Garden lunch

I love New England in the fall!  I love New England in the fall!

Fried eggplantAlong with the crisp air, turning leaves & hot apple cider, much of the loveliness is the gardens.  Mine has been painfully neglected this year, yet due to soil that a DC friend referred to as “black gold,” our garden keeps on giving.  Tomato plants sprouted up from compost after my zucchini died in a summer heat wave.  My basil just gives and gives and gives.  And my eggplants- oh, my beautiful eggplants!  They showed little sign of growth this summer, but in mid-August we noticed some buds, which eventually became large, gorgeous fruits and lots of them.   My roots being what they are, there was only one thing to do with the beauty that my son picked today after school:  fried eggplant.  He also grabbed a tomato, a pepper, and some basil; we’re clearly trying to train him right.

“But I thought frying is bad”, you might be thinking.   But like so many, many things in life- it depends.   Fried food in restaurants are most often fried in vegetable oil, which is rancid and usually very old.  Vegetable oil is also linked to a wide range of diseases.    I’ve known some places to fry in olive oil, but that just gets you a big vat of carcinogens since olive oil is very unstable and oxidizes at high heats.

 
So, what did I fry my eggplant in?  Lard.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Lard from happy pigs that lived on a real, sustainable farm in Vermont.  Animal fats from healthy animals (not CAFO animals) is an excellent source of essential vitamins & minerals, including much sought-after Vitamin D.  Lard is also an extremely stable fat that does well with frying.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 beautiful eggplant
  • a bowl with flour, salt, pepper & parsley to taste.  I used this sprouted flour.  You can also add grated cheese to the flour mixture.
  • 1 bowl with two eggs, beaten.  Add salt & pepper to taste
  • a tablespoon of lard before every batch goes into the pan
  • cast-iron saute pan

Slice the eggplant.  Then take a slice and cover both sides in flour mixture.  Next, dip into the egg so that the whole slice is covered.  Put the slice into a hot saute pan with lard and fry on each side until done, roughly 5 minutes each side.  Repeat with every slice.  Do keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn.  Remove from pan and put onto paper towel to drain.  Serve with basil, tomato, fried peppers, mozzarella cheese, or even put on a sandwich.  To turn this into eggplant parmigiana, simply add a tomato sauce & mozzarella cheese.

Real food from my real garden. Yum.

 

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She should sell this stuff

Cereal: one of the hardest things to give up when making the change to a real food way of life.  I won’t get into it now, but lets just say that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize many of the “breakfast cereals” on shelves nowadays as food, many of which really look more like toys than food.  You know who you arIMG_0764e, Lucky Charms!

My family is now used to an eggs-for-breakfast way of life, with the occasional soaked-flour-pancake-morning mixed in, and we all are happy.  Yet when we go to grandparents houses or visit other friends/family, my kids gobble down bowls of cheerios like they had never before eaten.  How is it possible, when they’ve had only a handful of interactions with such things that they’re so enchanted?  Maybe its the cold milk combined with the crunch & slurp.  Maybe its the sugar.  Whatever it is, they gobble while I turn my head and mentally vow to get some liver in them when we get home.

Then along comes my friend Liz, who casually mentions her soaked granola when we were over for dinner.  After one taste, yum!   When I tried it at home, there were 8 hands nibbling from the trays as they cooled.  This will be what saves us on sleepy mornings during the school week.  Since she’s not selling this, I bring to you Liz’s soaked granola recipe:

Note: in typical fashion, I didn’t have the right seeds/nuts on hand, so I subbed in cashews for almonds, and simply omitted the pumpkin & walnuts.  It still worked great!  My kids love to put raisins on top too- anything with toppings pleases the little ones.

Liz’s Soaked Granola

Soak 6 cups organic rolled oats in water (just enough to barely cover) and six tablespoons yogurt or whey overnight. Soak one cup sliced almonds in water with one tablespoon yogurt or whey.

The next morning, dry oats and almonds at 200.  It takes roughly 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

When oats and almonds are dry, add in:
1 c. Sprouted sunflower seeds (if you don’t have sprouted, soak overnight in the same manner as the almonds)
1 c. Sprouted pumpkin seeds  (same as above, if you don’t have sprouted)
1 c. Shredded coconut
1 c. Pecans or walnuts, crushed

Mix dry ingredients.

Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

3 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 c. Olive oil (can use just coconut oil if preferred).
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp salt only if nuts are unsalted, otherwise omit.
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix wet & dry ingredients together, then bake on baking sheets at 300 for 20-30 minutes.  I baked at 325 and it worked, but browned quick so you’ll need to be ready to take it out at 15-20 minutes or less- keep a close eye on it.  Mix every 10 minutes.  When out of the oven, mix in 4 tbsp of ground flax seeds.  Enjoy!