What are you up to this weekend?
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We're going to start painting the outside of the house
Before colder, rainier weather set us back, we were able to finish all of the washing and scraping. I've had to smile; it must really look sad. Twice this week painters have rung the doorbell to see if we'd like a quote
Also, I ordered a Chrissy Teigen's cookbook and can't wait to try out a few recipes. On my shortlist? Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard and Ranch Dressing, Sweet Chili and Mustard Glazed Salmon, Fish Tacos, and Drunken Noodles
If you've already been cooking from it and have some recommendations, I'd love to hear
Whatever your plans are, I hope these early spring days have brought some light, a bike ride, and a few flickers of excitement to your heart
Have a good one!
For those who follow The Veggies, it's been a week featuring eggplant recipes from Ottolenghi's cookbook Plenty. After a friend brought this dip to Spaghetti Saturday, it was the one recipe everyone requested
it's simply that good.
I made another batch to snack on this week, selfishly, because it reminds me of her.
The kind of friend whose dinner invitations I always look forward to. Her (and her son's) specialties are crepes filled with all sorts of great things: sweet and savory. Not to mention beautiful salads with homemade herbed vinaigrettes. Wine is always flowing, and for dessert?
We love to laugh and talk about Lego creations, cello playing, books, movies, and travel. They're some of those perfect evenings that make you feel glowy the whole next day
Until I tasted this eggplant dip, I thought my favorite was baba ganoush. You know the one, the dip with tahini, lemon, and garlic?
A bit of trivia: turns out it's not baba ganoush, instead Moutabbal. Although they have lots in common (including smoky-cooked eggplant), baba ganoush isn't made with tahini.
When I originally came across this recipe, I thought, “Shoot, we have an electric stove, and I'll never be able to make a smoky eggplant at home.”
Between her advice and David Leibovitz, I was proven wrong.
His method has us charring it over a gas flame (or in her case in her toaster oven on broil, or mine under the broiler in the oven). Once the eggplant is good and smoky, it's then finished by roasting it in the oven.
From there, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and seasonings bring it together. A few chopped tomatoes and cucumber are great additions.
A few recipe notes:
(via David Leibovitz: I like my Baba Ganoush super-smoky and leave the eggplants on the stovetop for a good ten minutes, but for most people, that’s probably too much. Five or so minutes, until the skin gets a bit charred, is probably right for most “normal” folks. If you have smoked salt, you can use that to give it another hit of smoked flavor, too)
The original recipe calls for one eggplant, although taking a queue from her, I doubled the recipe and roasted parsnips instead of using another eggplant.
ps: This dip was featured on NPR. Worth a listen, for sure.
pps: More fun recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturdays
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~ Adapted from the Cookbook Plenty: Vibrant Recipes by Yotam Ottolenghi
Burnt Eggplant and Tahini
- 2 large eggplants (~ 1 pound each or 1 large eggplant + 1 lb parsnips)
- ⅔ cup tahini paste
- ½ cup water
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp pomegranate molasses (or regular molasses)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 mini cucumbers
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes
- seeds from a large pomegranate (or purchased pomegranate seeds)
- a little olive oil to finish
- Burn & Prepare the Eggplant
- Preheat the oven to 375° F
- Prick each eggplant a few times, then char the outside of the eggplants by placing them directly on the flame of a gas burner and as the skin chars, turn them until the eggplants are uniformly-charred on the outside.
- (If you don’t have a gas stove, you can char them under the broiler, or use your toaster oven's broiler. If not, skip to the next step.)
- Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re completely soft; you should be able to easily poke a paring knife into them and meet no resistance.
- If using parsnips .. prepare them by cleaning, pealing and then chopping them. Place them on a separate baking sheet and put them in the oven at the same time the eggplant goes in. They may need to cook a bit longer, so you'll want to keep an eye on them separately.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Prepare the Dip
- Transfer the eggplant flesh (and optional roasted parsnips) to the bowl of your food processor or blender
- Add the tahini, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and some salt and pepper; mix well
- Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more garlic, lemon juice or molasses if needed.
- Add additional water depending on your preferred texture
- You want the dip to have a robust sour/slightly sweet flavor.
- If you want to add cucumber and tomatoes, cut the cucumbers lengthways in half and then each half lengthways in two.
- Cut each quarter into 3/8-inch-long pieces.
- Halve the tomatoes. Stir them and the cucumber into the eggplant mix.
- To serve, spread over a shallow dish, scatter the pomegranate seeds on top and drizzle with oil.