Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bye Bye, Bhartha

When I picked up a quart of Fairy Tale eggplant at last week's farmers' market, I meant to make something of it right away.

But the week slipped away from me, and as I picked up even more eggplant this week (to take up the Gentleman Farmer's excellent suggestions for freezing eggplant), I knew I'd better use those adorable little eggplant and fast!

Once I'd finished drying yet another batch of grape tomatoes this afternoon, I halved those little beauties and roasted them in the oven, then let them cool as I prepared the remaining vegetables for baingan bhartha, one of my favorite Indian dishes (if done well).

Often when I cook dinner, I rush through everything because I'm so hungry and ready to eat. But I started the bhartha (and the rice) early enough to let the onions and garlic and ginger brown and soften nicely before adding tomatoes, cilantro, and a cayenne pepper from the Archivist to cook down into a brightly colored mush.

After that I added the spices and the roasted eggplant, now scooped out of the skins, and let it cook down and become wonderfully fragrant. I didn't have any cream in the refrigerator, but luckily Ms. Potter had picked up whole milk plain yogurt for her art show reception, and I was able to skim just enough cream off the top to add to the bhartha to give it that incredibly rich flavor. (Don't worry; she approved!)

At last, I could sit down to dinner: brown basmati rice topped with creamy, spicy, rich bhartha and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. What more could I want?

It was so good, it was gone very quickly!

But thank goodness for leftovers... I don't have to say goodbye just yet.


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