Earlier this summer, I stopped in for a meeting at my podcast network and walked out with a pound of beautiful ground lamb, which is a nice perk of broadcasting in conjunction with a company that sells Heritage Meats. The lamb has been waiting patiently in my freezer since then, and this week’s CSA haul inspired me to defrost it and make a Greek feast featuring our great vegetables from Farmer Ted. But first, here’s a look at what was in the Week 10 farm share.
Week 10 Haul:
- String beans
- Red onions
- Bunched basil
What Rolled Over?
Cucumbers, oddly enough. I say ‘odd’ because cucumbers have been one of my favorite foods since I was a little girl. So it was fine that they rolled over and went right into a big batch of tzatziki, the popular Greek cucumber-and-yogurt dip.
This week: 6
Season to date: 41
This week’s tomato haul was two large and four small tomatoes, which is just the right amount.
What I Made (Italics represent CSA vegetables used)
- Lamb meatballs, baba ganoush, tzatziki and spicy feta spread served with pita
- Grilled chicken over Greek salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, olives and feta, served with pita
- Tomato, red onion and basil quiche
- Chicken sausage, sautéed corn, red onion and tomato, yellow rice
- Thai pork basil, sesame green beans, jasmine rice
Technique of the Week: Make Eating Eggplant Less Itchy
I love eggplant, but I suffer from a mild allergy to it, which leaves me with an itchy tongue and throat. That means that I never order eggplant when eating out. But there’s a trick to minimizing the itch. My parents long-ago discovered that my allergy wouldn’t act up if eggplant was prepared in one of two ways: Roasted at a high heat or sliced and salted before use in whatever dish we were preparing. So when I want eggplant, I prepare it using one of those two methods and everything is just fine!
When it comes to baba ganoush, a popular Middle Eastern dip made from roasted eggplant mixed with garlic, lemon, and tahini (sesame paste), you can use either method. Roasting the whole eggplant with its skin on is traditional, but since it was very hot last weekend I opted to roast it sliced in order to cut back on the amount of time that the oven was turned on. To account for the shorter roasting time, I also salted the eggplant before cooking to make sure I wouldn’t end up with the dreaded itchy mouth.
Standout Meal of the Week: 3 Greek Dips
I’d mentioned that ground lamb served as inspiration for a Greek feast, along with this week’s medium-sized eggplant, which is the perfect thing for a batch of baba ganoush, as well as a bunch of cucumbers to make into tzatziki. For fun, I also made a spicy feta spread inspired by a side we get at one of our favorite local Greek restaurants.
Each of these dip recipes is easy to make; just be aware that if you’re planning to make all three that you’ll want to set aside about an hour and half total to account for all of the slicing, draining, and chopping required. I promise it will totally be worth the effort, though!
Baba Ganoush Recipe
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced and salted
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons tahini
Slice the eggplant into 1-inch rounds and place in a colander, then salt liberally to remove excess moisture. Allow the eggplant slices to sit for about a half an hour, then wipe with dry paper towels to remove salt and beading.
Lay the eggplant rounds on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Allow the eggplant to cool and remove skins. Place the eggplant pulp in the bowl of a food processor, blender or in a bowl that is safe to use with a hand blender.
Add garlic, lemon juice and tahini and blend all ingredients together until it becomes a smooth paste. Taste and add salt if needed, then cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.
- 2-3 medium cucumbers, grated and drained
- 17.6 oz container fat free Greek yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic, grated using a microplane or garlic press
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Fresh ground pepper
- Salt to taste
Grate the cucumber, skins on, and place in a colander set over a large bowl. Liberally salt the cucumber and allow to sit for 30 minutes, squeezing the pulp with your hands regularly to extrude water.
Place a paper coffee filter in another colander set over a bowl. Put the Greek yogurt in the prepared colander and allow it to drain of excess moisture for 15-30 minutes.
When the cucumbers and yogurt are well-drained of their water, mix them together with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.
Spicy Feta Spread Recipe
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 jalapeno, charred, sliced and seeded
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 oz feta
- ¼ cup roasted red pepper (optional)
In a small food processor, blend garlic, jalapeno, and olive oil until it forms a loose paste. Blend in roasted red pepper, if using, but don’t over process — there should be bits of pepper visible.
In a bowl, stir together feta and jalapeno mixture, using a fork to break the feta up. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.