Week Three of the Vegetable Adventure is here! What goodies are in the bag this week? Let’s find out.
Week Two of the crazy vegetable adventure is complete! See all the cool veggies from the week here.
The winner this week is: Eggplant Banana Bread!
What can I say? I love bread. That by itself would be enough to make it a winner, but this had banana, chocolate chips, and walnuts. It was basically a dessert bread. How can it lose?
I followed this recipe, and eye-balled the amount of goodies (can you really ever have too many chocolate chips?) It probably could have baked 5-10 minutes longer, but it was so delicious!
Runner-up: Eggplant Pepperoni Pizza Bites
I was inspired by this recipe, and since I already had some pizza sauce hanging around, it was pretty easy.
8 slices of homemade bread
1 eggplant thinly sliced
16 pepperoni slices (2 for each piece of bread, in my case)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Munster; it melts so nicely)
1/4 cup pizza sauce
Lightly saute the eggplant slices. Lay the bread out and spread the sauce. Add the eggplant and pepperoni, sprinkle the cheese. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and pop in for 15 minutes.
Honorable Mention: Black bean soup with Roselle leaves
This one I concocted myself, as I tried to figure out something to do with the sour-tasting Roselle leaves. I used two cups of chopped leaves, and still had half the bunch left, but I at least feel better for making an effort.
1 (16 oz) bag of dry black beans
3 cubes of beef buillion
6 cups water
2 cups chopped roselle leaves
6 cloves chopped garlic
bacon bits and parmesan cheese to taste (a lot, in my case)
In a large pot, soak the beans (I soak anywhere from 6 hours to overnight). Dump the water and rinse them. Add the 6 cups of water and buillion cubes. Heat uncovered until they start to boil, turn down to a simmer and cover.
I added the roselle leaves and garlic just before I covered it, and then scooped half of the roselle out after 30 minutes. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, so maybe I could have left it all in. The bits I couldn’t get out seemed to taste just fine.
Cook for about 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on how tender you want the beans. Serve. Add bacon bits and parmesan.
We survived the first week of vegetables! Our winning and not-so-winning combinations can be seen here. It seemed like it was going to be really hard to eat all of the veggies, but once we got started it turned out to be pretty easy. We ate everything, but we couldn’t quite finish the bushel of roselle.
Now, on to Week Two! There was less variety and a few repeats, which I think will make meal planning a little less difficult. Here’s what was in the bag this week:
1. Three small to medium eggplants – I have never known what to do with eggplant. My Dad made eggplant lasagna a couple of times, but I don’t recall any of us being thrilled by it. Since the Butternut Squash Bread came out so well, I wondered if Eggplant Bread was a thing, and indeed it is: Eggplant Banana Bread.
2. Two bags of spinach – Yay! I loved this so much, I’m more than happy to have it again. I foresee it sauteed in butter again.
3. A smaller bushel of Roselle leaves – Last week I put it in a curry, and it was good, but a little strange. The flavor is really sour and interesting, but I haven’t developed a taste for it yet. I’m not really sure what to do with this.
4. A lemony, zesty green that looks like arugula – I know I’ve eaten salads that have arugula in them, but I must not have been paying much attention. I never noticed the taste before. (Either that, or this isn’t arugula.) Our farm share group has a list of recipes for arugula, and I think I like the pasta dish that uses the Roselle, too. I have Parmesan cheese leftover from last week’s pesto recipe, so that’ll probably get sprinkled on top.
5. Soybeans – Edamame! Steamed soy beans with salt. It doesn’t get any easier than that. (But now I’m wondering, how in the world do they make soy milk? And who thought to do it? The beans don’t seem milky to me.)
6. Two small packets of organic soil – From a Houston-based company called MicroLife, it’s packaging says it’s an all-organic biological fertilizer. Neat!
Wrapping up Week One of our vegetable adventure, here’s some of what we made:
Best recipe of the week: Butternut Squash Bread
This yeast bread has egg, milk, sugar, and melted butter. It almost comes out exactly like cake, but the rind is slightly firmer.
Runner-up: Spinach sauteed in butter
(No picture; it was eaten too quickly!) Because everything tastes magical when it’s swimming in butter. We really liked how they were thicker and more flavorful than the grocery store alternative.
Last favorite: Basil Pesto
I take responsibility for this one going bad. I used an olive oil that had basil in it and I completely forgot the garlic. The basil flavor was way too overpowering. Oops. It was used a lot throughout the week anyway, including smeared on the squash bread, with cucumber slices. Our son liked the bite-size pieces.
Honorable mention: Cucumber Salad with a Homemade Vinegar Dressing
Two remaining cucumbers were sliced and dressed up with a homemade vinegar dressing concoction. (It was like being a mad scientist with spices and a Pyrex measuring cup.) To the best of my memory, it was about 1/8 cup of vinegar, a Tbsp of sugar, and many vigorous dashes of salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
I heard about a local farm share group called Plant It Forward from one of the weekly newsletters put out by the Houston-based blog, Big Kids Small City. (They have gathered an amazing list of kid-friendly events and places in Houston.)
The farm share concept sounded really neat; one of their taglines is “Urban farms for Houston, Small businesses for refugees.” The produce is non-GMO, chemical free, and grown right here in Houston by recently transplanted refugees. It’s then delivered to a local farmers market once a week for pick up.
They don’t tell you in advance what you’re getting each week, since it depends on what’s ready to be harvested. It’s a vegetable adventure!
Ever had a great idea and perfectly laid plan? Me, too!
This was the first comic strip I ever drew, dated almost one year ago (June 22. 2014). Wow, how time flies!
Well, we know what they say about the best laid plans. I had intended to write and draw Dog and Baby to cover a particular time period, but I hit a point in the drawing where I felt completely incompetent. Boom. It was a wall, and it came up pretty fast.