Let’s Cook Lebanese: Baba Ghanoush

“Baba Ghanoush” is a wonderful smoky, eggplant dip of Eastern Mediterranean origin. My favorite Greek & Lebanese Café serves a version of this dip which is just the best one you will ever find. It combines the flavors of smoky eggplant, tahini paste, lemon juice, fresh garlic plus a little salt to make a a creamy and smooth dip. There’s still time to make this dish with the last of summer’s eggplant in fresh produce markets. I decided to try see if I could duplicate Serop’s “Baba Ghanoush.” It is more difficult than you might think to properly marry all the ingredients and flavors. Although still different from Serop’s, my version is tastes great, too!

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Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Meat Sauce

This recipe pairs Japanese eggplant with ground pork and oriental spices to make an absolutely delicious “hot and spicy” eggplant dish. While looking through my recipe files for eggplant dishes, I found a strikingly large number of recipes which combined eggplant with pork and occasionally pasta. I’ve never thought of putting these ingredients together and decided to give the recipe a try. Well, we loved the oriental-style concoction and promptly ate it all.

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One Dish Meal: Classic Greek Moussaka

Here’s a recipe that combines my some of favorite vegetables — eggplant, potatoes and onions — with other ingredients to make a one-dish meal. I ate a wonderful version of this dish, Beef Moussaka, at Lebanese restaurant in Niagara Falls, Canada, of all places. It has been five years since we took the trip to Canada and I’ve made many attempts at duplicating the recipe. With eggplant in season in the summer, I’m trying again and here’s my final recipe.

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Roast Eggplant with Garlic and Zahtar

Here’s an easy recipe for a small batch of eggplant — “Roast Eggplant with Garlic and Zahtar.” Eggplant grows well in a Louisiana garden and I needed ideas to cook a few at a time as they ripened in the hot summer heat. One of my favorite eggplant dishes is served at a local Lebanese and Greek cafe. It consists of sauteed eggplant which is doused in lemon juice and garlic. The soft eggplant pulp blends with the spices perfectly and it is another “melt in your mouth” eggplant recipe. Thought I’d try to make a variation with my garden eggplant.

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Deep South Fried Eggplant Medallions

It you ever want an authentic taste of traditional southern cooking at it’s best; stop at a restaurant in the tiny town of McComb, Mississippi, on your travels along Interstate 55 which goes between Chicago and New Orleans. This is where I first tasted eggplant — their version is breaded and fried — and fell in love with this vegetable — it is a flavorful “melt in your mouth” eggplant dish. Don’t travel this way often? Too bad, you are missing much of the rural South and alot of good cooking.

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Crawfish-Stuffed Egglant Pirogues

Here’s a recipe that combines crawfish with seasonings and diced eggplant. The stuffing is piled back into eggplant shells and baked. For eggplant lovers, this is a great dish. If you don’t have crawfish available, then substitute shrimp. This is one if my favorite seafood dishes which I’m naming, “Crawfish-Stuffed Eggplant Pirogues.” It can be  served either as a main dish or side dish, just double the crawfish for a main dish.

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The Vegetarian Epicure: Baked Beans à la Charente

This week I’m travelling back in time to a recipe from the 1980’s. While searching through cookbooks on my bookshelves, I rediscovered one that I purchased during those years. I’m a collector and never throw anything away — this cookbook is a good one. Glancing through the pages, I saw marks by the recipes that I had made; most had “excellent” by them and many had memories associated with them. And this cookbook has a story of it’s own. I decided to try to make a one of the recipes — “Baked Beans à la Charente”, a vegetarian bean casserole topped with fresh tomato and eggplant slices. A little cognac in the beans gave some zing. Yum. Continue reading

Aunt Gaye’s Eggplant Caponata

Everybody raves about Aunt Gaye’s Eggplant Caponata. It’s another great recipe for eggplant which includes lots of garden fresh vegetables. These are all chopped up and baked in a simple red wine vinegar and olive oil marinade. The flavors meld together in just the right blend. It’s difficult to stop eating this appetizer.

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“Melt-In-Your-Mouth” Eggplant Stacks: Let’s Cook Summer Vegetables

I like to cook summer vegetables while they are in season. I was surprised and pleased to discover that eggplant grows in a Louisiana garden. The first year that I grew eggplant they flourished with very little attention. Plenty of eggplant to cook and that sent me scrambling for recipes. Here’s one of my favorites. It makes the best of eggplant and other summer vegetables: “Melt-In-Your-Mouth” Eggplant Stacks. Continue reading