If you’re a farmer’s wife who sells your produce at area Farmer’s Markets, you always have something left over that needs to be used before it goes to waste.
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Zella Cook’s version of Ina Garten’s “Roasted Eggplant Spread”
Says Zella: “I make a dip with roasted eggplant, peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes because all those veggies are still in season and it freezes well. I serve it warm with chips or pita bread.”
1 medium eggplant
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large tomatoes quartered and (roasted separately)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the eggplant, bell pepper and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Cut the tomatoes and place on a separate baking sheet so that you can drain off excess juice if you decide you don’t want to use it. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.
Place all the vegetables and the drained tomatoes in a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. If you like it thinner, add some of the tomato juice. Add salt and pepper as you like.
Serve warm with pita bread wedges or chips. I sometimes make my own pita bread, which is MUCH easier than I ever dreamed. Here is the recipe I use and this is the link to the YouTube video that shows you how: http://www.dedemed.com/mediterranean/pita-bread-recipe
3 cups flour plus 1 cup flour for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 packet yeast (7 grams or 1/4 ounce)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
In a small bowl mix yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup warm water and let sit for 10-15 minutes. In a large bowl mix 3 cups flour with salt and make a well or whole in the middle. Slowly stir in yeast mix and 1 cup warm water until well combined.
In a large bowl add 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread all over to keep dough from sticking, place dough in oiled bowl, cover with a blanket, and let sit for 3 hours in a warm place.
After 3 hours and dough has risen, add flour to table surface and knead dough for 10 minutes, add flour to surface to keep it from sticking. Form dough into small balls and let sit in a plate for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out balls to 1/8 inch thick and place on flat cookie sheet or pan, cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly brown and dough puffs up. If the dough does not puff up all the time, that is OK, you’ll still have a pita pocket.
VIDEO: Visit Zella Cook in her garden and farmhouse kitchen: MyDaytonDailyNews.com
MORE ABOUT COOKS’ GARDEN
You’ll find Zella and Stephen Cook at the Shiloh Farmer’s Market at Shiloh Church, 5300 Philadelphia Drive (corner of Philadelphia and Main Street) from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Oct. 19.
You can also buy produce and flowers from the Cooks’ farm market at 989 N. Clayton Road, New Lebanon. They sell bedding plants in the spring, ‘U-pick’ strawberries in June and fresh vegetables straight from the garden through the summer. To contact them, call (937) 687-3753 or email firstname.lastname@example.org