It happens every year, and I never learn. There comes a day, in the early spring, when the sun emerges for the first time in many long months. When this happens Vancouverites experience a chemical response resulting from the massive quantities of vitamin D, and they go insane. They rush out into the sunshine, squinting like moles and wonder what that huge, bright, and irresistibly attractive orb in the sky is. Like worshippers in a cult they gather outside and try to soak up as much as possible. I am no exception to this annual phenomenon, and when the sun emerged on Sunday I tried to drink in as much of it as I could stomach. I took the new Trek Valencia out for a one hour spin in the morning, then spent an hour in the afternoon lying in a patch of sun on my bed like a strange hairless cat, and in the afternoon I took a half hour walk. All of this without wearing sunscreen or sunglasses--clearly risky behaviour as I have always been warned never to have unprotected sun exposure. It was like a drug---soooo good, but with a bad crash afterwards. It wasn't long before I had developed a dreadful headache which has lasted into today. It was clearly punishment for being sun greedy. I glutted myself on yellow rays and then paid the price with a throbbing head and a promise to be more conservative in my sun exposure next time. But today is horrifically gloomy. It rained all day, and it was almost as if the sun was some widespread group delusion. I suspect by the time it emerges again I will have forgotten the pain and will be prone to overdoing it. Such is life in sun deprived Vancouver. But at least we all appreciate the good weather when it happens!
And on a food related note: I cooked an eggplant this evening. I only bought the thing from my local market because it was so bizarrely beautiful. I don't think I've ever really looked at an eggplant before, and I've decided that they're culinary works of art that should probably be given over to long hours of dreamy gazing. They have perfect smooth skin that is blissful to touch. The purple-black colour is reminiscent of royalty, dark velvet, and esoteric rites. The shape is extremely pleasing, and they have a fascinating spongy give when you press a finger into the shiny skin. I almost didn't want to cut it up, but I've read that they go bad quickly so I sliced and broiled it and created an absolutely delicious accompaniment to our regular pasta dish. Though I assumed they would be difficult to prepare, eggplants are actually fairly simple to transform into a fantastic side dish with a slightly sweet flavour. Here's what I did:
Slice an eggplant into 1/2 inch pieces and arrange on a greased broiler pan. Sprinkle both sides with salt and wait 10 minutes. The salt will leech out some of the water, and with it the bitter flavour that eggplant can be prone to. Sponge off the water with a paper towel.
Mix together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp basil (or any other spice you think of really, though I found basil was quite tasty), and salt and pepper to taste. Baste the tops of the eggplant slices with this mixture and place under the broiler for 5 minutes. Flip the eggplant and baste the other side. Broil for a further 5-8 minutes, or until the eggplant seems tender when pierced with a fork.
I then sprinkled the whole thing with fresh lime juice, and voila!, an eggplant dish that isn't scary in the least.
Tune in next time for adventures in butternut squash.