From growing to eating.

    As summer is winding down and our garden continues to grow, I’m always pondering what to create.  I’ve taken many pictures of our bounty of veggies that I still need to share. 
    My favorite thing that we’ve grown… eggplant!  One of my favorite veggies.  The real trick is how to to prepare it and keep it interesting.  I personally think eggplant parmesan is the best way to enjoy the purple vegetable, but there are so many other fun varieties to try.
    Honestly, I was really surprised that our eggplant even grew at all.  It took a long time to get started and there was a ton of plant and not much vegetable action going on.  Slowly but surely, they started to show themselves.  I’m sure not many of you know this but there are thorns on their vines!  And the vine that connects the actual eggplant is so thick and sturdy that you have to twist it to get it off.  At least that’s what I do. I’m sure you could…cut it?  Oh, and they actually hang from the vines.  I always expected them to rest on the ground.  I just find watching things grow so fascinating!!
    This time around I decided to make a fresh eggplant salad.  Simply components and fresh food.
    You will need:
    • eggplant
    • olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • roasted peppers ( I prefer in a jar)
    • tomato
    • fresh basil
    After slicing the eggplant really thin and drizzling with olive oil, Jay threw it on the grill.  I then layered pieces of tomato, roasted peppers and basil.  Both the tomatoes and the basil were also from the garden.  I drizzled a little more olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and threw in some basil.062
    It was a pretty simple side dish so there wasn’t much measuring going on.  I went more with what I thought looked tasty.  And tasty it was!

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    Garces Trading Company.

    What’s your favorite type of restaurant?  Italian?  Chinese?  Barbeque?  If you asked me, I’d have to say a unique blend of components where you can sit comfortably, share with friends and try a multitude foods.
    Garces Trading Company is all of those things.  A place where you can relax for brunch, enjoy a leisurely dinner, or even take delicious pieces of your meal home and create it in the comfort of your own kitchen from their market area.  Whether you enjoy bread and bakery items, meats, or cheeses, you can find it for sale under the same roof as this delicious eatery.  Best of all?  It is a byo!  So you can either purchase wine from the shop or simply bring it from home.
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    Yes, you can try these oils (and vinegar) with house made bread!!! You simply go up with little cups and try as much as you please.  The table favorite was the truffle oil.
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    For an appetizer we started with baby artichokes…preserver lemon, honey, dates, walnuts.
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    Simple, yet delicious.  Although I don’t think I’ve ever met an artichoke I didn’t like!
    A selection of meats and cheeses.
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    Endive salad…sevilla orange, bucherondin, golden raisins, anjou pears.
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    This salad was perfectly light and delicious!  The more I try endive the more I love it.  The bitterness went perfectly with the creamy cheese, crunchy pecans  and sweet fruit.
    My Dad tried lyonnaise salad… duck confit, poached egg, bacon lardons, mustard vinegarette. 
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    And while this dish looked beautiful, it was definitely not anything I was brave enough to try!
    We all tried a wide variety of entrees.
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    Sauteed chatham cod, leek gratin and potatoes over roasted pepper puree.
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    For my entrĂ©e I had the funghi pizza, maitakes, royal trumpets, taleggio and black truffles.  Thin, crunchy crust, covered in melty cheese and a variety of mushrooms… I’d have to say this may have been one of the best pizzas I ever had.
    The main event of dinner though…
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    Deep dish pizza with house smoked bacon!  It takes 40 minutes to cook and is a massive meal.  How big you ask?  Well let’s just say Jay, my brother and brother in law shared the pizza. There was still some left over.
    The pizza was so ooey gooey that we laughed as we watched them eat it.
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    There was literally a string of cheese that connected their plates.  Lady and the tramp style.  It kept us laughing for awhile.
    And finally, as the grand finale I had to try some dessert.
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    Holy decadent chocolate dessert.  Yes, we all had a few bites.  Yes, we were still laughing about the cheese. 
    And yes, you should visit.