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Grow Simple with Katharine O'Brien

  • Posted by SHFT on August 25, 2014 in Food
  • I'm a filmmaker and the founder of Grow Simple, a service that installs edible home gardens in the Los Angeles area.  Growing up in Santa Barbara, I would regularly take friends up to my family's ranch and see their eyes light up as we ate food fresh from the ground. I realized I could share the experience of growing your own food with people down in the city. Food is a collective story, with knowledge, plant varietals and seeds passed down like a lit torch over generations. In this column, I'm going to share some of the harvested produce that our clients have been growing and special recipes they've been using to cook it. From the ground to the plate.

    Grow Simple installs raised garden beds with organic vegetables, medicinal plants and herbs for our clients. We put in automated irrigation systems to make it easy for them to to maintain their gardens even with a busy work and travel schedule. We believe that growing your own food is the next step in the organic food movement, and a vital one. Grow Simple encourages a low carbon footprint. Just you harvesting from your very own backyard.
    For today's garden to table segment, I visited our first customer, David Amar, and asked him cook his family's recipe for Moroccan eggplant salad. Now that it's mid-summer, David's eggplants are ready to harvest. The Rosa Bianca variety David grew produced dainty round fruits, white and lavender in color. We noticed they were sweeter than common variety eggplants.
    David is half Moroccan and learned family recipes from his grandmother. The great thing about family recipes, David says, is how each generation adapts them and makes them their own. Here is David's variation of Moroccan Eggplant Salad - a savory refreshing dish for hot summer days and nights. 
    2 large eggplants
    4 tomatoes
    2 green peppers
    3 lemons
    Vegetable oil 
    4 tbsp. black pepper
    1 tbsp. ground cumin
    1 tbsp. paprika
    1 tbsp. turmeric
    1 tabs coriander 
    Dash sea salt
    Cook eggplant until soft (20-30 minutes at 450 degrees)
    De-seed tomato.
    Dice tomato and green bell pepper into small pieces and add to a mixing bowl.
    Cut cooked eggplant in half and scoop meat out into mixing bowl.
    Add lemon juice and drizzle with vegetable oil .
    Add black pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, coriander, salt, and stir together.
    It’s ready to eat right away, but best served cold. Store in refrigerator overnight.
    For more information about Grow Simple and growing your own garden, visit our website at





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