Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer in a Sandwich: A Wicked Vegetable Patch Special

That, my friends, is a sandwich. Summer layered lovingly, stacked high between two halves of a toasted pretzel roll. Every flavor a reminder that the real season is still new. We've only in the last three weeks stepped into the high grass of harvest in the Midwest. I like to think I know a little bit more about that this year.

The view above (click for the real detail) is from day 1, week 3 and week 6. I'm talking to you now from the beginning of week 8 and can bear witness to even taller tomatoes. I remain absolutely enamored of this new hobby.

Through that lens, I'd like to share the first two eggplants of my eyes. I think you can hear the cliche I was going for but it still sounds weird (I'm going with it). They are such a dark purple that in this light they look black but get past that onyx exterior and there's a pale flesh with just the freshest tint of green. I was weeding when I realized just how big the eggplants had gotten and since these two, we've enjoyed four more, even trading one for a tomato and some arugula.

The gift of an overzealous farmers market trip brought extra pretzel rolls so I set about deciding what I could make with my haul including eggplant, chard, basil and cabbage from the garden, an onion from the garden of a friend, yellow squash from my CSA box and that traded tomato. And some found feta, which made up the first layer of the sandwich I couldn't keep myself from.
On top of the feta went a thick layer of lightly steamed greens. There are a lot of lovely vitamins hidden this sandwich's foundation but those greens are the real powerhouse so this is not a time for frugality of sandwich. With a modest pinch of truffle salt over the top? Perfection.

From there I took a cue from my inspiration in both activity and appetite and slow roasted the eggplant and squash. This row made it into my sandwich but the rest made for sweet accoutrement to other meals for the rest of the week.

A lovely tomato, grown in the same garden that produced many other layers. Bartering for vegetables is the weekly pleasure chest that bartering for Halloween candy was annually as a kid. Only this kind of trade enriches my palate rather than a dentist's pocket.
That last layer is a crisp, clean crunch of basil. I've got no shortage on aromatics this year and I am throwing basil into everything.

Look at that. Stacked to heaven with homegrown angels. There's something so incredibly satisfying about knowing where every piece of this sandwich came from.

With feta and a little love (Jaimeson's vocabulary word for olive oil) as the only accompaniments to the bread, the vegetables unique flavors absolutely shine through. Okay, there may have also been a nice drizzle of balsamic over the tomato layer but I was going to keep that between me and them.

It was such a spectacular sandwich, it deserved to look like something special. Parchment paper and a little garden twine did the trick. I love how at home a vegetable sandwich looks, wrapped in the same twine their leafy vines grew up in the back yard. My thumb just might be green after all. Don't worry though, I'll still wash it.


Anonymous said...

Whoa. That IS a sandwich. Love the eggplant too!

Laura said...

that is one incredibly GINORMOUS sandwich. i don't know if i could even manage part of that without making a disaster of it all over me. And I've never seen an eggplant that dark before either.. wow!

Yvonne said...

Now, THAT is a SANDWICH!!! Loves delich !!

TKTC said...

Freckle- Thanks! I'll be needing other eggplant recos- we're swimming in them a bit at the moment!

Laura- I thought the same thing. The good news is that even though it's crazy healthy, it manages to be filling. Half now, half later and all smiles.

Yvonne- I like meat but when we're talking about something thick and juicy, it's not Italian beef that I'm craving. Meatless Monday works out just fine!

Kelly said...

Gorgeous. Despite my blossom rot, or whatever its called, the tomatoes still taste great and lots seem to be coming in that are perfect. Phew.

Is it wrong that I have near panic attacks about what to do with the plants when I go home for a week? Leaning toward asking my neighbors to water in exchange for some goodies when I get back.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap that is the most gorgeous sandwich ever! More importantly, how did it taste?!?! Fresh from the ground of the 60622!

TKTC said...

Kelly- I too am already planning for my time in Seattle at the end of August. Luckily, I suspect people secretly love the look into the life of a garden and the veggies are their own reward. Who knows? Maybe they'll have their own crop next year:)

Gina- It tasted like 3 servings of perfectly ripe vegetables should taste...fantastic!!

RhodeyGirl said...


That sandwich looks AMAZING!

Can't wait for CHICAGO!

Shanti said...

i'm swooning, it looks like summer vegetable heaven. gardens and meatless mondays for the win!

RebeccaC said...

Stomach growling.

Emily @ Mini House said...

That is some mouth-watering goodness my dear!

I recently made a version of this Eggplant recipe from Real Simple:

Changes - use fresh mozi and drizzle some balsamic!

TKTC said...

Rhodey- I second that emotion. CHICAGO!

Shanti- Meatless Monday is a big big ole win.

Rebecca- Oh good-it's like every time I look at your posts.

MiniHouse- Emmers, you basically just told me I can make a fried green tomato sandwich using eggplant. Made my day.

Sara said...

That looks amazing! We hope to plant more veggies next year. This year we only planted sweet corn, cucs and four rows of sunflowers--not for the seeds but just for the prettiness. :)

Shaina (Food for My Family) said...

I love pretzel rolls. I've been meaning to make my own, but really, in the daily goings on of everyday life, making bread is one of those things I do less and less, even if I do enjoy it.

I wish you lived closer. I'd totally trade some heirloom tomatoes for an eggplant right now. I also have spaghetti squash and cucumbers up for trade as well.

Crockpots and Rooftops said...

That sandwich looks AMAZING! Oh to have a backyard :) Or any green space at all.

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