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Eggplant and Black Bean Stew

Spring and Fall, the transitional seasons, have always been my favorites. I suppose it's because I've never really been a fan of extremes.

Fall is quickly approaching, and while actual cool weather is still a long way off, I'm already anticipating that pleasant bite in the air. I'm also anticipating my fall planting.

I cleared my vegetable bed of spent tomato plants and the pepper plants that Gustav flattened last week. I harvested a few eggplants, salvaged some red bell peppers and brought them inside to make Eggplant and Black Bean Stew.

It seems like an appropriate recipe for this time of year. You can use plenty of fresh, summery vegetables from your garden, but it's warm and hearty enough to have you thinking of unpacking your scarves even though it's still 90 degrees out.

Eggplant and Black Bean Stew

1 medium eggplant

3/4 tsp garlic salt

2 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic

1/2 medium onion

1 cup red bell pepper

1/2 jalapeno pepper

1 1/2 cup corn, frozen

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1 can whole peeled tomatoes

1 1/2 cup black beans, cooked

Slice eggplant and sprinkle with garlic salt. Place between paper towels and press liquid while preparing stew.

Saute garlic, onions, bell pepper, jalapeno and frozen corn in olive oil. When onions are translucent, add eggplant and spices. Cook till tender 5-8 minutes. Puree tomatoes and add to pot along with black beans. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer 5 minutes.

I ended up using two whole jalapeno peppers instead of half of one. This first time I made this, there definitely wasn't enough of that pepper flavor for me. Using two peppers doesn't add much heat at all, but I definitely prefer the flavor. I also didn't puree my tomatoes, as I don't have a food processor, but a rough chop seemed to work just fine.