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Jul
20

Mediterranean Dip Fiesta!

Well, I’ve been craving some eggplant. And as I posted yesterday I was going to make baba ghannouj with some beautiful eggplant I bought at the farmer’s market.

I also was craving moussaka, but I am holding out for my tomatoes to turn red. Moussaka will appear… maybe in the next couple of weeks.

As we are going through a heat wave, I thought I would start by grilling my eggplant rather than oven-roasting it…

 

It wasn’t that hazy as it looks outside, but it was VERY VERY hot.

My recipe for Baba Ghannouj:

2 medium eggplant (this recipe is very scaleable to taste, so as much or as little can be worked with!)

3 cloves garlic

4T lemon juice

2T olive oil

2T sesame seeds

Olives or Capers (optional)

I grilled my eggplant under fairly high heat (about 400 degrees) for 30+ minutes. I wasn’t watching the clock, because that doesn’t matter, as much as the reaction of the eggplant. Since they vary quite a bit in size, appearance is important. When they are cooked they look like this:

When they start wrinkling is the clue that they are done. I also don’t like exploding eggplant, so I do poke a few holes with a fork before grilling them.

Plenty of juices stay inside, no problem.

I slice them down one side and use the green stem part to hold them while scooping the warm flesh into a bowl.

Nice bowl of eggplant goodness!

Next, I put the peeled garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and sesame seeds in my bullet style blender. A food processor would work if you have one of those, but I use my bullet blender instead. I have the Bella Cucina Rocket Blender. Definitely a cheapie and I’m sure others work better but I’ve had it for 2 years with no complaints.

Once I have all those ingredients blended, I added some of the eggplant to the blender. I did this to get more liquid moving to assure a fine chop. You couldn’t tell there were whole sesame seeds in there to start with!

Then, I stirred it into the rest of the eggplant in the bowl, and chilled it to serve cold with sliced pita. I don’t suggest intentionally making a super smooth dip as eggplant chunks are always tasty… but mine turned out that way (and still very good!)

I did forget to take the final picture until just now, so there was more dip than that originally, before we had it for dinner!

 

Now, at the same time I was preparing Tzatziki!

Tzatziki was inspired because I always serve it with Moussaka… and although I put off the Moussaka until I have fresh tomatoes, I decided to make it anyway.

Many people put dill or another herb in Tzatziki. I don’t. I really, really, really… would be fine if I never saw fresh dill again. At least for a few months, anyway.

My recipe for Tzatziki:

1 quart plain yogurt (do NOT use nonfat. 1-2% minimum, because you have to strain it, and nonfat you lose too much when straining!) Greek yogurt could be used instead, but I would still strain as much as I could.

2 cloves garlic

1 cucumber

While the Baba Ghannouj preparation was taking place, I had my yogurt draining. I didn’t have any good cloth (a good clean cloth is the best for straining) so I used coffee filters on top of my colander. A colander is important to allow the liquid not to just go right back into the yogurt you are straining.

By the time the Baba Ghannouj was done, I had drained about 1.5 cups of water out of the yogurt.

Next, I put the yogurt in a bowl and use… the same bullet blender! (A stick blender, food processor, etc work just fine) to pulse the garlic into a couple tablespoons of the yogurt. Then, I mix the garlic mixture into the rest of the yogurt, and finely grate one of our garden cucumbers into the mix. This is why it is essential to drain the yogurt… the cucumber makes it watered down again.

Now, if you get long cucumbers at the store, only use half or so. Our garden cucumbers are 5 inch pickling cucumbers which taste great fresh.

Finished product!

I served it with store-bought pita bread… and it was a great dinner, with the two dips!

1 ping

  1. Food and Frugality Adventures! Blog ~~ » Moussaka says:

    [...] like to serve this with my Tzatziki. The yogurt flavor offsets the salty-tomato-eggplant [...]

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