I am not a bean lover, but funny enough I love hummus. I have shared with you already my basic hummus recipe when I shared my Hummus Sandwich recipe. I love that it’s lemonier than versions you usually get in a Middle Eastern restaurant.
When we go to these Middle Eastern restaurants people assume that if you like hummus, you must like babaganoush too. NOT!!! I like eggplant, but I have given babaganoush many, many, many tries and I just can’t seem to enjoy it. I have learned with time that I need to be in the mood to eat eggplant and babaganoush is simply not my thing.
So, apparently we are in eggplant season. I’ve been receiving baby Japanese eggplants in my CSA box for weeks now. I had 2 great specimens in my fridge before my retreat and I was afraid they would spoil before I would get back… so I decided to mix it in with my traditional (which is really non-traditional in the middle Eastern sense) and see how that played up.
2 small Japanese eggplants, halved
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
About ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp paprika
The juice of 1 lime or criollo lemon – but if it’s not lemony enough I sometimes use 2
About 1 tsp salt – but I really eye-ball it…
About 5 cranks of the pepper mill
About ½ cup of olive oil
- Brush the eggplant halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a grill (I use my George Foreman grill) for about 10 minutes until you get nice grilled marks and the eggplants begins to soften. Take the out of the grill and set aside for a little while. The eggplant will continue to cook and soften somewhat.
- In a large food processor mix the hummus ingredients – the chickpeas, parmesan cheese, paprika, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Scrape the flesh of the eggplant and add that to the hummus mixture… leave the eggplant skin behind.
- Process the whole mix and thru the cover chute, drizzle the olive oil until the mixture gains a creamy consistency. Check for seasonings and pulse a few times more if you need to add anything else.
Serve this with whole grain pita bread or pita chips.
I brought this to a pool party at my friend’s Ana Yolanda and everyone loved it, especially Valerie who’s only 3 years old. Which proves my point that if you expose kids to different flavors early on, they’ll grow to develop great eating habits.
I’ve been receiving so many eggplants in my CSA box, that this has become my new version of hummus for picnics or get-togethers… it’s a nice twist on my original recipe, with a tad of smokiness from the grilled eggplants. I did it recently to participate in the Serious Eats Picnic Food roundup…
Hope you enjoy it as much as Valerie did…
I did this flavored oil to season a nice Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese Toasts… but I was surprised how versatile the oil has proven to dress and season many other recipes.
BASIL PARSLEY OIL
A small handful of parsley – mostly leaves
A small handful of basil leaves
About 1/3 cup of olive oil
Sea Salt – 1 turn around the food processor bowl
About 4 turns of the pepper grinder
- In a food processor mix together all the ingredients and process until the herbs are chopped super fine.
- Let it rest room temperature for about 1 hour so the flavors mix well together before using.
If you’d like, you could strain it… but I like it chunky.
The first Mojo I learned about was this – the Cuban Mojo you eat with yucca or with black beans and rice. The now famous drink in the diminutive, Mojito, has been an acquired taste in the last few years… This Cuban Mojo over Yucca is a staple at ANY and EVERY Cuban household, and something my family in Miami always makes for me, especially now that I am vegetarian.
Cuban Mojo is delicious – the best “sauce” to pour over anything. To me, it’s just glorious. It’s the only decent accompaniment to eat with boiled yucca. Once you learn how to make it, I am sure it will find its way pairing a lot more than just yucca. I am almost sure this mojo is the culprit of why I need to squirt lemon juice on arroz moro (black beans and rice).
Try it today… you’ll be a convert immediately!!!
YUCA CON MOJO CUBANO
1 yucca root, peeled and cut and middle thread removed or a few pieces of frozen yucca
½ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
The juice of 1 lime or limón criollo
Salt to taste, for the boiling water and for the mojo
- In a medium pot with water, add the yucca root pieces and salt and bring to a boil. Salt the water as if you were boiling pasta. Water should only barely cover the yucca. I am lazy, so I buy sometimes the frozen yucca kind. It works very well and it always turns out soft when boiled. Yucca can have a tendency to turn out hard; it’s a crap-shoot.
- While the yucca boils away, in a small saucepan over low heat add the olive oil, the onion and the garlic. Let the onions and garlic soften and simmer slowly in the oil. Add salt to taste. I tend to season well, about ½ tbs, but I have to be honest, I do not measure.
- When the onions are softened, the garlic is cooked, but none have gotten any color, turn off the heat and add the juice of the lemon. The oil will cloud a bit, but that’s the measure of a true mojo… lemony tangy goodness with the punch of the garlic and onion… YUMMM!!!
- When the yucca is fork tender, drain and serve with spoonfuls of mojo over it.
This is the perfect side dish with any Cuban dish… I particularly like it with black beans and rice. And that’s an upcoming lesson.
This past Summer I spent a little over 2 weeks in Spain. I visited Madrid, Pamplona, Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Barcelona, among others. Near Barcelona, we visited this little town called Villafranca del Penedés. It was a must we visited this town, as my friend Walter’s family is originally from there. The proof – there was a street named after him… it was amazing.
But what I never thought I would find in Villafranca was one of the best extra virgin olive oils I have ever tasted. As part of a tour to Villafranca and Montserrat, we visited the Bodegas Torres. I was afraid this was going to be one of those tourist traps… but the local winery, well known for their Sangre de Toro wine and one of my dad’s favorite red wines, as a real surprising treat. Besides the winery, Bodegas Torres has a gastronomy division named Torre Real which, among other things, makes olive oil made from Arbequina olives. According to information I have read since then… Arbequina olives are the “crème de la crème” as Spanish olives is concerned.
I brought back a bottle of this wonderful olive oil… and now, no other olive oil stands next to it. I ration it so that I can enjoy it as long as I can…
To me, it’s the perfect olive oil to dress a salad, to dip great crusty bread or to drizzle over a soup or pasta as a finishing touch. And the most amazing thing – this olive oil only cost me 5 Euros. Not bad for such high quality. They also make white and red wine vinegars. I have not tried the vinegar yet – I have like 7 open vinegar bottles, so I would like to decrease that inventory before I open a new now.
I good friend from high school lives in Barcelona now and I have asked her to please bring me 3-4 bottles of the Arbequina olive oil when she comes to Puerto Rico in the next few weeks. If you have access to this wonderful product, I urge you to try it.
Do you have any favorite olive oil?? Tell me all about it.
It’s the time of New Year resolutions… another one of mine – eat more salads at home.
I tend to eat big salads when I eat out or a side salad when I feel what I am eating is not that healthy – like a pizza. I try to add more nutrition by accompanying whatever I am having with a salad. But at home, sometimes I get lazy. But I have noticed that when I am hooked to the taste of an awesome dressing, I look forward to eating a salad at home everyday.
This is my new vice – Mustard Vinaigrette. Easy, tasty, and goes well with any greens and vegetables you might fancy in your salad. I did this to accompany my not-so-healthy veggie “chicken” nuggets.
I make this by “eye-balling” the ingredients… so bear with me here on the quantities.
1 tbs Dijon or Grain Mustard
1 tbs Apple cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Extra-virgin Olive oil
In the same bowl you’ll prepare your salad, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Then, pour olive oil slowly while whisking it in, until you get a nice emulsified dressing mixture.
Taste to adjust any seasonings.
Add any greens and vegetables you crave on your salad.
I am sure you could use this vinaigrette to season grilled vegetables – like portobello mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc.