If you are in Charlottesville and looking for a budget-friendly place to rest your head, I suggest checking out the Charlottesville KOA. Located about 10 miles from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, the Charlottesville KOA is the place to go to experience peace and quiet in the mountains. This campground is a small one but don’t let that stop you. The staff was fabulous when we checked in (very helpful – even providing us with a great map of the area) and the facilities are very clean.
Even though the pool normally closes on Labor Day, it was still open because of the heat. The water was certainly nice and refreshing! The pool was surrounded by trees and since we were the only ones in there, it felt like our own private oasis. There is a laundry/game room which we checked out (but never utilized – even though we had talked about playing a game of pool or air hockey), as well as a playground.
There’s also a fishing pond/nature trail you can check out on the property. I really liked walking the nature trail and the fishing pond was nice to gaze upon. Now keep in mind that there is a poison ivy out there. I did find several good sources of jewelweed however, which is known to help soothe poison ivy (as an herbalist, it tickled me to find so much jewelweed).
There are three different types of cabins you can book: a one room cabin, a two room cabin, or a cottage. For our one room cabin (which sleeps up to 4 people – and provided us with plenty of room), it cost only $65 a night when we booked. We did have to bring our own linens, but the cabin provided us with a cable tv, AC/heat, electricity, and a ceiling fan. The larger cottages have their own bathrooms attached but since all of the cabins were located right near the restroom (and like I said, this is a smaller campground), that wasn’t an issue.
One of the nicer perks was free wireless internet on the campground as well as free cable tv. All in all, this was a great campground and provided us with a nice and relaxing place to stay.
Charlottesville KOA 2016 Season: Open March 11th – Close November 13th
3825 Red Hill Rd.,
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Did you survive hurricane/tropical storm Hermine okay?
Other than our garden looking like a hot mess and a couple of issues with our fence, we made it through relatively unscathed. But while everyone raced to the grocery store to purchase milk/bread/eggs, I went and purchased tahini, champagne, and tofu, among other things. I have a growing cache of mini eggplant in my fridge that have been begging to be used and I finally realized on Friday what I wanted to create with them.
Just the word alone is fun to say. The taste however is out of this world. I’ve never had baba ghanoush before but it seemed like the perfect thing to make with the eggplant from my garden, plus a couple of garden tomatoes thrown in.
What makes my baba ghanoush a little different from most is the addition of roasted garlic. I’ve never roasted garlic before but there is something about the creamy caramelized garlic that is delicious!
Baba ghanoush is a Middle Eastern dish considered to be an appetizer. There are as many variations out there of baba ghanoush as there are cultures. The main ingredient in all of them seem to be eggplant, specifically eggplant that has been roasted or grilled so that the skin becomes charred and easy to remove, leaving the inner flesh soft.
This dish does take some time to make. But you don’t have to stand over the stove. Once I put my vegetables in to roast, I checked on them every 30 minutes or so to gauge their tenderness.
I wasn’t sure how I would like the tahini as I’m not a fan of sesame seeds, but the nutty taste of tahini (plus the texture) reminded me of an almond or other nut butter. I’m already looking for other ways to use tahini. I’ve posted my recipe below – enjoy! This will certainly be a dish that I will make again.
Easy Baba Ghanoush total cook time: 1.5 hours| serves 2-3
6 cherry tomatoes
2 medium or 14 mini eggplant
1 lemon, juiced
1 small bulb garlic
2 tbsp. tahini
salt, pepper, olive oil
Let’s get started on roasting the garlic. Preheat the oven to 375*. Cut off the top of your bulb of garlic exposing all of the cloves. Drizzle in olive oil, salt, pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in oven.
If you are using medium size eggplant, you’ll want to slice them into chunks. If you are using mini eggplant, prick the skins several times with a fork. Add to a baking dish with your tomatoes. Toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in oven.
The tomatoes/eggplant will roast for about 45 minutes until tender. Once tender, remove from oven. The garlic will take about 1 hour to reach a mushy stage.
Let the eggplant cool to the touch. Peel away the skin, scooping the soft insides into a bowl. Add tomatoes and smash together. I like a little bit of texture to my baba ghanoush which is why I decided not to use a food processor. I think that it helps prevent some of the “sliminess” that the dish can sometimes have.
Add lemon juice and tahini. Combine.
Squeeze the garlic bulb, releasing the cloves. I’m a huge fan of garlic so I used the whole bulb. You may want to add a couple of cloves at a time, combining and tasting until you reach a level of garlic that you enjoy.
Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a touch more of tahini and lemon juice. Serve.
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