About Me

I love to keep things fresh. Boredom makes me cringe. I believe in perseverance. Anything new and different inspires me. Photos and stories contained on this blog are my own. I create the majority of my recipes featured as well. If I adapt a recipe or find a great one to share from another source, I will give credit where it is due and a link to the original if at all possible. Please ask prior to using photos, writings and recipes and if using, please link to to the original source. Peace and Happy Blogging!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Baba Ga What? Baba Ghannouj Recipe and the delightfulness of our Lebanese Friends

Do you have any friends from Lebanon?  If not, you definitely should.  You just don't know what you're missing out on. We have quite a few Lebanese friends and they are wonderful people.  Their FOOD, oh my goodness, their food is irresistable!  If ever you are fortunate enough to get invited to a get-together with authentic Lebanese food being served, just do not hesitate.  Immediately accept without thinking twice and look forward to one of the best meals that you have ever eaten.  I have yet to accept an invitation that I regretted. 

Here in Lafayette, LA, we are fortunate to have an authentic Lebanese restaurant called Phoenician Grill.  It is on Ambassodor Caffery, a main thoroughfare in the city.  You can find it here at http://www.phoeniciangrill.com/.  I can assure you that you will not find more authentic Lebanese food at any other restaurant in Lafayette.  It's the next best thing to an invitation to eat at a Lebanese friend's home.

Lebanon is a beautiful country, very mountainous and bordering the Mediterranean, Syria and Israel.  It's people are very friendly and hospitable.  From what I understand, you can ski in the mountains and swim in the Mediterranean in the same day!  I hope to go there someday because I love the food (obviously) and our Lebanese friends are such great friends and facinating people.  You can learn more about the country here at this website:  http://www.lebanon-tourism.gov/

One of my favorite Lebanese recipes is Baba Gannouj (pronounced Baba Gannoush).  It is a roasted eggplant dip that is most often served with warmed Pita Bread.  While it has a name that is not that simple upon first glance, the recipe is very easy and definitely worth trying.  It's a favorite in my home.

Recipe:  Baba Gannouj (Roasted Eggplant Dip)

Hardware:  Food Processor

1 Purple Eggplant (without cutting the stem off, trim the loose green parts off by going around the stem with a knife.  Keep whole)
1 Garlic Clove (peeled,wrapped in foil, doused with olive oil and roasted in the oven for approx 15 minutes)
Lemon Juice from 1/2 Lemon
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste found in Middle Eastern Food Shops or ethnic section of grocery store)
Salt to taste (I use about 3/4 teaspoon)
Warmed Pita Bread to serve OR Lavash Crackers (which should not be heated)
Kalamata Olives for garnish (and as a complimentary side) or any other combination of olives that you can get your hands on.  Probably not the black canned olives though.

Preheat oven to 400F Degrees
1)  Place Whole Eggplant on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender and collapsing.  This usually takes 35-45 minutes. Just check it to see if tender.  It may open as it is roasting.
2)  Place the garlic clove with a splash of olive oil in the oven about 25 minutes after the Eggplant is in to roast.
3)  Once the eggplant is finished, split open and scrape the innards out.  (I know that sounds morbid! Just remember, it's only an eggplant.)
Here's what the roasted eggplant will look like:

4)  Once the eggplant and garlic are all finished roasting, if using, wrap Pita Bread in Foil and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
4)  Combine the roasted Eggplant, roasted garlic clove, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and salt in a food processor and process until smooth.
And here are some of the key ingredients, which of course are not necessarily the brand names that must be used.  Just use what you can find. 

How do you like my greasy olive oil bottle?  Note:  my kitchen is not pretty when I cook.

5)  Taste and add extra salt if needed.  Be sure to taste first.
6)  Remove the Pita if using from the oven, cut into triangles or strips.
7)  Scoop the Baba Ghannouj into a serving dish and top with a bit of olive oil and a couple of Kalamata Olives for garnish.
8)  Serve alongside Pita Bread or Lavash Crackers (that's what I used here) and olives. 


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