A Week or Two in Pictures (3/27-4/10)

I’m starting this post out with a picture of my lovely girls enjoying a treat block. That block sure didn’t last long but we had fun watching them attack it! I like to give them a treat every now and then. Usually we just let them feast on the scraps we throw out from our chicken (ends of cucumber, carrot peels, etc) in addition to the layer pellets/corn we toss out.

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I planted an Ichiban eggplant in my garden bed. I love eggplant though and hope to pick up at least another variety to add to my bed. A great way to use up eggplant is to make Baba Ghanoush – it is delicious!

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My pineberries are looking good in my garden bed. Thankfully the recent burst of cold weather did not phase them as I see little berries forming! I’m awaiting on some Old North Sea strawberry plants to arrive from Baker Creek seeds any day.

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We potted up a bunch of plants for the front porch. One contains herbs I started last year (lemongrass, chives, thyme, parsley), one contains violas, two contain a mixture of Rainbow Chard and Brussels Sprouts. There’s a rosemary lurking in the back (along with my Belle watching me from inside the house, she’s never far from me). The red pot and the pot in the middle contain shallots that I got from my grandfather’s house – apparently they’ve been passed down for a few generations!

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On these pretty evenings, we’ve been working with the dogs a lot more than usual. It helps Belle run off some energy and it helps Jake (Robb’s dog) stay in shape for when duck hunting season rolls around.
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The peach tree (located within our chicken coop) is doing fabulous. I’m glad that the cold weather didn’t damage it either. I love a fresh, juicy peach picked while still warm from the sun.

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My comfrey is rocking it! I like to use it in products that I make for The Southern Belle’s Garden. In fact, most of the herbs I use I actually grow myself.

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We went for a walk on Sunday. Robb wanted to check on a couple of potential turkey hunting spots. Though he really didn’t see what he was looking for, we did spook up a couple of deer and I found my first ever shed antler! Okay, so really Robb found it but only because he was walking in front of me!

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All in all, it’s been a good couple of weeks! The next few weeks will fly by though and I don’t know how many pictures I’ll be able to snag! I enjoy letting you all have these little peeks into my life (plus it helps me remember to jot down information in my garden journal) and I hope you enjoy them as well!

Foodie Friday: Baked Eggplant Parm

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Welcome to Foodie Friday! FF is just a way for me to remain focused and organized for my blog. This week’s FF topic? Eggplant.

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You either love eggplant or you hate it. I first cooked with eggplant last Summer, stewing down local Japanese eggplant with backyard tomatoes, squash, onions, and various herbs. Delicious.

Most people who don’t enjoy eggplant seem to do so because of the bitterness caused by an overripe eggplant. The theory is that if you lightly salt an eggplant that you think will be bitter and let it sit for a little while, it will trigger osmosis, drawing out excess moisture and the bitterness along with it. But what you should really do is choose an eggplant that is shiny and firm, which means it is fresh. The fresher the better. Or better yet, grow your own! When my mom accidentally purchased an eggplant for our garden this year, I didn’t worry. I knew that we would find some way to utilize it.

Enter Lick My Spoon’s “Ridiculously Good Baked Eggplant Parm” (click through for the recipe). My mom and I fixed this recipe Wednesday night and it was super-simple. While my mom ate it and said it was “pretty good”, she still prefers her lasagna to have meat. I thought that the baked eggplant seemed to have that “meaty” texture and would eat this again, especially if I am wanting to introduce more vegetables into my diet. The star of this recipe was the tomato sauce however, we both loved it and have already been brainstorming uses for the leftover sauce. It’s so fresh tasting that we both thought it would be the perfect dipping sauce or pizza sauce, especially once our own tomatoes are ripe!

This dish didn't make the most flattering of photos but it sure was tasty.
This dish didn’t make the most flattering of photos but it sure was tasty.

We stuck somewhat to the recipe, though we halved it and did not add the additional garlic to the topping. Mom is not a big garlic fan. We also didn’t cook the garlic beforehand in olive oil before adding it to the tomatoes (mom didn’t read the recipe all the way through), but I think that it still worked perfectly.

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What’s your favorite way to prepare eggplant (if you like it, that is)?