As a part of the work we do to promote Community Supported Agriculture, this year we are offering free cooking classes to help bridge the gap between local farms with financially accessible CSA programs and low-income or low-access communities. This year our very own Laura Bennett of The Vegucation Station is partnering with community organizations, co-instructors, and local farmers to bring this free cooking class series to life.
This month, we went to the Orchards of 82nd housing community in South East Portland. The building is in partnership between Rose Community Development and APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon) to both offer affordable housing for those need it and pay homage to the long history that the Oregon AAPI community has in the area. It was such a pleasure to work in the residents' community room, the walls of which are covered in such beautiful artwork by Portland Muralist & Painter Alex Chiu (see photos below) @artbyalexchiu.
In this class, we sourced Shishitos, Dragon's Langerie Flat Beans, and multiple varieties of eggplant from Kasama Farm, a queer mixed Filipino-owned farm farming in Gresham, Oregon. The three varieties they had for us this week were, Udumalpet, Ping Tung, and a Shimoda type egglant, all of which were perfectly tender and roast or steam up super quick.
Co-instructor, Hailey Zhou of Kimchi Hailey yet again brought such skill and heart to the celebration of each vegetable in the dishes that we made. Hailey Kimchi is a flavor-obsessed food scientist developing many crowd favorite products that you can find at the grocery store. Originally from China, she builds community here in the PNW through sharing traditional ferments like kimchi and kombucha made with farm-fresh seasonal bounty.
A lot of us struggle to cook with eggplant, and often that's because tossing it into a frying pan with oil like you would any other vegetable doesn't work like any other vegetable. Eggplant has a very spongy texture, which is why either steaming or roasting your eggplant first before introducing oil into it helps to retain it's savory flavor and tearable, mushroom-like texture.
Together Hailey and Laura taught residents how to make two dishes to show how eggplant can be prepared with both steaming and roasting, highlighting the incredible produce from our local farmers. So great to see kids eating eggplant and loving it! You can find both full recipes at our Consume Something Amazing page here: https://www.pnwcsa.org/consume-something-amazing/eggplant.
Fried Shishitos appetizer with salt and lemon
Hand Torn Garlic Eggplant
Tortang Talong / Filipino Eggplant Omelette: NOTE: There are many different ways to make this dish! This recipe was based off @sweetsimplevegan Jasmine Brione’s vegan recipe at https://sweetsimplevegan.com/tortang-talong/. Also, @abigailfmarquez has a great Tortang Talong recipe video with an excellent technique for pouring the egg.
A big thanks to Kelly at Rose CDC for working with us and so many other community groups to provide residents with incredible benefits! And another big thanks to Heather with the Montavilla Farmers Market for connecting us with this community and also handing out free market vouchers for all participants to go home with in addition to their produce and recipe cards.