Monday, July 09, 2012

The Vegetables

Fresh basil waiting for spaghetti!

I never intended this to become a food blog. It turns out, though, that moving to Tokushima means I do two things: experiment on children and experiment with food. And since telling the world I experiment on children seems a bit dodgy - well, a food blog it is!

(I should probably add a disclaimer here about being a teacher, which is by its very nature an experiment about the best way to help children learn, since the search engines sometimes direct innocent bystanders to my blog when they’re searching for images of Japan. Google directs an unusual number of users to my J-3 retreat post from several years ago when they search for something along the lines of “Beautiful Nagasaki today”).

(And I just found out that one can inadvertently find my blog by Googling “How to make toaster oven brownies”, which would be a big disappointment for anyone looking for an actual cooking blog).

Yesterday began with two eggplants, two kabocha, a bagful of edamame and several pounds of potatoes taking up valuable space in the kitchen. We don’t have a lot of space, nor a deep and abiding love of all things vegetable. Especially these vegetables. Now, potatoes are good and necessary and I like edamame. I will eat pumpkin sometimes. In small portions. But I do not like eggplant. At all. Nor does David.

However, I do love experiments and the idea of eating fresh from the garden. The idea of making bread out of eggplant the way one does carrots or zucchini or pumpkin grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go.

But, with the way work has been lately, I haven’t had much time for experimenting. Finally last night (after a five hour karaoke birthday party for my landlady), I was able to tackle the vegetables going bad in kitchen. The eggplants were on their last leg from waiting too long for my weekend. Truthfully, so was I. But, they could still be saved, and after a glass of wine, so could I.

Without a grater, I made carrot bread by peeling them into oblivion and putting the “peels” into the batter. That doesn’t work with eggplant. The skin was so tough I nearly peeled my fingers when the peeler slipped. So I slowly and carefully minced the eggplant into as small of pieces as I could manage. Seemed a waste of time, really. All that work on an eggplant.

But, I was determined to do my part for Queen and country. Or Emperor and someone else’s country.  Whatever.

The experiment was a success. Sort of. I made six loaves of eggplant bread. Soft and moist, spiced with cinnamon and allspice and cloves, it was delicious, except for one small problem. The problem with eggplant bread is it tastes like eggplants. Why does zucchini bread not taste like zucchini? I was hoping for more of the same. That didn’t work.

Eggplant bread on top right.
Kabocha and soybeans on the bottom right.
And the rest of the freezer.
Yes, that's as big as it gets here.
Meanwhile, I was blanching kabocha to put in the freezer and save for the next time I have a weekend and can make curry. Unfortunately, I cooked it too long. It’s no longer “blanched” but “cooked.” I hope it will be all right.

At least today I get to munch on pumpkin seeds. No photo of those - I ate them all too quickly!

Today for dinner is shepherd’s pie. That takes care of some of the potatoes. And there are still yamamomo in the refrigerator. It’s going to be another day of experimenting.

Someone, help! What are these????

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