New Recipes – Pesto, Eggplant, Polenta

I knew that a big part of the fun of joining a CSA farm would be in finding ways to use the produce. Unlike buying the same old thing at the market, I’d be forced to drag out my cookbooks and go online to find ways to use the different produce.

Polenta: I love polenta at nice restaurants, so I bought some Bob’s Red Mill polenta grits a few months ago. After looking at recipes where I’d have to stir for 40 minutes, I found a slow cooker polenta recipe instead. Voila – I made my first polenta. I discovered that using all milk was probably a mistake, as it carmelized. I still liked the flavor, but I’d do it with just water next time.

Pesto: I had a couple bunches of basil from my CSA subscription, so I decided it was time to make my own pesto. I really need a miniature Cuisinart as the big one is a pain to get out and clean afterwards. But it was dead simple to toss in the basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and cashews because I lacked other nuts. The result was as tasty as my favorite from the supermarket deli, for pennies rather than bucks. I have basil growing in a container, so this is something to keep making. My husband asked for it on pasta tomorrow night, and I have plenty left to use. We put a bit of pesto on the polenta for a nice condiment tonight.

Eggplant: I’ve never bought an eggplant, but I like them in Greek and Indian food. I got two small eggplants from my CSA this week. I roasted them on the grill as we cooked bratwurst, then skinned them, diced them, and cooked them with onions, tomatoes, my homegrown jalapeno and Indian spices as baigan bhurta. It turned out tasty and a bit spicier than I expected. My jalapenos haven’t been adding much heat before now.

We enjoyed a bottle of Cottonwood Winery ’06 Kira Skye Sauvignon Blanc with grilled pork loin, polenta and green beans. It was a lovely dinner. We bought the wine during the Dundee Hills Passport Weekend. The fruit iis from Yakima but the winery is in the Dundee, Oregon area. The wine was beautiful with the meal. Fruity, aromatic and just slightly sweet the way we like.

More tomatoes coming soon!

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