Monthly Archives: August 2012

Roasted Eggplant and White Bean Hummus

There’s this really nice farmer, who lives not too far from me.  I think he’s from Scotland.  I love talking with him . . . . outside his simple farmstand.  For the last few years he’s saved me one of his prized eggplants, and I always make my eggplant parmesan.  This year, my eggplant arrived a new way . . . . as a gift from a client!  So I thought it might be time to find something different. 

I’ve always wanted to try roasted eggplant dip, so when I fell upon this recipe that brought two of my favorites together (eggplant and beans) I decided to give it a go.    

So here’s the eggplant just before roasting . . . . .

  And here it is just out of the oven . . . .

Ok, ok . . . . so this is where it got difficult!  I went ahead and had myself a little taste-test  . . . .  and let’s just say my whole plan could have ended right here!!!  It was awesomely delicious!!!  But, being the good culinary-student-in-training that I am, I carried on. 

And here’s how it all turned out . . . . (we served it up with multigrain pita crackers and fresh vegetables) – tomatoes from our deck-plants!   

 

I filled a few crackers (and a few spoons) and ended up eating enough that I passed on supper!  I wish my dip pics would turn out prettier . . . . hard to capture creamy, blended beans (any ideas??) . . . .  but I AM excited to try this as a tortilla spread with greens for breakfast!   

And then there’s this one last thought that I wanted to share . . . . inspired by all of the amazing Olympic Athletes. 

I love watching the BEST!!  It doesn’t matter what the sport is (though I have my favorites – think balance beams and vollyball nets on sandy beaches) – I simply enjoy watching the best do what they do well.  But it’s the stories that I find equally inspiring.  Gabby Douglas finding the courage to live and train so far from family and home.  Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh-Jennings digging deep for that third in a row . . . .  and then Oscar Pistorius of South Africa . . . . the first double amputee, ever, to compete at the games .  THIS is what I love most about people and life and the very spirit that celebrates our passion and our strengths.  And I love that we all have a story . . .  . So here’s to all the Olympic Athletes who remind us of possibility . . . . and to riding the high!! 

Roasted Eggplant and White Bean Hummus
1 medium eggplant, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for roasting
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove
Freshly ground pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and drizzle with a generous tablespoon of olive oil.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Toss lightly and roast for approximately 20-25 minutes – until golden brown.  Set aside to cool.
2.  In a blender or food processor, combine the eggplant, beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper.  Pulse the mixture to blend, and then with the blender running, gradually add the olive oil until creamy.  Season with additional salt & pepper to taste. 

Prep Notes:  You may want to adjust the lemon juice to taste, perhaps starting with 2 Tbsp and adding more as per preference.  Enjoy!!

Recipe Adapted From:
www.foodnetwork.com 
Recipe Courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008    

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Green Bean Tomato Salad

Hi Everyone
I hope it’s been a good couple of weeks!  
Alright . . . . . did I really just say that?  Weeks?!     Ok well sometimes life just gets away from you while you’re busy moving from one thing to the other (or one day to the next) and you wake up one morning and realize that you haven’t gotten a blog post up in over 2 weeks!  I realize this may not happen to everyone but that’s exactly what happened to me at 5 am yesterday morning. 

I’ve been on a vacation of sorts . . . . .actually Mick’s been on vacation.  Up to Wisconsin for an awesome week of camp-life!  So while he was gone I was busy stripping wallpaper and painting walls!  What was I thinking  . . . .  definitely not a vacation . . . . .  but a change from the normal routine. 

Anyway – back to Sunday morning.  So there I was, 5 am, sitting at my computer thinking about my blog post and what I might make that would go great with the flank steak I already had marinating.  I quickly settled on this green bean salad I discovered over a year ago.  It all started when my sister handed me a bag of green beans the other day (right out of her garden).  I thought then that I’d dig out the recipe, but we started eating the beans right out of the bag, and by the time we were done there weren’t nearly enough left for the salad. 
Been craving it ever since! 

It’s fresh, crisp and so right now – loaded with green beans, tomatoes and basil, all tossed together with a red wine vinaigrette!  After all the pesto I’ve been making I was grateful my basil plants started growing new leaves!!   

I love this salad for the way it seems to highlight the wonderful flavors of summer.  It’s great all by itself yet it can also accompany grilled chicken or shrimp or fresh mozzarella (Mick’s choice for last night)! 
Here’s how it turned out . . . . .   

We all enjoyed it so much we ended up using it as the main course really, with a bit of grilled flank steak on the side.  Perfect! 

Green Bean Tomato Salad
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved, or small heirloom tomatoes halved or quartered
½ – 1 small red onion, halved crosswise and thinly sliced
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil 
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper 

  1. Assemble Vinaigrette (see below) and set aside. 
  2. In a covered medium saucepan cook green beans in a small amount of boiling water for 7-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. 
  3. Drain, and quickly submerse in a bowl of icewater to cool.  Drain again.    
  4. In a large bowl combine green beans, tomatoes, and onion.  Drizzle with Red Wine Vinaigrette; sprinkle with basil and gently toss.  Season to taste with additional kosher salt and pepper.   
  5. Optional – this recipe is great with Fresh Mozzarella (as pictured above) or you can try tossing with Grilled Shrimp or Chicken. 

Red Wine Vinaigrette
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
11/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine vinegar & shallot and let stand for 5 minutes.  Whisk in mustard.  Add oil in a steady stream whisking constantly until combined.  Stir in kosher salt and pepper.  You may need to make a few adjustments to the vinaigrette to taste (perhaps a bit more dijon or vinegar).  Keeps up to 3 days.

Enjoy!!  And GO TEAM USA!!!

Recipe Gently Adapted From:
The Sonoma Diet, Dr. Connie Guttersen, RD, PhD, Copyright 2005
Meredith Books, Publisher