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I’ve spent a good portion of my life liking food.  Most of it is really great.  My body refuses to tolerate a whole lot of stuff (wheat, dairy, tyramine, and so on), but I know it still tastes fantastic, even when I’m not eating it – no sour grapes here.  And I love things that some people think of as…icky, like onions and mushrooms and goat and anchovies and clams and oxtail and oh just give me a little raw salmon and I blast off into a special culinary heaven that I’m sure exists only for me.

So I’m all about most food, and I’ll try almost anything once.  But there are two things I hate.  Two things that so offended my childhood palate, I gagged.  Repeatedly.   Kasha and eggplant. 

Now you won’t EVER find me backpedaling on kasha.  It’s never gonna happen.  But something miraculous did happen with eggplant today, and I thought it would be worth sharing.

I’d had my eye on the Johnson’s Backyard Garden CSA farm boxes for almost six months before I moved to the Austin area, and when it arrived on Friday, it did not disappoint.   Only…what were those?  I never would have bought those.  Was it a joke?  Sure, they’re cute, purple, relatively unassuming, but why did it have to be...eggplant.  And not one, but six of them. 

Now my daughter, almost three now, loves her vegetables.  When we laid this stuff out, you’d have thought we’d spread the contents of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory on the table in front of her, the exclamations were that intense.  We’ve almost finished the entire thing – beets included.  But not the eggplant.  For four days now, she’s been asking me to make the eggplant.  They’re small and purple, and apparently delight her senses.  She wants to eat them raw.  I knew I’d have to do something.  And soon.

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Well, thank heavens I found this:  Adam Roberts’ Eggplant Dirty Rice on The Amateur Gourmet

It. is. so. delicious.

I made a few adjustments, three smallish eggplant instead of one medium, olive oil instead of canola, jasmine rice instead of white, only one green bell pepper (we’d eaten all the rest!), water instead of vegetable broth, slightly less cayenne, and I stuck with half teaspoons of the white and black pepper.  And then the biggest change:  I omitted the soy.  This worried me a little because soy is usually so dominant in a dish that it’s never really the same without it, but we don’t eat much soy for a variety of reasons, so I subbed two tablespoons of fish sauce in its place – and to my surprise,  it worked beautifully! 

(Disclaimer: It ceases to be vegan at this point, but I believe coconut aminos would work just as well as a non-soy sub too!)

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Only, now I can’t say I hate eggplant anymore.  And I’m sitting here hoping I’ll get more in my box next week. 

I just can’t believe it.

If you try it, let me know what you think!

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