Whilst cooking dinner for myself tonight (Jay was at band practice, so cooking for one!), I started thinking about how much my tastes have changed compared to my childhood days. I was making eggplant because between the farmer’s market and the CSA, we ended up with two of them and I wanted to make use of at least one of them today.
I was thinking about how much I’ve begun to enjoy eggplant these days, but I couldn’t remember eating it as a child…ever. I think I was always a little scared of the large purple vegetable because it was so unfamiliar to me until a few years ago. As I started thinking about my new-found appreciation of the aubergine, I started thinking about my last post (which was based on a request for sophisticated food kids would enjoy) and how that relates to me, a technically single woman with no kids of her own. I started wondering about how my tastes would be different if I had grown up around some more exotic foods. Would my life be different if I had been surrounded by farm fresh produce and experimental cooks? It’s hard to say.
How much does our childhood diet affect what we eat now? And how much do we even remember about what we ate as kids? Do I feel like I grew up on meat and potatoes, ham and cheese sandwiches and ranch dressing because that’s what we actually ate or is it because I feel like that is what I am supposed to think because we didn’t have Green Tiger tomatoes? Is “meat and potatoes” just a standard phrase I’m used to hearing that I ended up applying to myself? I doubt it, but there was only one to find out. Call mom.
Okay, mom wasn’t around, and neither was my dad, so I talked to my brother instead. Like me, he didn’t remember trying a lot of foods that we now consider to be staples of our diet. I asked him what had changed in his diet between now and 10 years ago and he said, “everything.” I agree. So, looking forward, there will be lots more eggplant in my diet than there was when I was younger. And I’m cool with that.
Here’s my new favorite way to enjoy it, in my typical un-recipe fashion…
Roasted Eggplant with Asian Flavors
- 1 large eggplant
- sesame oil
- 1/2 c diced white onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 c white wine
- lemon juice
- 1/4 c rice vinegar
- 1/2 c vegetable broth
- fresh raw hot chilis
- sour cream or greek yogurt
Spread out cubed (3/4″ – 1″ cubes) eggplant on a pan coated with sesame oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and a little black pepper and roast at 450 degrees (flipping or tossing occasionally so they cook evenly) until they are crispy-ish on the outside and soft in the middle.
Taste test to be sure, because….why not?
Sautee diced white onion (1/2 c) in sesame oil with garlic and 1 tsp brown sugar and 1 tsp soy sauce.
Add 1/2 c white wine, dash lemon juice, 1/4 c rice vinegar, 1/2 c vegetable broth.
Bring to boil; reduce to ~1/4-1/2 c.
Add minced hot chilis (customize to your preference of spiciness); simmer 3 min.
Turn off heat, add 1 tb butter; stir to melt and blend, let cool to room temp, add 2 tbsp sour cream or greek yogurt, stir in, serve. Drizzle over eggplant cubes or serve on side. Garnish with cilantro.