Green Plum Cooking School – Saturday, July 10th, 2010
“We already did that one,” Megan says to me, aghast, when I tell her what recipe we’re doing for the Green Plum cooking class this Saturday. I just hired Megan to be my kitchen assistant. She reminds me that it was the class I did on the day that I met her and hired her on the spot. I liked her spunk then, but now I’m being spunk-ed. It was less than a month ago and I have absolutely NO memory of doing Armenian Eggplant. “Wow, really?” I guess I don’t remember it because I didn’t even blog about it (sorry, folks).
The Secret Garden has some gorgeous Japanese eggplant right now and Chinese chives. Well, there’s more than one way to cook eggplant. I like to cook eggplant…the right way. Most people, including my own kitchen crew, don’t cook it right — that is, they don’t use enough oil. Eggplant doesn’t cook to caramelized goodness without a lot of oil. What I like about the Armenian eggplant salad is that we use the cooking oil that is used in sautéeing the eggplant as the oil part of the vinaigrette. We season the cooked eggplant with champagne vinegar, cinnamon, and lots of parsley. The cinnamon adds that je ne sais quoi-thingy I love. I also add olives because I like cinnamon with green olives. That’s not Armenian, but I’m not Armenian, so…je ne sais quoi.
I’m still going to do eggplant; however, I’m going to cut it differently and keep it simple.
I’ve just gotten off my Central Market cookbook tour: five Texas cities in five days. No wonder Lindsay Lohan is in jail — life on the road is tough. I found out the hard way that Big D either doesn’t know me or doesn’t like me. However, Ft. Worth wanted to take me home with them! Or at least out to dinner. One Ft. Worth-ian said that Dallas is about trendy and Ft. Worth is about tradition. Hmmmm.
So, for this class, the first thing I’m going to do is a bruschetta. Our growers have figs right now and The Houston Dairymaids have some Pure Luck Ste. Maure (an ash rind goat that is similar to a Bucheron) and SlowDough Bread Co. has some ciabatta. So, I am going to make a jammy Red Wine Fig Compote. Typically, I make this recipe with honey and lavender as a topping for a Provencal-style sundae with caramel semi-freddo and balsamic syrup. Today, I am going to go savory with it for the bruschetta. I tell the audience that they could also add some mustard seed or some ginger for a little heat, but you don’t have to. I’m thinking it would be great with our walnut bread, but I’m not sure I say it out loud. I seem to be jet-lagged even though I never left the Texas time zone. I’m really not cut out for the cookbook tour circuit.