Today is the first day of VeganMoFo! I'm going to try to be reaaaaal good about this and blog every weekday, and shoot for weekends as a bonus!
I stopped by the farmer's market, in Union Square, today after work to pick up dinner for tonight and tomorrow. Not much of a plan, which is usually my case whenever I grocery shop, I was immediately drawn to the wooden cases of white eggplants. So EGGplant looking! It got me wondering if these are THE original of of all eggplants. The Mother Hen. The Mack Daddy. The Queen Bee. I mean, they are obviously where they got their name from, right?? I looked into where eggplant derived it's name from and lo and behold, "The English name, eggplant, arose in the eighteenth century to describe goose-egg-size fruits of a white or yellowish hue, rather than their now-familiar deep purple colour." The name "Aubergine" has a MUCH more interesting history of it's name: "Aubergine goes all the way back to Sanskrit, a classical language of India, where one playful name for the fruit was vatinganah which means literally ‘fart, go away.’" Ha! (info from this guy)
Some other interesting facts about eggplant (via wikipedia):
+native to India and Sri Lanka.
+The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but are bitter because they contain (an insignificant amount of) nicotinoid alkaloids, unsurprising in a close relative of tobacco.
+Eggplant is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant, with a concentration of 100 ng/g (or 0.01mg/100g). However, the amount of nicotine from eggplant or any other food is negligible compared to passive smoking. On average, 20lbs of eggplant contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette. (whoa! uh, ew!)
+Because of the eggplant's relationship with the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, it was at one time believed to be poisonous. While it can be eaten by most people without ill effect, for some, consuming eggplant as well as other edible nightshade plants (tomato, potato, and capsicum/peppers) can be harmful. (those poor people!!!!)
+Some sources, particularly in the natural health community, state that nightshades, including eggplant, can cause or significantly worsen arthritis and should be avoided by those sensitive to them
+It can block the formation of free radicals, help control cholesterol levels and is also a source of folic acid and potassium.
So anyways, I breaded and baked my eggplant (note to self: whole wheat panko breadcrumbs do NOT stay on item you are breading), with some drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Side salad rocked and contained swiss chard, cut-off-the-cob corn (why does this taste so goooood), and radishes in a dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, pepper, and thyme. Yum!