Borscht, Vegetarian Style, w/Beets, Cabbage, Potato

This soup can now be found in my ebook, Soup’s On. Alas, I couldn’t post the duplicate content, even on my own webpage, so… I’ll just sum up the recipe for you here. For more details, maybe you can get the book?! :)

Authentic Borscht recipes might use rye flour to thicken the soup, or even “Kwas” (a fermented rye brew). For those used to fermenting foods, it’s nothing too tricky; after rye flour and water ferments for a few days, the water’s poured off. The water gets fermented some more, which gives the soup its twang.Bowl of Bright Red Russian SoupSauerkraut (homemade or store-bought) can sub for the Kwas; it will give the soup a tangy kick as well. If using store-bought sauerkraut, do NOT purchase the one in a can. It really smells like garbage, and then you’ll think you don’t like it. The one in the jar should say, “naturally fermented”; once the product gets canned though, I think it’s subjected to too much heat in processing, which ruins it…

Add beef broth (and/or chunks of beef) for a hearty soup, if you want. But it’s good vegetarian-style too!

To make the soup, just bake (or slow cook) some beets until tender. Or cook them the old-fashioned way, in water on the stove top. Any way you slice it, they get rather messy. Oh well! Set the cooked beets aside.

You’ll also want to cook up some diced potatoes and carrot, in water to cover (again, until tender).

Grill some cabbage in a bit of olive oil (or coconut oil). Add 1 tablespoon or so of rye flour (or sub white flour), plus some caraway seeds (toasted first to bring out flavor). Slowly add some of the cooking water from the potato/carrot pot, stirring until smooth.

At that point, everything can go into the potato pot, including the beets (sliced in thin strips), plus some salt to taste. Add that “Kwas”, or a half cup or so of sauerkraut, or a teaspoon of white vinegar.

Serve it with some sour cream (or a dollop of coconut cream), and maybe a sprinkle of dill weed. Pretty dang good!

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Carrot Soup w/Dill: Nutritious, Delicious!

You can still order my ebook, SOUP’S ON! But if you want a “peak” at recipes, I’ve posted the following…

The New Deli's Carrot Soup w/Dill

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The Phytate-Sphere: Soak Grains, Eat “Sensibly”, Don’t Worry

Foods High In PhytatesBran is not  as trendy as it was ten or twenty years ago. I remember the days- we used to stop by our favorite bakery and consume mass quantities of sugary, sweet bran muffins (probably loaded with unhealthy oils too). I was having a bran fest- I even added raw bran flakes to my cereal. All in the name of “FIBER”!

Was it any wonder that I had some serious anemia? Bran is particularly rich in phytates, which can bind with the iron and other minerals in our system, which can lead to that anemia. Who knows what other health issues might have been connected to my “bran diet”?!

Bran is quite high in phytates; phytates can also be found (in lesser quantities) in grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.  So I’m not a bran fiend anymore. And I do try to soak my grains. Or I ferment them–I’ve really been into homemade, whole-grain sourdough bread lately. (Now that I have a Vitamix that grinds my whole wheat berries into  fresh whole wheat flour…)

Not that I’m not going on a Phytate Rant here. Phytates can be good. Consuming them in our foods probably isn’t going to upset the average person’s health. One caveat: but it might.

Just as in the bran days of yore, any one food trend might lead to unbalance, as the misinformed attempt to overcompensate, adding too much of a good thing to their diets. One of the latest trends is the “Gluten-free” craze (and the GAPS diet). One catch: folks might start chowing down on that gluten-free cake, made with almond meal instead of flour, on a fairly regular basis, telling themselves that this will help them to avoid gluten and regain health. The cost might be a phytate overload…

That was me. After bran went out of style, I forgot about it and prided myself instead on eating “healthy” breakfasts of raw, soaked grains topped with nuts, cacao nibs, and coconut. Another vegetarian meal or two might follow, featuring beans and/or grains. A snack or dessert might include a treat high in cacao nibs and nuts. Ironically, that particular diet of “wholesome” whole foods might have been slightly unbalanced. (Ya think?!)

Not to sound the alarm. There is a plus side to ingesting those phytates. Yes, they are enzyme inhibitors, but also: They can bind to excess minerals in our system. This is a valuable service, considering that excess iron generates free radicals in our bodies. So, while excess phytates might be a problem for an anemic person (like I’m prone to be), they would help someone else who was prone to an excess of iron.

Also, phytates act as antioxidants. They can even fight the proliferation of cancer cells, and improve cardiovascular health. One other feature: They might lower a food’s glycemic load, for the very reason that they slow digestion.

In conclusion: Moderation is our friend. We might consider reducing a potential overload of phytates by soaking some of our grains, beans, seeds and nuts (this will break down phytates, allowing for easier digestion). We might make bread (the yeast/fermentation process decreases phytates), and we might toast some grains, seeds (which also decreases them).

But, unless you’re going off the deep end (like I’ve often done), you can probably just adhere to this simple rule: Eat a sensible diet, be aware of the danger of raw nuts, grains, and seeds consumed in excess, and then… don’t worry about it!

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Lentil Soup w/Veggies: Popular New Deli Soup

Add carrot, celery, tomato sauce, liquid smoke... great Lentil Soup!When we make a new batch of tomato sauce at the deli (with lots of sauteed, sweet onions, garlic, etc.), we like to make a batch of Lentil Vegetable Soup too, since it uses the tomato sauce, plus a few other goodies. A bit of sweetness (using brown sugar, or honey or palm sugar, if desired) seems to go well in this soup. That plus some “liquid smoke” makes it almost like a more natural, heartier version of baked beans. You know how overpoweringly sweet those can be, right? This soup just has a hint of sweetness. Like I said- a better version. Like, a healthier comfort food!

Below is the recipe, but in jpeg form, since I can’t actually publish the recipe directly onto this blog due to copyright hindrances (since my soup cookbook is already available on Amazon). You can find this recipe there, but I put a different copy below, in case you really want to make that soup now, and just aren’t ready to buy a digital copy of “SOUP’S ON!“. (Which, by the way, is just $6.99, and full of pictures and New Deli extra cooking tips!)

Lentil Soup Recipe
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Grilled Eggplant (Because- It’s a “Clean 15″ AND Delicious)

Eggplant- A Clean 15 Veggie

This is a simple eggplant recipe, but once you know how to cook eggplant this way, you can add it to a variety of dishes. Just change up the spices and seasonings, adding some kind of protein, for a great main dish. Another plus- eggplant’s not on the “dirty dozen” list, so I’m not as concerned about buying it organic.

We make a yummy sandwich with this eggplant (and some melted cheese, with or without bacon) at The New Deli. We also serve a salad with the grilled eggplant in it, tossed with Italian dressing, avocado, tomato, and Parmesan cheese. I love it in an omelet, or on pizza. A big batch of this will hold up for at least a week in the refrigerator; the reduced vinegar and soy sauce act to preserve the veggies. Serves 4 to 6.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant, or several Japanese eggplants
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • Olive oil, to drizzle on layers
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

PREPARATION

1. Add to a hot pan (preferably a 12″ iron pan, as it holds heat and distributes it well) and grill* : > 1 red pepper, sliced into strips > Drizzle of olive oil

2. Add and keep grilling on medium-high heat, stirring some: > 1 onion, sliced

3. Move grilled peppers and onion off to side, and add: > 1 eggplant, sliced into strips > Drizzle olive oil (2-4 TBS.)

4. Pile the grilled pepper mix back on top of the grilling eggplant, to help it to steam some. Turn the pan on low to finish cooking the eggplant until tender, stirring occasionally.

5. When eggplant’s cooked through (no longer white and spongy looking), turn pan back on high heat. Add: > 1/4 c. soy sauce > 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

6. Let the mix cook on high just a few minutes, stirring often, so the soy sauce and vinegar can boil off some. Remove from heat, and continue stirring occasionally, to let off steam so mixture won’t be too soggy.

7. Serve this dish hot or cold, by itself, over rice, with salad greens, or as a sandwich condiment.

*An alternative method is to use the oven; no stirring of veggies is necessary. Roast the vegetables at 350 for 40-60 minutes, in a clay pot( or in an iron pan), until tender. An alternate method is to microwave the veggies for 10-20 min., using the clay pot or a ceramic bowl with a plate over it.

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Cheap, Homemade Chalk Paint: No Prep Needed!

Our 1st House- Hope it's Our Last!Tom and I bought our house back in 1986, on a skimpy lil’ budget- a miracle! We lived quite frugally for years. But we invested in a coffee table set; it seems to have been a wise purchase–timeless in many ways. I don’t want to replace it with trendier pieces, since it holds so many memories!

But the tables have had a lot of facelifts. I resorted to spray-paint several times, even though it never took long for the paint to start chipping off. I’d paint it again. And again.

Chalk Paint- No Prep Needed

Then I found out about chalk paint! My friend was so excited about it- telling me how easy it was, how you didn’t need to prep the surface first…

So I researched, finding that a much cheaper “chalk paint” solution (than the pre-mixed/Ann Sloan style ones), was to mix my own out of Calcium Carbonate. (Don’t buy the stuff on Amazon that’s CALLED chalk paint additive, as it costs much, much more.) The best “recipe” seemed to be this:

  • 2 Tablespoons Calcium Carbonate to 1 cup of paint (Mix well)

Add Polycrylic, Protect Painted TablesSome folks add a tablespoon of water, but I didn’t do that with the fresh paint I was using. I added water when using an old can of paint, since it had been sitting around so long, getting thicker. Not necessary with the fresh paint.

Research indicated that some kind of urethane coat on top of the chalk paint would protect pieces that get high usage. So I added several coats of this Polycrylic Protective Finishon top. I loved that it was water-based (easier clean up). I did have to lightly sand between coats of that, but the whole project was really Quite Easy!

There is also a “Plaster of Paris” alternative; many folks use it. It’s similar to calcium carbonate, except that it’s heat-processed (sometimes from gypsum instead of limestone). Same effect though, from what I hear, AND it’s cheaper ($10.99/8lb., as opposed to $10/5 lb. of calcium carbonate).

Some people have noted that it can be quite difficult to mix the calcium carbonate into the paint, but if you’ve made cake before, I don’t think it’s any worse than folding flour into cake batter! And it’ll last longer than cake, haha…

 

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Homemade Tooth Powder: Healthy Gums & Teeth

I tried a simple, homemade toothpaste recipe, but I wasn’t super-thrilled about coconut oil going down the drain. Not that it’s a huge deal. But I decided to make some tooth powder for a change of pace.

I had bought some Uncle Harry’s Tooth Powder five years ago, but never made a habit of it. If you don’t conscientiously discipline yourself into doing something for thirty days, until it IS a habit, it can easily just become such a chore that you give it up. Know what I mean? (This applies to many things…)

Homemade Tooth Powder w/Salt, Bentonite Clay, Baking SodaSo I’d never gotten into the habit of using the tooth powder I’d had on hand. But when I started reading about the things going into toothpaste (stuff like fluoride, which is an endocrine disruptor, etc.), and started getting tired of the expense, I decided to take home-made dental care more seriously.

I’d already started using essential oils on my gums- rubbing a drop or two on them after meals, since my gums had deteriorated during my many years of undiagnosed hypothyroidism. (I believe that one “disease” of the body can affect many other parts.)

I tried coconut oil “pulling” for awhile (letting a tablespoon of coconut oil sit in the mouth for ten minutes or so, to pull out toxins and such). And I made an easy coconut oil/baking soda toothpaste (recipe here). But my favorite homemade dental product has become the tooth powder I made a few months ago… thought I’d share the recipe here.

First off, you can add essential oils of any kind, or not. You can add spearmint extract, etc. Or not. You can order excellent quality oils from Nature’s Gift (where I get most of mine). Or you can order on Amazon, or from Uncle Harry’s, to name a few. Some blogs mention adding powdered spices (cinnamon, etc.), since they’re cheaper. But I think the oils work better and are worth every penny. Here’s the healing oil recipe I use on my gums:

HEALING GUM OIL BLEND

You can use these proportions, but a different proportion might be more to your liking. In any proportion, all these oils support dental health!

  • 8 parts Tea Tree Oil
  • 1 part Myrrh Oil
  • 1 part Clove Oil
  • 1 part Cardamom Oil

 

Next project- the actual tooth powder. I had a big ol’ bag of Calcium Carbonate in the garage, that I’d bought to make cheap chalk paint out of, and wondered if I could use it to make my own tooth powder. After all, it is apparently the same main ingredient found in Uncle Harry’s stuff (AKA dolomite, chalk).

Answer (after research on several websites): Maybe not. The U.S. National Library of Medicine website mentions here, that when purchasing oyster shell calcium, dolomite, or bone meal, we ought to look for the word “purified” or the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) symbol on the label. Otherwise, the product may contain toxic metals like lead. We do NOT want lead in our tooth powder!

So I found food grade calcium carbonate, also know as dolomite. I used the proportions below, although, again, your personal preference may be to change it up a bit:

HOMEMADE TOOTH POWDER

  • 6 parts Calcium Carbonate (purchase here)
  • 4 parts bentonite clay (purchase here)
  • 1 part sea salt
  • “Healing Gums” oil, above (“to taste”, or about 8-12 drops favorite oil or blend, per cup o’ powder mix)

My husband and I have gotten quite used to brushing with this stuff, and I think our teeth are the better for it!

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Orange Polenta Cake (Olive Oil Cake to Some)

Here’s a cake recipe that’s quick and easy enough, but still delicious (& slightly healthier than average!)- a moist cake with a fresh orange flavor and slightly crunchy texture from the cornmeal. Traditional Italian recipes might add some Amaretto to the cake; to preserve more of the liqueur’s flavor, it can be added to the orange peel garnish. (Unless serving the under-aged, that is!) Serves 12.

Olive OIl Cake w/ Orange, Corn MealINGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. milk (or yogurt or buttermilk)
  • 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pan
  • 3 oranges, for zest and garnish
  • 1 TBS. orange zest
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1/2 c. coarse-ground cornmeal (fine-ground works too)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Optional: 2 TBS. each sugar and water, for orange peel garnish
  • Optional: 2 TBS. amaretto liqueur, added to orange peel garnish
  • Optional: (Instead of orange peel) Confectioner’s sugar to decorate top

PREPARATION

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press foil into a 9” spring form pan and coat with olive oil and flour. Or, use two 9-inch round cake pans, which won’t need a foil liner, but which should still be coated with olive oil and flour. (If using two pans, they’ll bake faster.) Tap out any excess flour.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whip until well blended and light in color: > 3 large eggs > 1 c. granulated sugar

3. Stir into whipped egg/sugar mix: > 1 1/2 c. milk (or yogurt or buttermilk) > 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil > 1 TBS. orange zest

4. In another bowl, stir dry ingredients together: > 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour > 1/2 c. cornmeal > 1/2 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1/4 tsp. salt

5. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until just blended (the batter should still be slightly lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn it out onto a serving plate.

6. To make a garnish of candied orange peel, carefully cut away the outer peel of one orange, slicing it into thin strips. Mix together in a microwavable bowl (or in a small saucepan): > Thin strips from 1-2 oranges > 2 TBS. sugar > 2 TBS. water

7. Microwave (or heat in pan) the sugar/orange/water mix for one minute. If using microwave, stir and repeat this three times, until peel has absorbed most of the sugar. (In saucepan, just keep simmering a few minutes until peel gets soft.) If desired, at this point, stir in: > 2 TBS. amaretto liqueur

8. Garnish the cake with the orange peel. Alternately, it can be decorated with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar instead.

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Pesto: Make from Scratch, Freeze Portions- So Fresh!

I was sorting through old food pics and found this colorful one of pesto. Seemed apt to post the recipe, if only to enjoy all the bright colors of summer in the picture- before summer fades!

Pesto- Add Spinach, Garlic, Pine Nuts, ParmesanTake advantage of fresh basil in its prime in late summer. To keep it at its greenest, process it first with the olive oil and spinach; the oil seems to protect the leaves from oxidizing and darkening. The acids in the garlic, nuts and parmesan can darken the basil, so add those last. Another tip: pesto seems to stay greener when the leaves are processed at room temperature. In our many years of making pesto at The New Deli, we’ve found that the leaves don’t seem to like to get too cold in the fridge, only to heat up when processed…

Some recipes suggest blanching, to retaining pesto’s ideal green color; experiments at the deli have not proven that technique to be superior. Plus– this recipe’s easier!

Frozen portions of the pesto will keep for months. For an easy meal, add pesto and grilled veggies to pasta (tortellini is especially tasty). Or add to pizza, drizzle in soups, or use for a Pesto Torta appetizer . Makes approx. 2 lbs. (4 c.).

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 c. fresh basil leaves (12 oz.)
  • 4 c. fresh spinach
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. fresh garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 c. pine nuts

PREPARATION

1. Process the following: > 4 c. fresh basil leaves (12 oz.) > 3 to 4 c. fresh spinach > 3/4 c. olive oil

2. Add and process again with: > 1/2 c. fresh garlic cloves, peeled (or 1/4 c. minced)

3. To the above, add and process: > 1 c. pine nuts > 2 c. parmesan

4. The pesto can be stored in the freezer, added to a zip-lock bag and flattened out; this makes it easy to break off a chunk of it as needed. Or, it will keep a week or so in the refrigerator; add a thin layer of oil on top (or press some plastic wrap against the surface), as exposure to air will darken it.

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Carmalizing Sugar (for Walnuts, Caramel Sauce, Etc.)

YouTube Preview Image

One more episode of “From the Land to the Table” (above)- it’s a local show running on Pinole TV. Some friends helped put this together; a fun project, even if I’ve been too busy to continue producing more…

All you need for some excellent caramel sauce is a bit of sugar and some cream. It’s that easy! Or, for caramelized walnuts, just “melt” (caramelize) the sugar first in an iron skillet; add the walnuts, then turn out onto a sheet to let cool. Add to your favorite salads- yum!Homemade Caramel Sauce

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Homemade: Chicken Stock AND Raspberry Vinaigrette

YouTube Preview Image

Above is Episode Two of “From the Land to the Table”. Yes, you can still catch reruns on local Pinole TV. Whoot! This video shows how easy it is to make Raspberry Vinaigrette from scratch. Maybe you want to strain the seeds out, to use the yummy pulp in a dessert? Just save the seeds- soak ‘em in white vinegar for a tasty salad dressing (add a bit o’ honey, salt, olive oil- yum). You can also just use mashed raspberries, brewed a week or so in vinegar, to make a VERY flavorful infused vinegar.

Oh, and I show how to make chicken stock from scratch. No need to buy cans or boxes of this stuff when you can make your own out of bones you might have even thrown away. It’s good not to waste any part of the chicken, especially when you’re using a quality, free-range chicken.Steep Raspberries in White Vinegar- Great Dressing

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Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas w/Mexican-style Red Sauce

YouTube Preview ImageOld friends helped record the above episode of “From the Land to the Table”, shown on local TV back in 2007. (Apparently, they’re still playing re-runs!). Ah, secrets for making vegetarian Black Bean Chili! or enchiladas…

The beauty of this recipe is: It’s ideal for bulk cooking. It will cook up well in a big batch; just  scoop 1/2 c. portions onto plastic wrap and freeze for future meals. It starts out thick; for Chili, just add water when heating up, to desired thickness. Top with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped tomatoes as desired. The filling is versatile; use for burritos, tostadas, and enchiladas.

Skip using chicken stock or adding cheese, to make this a vegan entree. Still full of flavor! Serves 6-8.

Grateful-Table-Vegetarian-Black-Bean-EnchiladasINGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 3 to 4 c. chopped yellow onions
  • 2 TBS. minced garlic
  • 3 to 4 TBS. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. dry basil
  • 1/4 c. oregano
  • 2 TBS. whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 c. tomato paste
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 1 TBS. paprika 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1-2 TBS. Chile Powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 pt. hot chicken stock or water (optional—substitute tomato juice for liquid)
  • 10 corn tortillas (or more or less)

Black Bean Filling

PREPARATION

1. Bring approx. 2 qt. water to a boil, then add and simmer 1-2 hours until tender: > 1 lb. black beans

2. Strain cooked beans, return to pot and mash some with potato masher. Set aside. In iron skillet, sauté the following on med. heat until tender (an hour or so): > 3 to 4 c. chopped yellow onions > 2 TBS. minced garlic > 3 to 4 TBS. olive oil

3. Cover onions with a lid at first, so they “sweat” and cook down quicker. Stir occasionally, turning heat down as necessary. Meanwhile, in a hot, dry skillet, stir the following until toasted, setting aside when done: > 1/4 c. dry basil > 1/4 c. oregano > 2 TBS. whole cumin seed

4. Finally, mix the following all together: > Cooked, mashed beans > Sautéed onions/garlic > Toasted herb mix > 1/2 c. tomato paste > 1 TBS. salt > 1 TBS. paprika > 1/4 tsp. cayenne

Red Sauce

PREPARATION

Make this completely vegetarian by omitting the chicken stock. It will still have plenty of flavor.

1. Mix dry ingredients together: > 1/3 c. flour > 1 TBS. paprika > 1-2 TBS. Chile Powder > 1 tsp. salt

2. Add and mix in well: > 1/3 c. oil

3. Then add: > 1 1/3 pt. hot chicken stock or water (optional—substitute canned tomato juice)

4. Bring mixture to a boil, boil 2 minutes, turn off heat.

Black Bean Enchiladas

PREPARATION

1. Sear in hot skillet in a bit of olive oil: > 10 corn tortillas (or more or less)

2. Lay out on board and fill with 1/4 c. Black Bean Chile Mix. Roll up, place in 13x 9 inch pan. Pour Red Sauce over, add 3/4 lb. or so cheddar cheese (grated or sliced in strips). Bake at 375 degrees, 20 minutes or so, until bubbly and golden on top. Top with sour cream or guacamole if desired, or cilantro garnish.

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Baba Ghanoush: Lo-Carb Paleo, Mideast Dip w/Roasted Eggplant

Eggplant Dip- Paleo Style, Low -CarbWe have fun chowing down on this dish at parties- ah, a dip that’s not loaded with chemicals and bad fats! It’s even naturally low-carb and paleo. Not everyone’s savvy to what it is, and some may even be afraid (“I don’t think I like eggplant”). But with the way the eggplant’s roasted, then mixed with plentiful garlic, lemon, and sesame (butter or even sesame oil), it’s got a great, silky texture. Yum!

Sometimes we feel a bit silly about the name. (Say that fast, three times.) The word means “Father who spoils”… you can tell it’s been affectionately named, right? One Jewish tradition is to drizzle a bit of pomegranate juice on top, or garnish with pomegranate seeds; other recipes might add a bit of yogurt.

This Mideastern recipe also includes tahini, a nut butter made from sesame seeds. In East Asian cultures, the tahini is often made from unhulled, brown sesame seeds, which are most nutritious, with extra minerals and fiber. The seeds can be ground to a paste with a small electric coffee/spice grinder.

More typical is a ground paste of hulled white sesame seeds, which is a bit smoother than its unrefined cousin, often found at specialty stores (or here, on Amazon). An other alternative to tahini, for those with limited resources: Toasted sesame oil, found in the Asian section of many grocery stores.

The standard Globe eggplant takes longer to cook through; Italian and Japanese eggplants will cook more quickly. The eggplant is broiled or pan-roasted (or grilled) until the skin is quite charred, which yields a soft, silky “meat” inside- the basis of this spread. Serves 6 as a side dish; serves 10-15 as an appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. eggplant (one large eggplant, or up to 6 skinny ones)
  • Zest of half lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 1 TBS.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic (about 3 big cloves)
  • 1/4 c. Tahini (see notes above, or substitute 2 TBS. toasted sesame oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. Virgin olive oil (plus extra for garnishing)
  • Parsley for garnish
  • 6 or so Pitas, or crackers or other bread, for dipping
  • Optional: 1/4 c. black or Greek olives
  • Optional: Pomegranate juice, for drizzling on afterwards, or fresh pomegranate seeds

PREPARATION

1. Use a charcoal grill if available, or roast the eggplant in a dry skillet on highest heat. Use: > 1 lb. eggplant, whole

2. Let the eggplant cook on a hot charcoal grill, or in an iron pan. Turn every 7 minutes or so, as needed, until the skin is charred on each side, and the eggplant feels soft. This will probably take 30-60 minutes, depending on heat and the size of the eggplants. Covering the pan will help it to cook through.

3. Let the eggplant cool enough to handle. Peel the skin and discard. Hand-chop the eggplant, or use a food processor (or blender), processing until smooth. Add: > 1 tsp. grated lemon peel > 1 TBS. lemon juice > 1 1/2 tsp. garlic cloves (3 big cloves) > 1/4 c. Tahini (or 2 TBS. toasted sesame oil) > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/4 c. Virgin olive oil

4. To serve, turn mixture out into shallow serving bowl, drizzle more olive oil on top, and garnish with chopped parsley. Other garnishing options: top with olives, pine nuts, or pomegranate seeds, or drizzle pomegranate juice on top, or even yogurt. Serve at room temperature, with toasted pita triangles, crackers, or other breads.

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