To Everything There is a Season

The green, slimy mass lurched at me from the bottom of the crisper drawer. I fended it off with a dish rag while rescuing the still-edible produce piled on top. Rats. Those green beans (or was it the chard?) looked so great when I bought them—I hated for them to go to waste.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes produce seems to spoil right away, while other times it seems to last a few days in the fridge? To some extent, it’s the nature of that particular vegetable. Some kinds just last longer than others. But that’s not the whole story. I find that produce purchased out of season just doesn’t keep as long, probably because it had so far to go to get here in the first place.

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Vegetable Korma

This recipe is adapted from The 30-Minute Vegetarian Indian Cookbook, by Mridula Baljekar. I would like to put in a plug for this book. I absolutely love Indian food, but the long preparation time most dishes require isn’t compatible with my busy schedule. Baljekar simplifies traditional recipes to the point where I can make them every week. For this, the author deserves a medal!

This is wonderful with fresh warm chapaties for scooping. (Silverware isn’t used in most parts of India. Instead, you scoop with your right hand.) I serve it as an accompaniment to a meat dish, but you could give it top billing in a vegan meal.

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Moroccan Tomato & Eggplant “Salad”

Vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh eggplant (that haven’t hiked all the way here from Mexico) are two of my favorite things about late summer. Here’s an unusual recipe that uses both. Don’t be put off by the eggplant. My husband, an avowed eggplant-avoider, loves it this way. (Be sure to read down for tips on picking out an eggplant.)

The traditional way to eat this stuff is with your fingers. Please do this. Somehow, it just doesn’t taste the same with a fork or spoon. Provide warm water and towels to guests for cleaning up afterward.
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