Monday, November 19, 2012

Eggplant Can Be Sexy

I used to loathe eggplant.  I thought it was slimy, and bitter, and rubbery and I resented its very existence in the world of food.  Sadly, eggplant can be all of those things - but it doesn't have to be.  It can be silky and smooth and smoky and - dare I say it - sexy.  Yes, sexy.

I am a firm believer that baba ganouj is better than hummus.  It's hummus's awkward cousin at the summer barbecue, who has a weird name, like Anastasia that no one can pronounce, but at the end of the movie, everyone is going to realize how much more awesome she is than her simply-named and conventionally-pretty cousin, Kimmie.

Here is the only recipe for baba ganouj you will ever need.  Originally, it came from a Moosewood cookbook and has four or more extra ingredients, like parsley and scallions and other unnecessary things.  There are five gazillion Moosewood cookbooks, so please don't ask me which one it's from because I have no idea.  All I know is that I have committed this recipe to memory and people moan over it when I bring it to potlucks, and then sidle up to me like I'm operating an undercover meth lab out of my kitchen and ask me in an undertone, "How did you make this?"  Good readers, here is how:

Preheat your oven to 400.
Take two eggplants and cut off the stem end.  Then prick holes all over the eggplants with a fork.
Put them into the oven, directly on the racks.  It's a good idea to put some tinfoil on your oven floor to catch drips.
Set your timer for at least 45 minutes, though it can take up to an hour.
When the eggplants are falling apart, practically sinking through the oven rack, and look like something dead on the side of the road - carefully take them out of the oven with some tongs and a big bowl and let them cool until you can touch them without swearing.
Scoop all of the insides into a food processor.  Make sure no skin gets in, and leave no insides behind.  Be fastidious.
Add 1/2 cup tahini, the juice of one lemon, 3 (or 5, if you're me) crushed garlic cloves, 1 tsp coarse salt,  and five or six grinds of fresh black pepper.  Whiz it up until it's smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve this warm with bread, pita, vegetables, a spoon, your fingers.
Prepare yourself for the moans and admiring glances at your next potluck.
If there are leftovers, eat them with a spoon, in the dark of night, with the fridge door propped open.
It will make you happy.

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30 Days Hath November
Day 01: A place I'd like to travel.
Day 02: A favourite movie.
Day 03: Something I never leave the house without.
Day 04: A friend I adore.
Day 05: My hometown.
Day 06: A book I'm reading.
Day 07: A song for the day.
Day 08: Three inspirational quotes.
Day 09: A close-up of my day.
Day 10: A favourite recipe.

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