Thursday, September 28, 2006

Summer's Colors and Variety

It's easy to get carried away as a shopper at the Farmers' Market. And clearly, some farmers get a bit carried away when planting their vegetables.

Who knew that there were so many kinds of summer squash? The photo above shows eight different varieties, and does not include the standard green one, nor three or four others that I saw at the market today: an offwhite variety (destined to be a Martha Stewart paint color?), the French Rond d'Nice (a pale green egg-shaped squash with dark green mottling). Although the local Farmers' markets have all sorts of tasting events, I don't recall seeing one for summer squash. But perhaps they should, as each squash variety has its own profile: some sweeter, some with more fiber, and so forth.

The diversity of eggplant can also be surprising. The photo below shows six varieties, but there are several more, including a long green variety, several Thai varieties (available at the Tuesday market). There are plenty of uses for these beauties. This week I was in the mood for South Indian food, so I made a paste of fresh coconut, tamarind, and spices, stuffed it into slits I cut in the eggplant, and then braised them until they were tender (and, unfortunately, all the same color: a dull purpley-brown). I usually use a recipe from Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan.

Indexed under Ingredients, India
Technorati tags: Food : Cooking : Vegetarian

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