I stumbled on this amazing company in Spain: Imperfectus. On this website you can order a box filled with 'imperfect' fruit and vegetables. I love it so much that I currently have a weekly subscription with them. Every Tuesday I receive a box of 8-10 kilos of fruit and vegetables that are considered too ugly in terms of shape or size to be sold in the supermarket. You do not know what will be in the box as it depends on what's in season, but the products are always fresh. One of the other advantages of this box is than none of the produce is wrapped in any plastic, unlike in all of the supermarkets here in Spain. Every week I will try to come up with new dishes inspired by the contents of my Imperfectus box.
This week's box included broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, oranges, tangerines, persimmons, pomegranates, pears and plums.
For my first dish I wanted to make an eggplant moussaka. For this dish you layer up slices of eggplant and a mixture of ground meat and tomatoes, topped with a béchamel sauce and cheese. Apart from the eggplants, I also included some of the onion and the tomatoes from my box in this dish. I bought minced meat and mozzarella in the supermarket, while using olive oil, flour and milk for the sauce.
Three things need to be prepared before layering up this dish: the eggplant slices, the meat mixture and the béchamel sauce. Slice the eggplant and sprinkle them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I grilled my eggplant slices on my panini grill, but you can also do this in a pan or in the oven.
For the meat mixture, start by baking some chopped onion and garlic. After a couple of minutes, add the minced meat and bake through. Add some chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin and a little bit of cinnamon. Bake until the tomatoes are soft.
I made the béchamel sauce with olive oil, flour and milk. My sauce is not as white as you would expect, because I used spelt flour instead of white flour. Also, I used almond milk instead of normal milk. Start by heating up three tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add two tablespoons of flour and start whisking vigorously as this can burn very quickly. Then add two cups of milk and keep whisking until the sauce thickens.
Once all three elements are prepared you can layer it up in a baking dish. Start with a layer of eggplant, then some of the meat mixture, another layer of eggplant etc. I was able to make three eggplant layers of and three meat layers. End with a layer of the meat. Top the meat with the béchamel sauce and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Bake this in the oven (180-200 degrees Celcius) until the cheese is brown and crispy.
Broccoli and sweet potato soup
My second dish is a very healthy, nutritious soup. I used the broccoli, sweet potatoes and some of the onion from this week's box. I added garlic and vegetable broth from my kitchen staples. Start by baking some onion and garlic. Once they become translucent, add the sweet potatoes (peeled and cut) and bake for a couple of minutes. Then add the broccoli and vegetable broth. You need to be able to cover the vegetables with the broth. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer until the potatoes and broccoli are soft. Blitz the mixture smooth with a stick blender.
Tacos again? Always! I absolutely love tacos and I hadn't yet made them with pumpkin. For this recipe, I got avocados, beans, tortillas, lime and Greek yoghurt from the supermarket. I used the pumpkin from this week's box.
I peeled and sliced the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces. I coated them with olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin and garlic powder. Bake them in the oven until they start to become soft. Drain and rinse the beans, and add them to the pumpkin in the oven for a couple of minutes. Mash one avocado and add some salt and pepper. For the sauce, mix one cup of Greek yoghurt with lime juice (about 3 tablespoons), cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Now you can assemble your tacos!