This roasted tomato and eggplant spaghetti is the perfect meal for a cool or rainy summer night when you’re not trying to beat the heat with a cold supper. Toronto’s disgusting heat kicked in for a few days two weeks ago and I was glad to have some rain. It’s good for the garden and cools down my sweltering house. I served this for dinner on a drizzly evening while a friend was visiting from out of town. It can be a simple one-pot meal that you cook ahead and eat throughout the week or you can dress it up with some garlic bread and salad — which is what I did.
I adapted the recipe from The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright. The original recipe is entitled “Eggplant Bolognese Pasta”. In my recipe, I added some red wine and opted for roasted tomatoes rather than canned. I love taking advantage of the beautiful, cheap vegetables at the markets near my home in Toronto. Both tomatoes and eggplants are in season from approximately July-October. Rather than doing dried chili to spice things up I used chili oil because I had some on hand. It makes the dish that much more decadent. Finally, I added a pinch of rosemary out of habit.
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Welcome to March. That point in the winter when you wonder why you have chosen to relocate to a frozen tundra when you lived in Sydney, Australia not six months ago. While it is true that I miss the fine weather and the white-sand beaches I could never sacrifice the community I current have here in Toronto for a sun-tan.
I met small-scale grower Kaycee Simuong when she was on exchange at my university several years before she got into farming. We went to a Canucks game with some friends and saw one another at the occasional party. Needless to say, I did not think she would pursue farming as a career. I didn’t think anyone I knew would pursue farming as a career. Years later, I have come to know this strong, intelligent woman much better and farming seems like a good fit.
I love going to the farmers market. Something about the fresh flowers, the aroma of coffee and pastries, the milling and the chatter, the dogs sitting at their owners’ feet while they wait expectantly for a treat, it makes me feel hopeful. My imagination runs wild when lost among the vegetable stands and mess of people. I begin to filter through memories of Thanksgivings past and long forgotten rainy days resolved with warming bowls of soup. In my mind’s eye, I conceive of meals for my future children. I envision cast iron skillets, dried herbs hanging from the rafters, friends coming round to drop-off fresh bread or stop-in for a cup of tea. The market transports me to a time which, for the most part, no longer exists.
Going to the market is a nice way to learn more about where your food comes from and how it is grown. By purchasing at markets you reduce your carbon footprint because you generally aren’t buying produce that was shipped halfway across the planet for your convenience.