Eggplant Sandwich (…and meet the chickens!)

This past week we’ve been experiencing torrential downpours that break in the afternoon for stormy sunlit landscapes. Frothing large waves break against the bluffs, and a whole new array of  bright rain-drenched colors emerge.  I spread a few carrot and beet seeds in the garden, hoping that the wet soil will spur some germination.

One of the best parts about all this wet weather, though, was going on an excursion to play in the snow that all those storms left behind in the mountains near Santa Barbara! I might not be able to rock climb, run, or ride a bike yet (thank you, broken collarbone), but I can definitely still hike. Thank goodness!!

Some of my eggplant bushes are still holding on through the winter, and I picked a lovely Rosa Bianca that I decided would be my lunch. Leftover ciabatta bread, a bunch of basil, goat cheese, and roasted peppers completed my inspiration. This sandwich is the culmination of all my favorite ingredients, taking the best from each eggplant sandwich I’ve experienced at different restaurants (for some reason, I’m always drawn to it on a menu).

Eggplant sandwiches for 2

1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4″ thick slices (Sprinkle with salt and let sit at least 10 minutes before blotting off moisture)

Roasted red peppers (I used bottled)

Goat cheese

Ciabatta bread (2-4 slices depending on how hungry you are)

Olive oil

Salt/pepper

Pesto:

2 cups basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

1/4 c olive oil

1/4 c parmesan cheese (may be omitted)

1/4 c pine nuts (or walnuts)

Salt to taste

To make the pesto, combine ingredients in a food processor or use an immersion blender. Set aside.

Coat eggplant slices in olive oil. Saute eggplant in cast iron pan for ~5-8 minutes. Next coat the bread slices with olive oil and saute until toasted. Sprinkle bread with salt and pepper. Spread goat cheese on bread, then pesto, then top with roasted peppers and eggplant slices for an open face sandwich.

On a completely different note…

A few weeks ago, we made some significant progress in the conversion of our property into a food forest… we now have chickens! On January 7, we expanded our little family by 12 chicks, all of whom have been steadily growing, eating, and making a mess! But we love them dearly, and they provide a lot of entertainment. They’ll be ready to move outside into their coop at 6 weeks, when they have all their feathers in. But until then, they have their very own cardboard mansion in our spare bedroom. Many thanks to all my local chicken friends for their advice, loans of equipment, etc.! Sometime this summer we should start getting fresh eggs… I can’t wait!

(For those of you interested in the breeds, we have 1 Australorp, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Silver-laced Wyandotte, 1 Ameracauana, 1 Golden Sex-link, 3 bantam Sebrights and 3 bantam Ameracaunas.)

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