Balsamic Glazed Eggplant

Babaganoush is pretty much the only way I have prepared eggplant. Perhaps once before I sauteed it, but I can’t remember clearly, and I think thats because it wasn’t successful. I was a little intimidated to make anything else because of an episode of Good Eats I watched a while back. It seemed too difficult to drain out the water for a few hours before baking, grilling, or frying it to prevent a gloppy mess.

But one afternoon I finally had time and desire to try it. It turned out very well, too. The texture was great, and the flavor combo as well. There are lots of ways you can prepare eggplant, and the flavors are endless, too. This is effort #2 of hopefully many many more.

Honey Balsamic Glazed Eggplant

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 cloves garlic, ground to a paste
1 T honey
2 t balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
red pepper flakes

Directions:
1) Salt both sides of eggplant slices and place on a cooling rack. Place a heavy cutting board, or something similar, on top and add weight. This will help squeeze some water out of the eggplants. Let it sit like this for an hour or two. Rinse off the salt and squeeze the water out. Pat dry with a clean dish towel.

2) Preheat your oven to 450ºF.

3) Grind your garlic cloves to a paste. Whisk in honey, balsamic vinegar, and salt.

4) Place eggplant on cooking sheet, and brush generously with the glaze. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you wish. Bake for about 20 minutes each side or until tender, reglazing as you flip.

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Carrot, Apple, Ginger Slaw with Balsamic Marinated Peach

Apple, Carrot, Ginger Salad

Grated carrots and apples (i like more apple than carrot), tossed with freshly slivered ginger (about 1 tablespoon fresh) and a few slices of marinated peaches (one peach slivered thinly with 2 – 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar, overnight). Drizzle with a bit more balsamic vinegar (not too much), olive oil, a drop of sesame oil, and some toasted walnuts or slivered almonds on top. If you have the forethought to make this, really try the marinated peaches — they are glorious. The freshly grated ginger (yes, raw) is a must for this salad.

A Mediterranean Meal: Babaganoush, Balsamic Tomatoes, and Lemon Pepper Parmesan Chickpeas

Med

A wonderfully light and well-balanced, yet rich Mediterranean meal that might cost you a good $30.00 at any restaurant in Chicago serving similar stuff. And its good for you. Beat that.

Babaganoush - Shriveled EggplantBabaganoush - Finished

Babaganoush:
2 Eggplans
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1.5 tablespoons tahini (I heard suggested once my Mark Bitten to use peanutbutter as a sub, but never tried it)
Juice of half a lime
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika

Directions:
1. Roast the eggplant. There are many methods for this. Grill it (30 minutes, rotating), bake it (30 minutes), roast it in the pan (30 something minutes, also rotating), and I’ve even heard of microwaving it. Use the method easiest to you. The times are estimates. You want it (if you are grilling or roasting in a pan) charred on the outside, and heavy and completely shirveled. It will look very sad compared to its fresh form, but thats what you want.

2. Scrape out the insides, it should come easily. Don’t use the charred skin. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree in your blender or hand mixer until very very smooth. Fix salt and hot paprika to your taste. Serve with crackers or toasted pita bread.

Marinated Tomatoes

Tomatoes:
6 Roma tomatoes (or any that look really good and ripe)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Basil and Thyme, about a teaspoon of each
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: Chop and seed tomatoes. Mix with all ingredients and let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Lemony Chickpeas

Lemony Pepper Parmesan Chickpeas:
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1/4 cup freshly shredded salty cheese (parmesan or romano is good)
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Salt
Fresh ground pepper (be generous here, it’s important. Maybe 1 teaspoon?)
A drizzle of olive oil if you desire.

Directions: Roast the chickpeas in the oven or in a pan until browned on the outside. Let cool to room temperature. Add lime, salt, and finely grated cheese, and toss. Cover generously with black pepper.