Everyone needs fresh ideas for cooking with the fresh, local and summer ingredients growing in the backyard (or at a local farm stand). Here are a few of our favorite recipes for your kitchen...
- 1 eggplant, cut into 2 thick, skinless planks
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Seeds from 2 vanilla beans (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 strawberries, sliced
- ⅓ cup molasses, sorghum or maple syrup
- Skin from 1 roast chicken
- Basil and tarragon leaves
- ½ cup peanut or grape seed oil
Eggplant: Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and pour over eggplant to soak for a 2 hours.
Butter: If you have a smoker you may smoke 2 cups heavy cream in a metal bowl set inside a bigger bowl of ice for 2 hrs at 165°. *If you do not have a smoker, use regular heavy cream. Add smoked cream (or regular heavy cream) to a food processor with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and process until cream whips and then breaks into curds. Strain, reserve buttermilk for another use. Rinse the butter and knead for a few minutes to remove liquid.
Skin: Put skin in a cast-iron pan and roast in a 225° oven for a few hours, until crispy. Remove from pan and save uncleaned pan for cooking eggplant. Can be done a day ahead and stored at room temperature.
Strawberries: Put sliced strawberries, molasses and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan and warm gently just until butter emulsifies into the molasses and glazes the strawberries.
To serve: Pan-fry eggplant in 1 tablespoon butter and reserved chicken fat in cast-iron pan until browned, flip and then finish in a 350° oven for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, fry herb leaves for a few seconds in hot oil until they cease to sizzle and are crispy. Place eggplant in center of plate and garnish with glazed strawberries and some molasses, smoked butter, crispy chicken skin and fried herbs.