Eating in Season: Cooking With the Veggie Box

We order milk from a local-area farm that delivers it to our house. I know–home delivery! I order 3 gallons at a time, so I can put 2 jugs in the deep freeze and keep one in the fridge. I use this milk to make homemade yogurt, too.

Keely Farms also deliver boxes of vegetables–whatever is in season at the time. So I ordered a veggie box to be dropped off with our regular milk delivery last week. I didn’t know what would arrive, but I felt keen to try this out. I appreciate the idea of trying to eat (and cook with) more of what’s in season.

I’d seen eggplant in the produce section of the grocery store, so I wondered if I’d find that in our box from Keely Farms. And indeed, our box contained 4 small eggplants.

Although I like eggplants well enough, I just don’t buy them at the store. But when I discovered them in our veggie box, I knew I’d need to find a good use for them. I flipped through an old recipe book (the blank kind that you fill with recipes of your choosing) that I’d gotten from a dollar store in my hometown when I was 23. I had returned from living a year in Romania right after college, and I’d learned to cook–and to appreciate it. I wanted my own little book where I could write down recipes I liked and wanted to revisit in the future.

recipe-book

Almost 20 years (and many moves) later, I still have this little book. And in its pages, I found a recipe for eggplant patties. I don’t remember the original source, but I must have tried this recipe in the past and esteemed it highly enough that I wanted to write it in the pages of this tiny spiral-bound book. I made them for supper (to go with BBQ pulled-chicken sandwiches), and I’m happy with how they turned out. So is hubby, although Woodrow and Garfield didn’t show much interest beyond a few bites.

Here’s the recipe, for those who are keen to give these eggplant patties a try:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 Tbsp. onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. cracker crumbs

Peel eggplant. Cut into chunks. Cook in salted water until tender. Drain. Mash and add other ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil. Brown on both sides.

I didn’t add onion (because of laziness, and also because I needed to be efficient with my time since we had a Cub Scout leaders’ meeting that night), and I forgot the baking powder. I also used plain bread crumbs instead of cracker crumbs (didn’t have any of those). I added garlic powder and a little salt, too. And I’m pleased with the results–the leftovers added to our lunch the next day.

What else is in our box of produce? Zucchini, cucumbers, patty pan squash (I’ve never cooked with those before), yellow squash (maybe they’re also called summer squash?), and I believe some purslane. Oh, and okra–which we in Mississippi called “okry” when I was growing up. The boys can’t wait for fried okra, which might be my next cooking adventure from the veggie box. In-season produce…it’s what’s for dinner.

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