Saturday, February 9, 2008

Oh, For the Love of Aubergine...Eggplant Noshing?

A while ago, we started a tradition called "appetizer night" on Fridays. That's the night that the shop is open late, so by the time Byron would get home it was too late to start dinner or eat a real meal. I got lazy after a while and it evolved into "crappetizer night." Anything frozen and yucky worked. Last June, we both vowed to make changes, so "crappetizer night" was gone. We haven't missed it. Now, we nosh most Friday nights; you can nosh with very healthy, easy foods.

This winter, Seitan Said Dance sent me "the Ultimate Vegan Cookbook", Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. The day it came, I was headed out for an overnighter with the girls to play cards and told Seitan I would cook something from the book very soon. Well, as I scanned the pages, I found something that made me want it right then...Roasted Eggplant dip. I made it that night!

What is noshing? When is noshing dining?

Noshing is dining when you make the super awesome Eggplant/Aubergine dip from Veganomicon!

doesn't really have a recipe, per se, but a method for roasting the Eggplant/Aubergine, and some suggested ingredients for the dip. Here are the ingredients:

Eggplant/Aubergine, olive oil, lemon, salt and ground cumin. I added garlic and cracked black pepper to mine. On the garlic note, the first few times I made this dip, I just chopped up the garlic. I think the next time, I'll coat it in olive oil, wrap in foil and roast it in the oven along with the eggplant for a sweeter flavor.

The prescribed roasting method calls for pricking little holes all over the eggplant with a fork, placing it in a "cradle" of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and baking it at 400 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes. I did that at the cabin and at home, I guess neither oven is correct on temperature, because it took way longer to get to perfect. So, this time, I cut the eggplant in half length wise and brushed it with some olive oil:

After 35 minutes in a 400 degree oven, mine looked like this:

The next step is the food processor. You could also just use a mixer/blender or an old fashioned potato masher.

First, you must scoop the sweet, wonderful meat out of the eggplant skin:

Put the eggplant, along with, to taste, the salt (1 Tbs kosher); lemon juice(three eggplant took juice of 1/2 of a very juicy lemon); the black pepper (2 tsp); the garlic (3 cloves); and the cumin (2 tsp) into the food processor.

[Note: Those are my measurements to my taste, but experiment with what you like. Also, remember I was using three eggplants; you would adjust the seasonings for fewer.]

Then as it processes, drizzle in some olive oil until the dip is just smooth:

If you are hand mashing, just drizzle in some olive oil, mash, drizzle, mash. It should end up looking like this:

Next, I just cut some whole wheat pita into triangles. I left mine double (you know, not split at the pocket, so they would hold up to the dip), brushed the triangles with olive oil and sprinkled on some kosher salt. I toasted them in the oven at 350 degrees until they were crisp:

Then, it was just setting it out. I made up a tray of the eggplant dip (I garnished it with a radish rose and a sprig of rosemary), the crispy pita triangles, some cucumber, radishes, red and yellow pepper slices:

Super fast...the longest part was the roasting time; super easy; super healthy; super light dining can be yours!

Join me as I nosh!



Seams Unlikely said...

That looks tasty. Generally, I like eggplant, but am not a huge fan of babaganoosh. But I think without tahini (as you made it), it would be good.

Question, did you put the peels in the food processor too? I can't tell (and am slow).

Paula Dines said...

Thank you, seams unlikely!

I love babaganoosh, but I love tahini. The real flavor of the eggplant comes out in this dip. The lemon enhances it.

The "meat" of the eggplant was scooped out, leaving the skin to be discarded.