Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Baba Ganoush

Eggplant has been an under-appreciated vegetable in my house. Ma's lecho/ratatoullie always featured zucchini alone. Until recently, it never even crossed the threshold.

It was at my sister's house that Ma was introduced to baba ganoush, albeit store-bought. She frankly admitted that it was the mayonnaise content, but she was taken. 

Well, why couldn't we make our own? 

It was a gradual process, pinpointing the seasoning we like for our tame Ashkenazi palates. After some experimenting, we concocted a version that suits us quite well. 

Like the happy-accidental incorporation of roasted orange pepper. After cleaning out Mrs. H's supply on a visit to her house, it became clear we dig roasted orange pepper, which is now a Shabbos staple. Since the eggplant and the pepper are in the oven at the same time, why not chuck some into the baba ghanoush?

For those not familiar with nutritional yeast, allow me to acquaint the two of you. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is chock full of nutrients while being a complete protein. "Nooch" has a cheesy, salty flavor while conveniently pareve and devoid of actual sodium. (I've heard it's great on popcorn.)
Most baba ganoush recipes call for tahini, but hey, we're Hungarians. I used mayo instead, obviously much less than the store-bought version. But after a sisterly visit, a container of tahini was left behind (her kids dig dips), much to Ta's delight. I purchased a jar online to compare the flavors.

Apple cider vinegar is one of those miraculous entities that supposedly cure everything. I use it on my hair and my face, and in my food. I've been using it to pickle my cucumber salad, to flavor cooked beets, and now, for baba ganoush.

Tool of choice: I hate using a blender for this—actually, I hate blenders altogether—although if you don't have an immersion blender, get two.
Cleanup is much, much easier than with blenders.  (Chef Michael Smith whips up his smoothies, marinades, dressings, everything with a ball jar with and an immersion blender.)      

Baba Ganoush

2 medium eggplants
1 or 2 orange peppers
1 head of garlic
Squirt of Sriracha sauce (or hot sauce, chili sauce)
Hefty shakes of nutritional yeast
Dollop of mayo or tahini
Splash of apple cider vinegar 
Black pepper, just a touch

Cut eggplant any which way, stab all over with a fork, and place in pan to roast in the oven. Cut off the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves within, drizzle in oil, and wrap in foil. Chop up the orange pepper, toss in oil, black pepper, and garlic powder (that way it tastes awesome in and out of the baba ganoush). 

After an hour or so, if everything looks nice and roasted, take everything out. (I would recommend waiting for it to cool but who actually waits?) Scrape the flesh off the eggplant skin, although if any clings on that's fine. The flavor is pretty awesome in the skin, too.

Blend together. Tastes better after chillin' in the fridge for a bit. 


Anonymous said...

Babaganoush can be really simple. this is the recipe I make. I add in other stuff randomly "to taste"

1 eggplant. bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
2 "heaping" tablespoons of mayo.
1 tsp garlic powder.
1/2 tsp salt.

Mix together in food processor.

Princess Lea said...

Mmm. It's now a Shabbos fave!

Anonymous said...

Off topic, have you heard of the app Grabble? Its like a tinder for shopping. You'll probably like it.

Princess Lea said...

I shop online very, very carefully. In the end there is nothing like going to an actual store and trying clothing on. Fit and quality just can't be seen on a screen. 90% of what I buy online gets returned. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's tough. I do most of my shopping online. I dont have the patience to go to stores. My return rate is probably about 40%. Not that bad.

Princess Lea said...

Pants are infinitely less complicated than skirts, for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Are they? For some people there is the question of flat or pleated. I know I always go flat. But then there is the fit. Skinny, fitted, how low they rode, etc. They aren't always THAT simple to choose