Thursday, July 24, 2008

Snack Time!

Eating locally is great, especially in the summer. I get to know the faces of my favorite farmers, stroll through farmers markets around Portland, and take FAR too many gratuitously gorgeous pictures of vegetables. It's really difficult to get tired of heirloom tomatoes, fresh goat cheese, perfect summer cherries... But sometimes, a girl needs a potato chip.

I picked up some beautiful Japanese Eggplant today. The more slender, sensual family member of the good ol' Globe, the Japanese eggplant has a thinner skin, fewer seeds, and a sweeter, lighter flavor, with nary a trace of the bitterness of her humble cousin.

I had entertained the thought of a traditional eggplant and mushroom stew from Ghana, but then I came across a beautiful sweet potato in my pantry. My little lemon basil thoughts start flowing, imagining fresh, kettle cooked chips with a little salt, and I decide to give in to my cravings...

They may be fried, but they're local, and their veggies.

Using my trusty mandolin, paper thin slices of the vegetables flew into hot oil (yeah, it was as messy as it sounds) to the delight of my roommates.

These were inhaled almost instantaneously. Experiment with other vegetables, and enjoy summer's bounty.

Eat well.
Crispy Cumin Eggplant Chips and Rosemary Sweet Potato Disks

For Eggplant
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 lb thin Asian eggplant (2 inches in diameter; about 2 medium), trimmed
About 3 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin

For Sweet Potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1 tbs chopped, dried rosemary
1/2 tsp sea salt

Stir together confectioners sugar, breadcrumbs, and salt in a wide shallow bowl. Cut eggplant and sweet potato crosswise into paper-thin rounds with mandolin or sharp knife.

Fill a deep 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet halfway with oil and heat over moderate heat. Dredge eggplant slices in breadcrumb mixture, tossing until thoroughly coated and lightly pressing to help coating adhere.

In batches, fry coated slices in oil (you'll know the oil's ready when it sizzles with the addition of a slice), turning and separating with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer eggplant chips with a wire-mesh or slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, then season lightly with salt and cumin.

In the same oil, fry the sweet potato slices in batches until golden brown and curled, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and sprinkle with salt and rosemary.

Chips will crisp as they cool. Enjoy!


  1. The eggplant and sweet potato chips looks absolutely delicious. I love both vegetables and definitely will be making these.

    I also make it a priority to buy fresh produce from our local farmers. You have a very interesting blog with wonderful photos - congrats!

  2. Veggie chips are delicious and such a great way to use the abundance of fresh summer veggies in season right now. Thanks for sharing your adventures in eating local. Something we all should be doing more of!