Things are done a certain way in Dillard, Georgia, the weekend of the Bluegrass and BBQ Festival. At least from my perspective. And I did the first one this morning, which is to visit the Osage Farms produce stand. Actually, that’s not true. The first thing is always sitting at John and Kathy Swift’s cook site drinking a few adult beverages. Which I happily did last night.
You all know of my love for the Franklin Farmer’s Market, but the Osage Farms produce stand is a very close second. Let’s just talk about the Silver Queen corn to begin with, shall we? Every morning, farmers pick the Silver Queen in the cornfields around Dillard and bring it to the produce stand. I will probably take home two dozen ears of this corn because it is so sweet you can eat it right off the cob without cooking it. I will cut the corn off the cobs and freeze it. And in December, I will smile.
I am also a lover of cabbage and Dillard is the place to get it. Dillard is the cabbage capital of the world. And that is saying quite a lot when you consider the entire town of Dillard has 198 people in it. I don’t know why their cabbage is so good, but I’m sure part of the reason is that it’s grown at high altitude with clean, crisp air. My favorite way to fix it is just to shred it and saute it in butter, salt and pepper until the cabbage begins to brown. So there will be cabbage in the trunk going home.
Then there’s the eggplant. Just look at this! If you are not a fan of eggplant then I just don’t know what. But I’m going to give you a recipe in a minute that will turn you around in this department. I could go on and on about the ten different varieties of beans at Osage Farms, the peaches from Chesnee, South Carolina, the heirloom tomatoes, the tri-colored peppers. Just on and on.
I always visit the produce stand Friday but I don’t buy until Sunday. I meet the man with the corn as he’s pulling up from the fields.
2 medium eggplants
2 eggs beaten
Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Marinara Sauce (recipe to follow)
Peel and slice the eggplant into 1-inch thick rounds. Dip slices in beaten egg and then coat with Panko breadcrumbs. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat a half inch of oil to medium and saute eggplant rounds until golden brown. Top with marinara sauce and serve over rice.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup shredded carrots
Salt and pepper to taste
1 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and carrots and sauté for about 30 seconds. Salt and pepper to taste. Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and oregano. Simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour.