Friday, August 2, 2013

Baby Loves Baba Ganoush

My daughter has been Particularly Picky about eating lately.  She won't eat food she used to love, won't touch anything that looks like it may have onions in it and will only accept berries or cherry tomatoes so that she may, "Put it in the bucket," a skill she learned from various berry picking adventures this summer.  

Did I mention she turned down pizza the other day?  She turned down pizza the other day!

So, you can imagine my excitement when she Did Not throw her dinner on the floor tonight.  She even asked for seconds!  Just when I thought she would never eat again.  What was this miraculous dinner that even my picky daughter loved?  Baba Ganoush of course!  A lovely pureed dip made from roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil.  

This is a special recipe for me.  I used to sell little jars of this while working at the farmers market my first summer in Georgia.  I had to come up with a good recipe for the massive amounts of eggplant we were harvesting at the farm.  This is such a good way to use large amounts of eggplant and a good recipe to try if you are turned off by the texture of eggplant.  

We ate it with whole wheat pita bread, fresh sweet peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes and lima beans from the garden.  I was so excited, I was almost able to drown out the memory of the Alton Brown episode where I learned that eggplant is a nutritionally neutral vegetable, by no means bad for you, but not especially good for you either.  Oh well, at least she tried something new and hey, it's all about baby steps, or bites.      

1lb eggplant, any variety
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, roasted or raw, your preference
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1.Preheat oven to 400°F (If the eggplant are small enough, you can use a toaster oven to keep the kitchen from heating up from the big oven).  
2. Place eggplant on lightly oiled baking sheet and poke holes in the skin with a fork to let steam escape while roasting. 
3. Roast eggplant for 40 minutes or until soft, turning occasionally to prevent over browning. 
4. Remove the eggplant from oven and blanch in a large bowl of ice water.  Cool until able to handle. 
5. Drain eggplant, remove calyx (stem end) and peel off skin using your fingers. (If you are using a thin skinned variety of eggplant, such as Japanese, you can skip the peeling.  For the large purple globe eggplant, it is best to peel). 
6. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini and garlic in a food processor.  Pulse until a smooth puree forms, scraping sides of the bowl down as needed.  
7. With food processor running, slowly drizzle olive oil into the mixture.  Continue to process until oil is well incorporated.  
8. Transfer puree to a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving for best flavor and texture.

Enjoy with mixed veggies, pita bread, crackers, over pasta, or eat straight with a spoon like my toddler did.  

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