BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Purple Things

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Rajasthani Eggplant from Vij in Vancouver

Rajasthani Eggplant from Vij in Vancouver

Ripening pinot noir at WillaKenzie.

Ripening pinot noir at WillaKenzie.

Everything’s coming up purple these days. Eggplants. Blackberries. Plums. Pinot Noir grapes. Of course you wouldn’t know it looking at the picture of my Rajasthani Eggplant (with some leftover ofkra) dish. This aromatic Indian stir-fry featured lots of enticing spices — black cardamom seeds, asofoetida, green mango (amchur) powder — but way too much ghee (clarified butter). I made a special trip to the local Indian store for these far-flung ingredients, to be paired with local eggplant and the last remaining red onion from the garden. I would recreate this dish, with less fat. Vij’s is Vancouver’s famous Indian restaurant that we didn’t get to. We were too busy with the unparalleled Japanese cuisine there. Vij must have a regular column in The Globe and Mail. See other eggplant curry recipes from him here and here (with papaya, oh-la-la).

Then there are purple beans from the garden sitting the fridge. I’m not sure pickled beans are my thing. But I’m still refining my process. Fermentation, rather that quick pickles with vinegar, is what’s currently captured my imagination. I’m brining just a quart jar of red cabbage with caraway and celery seeds. It smells funny after just a few days, but hopefully that’s natural. The white film on top of the pickles apparently is!

Purple beans (among others) from my garden.

Purple beans (among others) from my garden.

Purple cabbage kraut.

Purple cabbage kraut.

And the purple grapes are weighing down vines at wineries across the Willamette Valley. Dan’s colleague gave us his tickets to attend an open house at WillaKenzie Estate Winery in Yamill last week. Then the New York Times just so happened to name their wine the best value of Oregon’s pinot noirs (at @$27, it’s still not cheap!).

Other purple things? Italian plums to dry into prunes are plopping on the sidewalks here. I’ve borrowed the OSU extension service dehydrator to try some. Our next-door neighbors have a prolific tree whose fruit they shared last year. And purple fruit is even turning up in beers here. We finally sprang for the $7 Growler Sundays special at Block 15 and filled it up with, what else, boysenberry wheat beer.





Written by baltimoregon

September 4, 2009 at 12:36 am

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