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Eggplants from the Boulder Farmer's Market (c)2012 La Domestique

Summer lingers here in Colorado, but autumn is nipping at her bare feet. The days are definitely getting shorter and a cool breeze swept through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains last week. Mornings are crisp and I need a light sweater to take Minnie the dachshund for her walk before breakfast. Summer won’t let go just yet, and her bright sunlight warms the day slowly, but she just can’t seem to coax the mercury into the 90’s as she has done in weeks past. The farmer’s market is bursting with produce: tomatoes, beans, peaches, and eggplant. I feel the need to grab as much as I can. The frost will arrive soon, bringing an abrupt end to our summer. Our grief will be soothed with the arrival of autumn and her apples, pears, root vegetables, squash, and pumpkins. Though I’ve reveled in summer this year, fall is my favorite season. Enlivened by the smell of change in the air, I feel the year has begun anew. January first means little to me. The beginning of fall has always felt like my New Year.

With the change of seasons, I would like to share some news with you about changes to La Domestique.

La Domestique was born March 31, 2011 with the first ingredient of the week: Morels. We’ve filled the pantry with seasonal ingredients just about every week since then. Organically, this site has grown and with it my freelance photography, styling, and writing business has increased to the point where I can no longer manage it all as it is right now. I realized something has to change so I can be free to grow and improve at my craft. The solution came to me while reading the blog, Sweet Amandine, by Jess, who is writing a book about her inspiring story. It was her writing of a single word that lead to my lightbulb moment. She referred to her blog space as a workshop. I realized that’s what I need La Domestique to be- a place where work is done, ideas are fleshed out, and creativity thrives. Going forward at La Domestique, I will continue to post regularly, sharing my freelance projects, developing seasonal recipes, and exploring new ingredients. The content is going to be more freestyle, and though you won’t see the typical Ingredient of the Week10 Ways Tuesday, and Cook in the Moment posts, you’ll still find the same inspiration and focus here at La Domestique.

I appreciate your readership and comments more than you know, and I’m very excited about the future of La Domestique. Projects in development that I’ll be fleshing out in the La Domestique workshop include an iPad app, store for purchasing photographic prints, food and lifestyle styling courses, and other freelance styling, writing, and photography projects. I’m excited to continue cooking in the moment with you!

So, let’s begin with eggplant. Also known as aubergine in the UK and beyond, their season lasts from midsummer to early autumn. I’m mesmerized by the different varieties found at the Boulder Farmer’s Market, and spent an afternoon photographing a few of them. Eggplants deteriorate quickly after harvest, lasting only a couple of days. Reading Chez Panisse Vegetables, I learned that this hot-weather plant does not react well to the cold, dry fridge, and so should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place. I don’t fuss over eggplants in the kitchen (no soaking or salting for me). My favorite way to cook this vegetable is sliced and grilled, but I’ve also enjoyed the thinner Asian variety sliced lengthwise, stuffed, and roasted or braised. Ratatouille is a classic French recipe for stewed eggplant with tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini that can be served on it’s own or over pasta or as a tart filling. For the Middle Eastern dish, Baba Ganoush, eggplant is roasted and pureed into a smoky spiced dip. The flesh of eggplant is meaty with a flavor that’s difficult to describe. It’s vegetal and slightly bitter with a mellowness that pairs well with bold Mediterranean and Middle Eastern herbs and spices.

Chinese Eggplant

Chinese Eggplant from the Boulder Farmer's Market (c)2012 La Domestique

 

Japanese Eggplant

Japanese Eggplant from the Boulder Farmer's Market (c)2012 La Domestique

Rosa Bianca, an Italian heirloom

Rosa Bianca, an Italian heirloom Eggplant from Boulder Farmer's Market (c)2012 La Domestique

 What is your favorite way to cook with eggplant? Share it in the comments section. Click Here.