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Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

We had this magnificent eggplant with a stem end that looked almost ceramic but it had been around a bit too long.  I threw it on the grill, whole, waiting to decide what to do.  Aha!  My old favorite babaganoosh – as I say and spell it.  However, this time, I also cleaned out the fridge and found a container with 3 grilled carrots, 2 grilled Italian peppers, and 1 lonely grilled onion which I thought might just work with the grilled eggplant.  And, you know what, it was the best mix we had ever tasted.  The grilled carrots added a sweetness that had never been present in other variations.  Following is my version of the traditional recipe, but just as I always do, you can add and subtract to make your own personalized mix.  Traditionally, the eggplant flesh is chopped, but I just throw the whole mess into the food processor and do a couple of quick turns to blend.

1 large or 2 small eggplant, either grilled or roasted
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon roasted garlic (don’t worry, if you don’t have, use fresh)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cayenne pepper or smoked paprika to taste – this is not traditional, but either one adds a little pizzazz
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley and/or fresh mint

Scrape the flesh from the eggplant into a bowl, chopping it into small chunks.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and mash together.  Stir in the parsley or mint or both.  You can add more or less of the lemon juice, garlic, and/or olive oil to make it your own.  Serve with toasted pita bread or crackers.

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We first tried shishito peppers at the Union Square Farmers Market about 2 summers ago.  We loved them – mainly because eating them is such an adventure.  You get one really hot one every so often while the remainder is usually slightly sweet with a lovely hint of acid.  The hot one is always a surprise.  They are often just barely fried in a little extra virgin olive oil and served with a slice of lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt.

On a shopping trip to Whole Foods the other day I picked up a good amount to use as a first course for a not-too-fancy dinner party at home.  I combined them with some I’ve-forgotten-what-they-were mushrooms (they were golden and quite tasty) and instead of sautéing in olive oil, I used sesame oil, some sesame seeds, and a touch of soy sauce to finish.  It was a tasty combo that was a big hit with our guests – so much so that the leftovers were requested for a “take home” reminder of a great time at the table.

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