Meanwhile, we were enjoying a bounty from the garden. Tomatoes were inundating us, as were zucchini. Our favorite bounty, though, came in the form of purply shiny-skinned eggplant, which we used at virtually every meal but breakfasts.
There was of course fufarah, now full of green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and big chunks of eggplant. We also had eggplant sandwiches made of fried eggplant slices, goat cheese, and fresh-picked lettuce. But perhaps our favorite was babaganoush, a mixture of cooked eggplant and sesame tahini, mixed with lemon juice, garlic, and a bit of salt. The fact that all this sumptuous eating was for free was hard to comprehend.
Another garden treat was jerusalem artichokes. We had discovered these in the food boxes we got each week from the coop, and though it was expensive to plant them instead of eat them, we were reward by a long row of tall sunflower-like stalks with small flowers on top. And all we had to do to add a sunchoke to the meal was to dig about their roots and pull up as many as we wanted.
We had to learn a few tricks about cooking them: to saute them in oil takes a while, until they give up and soften, then brown. Before they brown, they taste like oysters, while afterward more like potatoes. They could also be steamed and eaten like potatoes, or mixed with potatoes and mashed. But our potatoes were still in the ground, and we were happy enough to cut the sunchokes in discs or strips and add them early to the pot that would sooner or later contain all the components of fufarah.
So we ate well. A slice of our beloved pure-white goat cheese went on the top of almost everything. There was never a food as glorious as our homemade whole-wheat bread toasted, a thick slice of tomato still hot from the garden added along with lettuce, the bread spread with butter or good mayonnaise, and then goat cheese in its 1x3 inch slices aligned across the top so that a knife-cut would not disturb it. It was a bit messy to eat, but accompanied by mint 'tea', it made a 100% satisfying lunch. Or we'd just eat it in hand, or crumbled into fufarah or onto a garden salad.
So harvest brought a lot of joy, and it was just beginning.