a turkey sandwich.) Anyway, for now, until a hard frost hits, I get to enjoy my favorite summer treat and delight as the fresh tomato juice runs down my face, and up my arms to my elbows.
By basil is also flourishing. I need to buckle down and make some pesto this year. Every year I say I am going to do that and I don't and much of my favorite herb goes to waste. I may also just try cutting and freezing it this year. Anyone have any ideas on this? Dry basil tastes good, but there is something about the taste of fresh basil that completely livens and wakes up the taste of a dish.
I need to go out to the garden now, before the sun goes down and peek at my peppers to see how they are doing, and check on my young sage plants that hopefully will last for a few years. And I need to talk and sing to the other plants that are so generous in their beauty and their bounty.