Eggplant as art

A shopper came to the Hastings Farmers Market last week and bought an amazing assortment of eggplant. She was beaming when she stopped by the market tent to show me what was in her market basket. Some of the eggplant were pendulous and white and looked like the eggs a Dr. Seuss creature might hatch.  Others were striated purple, skinny and long. Some were pear-shaped and glossy, others shaped like a pin-cushion, creases and all. "What dish are you planning on cooking with all your beautiful night shades?" I asked. Cook?! I'm not going to cook them...I'm going to paint them!" I had to smile. I do hope that she's going to photograph them, then paint them. Here's the thing about eggplant which are in season from now through October,  this fruit (yes, it is a fruit) needs to be cooked fairly quickly (within one or two days after purchasing) otherwise it gets spongy and bitter. To take the bitter edge off of eggplant, my mother used to salt both halves of a slice of eggplant before cooking. She'd weight them to for 20 minutes before rinsing them and pat them dry with a paper towel. The salt helps eliminate some of the acrid taste and helps to leech out some of the excess water in eggplant to enhance flavor. There are so many different ways to cook eggplant. The Italians like to roast it (for caponata or eggplant parmigiana). In Asia, eggplant shines in the wok. In France, eggplant is the star of ratatouille. Check out this website for some more eggplant inspiration:

This week: Clean Ridge Soap Co. is at the market. So, make sure you grab some lavender lotion to soothe your sun-kissed summer skin! Riverrun (Adam Hart and Ken Tucillo) performs from 10:15 to 12:15 p.m.

Michele Rafferty will be teaching yoga at 9 a.m.

And, we need a volunteer to do storytime at 10: 00 as our regular storytellers are away on vacation. Any takers? We pay $20 or, you can donate your fee to the Friends of the Market to help pay for our music and other programs. You can bring your own favorite books from home or swing by the library... Please email me if you're interested... Thanks! See you at the market!