eggplant as luggage
aka scenes + strategy while grocery shopping in the bay
Eggplant, how I adore, so much so that we came home from CA with three varieties in our checked bags.
Well, it’s not possible nor logical, nor right, nor real for me to pick up where I left off, but I’ll try.
Extreme Monday vibes, no matter the day lately. It’s the whole generational + eternal, ever-more-warranted female rage thing. So, that’s where I’m at. This is where I was. Here comes the produce talk.
Our April trip to CA was not the first time I flew across the country with eggplant and avocado, and I gently vow that it will not be the last.
I can safely say that once I realized it was cool – and by that I mean, legal – to bring a bag of farmers market produce on a plane, I made it a habit.
Now that we live in a land with a VERY short growing season, it’s become a must. A lifeline!
Putting aside the environmental woes of air travel for just a moment, I am very much not the only one who flies to or fro the distant state of Alaska with boxes & bags of seasonal-somewhere-else produce (or fish & game, if that’s your thing).
Forget the suitcase of NY bagels or (somewhat inevitable) pink box of vegan doughnuts I’d tuck under my seat a decade ago (well, two of each or a couple of croissants will do these days). Let me stop at one more farmers market and grab some bitter greens, chickpea tempeh, heirloom garlic, peak berries or stone fruit (!!), and whatever else I can decently fit into a checked bag, or tenderly tucked away with fresh herbs in my carry-on.
This past foray, we came back with the following produce: broccoli, lemons, bearss limes (courtesy of a dear friend and her tree!), purple radishes, small Italian eggplant, Indian eggplant, flat leaf parsley, Persian cukes, Thai green chiles, Chinese eggplant, a pair of CA avocados, Italian basil, Thai basil and cherry tomatoes…….not including the basil & tomatoes & berries & avocados & additional goodness we enjoyed during our actual trip.
Yadda yadda, maybe more on that next time, because I did make a tik tok pasta, of all things.
Just know that we* gladly returned north with four checked bags and my own tote full of produce, galore ….even if some was smushed in the end, they all remain oh, so, very special delivery.
*And duh, it’s a “we”, but I was exclusively (& lovingly) handling all the packing and bag maneuvering as Jules recovered. You can safely trust that it’s usually the other way around for these things!
It feels like ages ago that I used to photograph my Portland farmers market hauls on the regular. This certainly strikes me as the first time I arranged produce in a hotel room. When in Rome, er, Millbrae.
How are y’all doing? Do you have any fond memories of edible souvenirs?
‘Til next time, when the planet keeps spinning, and we’ll all keep cooking.
References + Relevant Links:
4,000 Years of Abortion History: No matter what politicians or the law say, abortion has always existed and will always exist by Sarah Mirk and Chelsea Saunders, The Nib > YOU SHOULD SERIOUSLY READ THIS + SHARE 🖤
Bans off Our Bodies: Join the May 14th Rally near you + Sign the Petition + Learn More, Planned Parenthood Action (see also: Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights)
Nong’s Thai Kitchen by Nongkran Daks
Sauces & Shapes by Oretta Zanini De Vita and Maureen B Fant ~ I made both the pasta alla norma and the fettucine above from the pasta acqua e farina recipe in this book
Quick notes on that earlier Eggplant with Basil, adapted from Nong’s Thai Kitchen: 1) pan-sear eggplant in a little neutral oil on both sides 2) add in a bunch of minced garlic and thai chile(s) or chili flakes and cook until golden, stirring 3) pour in the sauce = 3/4 c water + 1 T thai thin soy sauce + 1 T yellow bean sauce + 1 t sugar and bring to a boil 4) simmer for five minutes until really permeating the eggplant 5) toss in a generous handful of thai basil 6) serve over rice w/ more veg