Monday, June 13, 2011

Baba Ghanoush

Fresh eggplants are coming in almost every week at my house and my favorite thing to do with them is turn them into baba ghanoush an eggplant dip with roots in the middle east. If you have ever been in a middle eastern restaurant you probably saw it on the menu and it is very easy to make and tasty to eat. I like it cold but it is also pretty good hot or warm. It goes great with flat breads, wassa crackers, and carrots.

Baba Ghanoush

2 large ichiban eggplants 
1 medium black beauty eggplant 

1 table spoon tahini 
3 table spoons of sesame oil

the juice of half a lemon

big pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of ginger paste 
 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger minced

1 heaping table spoon minced garlic 
1 tablespoon garlic powder

black pepper 
cayenne pepper 
white pepper 
to taste I use a pinch of each  

water to make smooth add it a little at a time

*optional*  1 jigger ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil for richness

Rub eggplants in oil and roast in a baking pan in the oven or on the grill (my preference) until the skin starts to burn or the eggplants split open which ever comes first. If making hot put straight into the food processor or blender. If making cold bag and throw in the fridge a couple hours. Traditionally the skin is peeled from the eggplants before making but I prefer to leave it intact for flavor and small amount of additional fiber and vitamins. Add all other ingredients except water and pulse check for smoothness and consistency if necessary add water until it get where you want it. I like it kind of sticky and thick. Serve as a dip or a topper for greens for a twist on salad. In Egypt it is blended with small chopped onions and tomatoes for a dip like Egyptian salsa. Play around with spices mint, parsley, cilantro and cumin are all popular in different countries. In Israel they leave out the tahini and use mayonnaise. And a lot of countries make it very similarly only instead of making it pureed they chop everything chunky.   Have fun and enjoy this healthy tasty snack!

Rain, Rain, Please stay!

It is me again! I have been busy in the garden and biking with my husband and watching my sister's kids and I haven't made a post in awhile, shame on me! The issue that has been on my mind the most these days has been rain and water. The south is going through a drought lately and I haven't been able to keep up with the demand for water in my garden with the 15+ gallons a day I get from the air conditioner. We have had rain the past two days and all of my water traps are full to include two coolers that were a last minute addition. The other new thing I have been doing to combat water loss due to heat evaporation is to water the plants at night (on the days it doesn't rain)  and that has helped a lot. I am seeing a lot less heat wilt and blossom loss and the ground stays wetter longer allowing the plants to absorb as much as they can, I also have not seen any indication of rot or mildew so far.  I have been watering with coffee water (coffee grounds in my watering can) and spreading the grounds underneath the plants and that has been doing really really well. The leaves looked greener in just two days. The squash plants that I told you I would keep you up to date on have not done so well, out of the five squash and two zucchini that I had, I have three squash that are doing so so and one zucchini that is dying and one that is doing so so. My radishes were over come by a caterpillar attack and I dug them up and composted them and the snow peas I planted a little less than a month ago were put out to late and are suffering in the southern heat. The green beans are doing very well and I recommend those and burpless hybrid cucumbers, ichiban eggplant, all manner of tomatoes, bell peppers, and carrots to the gardener who lives in a hot environment. I have had several eggplants and it produces quite quickly and is one of the last plants to wilt if I forget to water. I have been having issues with blossom end rot on my tomatoes and I think this is due to a lack of Phosphorus I will be purchasing miracle grow organic fertilizer and blood meal this week and I will tell you how that goes.  The basil plants I split up and transferred to pots are doing great, so I guess they are not bothered by transplanting in the heat. My thyme, cilantro, dill, and marigolds are also doing well under the shade of the tomatoes. I had an issue with the tomatoes and caterpillars and some strange red and black bug(looks like a stink big) that was literally sucking the life out of them but I hand picked them off and I haven't seen anymore. All in all for the heat and the drought I am doing pretty well. I will post some pictures soon of the crazy big tomatoes I have coming in!