Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baba Ghanouj from Scratch

Here's a recipe I posted a while back on Foodie Mama. It's a real crowd pleaser, and since we're still in for a few more days of entertaining, I figured I'd pass this along. Have some red wine or Sambuca on hand.

I'm from the kind of family who travels for food. We talk about what we ate 12 years ago at a mom n' pop place in Palm Springs, the extraordinary apple strudel we had in Heidelberg, the ostrich we enjoyed in Walnut Springs, the eisbein we shared at a neighborhood pub in Berlin. We talk about food. A lot. Chances are our dinner conversation revolves around what we ate once upon a time or what we're going to eat next. In my family food is the great equalizer among us.

And now my sons chime right in. They share memories of eating with their fingers while watching the belly dancers at the Moroccan restaurant in Savannah, squishing the injera at the Ethiopian restaurant, gasping in awe at the flaming haloumi in Chicago, squealing at chef's knife tricks at the habachi grill, and tossing the crawfish tails into the hole cut into the table at the Crab Shack on Tybee Island. Bird and Deal clamor to visit places like Hawaii, Italy, India, and France just to try the local flavors that we talk about. Their latest kick is Greece. The boys don't know this yet, but Mac Daddy and I are trying to swing a family trip to Greece next year to celebrate our tenth anniversary.

In the mean time, we have to settle for the Greek delights we can find in our fair city. Since no one's baba ghanouj is up to snuff, I've tried my hand at making it myself. I have no idea if it's authentic but I do know it tastes damn good.

Baba Ghanouj

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 small eggplants
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup tahini (You can make it, but I just buy it to keep things simple.)
  • juice of 1 lemon (Fresh lemon is imperative! I will totally hold it against you if you use the stuff that comes in the plastic lemon shaped bottle.)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of cayenne
  • handful flat leaf parsley
  • salt to taste

Score the eggplant several times and roast at 350 degrees for about an hour. Let it cool. Scrape out the meat, seeds and all, from the eggplant into a food processor. No skin or stem! Add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until it becomes the consistency of creamy dip. A few chunks are okay so don't over process or the baba ghanouj lest it turns out too runny. Serve in a bowl garnished with a few black olives and sprigs of parsley. Cut pita bread into wedges and serve along with some carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or whatever crudite tickles your fancy.

I happened to use a Ninja Kitchenfor my baba ghanouj.

Full disclosure here: I got to go on a blogger junket to New York to see the Food Network's Robin Miller demonstrate the many uses of the Ninja Kitchen. I was lucky enough to get one for free so I have waved buh-bye to my old blender and food processor. The Ninja Kitchen makes perfect dip, smoothies, soups, and all kinds of other stuff. I will tell you that former attempts at making baba ghanouj resulted in the wrong consistency so the Ninja Kitchen worked perfectly for me. A blender definitely won't cut it.


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Anonymous said...

I have a ninja kitchen, and I LOVE it! I got it for Christmas!

Anonymous said...

That sounds sooooo yummy. We wax eloquent about meals eaten on various trips in the same way!
Any tool named "Ninja" anything has got to be cool!

Magpie said...

Okay, that sounds delicious and makes me wish it were eggplant season...