Purple, the color of prosperity and royalty. Its star power shines everywhere, even in the kitchen. If it’s true that we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths, purple is the color that makes every plate a little more passionate and a lot more delicious.
Some of my favorite foods are purple. As a kid, only Welch’s grape jelly would do on my morning toast, its deep distinctive sweetness heralding the start of the day. My peanut butter is decidedly incomplete without the addition of grape jelly.
When I moved into my old farmhouse, I discovered an ancient, gnarled grapevine hidden in an overgrown and long-neglected garden. Propped up, vines woven through the new garden fence, it found the will to live and even thrive. This year there was a bumper crop, with enough fat, juicy purple grapes to make jelly and have some left over for an autumnal Waldorf salad.
Cauliflower, another staple in my garden, is one of my very favorite vegetables. I often make a meal of tender florets tossed in garlicky olive oil and roasted until they’re crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Purple cauliflower just makes it all a little more dramatic.
This year’s garden produced eggplants well into the unseasonably warm October. This roasted Miso Glazed Eggplant makes a tasty vegetarian main dish or a simple scrumptious side.
Miso, Maple & Ginger Glazed Eggplant
This glaze works well on other vegetables like (purple) cauliflower, carrots or butternut squash. It is also fantastic on fish like salmon or cod.
2 medium eggplants, cut in quarters
1/2 cup sweet white miso paste
2 tablespoons mirin, (Japanese rice wine) or distilled vinegar
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, or tamari
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided
2 sliced scallions
Preheat oven to 425°. Line sheet pan with parchment paper and arrange eggplant on pan. Roast eggplant for 10 minutes, then flip and continue roasting for 10-15 minutes longer.
Remove from oven. Turn oven to broil.
Combine miso paste and next six ingredients in a small mixing bowl, adding one tablespoon of sesame seeds.
Brush eggplant with miso glaze until thoroughly coated.
Cook under broiler until lightly charred and crispy.
Garnish with scallions and remaining sesame seeds.
Grape, Apple & Arugula Salad
This salad packs well for a take-along lunch. Add grilled or rotisserie chicken and you have a delicious, light main course.
1 cup baby arugula
1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced (I like Honeycrisp, but any variety will do)
2 cups red or Concord grapes (halved if larger variety)
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts or almonds
1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Whisk yogurt and lemon juice together.
Toss arugula, apples and grapes in the yogurt dressing.
Garnish with toasted nuts.
Candace Karu makes her living writing about food, fitness and travel. She lives near the ocean in an old farmhouse with two ill-behaved dogs and two hard-working barn cats. Follow her on Instagram: @candacekaru or at www.candacekaru.com.