|Cafe Drake experimented this week with white eggplant from J Glebocki Farms in Goshen, NY.|
|Eggplant Talkari. All eggplant - purple, black or white - looks the same when cooked.|
|Yellow Split Peas, Islands Style|
|Our complete Trinidadian Dinner: Yellow Split Peas, House Pickles, Eggplant, Pan-Fried Napa Cabbage and Rosemary Rice|
Pierce 1 large eggplant (should be about 1 1/2 lbs.) all over with the tines of a fork and place on a baking sheet under the broiler. Turn every 5 minutes until the skin is blackened and wrinkled and the flesh is very soft, about 25 minutes total. Remove eggplant and allow to cool. When safe to handle, peel and chop all the flesh very finely.
Now heat 1 1/2 T. vegetable oil in a skillet over a medium flame and toss in 1/2 t. black mustard seeds. When the seeds begin popping immediately add: 1 t. shredded ginger and 1 minced green chile. Fry for a minute then remove pan from flame. Add in: 1/2 t. each: ground cumin and ground coriander. Removing the pan from the flame ensures the dried, powdered spices will not burn.
Return skillet to a medium flame and add the minced eggplant. Stir well for 1 minute and serve hot or warm with plenty of lemon wedges.
Call us now officially huge fans of this island favorite. Rosemary Rice works wells with meals of any nationality, adding a pleasant woodsy flavor note. You really need to use white rice for this one. Sorry.
Heat 1 T. butter in a saucepan over a medium-low flame. Add 1 sliced small onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic. Fry gently until the onion has just softened a bit. Add 3/4 t. dried rosemary (more of fresh if you have it around), 1/2 t. salt and cook another 30 seconds. Now in goes the 1 cup of white rice - stir very well for 2-3 minutes, ensuring each grain is coated with butter.
Add to the pan 2 cups hot water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover quickly. Cook over a very low flame for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow rice to sit - still covered - for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve hot.
YELLOW SPLIT PEA DAL OF TRINIDAD
Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a medium -size saucepan and stir in 1 cup of rinsed yellow split peas. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, removing any foam that rises to the surface. (This is easiest with a slotted spoon). Now add 2 finely chopped tomatoes along with 1 t. turmeric and simmer for another 15 minutes. If the split peas become too dry, add a bit more water to prevent scorching.
While all is simmering away, heat 2 T. oil in a skillet and when hot, add 1 t. each of black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once the seeds begin popping toss in 1 t. shredded ginger and 2-3 sliced small green chilies. After 1 minute add 1 t. ground coriander. Add all to the peas and stir well. Season to taste with salt - you'll need at least 3/4 t.