poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


The Sandwich of Summer Goodness

I wouldn’t describe myself as a “sandwich person” per se, but once in a blue moon, I’ll have a sandwich that *almost* converts me. (Sorry bread, but noodles will always be my #1 carb of choice.) Last night was one of those experiences — TC found a recipe for Grilled Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Sandwiches from our CSA’s website. We decided to give it a try, even though we didn’t have a grill. As it turns out, you can also broil eggplant and peppers — hot AND fast!

Sandwich phase I: pre-assembly

Sandwich phase I: pre-assembly. Eggplant, heirloom tomato, basil, and garlic from Full Belly Farms.

This recipe did not disappoint! Both TC and I were blown away by how delicious this combination was. On top of the basic recipe, we added coarsely chopped basil (since that was also in our CSA box) and fresh mozzarella. Another key ingredient: good bread. We chose an Acme ciabatta, which was perfect. One happy coincidence was an open bottle of Yellowtail Shiraz, which paired really well with the sandwich.

Sandwich phase II: post-assembly. (Sandwich phase III: consumption not shown.)

Sandwich phase II: post-assembly. (Sandwich phase III: consumption not shown.)

Not only does this sandwich include the best of summer produce, but it’s also quick and easy — the last thing you want to be doing during the summer is slaving away over the stove, am I right? Anyway, enough talking – here’s the recipe.

Grilled Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Sandwiches
(adapted from Full Belly Farms)

servings: 4
1 eggplant cut into 1/4-inch slices – This will work fine with any type of eggplant.
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 peppers, roasted or grilled and sliced
1 or 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
8 1/2-inch-thick slices of your favorite sandwich bread

– Aioli or mayonnaise to spread on the bread
– fresh mozzarella, sliced
– basil, coarsely chopped


1. Preheat the grill or broiler. Brush the olive oil lightly over both sides of the eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Grill or broil the eggplant until tender, 3 or 4 minutes per side. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and half of the minced garlic.

2. Cut the tops off the peppers, slice in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Grill or broil the peppers until tender (about 9 minutes in broiler) and then toss them in a bowl with the remaining vinegar, garlic, and basil (if using).

3. Grill, broil or toast the bread. If you are using aioli or mayonnaise spread it on the bread and then assemble the sandwiches with layers of eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and mozzarella (if using).




Back on the CSA Wagon!

When we moved in October, we put the CSA on hold for what we thought would be a short hiatus… which turned into a 5 month break from locally grown veggie boxes. I’ve got a litany of excuses, but mostly we were just lazy. Actually, one decent excuse we had was that we spent a bit of time looking around at other CSAs. As much as we loved Eatwell’s practices and farm events, we weren’t always 100% happy with what we got in terms of variety and quality. So, after much searching, we decided on Full Belly Farm. One thing that convinced me to go with them is a quick survey of their farm using Google satellite maps. (Don’t you just love technology??) Much like Eatwell, you can actually SEE the diversity of the Full Belly Farm just by the variety of colors and different width rows of vegetation. Also, we’ve heard lots of good things about Full Belly’s produce. Finally, the price is right! We are paying only $16 a box with Full Belly, compared to Eatwell’s $27. We get a bit less food as well, but that’s not always a bad thing, especially in the winter when we used to get bags and bags of greens. Don’t get me wrong — I love greens, just not 2-3 servings per meal.

We’ve gotten 3 boxes from Full Belly so far, and we’ve been quite happy with the produce. Our boxes have included navel oranges, butternut squash, leeks, beets, kale, lettuce, the cutest little cabbages I’ve ever seen, broccoli, fennel, celery root, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, arugula, and even popcorn! Full Belly also sells walnuts at a very reasonable price, so we’ll probably be adding those to our next box.

Without further ado, here are the pictures from the last 4 weeks of CSA goodness!

Our first CSA box from Full Belly Farms!

Our first CSA box from Full Belly Farms!

potato and leek soup

Rustic potato and leek soup from The New Best Recipes cookbook. We added bacon = YUM.

Butternut squash veggie soup.

Butternut squash veggie soup. It was a bit bland at first, but I doctored it up with some spices and it got better. TC, the lactose tolerant, added cream, which he thought was really good.

Cabbage and chickpea soup from the Post Punk Kitchen. Really nice.

Cabbage and chickpea soup from the Post Punk Kitchen. Really nice.

Roasted squash (also from the PPK) with a side of cous cous.

Roasted squash (also from the PPK) with a side of cous cous.

Spicy cole slaw from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Awesome stuff!

Spicy cole slaw from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Awesome and really quick and easy!

We added the spicy slaw to cod filets and buns from Trader Joe's. We loved these sandwiches so much we made then twice in 2 weeks!

We added the spicy slaw to cod filets and half -baked buns from Trader Joe’s. We loved these sandwiches so much we made then twice in 2 weeks!



CSA Update 9/30/12 + Highlights from Eat Real 2012

Here’s what we got last week in our Eatwell Farm CSA box:

heirloom cherry tomatoes
shady lady tomatoes
heirloom tomatoes
Middle Eastern cucumbers
poblano peppers
bell peppers
sweet potatoes
collard greens

In my last post, Tammy mentioned she had never seen a Middle Eastern cucumber before, so I made a point of taking a photo before I ate them. I think they are the same as Persian cucumbers, but I might be wrong. Any cucumber experts out there?

Some of the veggies from our box last week: tomatoes, sweet potatoes, Middle Eastern cucumber, and onions.

We decided to roast the sweet potatoes (~1 hour at 400F). Since the oven was already on, we baked chicken thighs with garlic and onions. To complete the meal, we cooked the collards in the cast iron with some of the chicken juice.

Since we had plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers, I made an impromptu salad featuring those two veggies in homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It was easy and delicious.

quick and easy cucumber tomato salad

This was the last box of our CSA subscription. I know that last time I mentioned that we would be renewing our subscription, and we still are planning on it, but we decided to hold off for now. That’s the bad news. The good news is that TC and I are moving in together in mid-October! So, between packing, moving, and unpacking, neither of us wanted to stress about cooking CSA produce. Honestly, I think the break will be good. This series of posts has gotten a little stagnant, in my opinion. Hopefully, when it returns, it will be full of new and exciting things!

p.s. Can’t get enough of CSA goodies? Check out this week’s link party over at In Her Chucks to check out CSA boxes from all over the country!


Rather than writing a separate post on Eat Real, which I’ve blogged about in previous years (2009, 2010, 2011), I thought I’d show you some of the pictures from last weekend’s eat fest.

I had made plans to go to Eat Real on Sunday with LF, but TC and I couldn’t resist the siren call of the hand-made spicy beef corndog from Tante’s. So, we braved the crazy crowds on Saturday to get our hands on them. Unlike last year, we knew better than to try to share this deep-fried perfection. It was totally worth it.

I know, this corndog looks sorta weird, but trust me: it was awesome.

On Sunday, LF and I were sensible enough to make it down to the festival around 11:30, when it was much less crowded. Here’s a sampling of what we ate:

Deep fried daikon cake and beef pho rolls. Both very good, though pricey at $5 each.

A little bowl of shoyu ramen. Broth was too salty, noodles were so-so. LF’s miso ramen was bland.

“Is that a corndog in your purse, or are you just happy to see me?” We were stuffed, so LF got the corndog to go.

We also had Eritrean/Irish food which was very good in both taste and value. For drinks, we enjoyed watermelon basil agua fresca that was delicious and refreshing, as well as a beer each. There was a not-very-serious attempt to wait in the chowder mobile line; we waited for about 10 minutes and jumped ship after realizing the line was not moving. Just as the festival was getting crowded, we grabbed one last corndog for LF, retrieved our bikes from the bike valet, and headed home. Another fantastic experience at Eat Real!