Thursday, June 2, 2011

Need. Vegetables.

This past weekend I was in Oberlin for my college reunion. It was a really beautiful experience - got to reconnect with old friends, Oberlin (such a special place!), and myself. The experience was like a cleanse. An emotional reboot. It made me feel confident, happy, independent, and self-assured in ways I hadn't noticed that I hadn't felt in years.

On Day 1 of the visit, we went straight to the Feve, Oberlin's only bar. For the last couple of hours of the car ride from New York to Oberlin, nobody could stop gabbing about how much they wanted to eat a Buffalo Shishtawouk, the Feve's signature sandwich. We got to the bar, ordered our food (with tots, of course), and hung out. On Day 2, we had brunch at Joe Waltzer's Black River Cafe (where the eggs taste like eggs!), which we had been looking forward to and referencing since, oh, the day we graduated, perhaps. We had dinner at the Feve, again. On Day 3, I had a bagel from Black River and dinner at a very unusual and comical college event that my friend Ali described as a "potato cocktail". Very strange. But filling for the time. On Day 4, it was back to Black River, before we left for New York, filled with strong emotions of bittersweet sadness about leaving a place that meant so much to us as very young adults, and still does, today.

Between food on the road and the constant eating out at Oberlin, when I got home, all I wanted was VEGETABLES. I went to the coop and just loaded the cart with lots of vegetables, of all different shapes and colors. Last night, I made a spring-style ratatouille of sorts, served over baked garnet sweet potato. And today for lunch, I thought it may taste better at a cooler, lukewarm temperature, topped with chopped kalamata olives and feta cheese. And it did. mmm...

Spring Veg Lunch

Garnet (or any variety) sweet potato(es), wrapped in foil and baked in a 350 degree oven for about 30 min.

1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 red peppers, chopped
1 T diced seeded jalapeno peppers
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 T dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
chopped kalamata olives for garnish
1 oz per serving feta cheese for garnish

In a large french saute pan or any large stovetop dish, heat olive oil on medium. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown. Add eggplant, peppers, asparagus, and cook until eggplant starts to shrink and look like it's heating through, about 10 min. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook for another 10 min, stirring occasionally. Serve atop half a baked sweet potato and garnish with olives and feta. This dish is also very tasty at room temperature.

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