We are in the thick of it, my friends. Summer has finally come! Last night I went out to do some late night harvest by the light of the moon and experienced that archetypical feeling of a pleasant summer evening: warm gentle air somewhat soft and thick, bright moon, and the fresh vigor that comes when a hot day giving way to a pleasant comfortable night that makes these evenings so ripe for activity.
This box is quintessentially summer: Sweet Corn, Peppers, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Basil. Its like a who’s who list of everyone’s favorite summer garden party.
The official guest list:Summer Squash Sweet Corn Eggplant Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes Broccoli Onions Pepper: purple bell, green bell, or jimmy nardello (slender and red sweet pepper) Basil : Purple and Green Italian Cut Lettuce (full share) Kohlrabi (full share) Ruby Streaks (full share) Cucumber (full share)
So what was I harvesting so late last night? Well, we were fresh out of Arugula from the previous week and it seemed absolutely essential for the late dinner I was making–sometimes you just need that pungent flavor, that peppery depth to really carry the dish to the finish line. And I’ll tell you, if we hadn’t already packed the boxes for Tuesday and it wasn’t already 9:30 at night, I might have been inspired enough to put Arugula in everyone’s boxes again this week.
So what else was in the dish? Well, let me tell you: I cut the kernels off two ears of sweet corn, diced two medium tomatoes, and tossed with a handful of arugula and ruby streaks mustard greens in a large bowl. Really almost any other raw veggie could have gone in the mix at this point: zucchini, cucumber, pepper kohlrabi, beans, you name it. I whipped up a batch of basil mayonnaise to dollop on top of the salad, and fried cubes of tofu to put on the very top (sliced pork, steak, or chicken breast would have also been good choices).
Brandon’s Basil Mayonnaise1 Egg Yolk 1 tsp water 1 Tbls vinegar or lemon juice 1 cup canola oil (or any oil without a strong flavor) 10-15 Basil leaves 2 cloves garlic 1/2 hot pepper (optional) Separate egg yolk from white. Place egg yolk in bowl with teaspoon of water, mix together with whisk or in food processor or blender. Add vinegar or lemon juice and mix. Continue to whisk or blend while very slowly adding oil. If you add the oil too fast, your mayonnaise will “break” and you will have large oil droplets suspended in liquid. As your slowly adding the oil your mixture should start to emulsify and thicken. Keep whisking until all the oil is added and mayonnaise is as thick as desired. Your mayonnaise should be thick enough to support soft peaks. At this point you can whisk in more water or lemon juice/vinegar if you want your mayonnaise thinner. If I am making a plain mayonnaise I would often add mustard to give it some tang–but not in this recipe! If using a food processor, remove mayonnaise from processor and process the remaining ingredients. If doing by hand, dice remaining ingredients. Once finely diced, stir these into the mayonnaise. That’s it! It will keep in the fridge for one week and can (and should) be used for salads, sandwiches and dips.
Making mayonnaise is a direct gateway to making mixed drinks. Egg whites are a common thickener in cocktails that are shaken instead of stirred. They provide a nice smooth body that can give your homemade concoctions a professional edge.
Eggplant is making its second run this week for everybody. If you eggplant is piling up or you want something a little more interesting to do with it than straight grilling, we highly recommend making a little Babaganouj. This delightful Mediterranean spread can be used in the same fashion as one would its garbanzo bean ally Hummus: as a dip, a spread, or thinned down to a sauce in a stir fry.
BabaganoujEggplant Tahini Olive oil Lemon juice Garlic Salt Roast Eggplants on grill until they have collapsed and are soft. The eggplants skin will likely be charred and you’ll want the eggplant to be mushy by the time it’s done. If you have a gas stove, you can also put the eggplant right on the burner as long as you don’t mind cleaning up the mess. Move eggplant to bowl, covering with plastic wrap for half and hour or more, allowing it to steam so that the skin can be removed more readily. When cooled down enough to handle, peel off skin with hands and save the cooked insides, separating and reserving the excess liquid on the side in case you want to thin down your finished product. In food processor or blender, process a few garlic cloves (depending on how much garlic you like), add eggplant and at least a tablespoon of tahini. Puree until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup to 1 cup of olive oil, slowly, until thick. If your puree becomes too thick, you can thin with reserved eggplant juices. Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Feel free to add more or less of any of the ingredients to your liking. Amounts will vary depending on the quantity of eggplant you are using and how thick you like your Babaganouj to be.