Hello Blaze Babes! Happy February. Ewwwww. Okay, that’s not fair, but . . . ewwww.
So what’s better in cold, snowy weather than to sit indoors and eat?
Okay, maybe one thing. But not all of us have access to that 24/7. So let’s stick to food for now. Our Lebanese feast continues! This month I am going to offer a dish that will surprise and amaze all of you who think you don’t like eggplant. Or at least some of you who think you don’t like eggplant. Even better, this dish is loaded with complex flavor and has only five ingredients. Four if you don’t count salt, three if you don’t count olive oil. I can’t tell you how many confirmed eggplant haters this dish has converted. Even my kids. So those of you who love the stuff and are saddled with a family which doesn’t . . . give this a try.
Warning: This is another grandma recipe so amounts are going to be annoyingly vague. I’ve never measured and it’s never been bad, so just go for it.
One big eggplant.
Pure olive oil (don’t bother cooking with extra virgin, the added flavor is destroyed by heat so you’re wasting money. Save it for salad.)
Salt to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Enough plain yoghurt (full fat is better, lowfat is fine) to coat eggplant (1/3 to 1/2 cup?)
Peel and slice eggplant into 3/8 inch slices (snort, get out those rulers, ladies). Either fry in oil in batches or brush each slice with oil and broil, turning once (brushing with oil again if you really like burning your fingers). The first method takes more time and more oil, but is delicious. The second is faster, fewer calories and tastes fine. Whichever you use, don’t call the slices done until they’re a nice dark brown. My grandmother always said come close to burning at least one or two slices for flavor. Not charred you understand, but don’t be scared of nearly-black on a few.
Stack the slices as cooked and slice them into strips, then across once or twice, so you have bite-sized pieces. In a small bowl, or in a mortar and pestle, combine garlic with salt—try 1/4 tsp. at first—and squish it around. The salt will act as sandpaper and turn the garlic into paste. Alternately, you can just put a bigger clove through a press and mix with salt. It wastes garlic, but it’s quicker. If you used a mortar and pestle, transfer garlic paste to a bowl, stir in yoghurt, then eggplant, add more salt to taste if you want. Garnish with chopped parsley or pomegranate seeds or nothing (it’s brown, though, so color is nice). Serve at room temperature or chilled, but if you let it sit too long the yoghurt gets watery, though it still tastes wonderful. Serve alone or scoop up with pita bread triangles.
Next month: a lamb, tomato and green bean stew. The month after that, my April Blaze is out. The cover is finally up on my website! . I really like it. The cover for my May Blaze (these are linked Wrong Bed books about two sisters with opposite personalities and attitudes about men), is up on Amazon.com. I think they look like they’re trying to eat each other, but . . . it’s not a bad cover either.
Wishing you all a happy February! Hope you had a super Valentine’s Day yesterday.
Here’s to romance and happy-ever-afters!