This past weekend I was absolutely fed up with my fraternity kitchen. If you’ve never seen a kitchen in a fraternity house, it goes a little something like this: dirty outdated appliances, fridges that emit some kind of odd liquid from the bottom, and not a lot of workspace. Mind you, our kitchen is cleaner than many others, but it still isn’t ideal when you want to take over a kitchen for an afternoon. So I packed up my Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook and went for a road trip to Hannah’s kitchen. A real kitchen in a real house with granite countertops and everything. Honestly, I am never more grateful to walk into a legitimate kitchen than after I’m forced to do a lot of cooking in the one in my house. This is also probably the appropriate time to mention that this girl also has puppies. Adorable puppies. And having them all up around your feet when you are putting together lunch is just divine.I kept the recipe simple, as we were pressed for time, so here you have it: Garlic and Eggplant Spread!
The other day I was in Wegmans, walking aimlessly through the aisles, which is what happens when I go grocery shopping without a list, and I’m in the produce section, and I stop before the eggplants. I grab one, turn and say, “see this eggplant? This looks like a GOOD eggplant. I have no idea what, but I bet I’ll do something tasty with this.” I bought it figuring I’d eventually grill it and do some kind of panini, but I didn’t have any of the other panini ingredients. I did, however, have ten thousand garlic cloves in my cabinet, so I decided to make a dip. It didn’t take long at all, and I got to use the broiler for the first time! Psh, like my house has one of those. Originally, the word “broil” intimidated me, but that was just me being paranoid. So I broiled an eggplant and I saw that it was good.
- 1 eggplant (approx. 1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
(NOTE: I didn’t have tahini where I was cooking (I find it a little odd that a cookbook designed for college students uses tahini as an example of a “simple ingredient” that all college students “have in their pantries,” but okay. I’ll play), so I improvised a little bit with what was in the pantry. I took a tablespoon and a half of peanut butter and mixed it around in a dish with a little less than a tablespoon of sesame oil. It had the same consistency as tahini, and only smelled a little bit like peanut butter. It tasted great, so I won’t complain!)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon freshly minced parsley (optional)
- Preheat the broiler, set to high. Prick the eggplant in several places with a fork, and cut off the stem.
- Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and broil for about 20 minutes. It will get a little charred on the outside (totally okay), and turns wrinkly and mushy. It also will start collapsing in on itself as the inside of the eggplant begins to break down. The eggplant might also leak. These are all fabulous, wonderful things we want to happen to our eggplant.
- When the eggplant is cool enough to touch, cut it in half, scrape out the inside into a bowl, and discard the skin.
- Add the (fake) tahini, lemon juice, garlic, onion, and salt and pepper.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle the dip with a little parsley, ripped (or chopped) into itsy bitsy pieces.
Even if hummus isn’t necessarily “your thing,” I would still try this. It doesn’t have a very, uh, hummusy taste, and is very fresh and light for a good afternoon snack. I bought a bag of those pre-toasted crostini from the grocery store (Italian herb flavored, yummy) and put the spread on those. Try it and see for yourself