In the heart of Gilbert, AZ is an 18 acre Certified Organic farm called Steadfast Farm at Agritopia. With the local farming passion and oversight of Erich and Yvonne Schultz, the farm has been busy with the growing of various fruits and vegetables and the raising of chickens, pigs, ducks, turkeys, and honeybees that combined create a local, and sustaining ecology of its own. Steadfast Farm aims to feed our community with the finest, organic, and quality produce — focusing passionately on providing a fresh bounty to local markets, local restaurants (including some of our most favorite places to eat!), and to their CSA members…which is a new + exiting thing for us Abbey girls!
Have you heard of CSA? CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and is designed to build a relationship between the farmer and the community as members enjoy some fresh farm harvest each week and the farmer and his/her crops gain security for the season. We had the pleasure this week to enjoy our first CSA box from Steadfast Farm and have had such a blast curating some new recipes in the kitchen (like this bold eggplant curry!). Needless to say, we are super excited about this local and nutritional collaboration. After all, eating locally ensures that we are eating produce that is the most nutrient dense, that tastes AMAZING, and as our health is enhanced, so is the health of our environment. Added bonus: we have the piece of mind that our produce was grown right down the street (well just about 15 minutes away via highway, which is totally “down the street” via Phoenix mentality) with passion and hard work from the folks in our community we seek to support.
This week for our fall/winter CSA full share box included: sugar baby watermelon, Hakurei turnips, spring lettuce mix, Anaheim peppers, Armenian cucumbers, black Tuscan kale, Japanese eggplant (the star of this recipe below!), and medjool dates. If you’d like to join Steadfast Farm’s CSA, reserve your spot for the Spring/Summer season here and learn more about the farm in the links in our “Resources” below!
We had a woven basket with pink, yellow, and blue tribal detailing that used to mush and flop around as it held our fresh vegetables and fruits on our kitchen counter. That bowl would sadly take on the appearance of our forgotten and molded vegetables/fruits that our weekends away from our apartment would neglect — we are forever sorry to that yellow onion that turned into a crazy-green-mashed monster, staining the insides of that basket which we had to trash and which we really don’t miss (may it rest in peace). Allison then snagged us a silver wire bowl that includes a banana stand (great invention — high-five to the kitchen gadget homies) and it’s been tremendously sturdy, and the wire structure of the bowl allows us to see clearly into the “fresh” status of our produce.
We love, love, love when that bowl is pouring with naturally vibrant colors from our weekly produce, and this week we had such a gorgeous array of purples, greens, whites, and yellows thanks in part to our Steadfast Farm CSA box! We are suckers for combining as many vegetables as possible in our our at-home meals to ensure that we are eating them at their freshest, and we thank curry for allowing us to do that.
Curry is a beloved dish of ours, and it’s a dish that includes a complex combination of spices and herbs (the layering of spices can much such a bold dish) and depending on your preference, your curry can be wet or dry — we like ours to be right in the middle, loving when our pan has a turmeric stained sauce left over in the pan that we can ladle over our last few bites of rice. And we could not wait to use the Japanese eggplant in our curry for the week!
And seriously, isn’t eggplant such a beaut? What other produce can compete with that bright, shiny purple skin?
WHY EAT THAT: Japanese Eggplant
As you can see, this variety of eggplant is skinnier and longer than the usual eggplant we often see at the grocery store. They contain less seeds, and with their slimmer shape, it makes them a lot more versatile and easier to experiment with in the kitchen. All eggplant varieties are loaded with dietary fiber (especially if you keep the skin on), potassium, folate, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 which all help to support our heart health and give our immune system a boost.
This vegetarian curry dish layers common curry spices such as coriander and turmeric, and to soften the vegetables and to bring out hints of their natural sweetness, we cooked the vegetables in lite coconut milk. When the curry finished cooking, we sliced up one Anaheim pepper from our CSA box to add a kick to the dish and used a lime wedge to brighten the overall flavors and to give it an added Vitamin C boost.
Eggplant Curry (vegetarian, vegan)
1 cup brown rice, dried
2-3 red potatoes, cubed (about 1 cup)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped small
1 tsp mild curry powder
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Japanese eggplants, cubed (about 1 cup)
1/4 – 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1 roma tomato, chopped small
1 Anaheim pepper chopped thinly for topping (the seeds are extra spicy, remove them if you don’t like your dish to be too spicy!)
1. Cook brown rice on the stove or in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water (easy rice cooking tip: always cook 1 part rice and 2 parts water).
2. In another pot, fill with 1-1/2 cup water (enough to cover your potatoes) and bring to a boil. Add in the cubed red potatoes and boil them until they are partially cooked, about 8-10 min.
3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the chopped onion along with the curry powder, coriander, turmeric, and sea salt and stir until onions are fully coated and they have cooked through, 2-3 mins.
4. Add in the cubed eggplant and 1/4 cup lite coconut milk, stir gently.
5. Add in the red potatoes when they have been partially cooked, stir gently. (The potatoes will finish cooking in the pan.)
6. Continue to cook over medium heat, adding about 1-2 tbsp of coconut milk from time to time, stir gently.
7. When the eggplant and the potatoes have just about cooked all the way through, add in the chopped roma tomato, stir gently and let cook for about 3-4 mins.
8. Turn off the heat when your vegetables have cooked to your liking.
9. Serve warm over 1/4-1/2 cup brown rice, add a lime wedge to squeeze some lime juice on top, and top with a few slices of Anaheim pepper to give the curry a nice kick.
10. Store leftovers in an airtight container for about 1 week.
Steadfast Farm at Agritopia // http://www.steadfast-farm.com
Steadfast Farm at Agritopia Instagram // https://instagram.com/steadfastfarm/
Steadfast Farm at Agritopia Facebook // https://www.facebook.com/erich.schultz.3
Eggplant (Aubergine): Health Benefits, Nutritional Information. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Medical News Today. Sept 25, 2015. Web.