Posts tagged “eggplant

Eggplant and Black Olive Caviar

Posted on June 24, 2015

Photo: Paige Bowers

Photo: Paige Bowers

I grow a lot of eggplant this time of year.

It’s overwhelming really.

Because eggplant isn’t for everyone.

Or at least it isn’t for everyone in my household. [Ed. note: Unless I trick them into eating it.]

I happen to love it.

But I’ve been looking for new things to do with it. One reason: I have a lot. The other: Our household has had to eliminate dairy and eggs from our diet at least for the near term. So one of my many summer projects involves figuring out how to do this. It’s a little more complicated than I had imagined, but we’re muddling through it.

For now, that means no cheese with my evening glass of wine. [Ed note: I also happen to love cheese.]

Some might feel defeatist about this, but I am not one of those folks. And fortunately, eggplant has stepped in to fill this so-called cocktail hour snack void. One of my favorite French food writers, Clotilde Dusoulier, has a wonderful recipe for Eggplant and Black Olive Caviar in her The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from my Parisian KitchenIt’s a great, savory spread for crackers or flatbread, and Dusoulier says you can even use it in sandwiches or scooped over a bowl of rice.

I am thinking about cheese a little bit less these days, thanks in part to this tangy treat.

Eggplant and Black Olive Caviar

from Clotilde Dusoulier’s The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from my Parisian Kitchen


2 lbs small eggplants

2 garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers (I used a couple more than this)

12 brine-cured black olives, pitted

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

fine sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

hot sauce


1. Roast the eggplants a few hours in advance or the day before. Use a knife to pierce three or four slits in each eggplant and slip the garlic slivers into the slits. I had trouble doing this, so I roasted the eggplant without the garlic slivers and it still turned out fine.

2. Place the whole eggplants on a lightly oiled baking sheet and insert in a cold oven. Turn oven to 400 degrees and roast the eggplants, flipping them halfway through, until completely soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set aside to cool completely. If roasting the day before, put the eggplants in an airtight container and refrigerate.

3. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and scoop out the flesh and garlic cloves with a spoon to get as much flesh as possible. It’s okay if a little of the skin comes with it. Put the eggplant and garlic in a food processor or blender.

4. Add the olives, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, a pinch of salt, a good grind of black pepper and a dash (or two) of hot sauce. Process until very smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Your end result should look something like this (crackers and rose not included):

Photo: Paige Bowers

Photo: Paige Bowers


Click here for other eggplant recipes from NYT Cooking.

The Constant Gardener

Posted on May 21, 2014



Garden update: I don’t want to jinx anything, but my tomato plants were getting pretty heavy with fruit. So, as much as I love vine ripe tomatoes, I harvested some and have them ripening in the kitchen window.  Pictured above: Half my haul. And also? A cayenne pepper. There’s plenty more where this came from.

Again…not to jinx anything.



Another dispatch from the “not to jinx anything” department: The season’s first squash blossom. In my previous house, I tried to grow summer  squash, but never made it very far because of this strange wilt disease that hollows out the stems of the plant and leaves a fungus on the leaves. Once that happens, you can kiss the whole plant goodbye. I saw the first signs of this menace yesterday and treated it with Neem Oil. So I’m hoping that does the trick. Knock wood. If you have any tips on how to foolproof ways to keep wilt disease at bay, please let me know in comments.

cantaloupeThere’s a similar wilt disease that attacks cantaloupes. But I’ve been working hard to prevent it, too. I have three cantaloupe plants growing along the garden fence and two more that I’ve tried to start from seed. I’m hoping that I’ll have nice, honey-sweet melons within the next couple of months.



Although that same stinking wilt disease attacks cucumbers, I’ve had far more success growing these in the past. As much as I love fresh tomatoes, I have to say that nothing beats a freshly picked cucumber in the summer months. I’ve got three varieties growing in my garden now: a seedless, snack-sized variety; a larger variety known as a Marketmore; and a long green improved cucumber from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. In the background, you can see organic pellets for fighting off red ants. This is the second time I’ve been under siege in the past month. Those little you-know-whats need to find another vegetable garden to invade.



And finally: eggplant. I am the only one in the house who will eat these willingly. That’s fine with me.