As I turn onto Lyons Street at the four way stop, my lips autopilot into a smile. I approach the entrance, hidden and humble. One must drive slowly up the gravel driveway as you pass the row of sunflowers, "Come in, slow down, we've been waiting for you," their whispers waft through the air as they beacon you in. I crawl to a park and my smile deepens.
This is my grocery store, and, it fills me with light and life. I used to come once every few months, I now come once a week. I hardly step into the bustling HEB any more, or even my once favored Natural Grocer.
Everything's slower here. It's like you're in a film set in the 1800's far from the city folk, but you are minutes from downtown Austin. The historic white farmhouse greets you as the mountain high pecans sway above, farmdog Buddy scampers around as you sit to watch hens peck around, flowers abound the property and the crops are in every direction around you.
I know my cashier, I know my farmer and their easy pace and friendly advice and conversation are the highlight of my week, without exception.
3 medium tomatoes, halved
1 eggplant, halved lengthwise
1 small onion, halved
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
4 cups non-chicken broth/stock
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400. Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on a baking sheet. Brush with sunflower oil. Roast around 45 minutes. Take out and scoop the eggplant from the skin into a large saucepan. Discard the skin and add the roasted veggies and thyme to the same saucepan. Add broth. Puree into a blender and return to saucepan. Stir in cream as you simmer. Salt and pepper and ladle into your bowl with a few sprinkles of goat cheese and mint (I added).
Here it is:
Enjoy and stay warm y'all!