Although summer has passed, local farmers are still producing lots of nice vegetables. This recipe uses several items I bought from local farmers: eggplants, onions, sweet peppers, and wild mushrooms. By supporting local farms, you can have a positive impact on your local economy and on the overall environment. Local farms tend to have a less negative impact on the planet than large industrial farms that supply most of our grocery stores. By supporting farmers who live close by, you encourage their existence and reduce our dependence on large industrial farms that pollute the environment more. Your food will likely taste better, too!
2 small eggplants, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup dry brown rice (or 1-2 cups of cooked rice, perhaps leftover from a previous meal)
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 sweet pepper, diced
1 cup chopped wild mushrooms
1 TBS finely chopped ginger
1 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS mirin
1 tsp ume plum vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil baking sheet and put eggplant halves face down on it. Pour 1/4 cup sherry over eggplant halves. Cover baking sheet with foil, sealing tightly around edges. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
Cook rice according to package instructions. (You could also use 1-2 cups of leftover rice, instead of cooking fresh rice.)
Meanwhile, heat grapeseed oil in 10" frying pan. Saute onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to become translucent. Add garlic and continue to stir for a minute or two. Stir in diced peppers, then mushrooms, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften. Stir in ginger and cook for a few minutes. Turn off stove until rice and eggplant are cooked. Mix soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar together in small bowl or cup and set aside.
When rice and eggplant are cooked, scoop out eggplant flesh from shells and add to vegetables in frying pan. Stir in rice and mix all together. Add soy sauce mixture and stir until everything is combined. Spoon mixture into eggplant shell halves. There might be some mixture leftover that will not fit in shells. (You can eat the leftover mixture as is or try stuffing another scooped out vegetable--such as any kind of squash or bell pepper-- for lunch tomorrow!)
Put stuffed eggplant halves on same baking sheet back into oven and heat for 5-10 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving. Serves 2 as main course or 4 as side dish.