leave your inhibitions at the door
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the Farmers Market, but it’s not like I haven’t gone. Every weekend we’ve been in town, I’ve been there. Lately, the Pieholes and I have tried to get there between 10:30-11. That’s the time where anyone can play a song on the Kerrytown Carillon – just line up, choose from a list of songs and start playing. You really don’t need any musical talent, it’s all by-the-numbers. I’ve done “I’ve Got Rhythm”, “Castles in the Cloud”, and Bach’s “Minuet”. (I’m thisclose to figuring out Justin Bieber for the bells. Should we try to get a flash mob going for it?)
The Pies have done “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “Amazing Grace”, and the “Hail to the Victors”, aka the Michigan Fight Song. I guess that’s the down side to living here – my kids love the song. I guess I don’t blame them, the song’s better than the one where I went – University of Illinois. In fact, there are two U of I songs – “Illinois Loyalty” and “Oskee Wow Wow” – which, combined, still isn’t as good as “Victors”. Though if you go by title alone, the latter has potential – either as the sound of a guitar’s wah wah pedal or a snippet form a porno (Boom oskee wow wow).
Alright, back to food… I have a habit of going redneck during the summer by grilling everything in sight. It’s not just the caveman rush of it all. In Michigan, beautiful warm weather is a precious commodity, so I don’t like wasting time cleaning a kitchen. This summer I tried a few new twists – some winners, some losers.
- Zucchini – This one’s a no-brainer that I was getting bored with – usually tossed in olive oil and Herbs de Provence and then grilled. So I tried to do heavy curry seasonings with a yogurt sauce. Verdict = Fail. It didn’t really pick-up a lot of the flavors like I wanted it to.
- Fennel – I’ve always just brushed with olive oil and tossed on the grill for a side dish. This time, I sprinkled olive oil, lemon juice, and freshly grated parmesan. Verdict = Winner, the slight anise-like flavor played nicely with the lemon and parmesan.
- Watermelon – Never have done this before. I stole this from Mark Bittman in the New York Times. It was certainly interesting. As Bittman says, it dries up and takes hamburger fixings well – cheese, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, pickles. Verdict = You decide. I didn’t dig it, but it’s certainly worth trying just to say you did it. Like that drunken tryst with your old college roommate.
- Cabbage – Another one stolen from the same Bittman article – Teriyaki Cabbage Steaks. Cooked with indirect heat for a while and then over flames to get grill marks. Verdict = Wow! These were fantastic, I have a few heads of cabbage ready to go as we speak. Surprisingly hearty – easily can go as a main course.
- Eggplant – This Baba Ghanoush recipe is one that I’ve done developed over time. I think most recipes suggest roasting it in an oven, but I like doing it on the grill as it adds a deep, smoky flavor to it. Verdict = it’s my recipe, you think I’m going to give it anything but a “Winner”?
Here’s how to do it. I don’t even measure out anything any more, so the measurements are approximates.
1 – Throw 2-3 medium-sized eggplants on the grill over med-high heat. Turning occasionally to evenly char it.
2 – Remove from the grill and place it in a casserole with a lid about 20 minutes. This will allow it to cool and capture some of the juices. Save about ¼ cup of the liquid.
3 – Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp. Add the juices. You can either mash it with a fork or puree in a blender. I use a stick blender, only because I hate cleaning out the regular one.
4 – Stir in 2-3 minced or pressed cloves of garlic, ½ cup of lemon juice, and ½ cup of tahini (sesame paste used in hummus).
5 – Stir in 2-3 table spoons of olive oil and add salt, pepper to tasted. Sprinkle some paprika over it, too.
6 – Chill in the refrigerator and serve with pita.