A Southern Side Dish

We had a cute harvest this weekend that included onions, a mini eggplant (yes, it really is that mini!), a tomato, and a nice yellow squash. I am incredibly happy that I am getting squash this year, as I’m sure you all remember my lack of squash last summer despite my best efforts (https://greenthumbilina.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/its-the-hard-knock-life-for-a-squash/).

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I want to mention a little bit about the mini eggplant because I think these are just the coolest vegetables! For one thing, I had no idea that such an eggplant existed. It’s really a neat vegetable because of a number of reasons: they mature within 45 days; the vegetable is ready when it is 2-3 inches in length; it will produce all season long, kind of like tomatoes; and, it’s NOT bitter (this is amazing because usually you must spend an hour salting out the bitterness of regular eggplant).

I believe that we found the mini eggplant plant at Lowe’s along with 2-3 other varieties and I thought that it would be interesting to see how this variety does in our garden. Well, after only 2 weeks of being planted we started getting the purple flowers on the plant and about a week after that, mini eggplants!

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They are really cute and grow in bunches as you can see in the photographs above and below. What is amazing is that you can get 3-4 within one area and as soon as I picked one that was ripe, the next one was ready within a couple of days. Next year I plan to plant more of these since the larger eggplants take a lot longer to mature.

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I have my fingernail next to one of the mini eggplants as a size reference. They truly are mini! I also wasn’t convinced that the eggplant would not be bitter, but I was proven wrong. Just sauteing in olive oil and salt and pepper resulted in a tasty dish.

Now, onto my new Southern dish. It was a spin on a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com for summer squash. But, because I only had one squash and a variety of other vegetables (onions, tomato, and baby eggplant) I decided to create my own dish with what was available from our garden. I also supplemented with some additional chopped onion and garlic that we had laying around.

The first thing I did was slice and/or chop everything using our fancy new knife set and bamboo cutting board that Dad got us for Christmas. By the way, this is our first “big” tomato that we harvested this season! We have had a ton of cherry and grape tomatoes so far, but I was really excited to have this one ripen. We have many more to come – white flies will not get our tomatoes this year (https://greenthumbilina.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/composting-101-whiteflies-killed-my-garden/).

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I cooked 4 slices of bacon, because, well, everything is better with a little bit of bacon!

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After removing the bacon, I added our sliced squash, eggplant, and onions to start cooking. They were left on the skillet for about 15-20 min as I was baking salmon and making pasta to finish out the meal. After the onions were cooked, I added a can of corn (wish I had fresh, but this is what we had on hand) and some minced garlic. This was about 10 min into the sauteing of the squash.

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At the end, I turned off the heat and added chopped parsley from our herb garden and the chopped tomatoes as well as crumbled bacon. I like to add fresh tomatoes at the end of a heated dish so they do not get too mushy. Mixed together and served with the main dish!

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The final dish (above) included the southern style veggies, baked salmon with honey/dijon glaze and pecans, and pasta with fresh basil and garlic.

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