2013-09-12 / From The Garden

Medley of Roasted Fall Vegetables

By Cynthia Gibson

Small white aubergine eggplant (Makhuea Kow) Small white aubergine eggplant (Makhuea Kow) While your dahlias are blooming full force in your flower garden, a fall vegetable is growing profusely in your vegetable garden. The eggplant is a large, smooth and shiny black-purple vegetable, which also comes in lavender-striped varieties and some that are white and the size of ostrich eggs. However, the iconic eggplant is the dark, glossy purple variety. The eggplant has been grown for millennia in India and throughout Asia. In India, it is known as the “king of vegetables.” The vegetable is much like the tomato in that many countries regard the eggplant as a fruit.

Throughout India, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Japan, Italy, Egypt, and Turkey, the eggplant is grown by the ton. The name of this fruit-vegetable is taken from the appearance of the small, white, egg-shaped variety first grown in India. The name eggplant was coined during the British occupation.

Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Eggplants have not really changed throughout the centuries, making it a very stable vegetablefruit to grow. Hybridizers have bred out the bitterness that is found in the skin. The lighter the skin of the eggplant, the sweeter the skin will be. I find that only store-bought eggplant are bitter and need peeling before they are useful in cooking.

Currently, a rather large crop of eggplant is waiting in one of my raised vegetable beds.

Another fall crop I enjoy growing that you can find in the marketplace now is bok choy. This small Chinese cabbage is tasty when simply steamed, or until cookedthrough. A simple dash of Chinese hoisin sauce is all it needs for enhancement of flavor. The smaller the bok choy, like most vegetables, the sweeter they are. Steam them first, and then quickly pop them on a grill until the black grill stripes appear on both sides of the bok choy. Dip in a bit of hoisin sauce and taste the sweetness of this delicate cabbage.

The first potatoes of fall are being dug now. They are delicious. Roasting potatoes in your oven with the addition of fresh, sliced onions, ground pepper, and rosemary, will fill your home with a glorious fragrance. You will think you are in a French marché. The Russian fingerlings and the large Kennebec potatoes are ready for roasting.

All of the fingerling varieties of potatoes are odd looking. They look like gnarled fingers, thus the name. You can find them in all colors of the rainbow. They come in shades of purple, hot pink, deepblue, gold, and white.

Kennebec potatoes are the new gourmet potato of choice. They have a true taste of the earth that is stronger than most pre-bagged potatoes one finds in the supermarket. The skin of the potato is very thin. However, when boiled or baked the potato holds together very well. The Kennebec is not an ordinary-tasting potato. It is the only stand-alone potato I have tasted that only needs a small dab of butter and pepper. Forget drowning this beauty in sour cream and chives. If you do, you will not savor its true flavor.

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