Some of you know I was a food writer years ago. Every once in a great while, I come across a recipe that begs to be shared. But don't worry, I'm not gonna turn H-n-T into a food blog--your regularly scheduled discussions on faith and the church will return in the next post.
I've tried a few recipes for Baba Ghanoush (eggplant dip) and have been unhappy with the results. When I saw the recipe for Lemon Cilantro Eggplant Dip in Good Housekeeping magazine, I figured it wouldn't be all that close to Baba Ghanoush since they went and Americanized the name. But when I made the dip, it was love at first bite. Even my finicky husband, who hates veggies, cleaned his plate and asked for more.
Lemon Cilantro Eggplant Dip
Makes about 2 cups
2 eggplants (1 pound each), each halved lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons tahini (see note below)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro or mint leaves, chopped
Toasted or grilled pita wedges
Carrot and cucumber sticks and red or yellow pepper slices
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan with nonstick foil (or use regular foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray). Place eggplant halves, skin-sides up, in foil-lined pan. Wrap garlic in foil and place in pan with eggplants. Roast vegetables 45 to 50 minutes or until eggplants are very tender and skin is shriveled and browned. Unwrap garlic. Cool eggplants and garlic until easy to handle.
When cool, scoop eggplants' flesh into food processor with knife blade attached. Squeeze out garlic pulp from each clove and add to food processor with tahini, lemon juice, and salt; pulse to coarsely chop. Spoon dip into serving bowl; stir in cilantro. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve dip with pita and vegetables.
You can hopefully find tahini (think natural peanut butter, except made with sesame seeds) at your local supermarket in the Jewish/Middle Eastern section. I've found it at Ralphs in both California and Illinois. Choose the kind in a glass or plastic jar; canned tahini is usually thinner and mixed with other ingredients, so it's not suited to these recipes.
Since you'll have tahini left over, here's a quick recipe for hummus:
Makes about 2 cups
2 16-ounce cans garbanzo beans
1/2 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Drain 1 can of beans. Put in blender or food processor. Add the second can, including the liquid, and blend. Add tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Blend until smooth. Pour onto a plate, and if desired, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and either paprika or chopped parsley. Serve with pita bread and raw veggies for dippin'.
Good eating to you!