Baba Ghanouj – 07/09/2011

A basic recipe for this classic eggplant and garlic dip – one of many variations on a theme (see last paragraph for details):

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Wash the eggplants, and pierce the skin with a fork. Heat in a 400-degree oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until the skin blisters, and the eggplant collapses.
  2. Wait for the eggplant to cool, then separate the pulp from the skin. Squeeze the pulp to remove the juice (which is bitter), and mash to break up any large pieces.
  3. Finely mince the garlic, and cook in a pan with a little oil until lightly browned. Mash the garlic, and stir into the eggplant. Mix in the lemon juice, salt and tahini, adjust amounts to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and minced parsley (optional).
  4. Refrigerate if desired, and serve with flatbread, chips, or by itself.

Some recipes call for adding the olive oil (approx. 2 tablespoons) directly to the mix; others suggest omitting the tahini for a straight eggplant purée, while a friend says she adds chick peas (the key ingredient in hummus) to give it even more consistency. Mint is sometimes used instead of parsley, and cumin-lovers sometimes add a dash of that prototypically Middle-Eastern spice.

Ratatouille – 12/08/2010

Everyone has his/her own version of this emblematic summer dish – but if, like us, you have little time to spare and find the thought of individually pan-frying vegetables in olive oil tedious, we offer you this recipe from our friend Laure. All you have to do is slice your vegetables as you like, the oven will do the rest: cut into pieces two eggplants, five zucchini (green and/or yellow), two onions, three peppers (green, red and/or yellow) and crush five cloves of garlic. Add thyme, pepper and salt, olive oil and two or three splashes of balsamic vinegar; mix. Empty the vegetables into an oven dish and place in an oven heated to 475 degrees for 50 minutes. Serve with barbequed sausages cooked on the grill. This recipe handily serves six to eight people; adjust quantities as you see fit. It’s quick and easy – and delicious, to boot!