Mac Geek Farm Girl

I'm back. And I'm attempting to do some voodoo magic (let's see how Google handles that one in my opening lines) by combining my "work-work" site and my neglected blog site into one giant party. The success of this venture will depend upon a complex algorithm involving the angle of the sun, el-ninó and the strength of my wireless signal to reach the screen porch. Marvel at my progress and ridicule my efforts as you see fit. :)

How Roasted Eggplant for Dinner Turned into Brownies

Brownies for Dinner

Let me first say this: I like eggplant. I really do.

I like how it tastes, pretty much with no adornment. I slice it and grill it and drizzle it with olive oil. Sometimes a splash of balsamic.

I’ve never been one for ratatouille. Or eggplant parmesan. Because, I don’t know, tomatoes on eggplant just doesn’t really sound good to me. I used to work at The Malt Shoppe in college. To my mind it was a burgers and malt place. I mean, it was called The Malt Shoppe, right? But there was this weird hippy element to the menu. And ratatouille was one of their more popular items. Understand something: this was before I met Dave and I was still, at that point, a “picky eater” whose acceptable vegetables were a short list: raw carrots, canned (not garden) beans, iceberg lettuce and corn on the cob. So all these people ordering ratatouille at The Malt Shoppe…

Frankly, it just grossed me out.

And maybe I’ve never gotten over it.

Don’t judge me. I’ve come a long way.

So anyway. I started growing eggplant years ago, after reading that they are quite pretty plants in the vegetable garden. I had never once eaten one. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t even know that eggplant was a major ingredient in ratatouille. And then I grilled one and really liked it. I found they even froze quite well.

The problem was, no one else in the family really liked them.

Not even Dave, Dave the Vegetable Slave. So I got all these damn eggplants and no one to eat them. And I learned over time that they are pretty hard to give away. Eggplant is far from beloved by the masses.

And then this year, I went and bought an “eggplant variety pack” at my favorite nursery, so instead of my normal one or two plants I have six. And they are all doing wonderfully, thank you very much. Why can’t my damned tomatoes do as well?

And then there’s that whole element of my personality that can hardly believe that I like something that Dave doesn’t. And so I keep trying to get him to like eggplant (and mushrooms and tofu) by trying new things and torturing him (and Charlie). Tonight it was Yotam Ottolengho’s eggplant and lentil recipe from this utterly gorgeous cookbook called Plenty.

Plenty Yotam
Look: even the cover photo has eggplant on it. Yes, it shows pomegranate seeds, which seem a bit strange… but it’s so pretty!

It showed promise for a couple reasons:

  1. Eggplant was not even close to being the main ingredient
  2. The eggplant was not in slices or chunks and therefore it might be less obvious and therefore objectionable.
lentil and eggplant recipe from Plenty
That looks quite good, does it not?

I was really excited about this. And not just about the recipe itself, but the sweet taste of victory. Washed down with the delicious tang of smug when I announced to Dave he really did like eggplant all along!

I know that you know where this is going. I wouldn’t tip my hand so early if all had gone well. But this… this recipe was just such an utter disaster that I am still reeling. I simply cannot believe how unbelievably awful that orb of puss tasted.

Yes. I said orb of puss.

Or would you prefer I call it a mouthful of snot?

It’s up to you.

My God in Heaven. It was the single most vile tasting thing that I can remember coming out of my kitchen ever. And that doesn’t even begin to explain what it looked like.

Even worse, I can discern nothing that went wrong. Usually when a recipe or technique flops, I can point to some absurd substitution I’ve made. But this went so well. You start by cooking the whole eggplant over the gas burner of a stove — so cool! And it worked awesomely.

eggplant on gas stove
This was so cool! You put it right over the flame.

It’s supposed to be totally charred and deflated. Check. Check. Then you wait for it to cool off and peel the blackened skin off.

charred eggplant
Charred and blackened and deflated eggplant

Hmmm. Ok. That’s pretty gross, but… check.

gross looking eggplant

So you scoop out the flesh and mash it up and season it well and splash it with balsamic. Sounds fabie. But my gosh, does it look awful.

I got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine.

And now for the taste test.

Well I already told you it was like a mouthful of snot. But what is harder to describe is the taste. I roasted three different, very fresh, eggplant varieties. And they all tasted awful. Like… I don’t even know. Watery blood. Metallic. I didn’t even know what to do with the disaster that was my kitchen with the several bowls full of watery tasting bloody snot.

I walked around in shock. I couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth.

So I made brownies.


And ate them for dinner.

Brownies with powder sugar

Cuz I just found out that Dave isn’t even coming home tonight. How ironic is that? Here’s another irony: I was on my way out with some of the hellacious byproduct to see if my poor chicken would be interested in eating it and guess who ate it all before I could find out?

dog eating eggplant

Hey! Mikey! He likes it! So weird.

Does anyone want some eggplant? I got a lot of it.

Road Warriors Six, Conclusion!

I'm not sure what the fishing sign was referring to, but it was nice to get out and stretch in the 96 degree heat...

It happened again. I got busy and forgot I hadn’t finished Road Warriors. I will never hear the end of this. Sunday, July 26 We took our time in the morning, cleaning out the cooler for breakfast. Rice Krispy bar anyone? No? OK, I will eat three then. Dave continued to be discombobulated by our […]

Road Warrior Six D6. Everybody Poops.

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Road Warriors Six D5: Dave Lies to us Again

Our campsite in morning. So pretty!

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Road Warriors Six, D4: Jennie gets the ‘Mad Face’

dispersed camping near Red Lodge

When I am camping, I wake up with the sun, which usually coincides with Dave wiggling the camper as he tries to sneak out without waking everyone. It signals that all is well with the world and that hot coffee will be in my hands very soon. I snuggle in and wait. Today is different.

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Charlie lands one!

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Road Warriors Six!

It's like old times in the back seat.

It is with bittersweet feelings that I am taking the step of abandoning my beloved hand-written journal for this: the cold world of electronic documentation. A tear rolls down my face as I type directly into my computer. I cannot stress enough how much I love looking at, and touching, and feeling my journals. I […]

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This is what an unhealthy bulb looks like. At first you can't really see anything specific, but it's yellowed and sort of rotten looking

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