How about a little recap from the festivities last night? As seen from my lanai:
We were lucky yesterday to get a perfect day. If I’m honest, almost every day here is perfect in terms of weather, but we get our fair share of rain, and this morning was no exception. Our zoo dreams were dashed. (It’s actually a perfect afternoon, but the Bug is asleep!)
I love the rain, and I certainly can’t complain when we get more than I’d like, considering how many folks across the country are suffering in the sweltering temps right now! Rainy days are great, because Seba and I go to work in the kitchen, and today, I made one of my all-time favorite dishes. Baba ghanoush.
Okay, I guess it’s more an appetizer for most people, and even though it sounds intimidating, it’s actually very doable. I’ve gone over a lot of recipes for baba ghanoush over time, and this one is my take on a Middle Eastern classic.
A few things to preface. One: I am finicky about eggplant. It’s a texture thing for me. But please, for all that is holy, don’t write this off if you, too, have an aversion to this seemingly odd purple vegetable. Two: This is an oil-free recipe. We consume olive oil by the bucket over here, so I cut back where I can, and this is one of those instances. The tahini is going to take care of everything, but if it makes your heart happy, then by all means, please fill ‘er up! Three: Here, there is an abundance of Japanese eggplant, which are longer, thinner versions of what you’ll find on the mainland. I used two for this recipe, which is probably equivalent to one large “regular” eggplant.
Let’s get started.
2 Japanese eggplants (or 1 chubby, regular eggplant)
1 cup Tahini (storebought, or for DIY, see recipe below)
1-2 thin slices red pepper
1 thin slice (from medium) onion
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 big clove garlic
1 tsp salt
1 pinch black pepper
First, you’ll need to bake the eggplant (at 350°, for about 15-20 minutes) to soften it. *Check periodically, as the larger eggplants may have different baking times. As long as it’s fairly soft, you’re probably fine.
While the eggplant is baking, prepare the tahini by blending all the ingredients, making it as thick as you like by adjusting the water.
Once the eggplant has cooled enough, scoop out the insides into a bowl and add lemon juice. Mash with a fork, or for a smoother consistency, blend with all the ingredients. Blend red pepper and onion, adding water if necessary.
Combine all ingredients, and serve with crackers, bread, or eat it solo. It’s gonna give your day some happy!
It’s probably going to make the rest of your folks happy, too. Seba was so excited, he couldn’t keep his grubby fingers away!