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Summer Staple: Babaganoush!

How about a little cooking demo?  I’m not great about following or writing down recipes, but I still like to share what I’m cooking.  So I am hoping I can make up for the lack of specifics through photos and notes.Here are the basics: Whole Eggplant, Fresh Lemon, Tahini Sauce, and Cumin.  The Nigella (which I discovered in Turkey!) is optional.  There are a few more options I will note along the way.Cut the eggplants in half, length-wise and roast under a broiler, flipping halfway through.  They need to be well-browned on each side, and smooshy all over.  Bonus points: Grill over a fire, for a nice, smokey flavor.Let the eggplant cool (seriously!) and then peel the skin off.  I sometimes leave a little bit of charred skin on for flavor.  Some liquid will pool in the bowl– don’t pour it off– it’s sweet and delicious!Here’s your next bonus ingredient: Cilantro.  This bunch is fresh from our garden, which is very exciting.  Parsley is also great, and I really don’t think it’s possible to add too much.In this bowl: Roasted Eggplant, Lemon Juice Cilantro, Cumin, Salt, Pepper… And another bonus: Roasted Garlic.  There are lots of more complicated ways to roast garlic, but I just throw a whole head of it into the oven while I’m broiling the eggplant. It gets soft, and the flavor mellows and deepens.  You can of course use fresh as well, depending on how you feel about garlic.  When I am in an especially dedicated mood, I fry the cumin and any other spices (fresh garlic included) in some olive oil to bring out the best flavor before adding it to the mix.  But that step is for over-achievers.In comes the Tahini…  All of these ingredient proportions are really to taste, but with the four eggplants, I probably added about 1/4 cup of this sesame paste.  And a word about tahini– I have been without it a number of times, and got away with using a few heaping spoonfuls of sesame seeds, well-blended with the rest of the ingredients.  So don’t let finding this slightly-exotic ingredient slow you down!  That said, I have been able to find it everywhere I’ve lived (besides the Philippines, but things may have changed since then…)I used an immersion blender to blend it all really smooth.  Of course you could use a blender or a food processor.  I have often made this just with a fork, a nice chunky version– naturally, you would need to chop the ingredients pretty thoroughly first if you go that route.This is the part where you taste and season.  I most frequently end up needing to add more salt and lemon juice, and frequently add extra-virgin olive oil for extra richness.  More bonus points for: Smoked Paprika (Pimentón de la Vera, or Ahumado) and Cayenne or Chili powder.  Or, you could of course go the extra mile and broil a whole Chile and add it to the blend. This is one of my favorite summer foods, perfect as a snack or to be packed in a picnic. We took this with us to the beach for our rowboat picnic, and enjoyed it with cucumbers, radishes and potato chips. Enjoy!Do these sorts of recipes work for you?… Or do you need more structure?  Where do you find cooking inspiration?PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

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40 Responses to Summer Staple: Babaganoush!

  1. doro June 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    Oh, yum! I love babaganoush! We are totally gonna try your recipe this summer!

    • Ariana June 3, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      And you are in the perfect spot for year-round eggplants and herbs! Lucky!

  2. Great Scott June 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    yum, yum, YUM!!! love this post. and every photo is good enough to eat!!

    • Ariana June 3, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Oh, good! I love talking about food, so as long as other people enjoy it, I will keep it up. :)

  3. tech.samaritan June 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    That is my kind of cooking, both in content and style. We love babaganoush around here! I roast and freeze extra eggplant in summer for a smokey treat in winter.

    • Ariana June 3, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Dan, I have never had any success with growing eggplant! I probably would have done alright in California, but in OR it was a bust, and has been here so far, as well. I guess those hot humid summers are great for the nightshades, huh? And freezing roasted eggplant is SUCH a great idea!

  4. Rebecca June 2, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Aaaah. A chef after my own heart. I almost never follow a recipe (I’m definitely a never RFM type!) and if I try, I’m almost sure to have a complete disaster because I forget to read ahead, skip steps, or various other fatal flaws. I prefer to just glance at a few beautiful photos, get a general sense of the ingredients, and then figure out my own road map. So for me, this recipe is perfect. We are currently growing 4 different types of eggplant in our garden and if we manage to produce anything from them, I’ll make some baba first thing. We get a really nice Israeli tahini from a mediterranean market near our house that is much smoother and thinner (read “less pasty”) then most tahini’s that I can find in your typical supermarket. If you can find some, check it out.

    • Ariana June 3, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      Very cool about the different types of eggplant in your garden! I remember the first time I saw eggplant was when my grandmother was growing some in a skinny little plot alongside her house– it couldn’t really be considered a garden, but she put that little strip of dirt to good use. I must have been about six, and those purple, bulbous vegetables were so fascinating! I don’t remember how she cooked them, though.

      Here, we tend to only be able to find one or two kinds of tahini. I would love to find a Middle Eastern market in our area– those are my favorite food shops ever! There is an Arab section in London that I am dying to visit. We have driven through twice on our way to the city center, but I would love to make a day when we just parked there and explored the shops and restaurants– we don’t get a whole lot of global flavor over here in Suffolk!

  5. Kristin June 2, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    Delicious! I must try this. Great photos and instructions.

    • Ariana June 3, 2012 at 11:40 am #

      Great! I’m sure you guys have some gorgeous eggplants over there!

  6. Nathan June 2, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    Looks great! I’ll have to give this a go try pretty soon. We don’t do a lot of eggplant around here, so I have to get on it.

    • Ariana June 3, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      Yeah, I’d say this is probably a winner even for people who aren’t crazy about eggplant– it’s a way to get past the texture issues some people have. But I have often spread it on grilled eggplant slices– there is no such thing as eggplant overload for me!

  7. Restaurants in Steamboat June 2, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Great recipe. I love it. I am looking to make it tonight these dish. I hope it will be really a good one.

  8. Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport June 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    This recipe is right up my alley! I LOVE babaganoush. Anything eggplant is definitely for me! And don’t get me started on tahini. I eat it plain. Have you ever taken a huge, freshly peeled carrot and dipped it straight in the jar? DO it. It will change you life… but he careful I have definitely sat with a jar of tahini and a pound of carrots and called it dinner. :) So good!

    • Ariana June 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      Love your carrot and tahini idea! We love to make tahini sauces and dressings, but I don’t know if I’ve used it as a dip just straight before. I’m afraid the jar will be gone too quickly and I’ll be kicking myself when it’s time to make babaganoush again!

  9. Kristen June 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    I like this style of recipe blogging. It’s nice that there’s “wiggle” room to tweak the recipe to the maker’s tastes. I’d love to see more posts like this! Thanks for sharing! :)

    -Kristen

    • Ariana June 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Oh, good! Thanks for the feedback– I have more food-sharing planned!

  10. BavarianSojourn June 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Hello! Just wanted to let you know that your beautiful looking babaganoush is featured over at BritMum’s Foodie Round-up this month http://www.britmumsblog.com/2012/06/britmums-foodie-round-up-june-global-food/

    • Ariana June 25, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      Awesome! Thank you for using my post!

  11. Anonymous July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    good reciepy

  12. Anonymous August 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    I love this natural and organic feel your way type of cooking!

  13. Marilyn August 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    How did I miss this gorgeous and delicious post?? Love it! Thank you – and I love Babaganoush!

  14. Sarah Scherrer July 7, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Looks great! Do you take out the eggplants seeds before adding?

    • ariana April 17, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Sorry for such a late reply Sarah, but no– you don’t need to take the seeds out– they will blend nicely with everything else.

  15. Debi Martin August 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    I am new to making babaganoush but I’m a believer!!!! I so wish that my mom would have made this when I was akid. I recently bought a nutrabullet and the recipe bookhad a recipe simular to your but uou used different spices. I could eat it on just about anything lol. I’m going to make your recipe my next batch

  16. Debi Martin August 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    I am new to making babaganoush but I’m a believer!!!! I so wish that my mom would have made this when I was akid. I recently bought a nutrabullet and the recipe bookhad a recipe simular to your but uou used different spices. I could eat it on just about anything lol. I’m going to make your recipe my next batch

  17. Debi Martin August 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    I am new to making babaganoush but I’m a believer!!!! I so wish that my mom would have made this when I was akid. I recently bought a nutrabullet and the recipe bookhad a recipe simular to your but uou used different spices. I could eat it on just about anything lol. I’m going to make your recipe my next batch

  18. Ureib Qassis March 28, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    Okay so babaghanoush is an Arabic mezza, after you roast the eggplant soak it in cold water, it makes it easier to peal, and cools down quick.

    • ariana April 17, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Thanks for that tip– I hadn’t heard of doing that before!

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