Alternatively titled: “How to cram a ton of veggies onto your plate making you feel less guilty for eating fried chicken.”
So in my CSA box this week, I went heavy on the herbs. Herbs are not only so good for you in so many ways, but they are very inspiring in the kitchen.
Here’s what came in this week’s box from “The Farmer’s Daughter CSA.”
2 bundles of lemon balm
4 bundles of purple basil
2 bundles of lavender
2 vidalia onions
2 lbs of heirloom tomatoes
4 medium sized eggplant
Lemon balm is my new favorite obsession. The stuff smells like lemon drop candy, you guys. It is AMAZING. I made some mint/lemon-balm tea this weekend and it was fab. If I was eating sugar right now, it would have made some amazing mint/lemon-balm lemon-aid. Also, it is good for you, in so many ways. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I was very happy to see this from http://www.naturalsociety.com:
Here is how a ton of it ended up on our dinner plates last night:
1.) Lemon balm pesto. Yes, even with all that basil, I still chose an unconventional pesto approach.
Start with this:
2 cups Lemon balm leaves
3-4 heirloom tomatoes or 1 jar stewed tomatoes
1 vidalia onion
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt, pepper to taste
*Take the leaves from two bundles of lemon balm (about two cups), put them in a food processor
*Add four heirloom tomatoes, quartered and seeded.
*Toss in one vidalia onion, quartered.
*Add four garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp sea salt, pinch of pepper
Once all ingredients are smooth and combined, add 1/2 cup olive oil through your food processor cap. This can be done in a blender too. 🙂
You can eat it raw, (with crusty bread, or over fresh mozzarella cheese maybe?) or cook it down to reduce and make a pasta sauce out of it. (30 minutes at a simmer until some of the liquid evaporates.) I reduced it, added about 1/2 tsp of arrowroot to thicken it, and threw it in the fridge until dinner time. Of course, we are not eating pasta right now, so we put ours over some awesome roasted eggplant and tomatoes. 🙂 No lie though, I pretended it was pasta.
“Roasted eggplant and tomatoes? Who needs pasta?”, you say?
Exactly! By now you have probably caught on that I am pretty determined to figure out eggplant.
Here’s how I made another step towards mastering the art of eggplant preparation:
Heirloom tomatoes (you decide how many, I used one large tomato)
Eggplant (I used two small/medium ones)
1/4 cup basil leaves (I used purple)
A couple of sliced garlic cloves
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
2 TBSP (or so) of olive oil.
The rest is very easy.
*Slice eggplant in 1/4 in disks. Put into mixing bowl.
*Slice tomato the same. Add to bowl.
*Pull basil leaves off stem. Yep, add those too.
*Slice garlic, and throw it in…
*Sprinkle w/sea salt and pepper
*Drizzle with olive oil.
Lay everything out over a parchment paper line cookie sheet.
Bake at 425* for 35-40 minutes.
We ate ours with reheated lemon balm pesto and *ahem* gluten free fried chicken. I will post that recipe separately so as not to taint all of this veggie goodness with our decadence.
Next time you go to Farmer’s Market or order your CSA box, try a new herb! It’s amazing how much your kitchen creativity expands when you stretch yourself. 🙂