Babaganoush (Babaganouj)

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As the farming season comes to a close, I’ve been trying to scoop up all the veggies at the farmer’s market before they’re totally gone. Where I live, it’s prime time for eggplant – the shining star of my babaganoush recipe. Babaganoush is a delicious dip frequently served with pita bread in most Middle Eastern restaurants. If you haven’t had babaganoush before it is essentially hummus WITHOUT chickpeas and WITH eggplant. And it’s delicious (did I mention that?) Traditionally, the eggplant is grilled but I simply sliced mine up and roasted it for about 15-20 minutes. This recipe can easily be doubled for a large group of people. While even hummus has become somewhat of a common staple, this babaganoush is a creative recipe to serve for company. Side note: I always find it very difficult to tell when eggplants are ripe. If they’re overripe, they can be very bitter and who wants to eat bitter eggplant? I think the best way to tell if they’re ripe is to give them a firm but gentle squeeze and if the skin bounces back, then you’re good. But if the eggplant if soft and your fingers leave an imprint, the eggplant is likely overripe. Eeek!

Dietary info: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
Yield: about 2 cups
Time: 30 minutes

•1 large eggplant
•1/4 cup tahini
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•2 large cloves of garlic
•1 teaspoon cumin
•Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 teaspoon Zaatar*
Optional: Chopped herbs, such as parsley

* Zaatar (Za’atar) is a common Middle Eastern spice blend usually consisting of oregano, sumac, coriander, sesame seeds and thyme though there are different variations.

1. Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch coins and salt. Roast for about 15-20 minutes.

2. When eggplant is done (it will have shriveled a bit) you have the tedious option of de-seeding the eggplant. I do not do this. I am lazy. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with using the seeds.

3. Throw all ingredients into a food processor and process for about 30 seconds. Assess the situation. Is it super chunky? If you want it super chunky, then cool. You’re done. If you want it to be smooth, you probably want to scrape the sides and purée it for another 30 seconds. Garnish with Zaatar, herbs of your choice or just a little olive oil. Enjoy!

Oh, and you can use it as a spread on sandwiches too!

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Homemade Cilantro Salsa

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Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

Yield: about 2 cups

Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 red vine tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced OR 1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 dash of cumin
  • 1 dash of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Throw everything into a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients come together. I usually pulse about 10 times in a food processor to get my desired chunkiness. Serve with chips and enjoy!

    Baked Tofu Stir Fry with Sesame and Ginger

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    Serves: 4-6

    Time: 1 hour

    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

    It has recently occurred to me that I do not experiment enough with meat substitutes. So, I decided to make this baked tofu stir fry. As far as meat alternatives go, tofu is really not my favorite thing in the world ….but if its prepared just right it can be pretty damn yummy! When it comes to tofu, the firmer the better so I use extra firm tofu. I baked it for about 30 minutes in order to release most of the moisture. Note: if you are short on time, you can drain the tofu the night before and allow it to marinate overnight. You can serve this recipe over rice but I think this stir fry is delicious on its own! I made this recipe with broccoli, carrots and bell peppers but you can certainly mix it up by using your own variety of veggies!

    For the sesame ginger sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup Gluten-Free soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

    For everything else:

  • 1 12 oz. package of extra-firm tofu
  • 1 small crown of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon scallions, sliced for garnish

    1. Slice tofu block in half and lay both halves on a flat surface, covering with a cloth. Place a large cast iron skillet or a stack of books on top of the tofu. Allow tofu to drain for 15 minutes. While tofu is draining, whisk together all ingredients for the stir fry sauce.

    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place drained tofu in a large bowl or roasting pan and pour half the stir fry sauce overtop. Allow tofu to marinade for about 15 minutes, flipping once.

    3. Slice tofu into rectangles, about 1/2 inch thick. Place sliced tofu on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning tofu halfway through. While tofu is baking, prepare veggies.

    4. In a large skillet (or wok), add about 2 tablespoons of stir fry sauce. On medium heat, add veggies and stir frequently. Gradually add the rest of the stir fry sauce. Cook for a total of 5-7 minutes so that vegetables don’t get soggy.

    5. Serve baked tofu overtop veggies and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

    Stove-Top Mediterranean Frittata

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    Dietary Info: Gluten-Free

    Serves: 4

    Time: 20 minutes

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

    1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, dill, salt, pepper and cheeses. Set aside.

    2. Heat oil on medium heat in a small(ish) skillet. Add onions and cook for two minutes, then add garlic. Cook for two minutes then add spinach, stirring frequently. Cook for three minutes then pour in egg mixture. Once egg mixture has been added, do not stir.

    3. Using a rubber spatula, lift the edges of the mixture toward the center of the pan, allowing the liquid egg to flow underneath. Continue to do this until there is no liquid left, shifting the pan as you lift up the edges.

    4. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Divide into four separate slices and serve. Enjoy!