No journey into the land of Washington Irving, Thomas Cole, and that radical music concert during the Summer of Love, would be complete without some fresh produce. As I screeched my car to a stop at the quickly approaching roadside market, I thought about my own backyard garden, which is beginning its swift demise as September nears to a close. By the time I returned to my car, my arms were laden with two plump eggplants and a small basket of Fuji apples. I resisted the home-baked pies and rows of chow-chow, apple butter, and peach salsa.
My produce choices were guided by two recipes that I have grown to love, and that I have perfected over time. They came to me many years ago in a different life, or so it seems, and like Rip Van Winkle himself, I feel as if I have woken from a 20 year sleep. However, there is something so special about the produce I procured. The eggplant comes in many varieties and can be found in the cuisine of countries across the globe. Fuji apples, though originating in Japan, were introduced in the US in the 1960s – apropos for the Woodstock region from which I purchased them.
I chose these particular recipes because they first hit my palate during the aforementioned years when, coincidentally, I last drove through the beautiful Catskill Mountains.
Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan
Choose eggplant(s) that are black (if you are buying that variety) with somewhat of a tinge of purple. The eggplant itself should be slightly springy rather than hard, which tells you it is ripe. The top of the eggplant denotes its sex. The indented tip denotes a “female” eggplant which contains more seeds, and the smoother domed tip denotes one that is “male” and thus having fewer seeds. The fewer seeds the better, but this is not a necessity.
Make sure you have the following ingredients on hand:
Flavored bread crumbs
Olive oil (not virgin or extra virgin)
Garlic powder (lots)
One garlic clove
Dried parsley flakes (lots)
Step 1: Slicing the eggplant
Dessert: Intoxicating Apple Pie
Along with apple pie comes America’s policy of freedom and liberty…that includes the freedom to include all the alcohol you like into an apple pie recipe, and the liberty to eat it with gusto and enthusiasm. (actually, the alcohol is removed during the cooking process).
Here is a dessert that is both intoxicating in all senses of the word.
6 cups of peeled and thinly sliced apples (I prefer Fugi, but Gala can also be used, but not red delicious…too grainy).
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
¾ cup of milk (or cream for a richer flaor)
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of Bisquick
½ cup of Amaretto (you can also use Grand Marnier)
Tablespoons of butter
½ cup of packed brown sugar
1 cup Bisquick
½ cup of finely chopped almonds
- Michael Alpiner