Eggplant comes in a variety of colors and shapes, but use one like this Black Beauty variety. It is the perfect size and shape for stuffing. File photo.
Eggplant comes in a variety of colors and shapes, but use one like this Black Beauty variety. It is the perfect size and shape for stuffing. File photo.

I’ve always have a garden even when I don’t.

As soon as the garden catalogs start arriving, I plan my garden, which is just perfect this time of year because it is all in my imagination.

There’s pots of herbs on my kitchen windowsill. Oregano, chives and chervil are popping through the dirt outside.

Gardening is not only a wonderful way to grow vegetables but to grow kids too, which I is why I highly recommend it. One of the hardest things for youngsters to learn is the pleasure of a deferred reward and the garden is excellent for that.

Nowadays, it’s called emotional intelligence or EQ. Gardening teaches perseverance in the wake of adversity. It teaches you that, while you can’t control everything that happens, you can control your reaction. These are useful skills for cooking too.

I look to garden catalogs for inspiration for cooking and many companies offer up recipes as well.   

Nichols Garden Nursery has a fun site with ‘sage’ and ‘thymely advice’ offered to anyone who is interested in learning more. Order a copy of the “Basic Herb Cookery” and learn how to add the herbs you grow to your cooking. This company also has beer and winemaking supplies.

Rose Marie Nichols is an original signer of “The Seed Pledge,” an agreement to not use or offer for sale genetically modified seeds or plants. It is their opinion that use and release of genetically modified material into the marketplace is questionable and has no benefit to home gardeners. Call 800-422-3985 or go to for more information. 

Seeds of Change is a company that I’ve always liked for their ability to live up to their name—they are the original organic seed company. You’ll find many heirloom, traditional, medicinal, and original seed varieties here. Their seeds and plants have always been organic, open-pollinated and chemical-free. This company has also decided to stay away from GMOs, genetically modified organisms. Instead, they seek out heirloom varieties, many of which are in danger of being lost. Seeds of Change also has a line of organic grains, packaged in convenient sizes. Check them out online at

Stuffed eggplant with balsamic drizzle

Adapted from Seeds Of Change recipe

Serves 2

2 cups cooked grains, any combination: rice, quinoa, bulger, etc.

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut in 4 slices each
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps fresh chopped basil or 2 tsps. dried

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to hollow out eggplant, leaving 1/4-inch thick shell. Chop eggplant pulp into 1/2-inch pieces. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Cook and stir eggplant pulp, salt and pepper until tender and brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in cooked grains; heat this filling mixture through.

Meanwhile, brush inside of eggplant halves with remaining olive oil. Place in oven-proof pan and roast at 400 F for 10 minutes. Divide filling mixture between eggplant shells. Arrange tomato halves and cheese over filling. Bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Drizzle with vinegar, sprinkle with basil and serve.

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By Lynn Greene

Author Lynn Greene, of La Grange Township in Walworth County, Wisconsin, has written "Lynn's Place" for numerous publications over the years in southern Wisconsin. She now shares her insights and recipes here on Walworth County Community News.