Food Plant

smoky baba ghanouj
August 24, 2008, 6:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

bear with me; i have several recipes to share and zero motivation to write.  i know i should though, or else i’m more than likely to forget how i made these things and tragedy will be upon us.

i’ll start with the eggplant goodness – which funny enough, i’ve never made before and haven’t had a bite of since childhood. i used to be a big fan of baba ghanouj as kid (known as “eggplant salad” where i come from. don’t ask me why we refer to dips as salads, but we do it to tahini sauce and a few others as well.) much like in the case of avocado, i decided one day that the concept was gross and never looked back. that is, until lovely dark eggplants started growing in our community garden plot, and a sizable one arrived in our CSA share.  i wanted to turn them into a dip that peter’s mom made for us when i visited their house in niagara this summer. she called it baba ghanouj, but it contained fresh minced onion and no garlic, which tastes different enough to count it as its own thing.

as it turned out, i didn’t have any onions but i did have all the ingredients for a more traditional recipe.  i took an hour to compare various recipes and online discussions, and came up with a variation that we were both incredibly pleased with. keep in mind that i actually made a very small batch, using two medium-small eggplants and half of the other ingredients that i will list here. taste as you go and adjust the amounts to your liking!

this makes a creamy eggplant dip that’s thick enough to eat as a spread.

2 large eggplants (the purple/black kind. choose firm ones with non-wrinkly skin.)
1 lemon, juiced
1 large clove garlic (or 2 small,) grated finely or pressed
1/4 to 1/2 cup tahini. i use the larger amount, but if your tahini is the bitter, thick and grainy sort, use less and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
1/4 tsp. hot smoked paprika (you can use different paprika, but the subtle smoky enhancement does wonders.)
salt to taste

heat the oven to 400F.

cut the stems off of the eggplants and pierce them all around with a fork.
roast them whole, directly on the rack (or with a sheet of foil underneath) for 45 minutes to an hour, until they look collapsed and the skin is wrinkly and charred.

slit the eggplants along their length to open them up. if the insides contain lots of juices, drain the eggplants in a colander skin-side up.

using a fork, scrape the insides of the eggplants into the bowl of a food processor (feel free to discard some of the dark seed clusters – these, along with the watery juices, are the eggplant’s more bitter parts.) add the lemon juice and pulse. add the tahini, pressed garlic, paprika and a bit of salt and process until smooth. taste and adjust flavours if necessary (it’s always better to start with less and work your way up with this recipe.)

serve at room temperature in a bowl, drizzled with olive oil and more paprika.

photos do no justice to the deliciousness of this baba ghanouj on fresh crusty bread, even if pita may be the more obvious choice.


August 20, 2008, 5:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

let’s all politely ignore my continual neglect of this blog.


so i haven’t stopped making food, i just never got around to writing down my adventures. i had the best intentions and planned entries about, amongst other things, a white lasagna with homemade fresh pasta (which turned out more work than it was worth, but i’ll revisit the idea when i have more time) and a completely improvised, walnut scented apple-raspberry cake, pictured here:

i also baked a couple of birthday cakes, leading to the realization that i could really benefit from a cake decorating course.

this one, pictured in our packed and messy fridge, was made for anna’s 20th birthday. it’s made up of two layers of lemony french cake with a centre of strawberry filling and bryanna clark grogan’s lemon curd. the icing is of the strawberry cream cheese kind, made with tofutti cheese and torani strawberry syrup. white chocolate chips, melted into a disk to create shavings, saved the little decorating disaster that occurred when the filling started oozing from between the cake layers.

meanwhile, kay insisted on carrot cake for her birthday. i used a winning recipe from vegweb that i modified a bit, mostly to reduce the sugar to allow for headache-free seconds. the frosting was a lemony cream cheese this time, and the “toddler drawn” style carrots were formed by mixing icing sugar with a few drops of soymilk and colouring paste to the consistency of very sticky playdough. it tasted soooo good, especially the next day.

i was going to add two recipes at the bottom of this post, but i can barely keep my eyes open! new posts tomorrow, if you can even trust my word at this point.