The Southern Belle Blogs

life as a semi-crunchy mom

Tag: eggplant

A Farm-to-Fork Dinner

This is one of those posts that I should have typed up long ago. But life happened (we left for Alaska a few days after) and I wasn’t exactly happy with my photos.

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At the beginning of October, a friend of mine had an open invitation for people to come to her family’s farm for a delicious farm-to-fork meal that she helped produce along with a friend of hers from Raleigh. I couldn’t resist the urge to go even though rain somewhat threatened the day (only to reward us later on with a gorgeous rainbow). 

This wasn’t the first time I had been out to Somerset Farm and I hope that it will not be the last. I love spending way too much money at their table at the Edenton Farmer’s Market picking up delicious and fresh vegetables. The menu at this particular event featured produce and lamb straight from the farm.

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The menu:

  • lamb pate with blood orange marmalade + rosemary crisps
  • chioggia beets with feta + berbere chickpeas
  • couscous with roasted butternut + golden raisins
  • eggplant with za’atar + pomegranate molasses
  • grilled lamb ribs
  • pear + date croustade with vanilla cream
  • lemon balm mojitos
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lamb pate | blood orange marmalade | rosemary crisps

Everything that I ate was delicious, and yes, I even braved the pate! My evening was spoiled slightly when I locked my keys into my car, which contributed to some of the less than flattering plated photos, but my boyfriend came to my rescue (eventually) and brought me my spare keys.

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lamb ribs being grilled

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chioggia beers | feta | berbere chickpeas

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My plate – prepared by a friend that I had invited while I was out dealing with my car issues.

All in all, it was quite the magical evening! She hosted a November event in honor of Guy Fawkes Day that featured Indian food, but unfortunately I was not able to attend. I hope that she resumes these events once the weather grows warmer.

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Easy Baba Ghanoush [Recipe]

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.

Baba Ghanoush.

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!

Black Vernissage Tomatoes, Gretel Eggplant, Fairy Tale Eggplant

Black Vernissage Tomatoes, Gretel Eggplant, Fairy Tale Eggplant

 

The little purple ones are Fairy Tale Eggplant and are about the size of my pinky. Though I planted Hansel – none ever produced.

The little purple ones are Fairy Tale Eggplant and are about the size of my pinky. Though I planted Hansel – none ever produced.

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.

At this point, the tomatoes had already been removed and smashed.

At this point, the tomatoes had already been removed and smashed.

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.

Though not a pretty dish, it is delicious and so simple. I served my baba ghanoush with cucumber slices and bagel crisps.

Though not a pretty dish, it is delicious and so simple. I served my baba ghanoush with cucumber slices and bagel crisps.

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

Ingredients:

  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 medium or 14 mini eggplant
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 small bulb garlic
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • salt, pepper, olive oil

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add lemon juice and tahini. Combine.
  6. 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.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a touch more of tahini and lemon juice. Serve.