Friday, January 29, 2016

Roasted Eggplant Dip

This is a first!
I've never fixed eggplant.
I've learned enough about it that I could talk about it . . .
like it can be bitter,
and that it is better if you draw out the moisture from the veggie before you cook it.
To my knowledge, I've only eaten it one time, and that was last Fall.
But while grocery shopping the other day, my boy cherub said he wanted to try eggplant.
So we bought one.
Just one.
Since I didn't really know what to do with it, or how many eggplants would be needed, we started small.
You know -- better safe than sorry!
After contemplating the eggplant, I decided to start "safe."
I thought an eggplant dip would be our jumping off point.
So the other day, I gathered the little eggplant and other ingredients and started cooking.
Now!  Don't you know, that later that afternoon, while folding laundry and watching Ina Garten,
she made a roasted eggplant dip.
And after watching that, I had wished I had waited so that I could have made that recipe.
But, I guess that will be next time!
When searching recipes, like anything, there are similar components, then there are the random additions; such as plain greek yogurt, tomato paste, olives, vinegar.
That's what makes cooking fun!  Take the basic and go from there!
For our first eggplant attempt, I went with a basic dip that used the things we liked from different recipes.
Final result:  We all actually like the dip!
So thank you to my boy cherub! 
We'll continue experimenting with eggplant!
Roasted Eggplant Dip
1 eggplant
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 TBSP tahini paste
1 onion, chopped and caramelized
salt and pepper
Wash the eggplant.
Thickly slice the eggplant and place in a strainer in the sink.  Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt.  Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with foil.  Blot the eggplant dry and place on the pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
With the pan on a lower rack in the oven, broil on high until the eggplant slices are browned and roasted.
While the eggplant is cooking, in a pan, add oil and chopped onions, cooking until the onions are caramelized in color and cooked thoroughly.  Remove from the heat.
Remove the eggplant from the oven and allow to cool.  Remove and discard the skin.
Place the roasted eggplant in a food processor or good blender.  Add the garlic cloves, juice of one lemon, 1 TBSP tahini paste (or more if you desire it or if the eggplant was larger in size).  Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides.  Add 1 TBSP of oil, if needed to help process the dip.  Add in about 1/2 of the caramelized onions to the processor and continue pulsing until well incorporated. 
Scoop the dip into a bowl and create a "well" in the middle of the dip.  Fill this with the remaining caramelized onions.  If desired, drizzle the completed dip with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of course grind salt.
Serve with crackers or veggies.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Caesar Dressing

There's only one in our family that really "loves" Caesar salad.
That's my girl cherub.
Not that the others of us dislike it;
it's just that we don't really think about it when we think "salad."
Caesar salad is really kind of simple.
The components aren't fancy,
but they are flavorful!
The other night, for dinner, I entertained the thought of making a Caesar salad.
But I didn't want to buy a bottle of dressing.
Not because I'm opposed to buying bottled dressing,
but because I was at home and didn't want to make a trip "into town" for dressing!
I searched for different recipes:
Some using anchovies.
Some not.
Some using grated parmesan in the recipe.
Some not.
Some using oil.
Some not.
In the end,  here's my Caesar concoction.
Now!  To warn you; it's a little more on the lemon side.
I told my cherubs that the lemon made it "bright."
Maybe the truth is this:  I put too much lemon in it with the other acid.
I'm not too certain; nor am I too worried about it, because I liked the end result.
When you make this, you might want to give it a taste without the lemon to see how you like it; then add the lemon a bit at a time.
Caesar Dressing
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard (this is the dry spice)
1 heaping teaspoon  dijon mustard
2 TBSP red wine vinegar (could substitute white vinegar)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
smide of salt and course ground pepper
2-4 TBSP olive oil*
In a blender or a food processor, add the garlic and next 6 ingredients.  Blend until the garlic is thoroughly minced and the other ingredients are well combined.
With the blender on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to mix well. 
Pour into a jar or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
*I used 2 TBSP because I didn't want the dressing too thin.  Base the  amount of oil used on desired consistency.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tuna Salad

I've had a can of tuna in my pantry for a while now.
I think about using it.
I look at it and think, "I really need to use that."
But today, I craved tuna!
I think "craving" is your body's way of getting something it's missing.
Like iron,
or vitamins,
or minerals,
or Riboflavin.
I'm kidding about Riboflavin; I just like saying that, even though I don't know what it is!
For lunch, I took my one little can of tuna and made tuna salad.
Only my girl cherub was at home, so I offered to share.
She's wasn't to excited about tuna salad; she said it smells gross.
Why is that?
What a turn-off; to rip off the lid of tuna at work . . . .
and the room fills with the disgusting smell of tuna!
But I'm at home today so I didn't worry about offending anybody;
not even my girl cherub!
After I made the salad, I offered my girl cherub a bite.
Guess what!  She liked it! 
She asked for it for lunch tomorrow!
I guess I'll need to get another can of tuna!
Tuan Salad
1 small can tuna, drained (I use white tuna)
1 TBSP finely chopped onion
1 TBSP mayonnaise
1 small squirt of mustard
1 TBSP pickle relish (you pick if it's dill or sweet)
1 boiled egg, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, place the tuna and use your fork to "unpack" the fish.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir together.
Serve with toasted bread, crackers, or celery.