Baba Ganoush

I know the name sounds a bit strange but it is a wonderful tasting and very filling dip. Especially good with cut up raw vegetables or my favorite fresh pita bread*. So guess what I am making today?  Baba Ganoush. This is going to be lunch.  Joe and I have always talked about just having dessert first and forget about the lunch or dinner.  Well I say let’s have an appetizer for lunch and forget about the lunch!

So let’s talk eggplant, what a wonderful vegetable.  I make a delicious eggplant lasagna as well as a ratatouille recipe that I will post in the future. Both are excellent ways to use this very versatile veg.

Baba Ganoush

  • 1 large or 3 smaller fresh shiny eggplants
  • 1/2 head of garlic just cut the tops off to allow the oil to penetrate the cloves
  • 1 clove raw garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala – it is a traditional Indian spice blend that usually includes cumin seeds, cinnamon, coriander seeds, black pepper, clove, nutmeg and chili.
  • Olive oil for baking the veggies and a few tablespoons for the top of the dip
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

img_3224First take your eggplants, wash them and cut them in half. In a small tin foil wrapper add half head of garlic and just trim the tops of the garlic to show the clove below. Place all on a cookie sheet that has been lined in tin foil, less to clean up. Sprinkle all with olive oil, add the oregano and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until soft.  Squeeze any excess olive oil from the garlic tin foil into your mixture, what a wonderful flavorful oil it has made.

In a large bowl spoon all the eggplant flesh and squeeze the bottom of the garlic head –  the cloves will just pop out and add them to the bowl.  Mash all together and add your tahini, lemon juice, garam masala, salt and pepper. Finely grate the one raw clove of garlic on top of the mixture. Mix well. It should be dip consistency, pretty thick with no big chunks of eggplant if it seems too thick add a little water until you get the right consistency.  Taste for seasoning add more salt if necessary. Refrigerate. Right before serving add your cilantro and mix well.  Serve with sliced vegetables, crackers or pita bread.

img_3245*Pita bread recipe can be found by searching for Pita Bread and Hummus above from my August 2016 post.

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Vendor Part 8: Donicio AKA the Whistler

Donicio comes by on his motorbike every day. He has this high-pitched whistle so you know exactly who is driving by, plus his motorbike is pretty loud. Obviously his whistle is why I call him the Whistler. Today he had fresh cilantro, choclo, lemons, long beans, green peppers, tomatoes and an assortment of fresh beans.  I assume he has a farm as the items change daily, are of limited quantity and all are fresh fresh fresh.

IMG_3010He was fascinated when he saw the picture I had taken of him. Sometime this week I will print a picture out for him and when I stop him again I will give him his photo.

 

Kofta Kabobs and Tzatziki Sauce Come To San Clemente

Another great recipe to use with the Pita Bread recipe from a few days ago are kofta kabobs with tzatziki sauce.  Most recipes for the kabobs I have seen and my original recipe were made with lamb.  Because we cannot find lamb very easily here I have modified my original recipe to use part ground pork and part ground beef. It worked well and tastes great.

Kafta Kabobs

  • 2/3 pounds ground pork (needs a good bit of fat)
  • 1 1/3 pounds of ground beef
  • 4 stems of parsley or cilantro *
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped *
  • 3 cloves garlic, roasted, peeled and chopped *
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Small pinch of clove
  • Small bunch of mint leaves, very finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • dash of chili flakes to taste

*Note: if you are grinding your own pork and beef add the onion, garlic and cilantro to the grinder, it just makes it so much faster and then it will be blended completely into the meats.

Roast the cumin, coriander and clove in a frying pan until they release their aroma, about 1 minute.  Cool slightly and grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.  Add all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl mixing well and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Shape the meat into a 6 inch tube shape like a sausage.  Gently cook for 3 minutes on a side, the meat will flatten out a bit but continue to cook until all sides have taken on a nice brown color and are a bit crispy.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 medium cucumber peeled, seeded and grated – then squeeze out excess liquid
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup thick yogurt or Kefir
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated fine
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • for garnish, chopped dill or cilantro and a dash of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle with garnish and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make your pita bread (or use rolls) and place one kabob in the center of the pita and liberally cover with tzatziki sauce.  You can also use hummus or hummus and tzatziki together for yet another taste sensation… Beyond Yummy!!!!

Pita Bread and Hummus

We are cooking again in San Clemente.  Today I am making the easiest pita bread you will ever find and hummus that will make you want to cry.  Well maybe smile, not cry.

IMG_3007NO Bake Pita Bread

Heat water and mix with yeast in the bowl of your mixer along with the 1 cup of flour.  Mix with the whisk attachment until completely blended.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes until bubbly and starting to grow.  Add balance of ingredients and mix with the dough hook for 8 minutes until the dough is soft and has formed a ball on the hook.  Take dough out, shape in a ball tucking the ends under and add a few drops of olive oil to the bottom of the bowl as well as the ball of dough.  Cover with cling film and a dish towel and allow to rest and grow for the next two hours.

When double in size take out of bowl, pat down to a disk and cut into 8 same size pieces. Roll each piece into a ball tucking the ends under and sprinkle with flour.  Allow to sit for a few minutes while the cast iron skillet heats – do not add oil.  Roll each ball into a flat disk and gently lay into the bottom of the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes. It should start to puff up and get nice brown spotted on the underside. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Now turn over once again and cook for a few more minutes. Place on a dish towel in a basket while you finish making the others.  If at this point you do not want to make the rest you can refrigerate the dough making sure it is covered completely with the cling film and when you go to use the next day just allow the dough to warm up a bit before cooking.

IMG_3003IMG_3004IMG_3002Hummus

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup cooking water from chickpeas or fresh water
  • 1/2 cup Tahiti (sesame paste) include some of the oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated fine
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh cumin, ground
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • extra olive oil and cilantro for garnish

In a food processor add chickpeas, tahini and olive oil  Start by pulsing and drizzle water until you get the right smoothness and consistency.  Add the balance of the ingredients and mix until completely blended.  Taste for salt, pepper and olive oil and add more if necessary.  Blend again, remove to a serving bowl, make a deep impression in the middle of the hummus and add your garnish of olive oil and cilantro to that indentation. Serve at room temperature with the pita bread.  Refrigerate any left overs for the next day. In our house, there were no leftovers!  Yum.