Weeknight dinner: Baba Ghanoush

Oh how my life changed when I went to Target and spent $15 on their cheapest blender. I can now whip up smoothies like a boss, crush ice into sparkly powder worthy of Elsa’s palace in Frozen and enjoy roasted almond butter that’s warm and drippy and contains just one single, wholesome ingredient that I can feel with my own two hands. Maybe if commercial food brands owned blenders and cared a little, something as simple as peanut butter wouldn’t have to be so difficult. Do you ever find yourself looking at the back of a jar with your mouth stuck together because you can’t stop spooning peanut butter and Nutella (anyone? Just me then …), trying to pronounce things like diglyceride and dextrose and hydrogenated? I know – shelf life matters. But still.

Because I make so much hummus, I buy jars of tahini often. Tahini’s ingredient list is two easy-to-pronounce items long, but for some reason I always think it’s more complicated. I never bothered to figure it out, I just chalked it up to the amazingness of Middle Eastern cuisine and loved it for the fact that it made hummus, hummus.

I bought a bag of sesame seeds for bread once. On the back of the bag, there was a recipe for tahini. All it called for were sesame seeds, a drizzle of olive oil and a blender. Don’t mind if I do.

Tahini has always been just that special ingredient that makes hummus hummus. Never did I know that 1) Making one's own tahini is so simple it's scary, and 2) It's so good it's scary.
1) Making one’s own tahini is so simple it’s scary. You just blend everything on high until it’s done. 2) The finished product is so good it’s even scarier.

I’ve never had baba ghanoush before. But I adore every other Levantine-type food, so I wanted to try it. I made my own using this great recipe from the Minimalist Baker blog, basil from the garden (the only thing left!) and my own homemade tahini. I served it for dinner with chopped veggies, Greek yogurt and feta cheese. Delicious.

I sliced the eggplant into rounds and roasted them for 10 minutes on a cookie sheet.
I sliced the eggplant into rounds and roasted them for 10 minutes in the oven on a cookie sheet.
Roasted eggplant sans skin, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, fresh tahini and some basil from the garden goes into the blender for a few minutes.
Roasted eggplant sans skin, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, fresh tahini and some basil from the garden goes into the blender for a few minutes. I added more garlic than the recipe calls for because, always more garlic. The result is a pureed dip that is creamy and a little spicy.

I have no comparison, but the eggplant gives baba ghanoush a more mild flavor than hummus. Next time, I might try adding some flavors like paprika or red peppers.

Great weeknight dinner. Stay tuned for Bloody Mary mix using the last tomatoes of the season!

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