Before I stepped off the plane from India I had a text waiting on my phone from my garden buddy and former intentional community housemate Noam. " The P-Patch is open for planting! When are you ready to go?"
This year Our Little Kale Farm (as I fondly call our plot) at the Picardo P-Patch Community Garden in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle had to wait over a month for us to start planting because of renovations that now make it a year round patch. Noam and I are not quite sure what to do with this new found bounty of year round gardening - but in the meantime we mapped out nine clear paths through our plot and figured we have 180 square feet of growing space. Woot! That is a lot of kale and other locally grown organic vegetables for our two households.
My feet landed on Seattle soil Sunday afternoon – and by Tuesday I had spent two days in the office and one rainy afternoon in the garden.
No rest for the urban farmer. Here is Noam covered in mud after our inaugural cabbage planting.
To warm up with some internal heat after a wet evening planting I returned home and made Eggplant Tomato Curry and Saffron & Preserved Lemon Roast Chicken with my roommate George.
Contrary to most guesses I am not yet sick of curry – in fact, I am finding I need to make Indian food to ease my transition back into the order & cleanliness of this Northwest world.
My cooking also fills the house with the smell of indian spices easing culture shock with a soft blanket of scent and tongue wrappings.
This recipe is pure veg a.k.a vegan (as we say here in the states) - and George and I made it with coconut oil – but any oil with a high flash point will work.
Eggplant Tomato Curry
Recipe serves 3 -4 persons
9 Tbsp onion paste
1 Tbsp garlic paste
1 Tbsp red chili powder (half for less heat)
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tsp tumeric
1 Tsp sea salt
1 cup water
9 Tbsp coconut or other high flash point oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 can diced tomato
1/2 large eggplant, cubed
If you do not yet have onion or garlic paste. Coursly chop a whole onion and place in a food processer with a 1/4 cup water. Blend until it a smooth paste. Similarly to make the garlic paste take 2 or 3 whole heads of garlic, put all of the cloves in a food processor with about a 1/4 cup of water and blend until it is a smooth paste. Put in jars for immediate and future use – store extra in the fridge.
In a seperate bowl combine onion paste, garlic paste, red chili powder, coriander powder, tumeric, salt and water. Mix all of the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Set to the side.
In a wok or cast iron pan bring the oil to medium heat and add the chopped onion, chopped tomato and half of the can of diced tomato (without the water – save the water and the rest of the canned tomato for later). Let the onion and tomato cook down until both are soft and its all blended together into a sauce looking substance.
After the tomato and onion cooks down add the spice mixture. Cook until all the water goes up and the oil begins to seperate.
Add the cubed eggplant and let cook for about 3 minutes or until soft. Then add the water and rest of the diced canned tomato. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve warm with rice or naan.