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Monday, April 11, 2011

Leggo my eggo...plant!

Every time I go to the produce stand I see all these different types of eggplant (please disregard the rutabagas that creeped into the picture). I have been wanting to try a recipe for baba ganoush. If you don't know what baba ganoush is, then be prepared to be enlightened. Baba ganoush is an Arab dish that is essentially mashed up eggplant dip. Translation: a glorious, creamy, smokey dip that is as fun to eat as it is to say- BABA GANOUSH!! :) It is easy to make and it's a good reason to eat veggies since it's a dip. According to, another reason to nosh on this purple gift from nature is because it's a very good source of antioxidants and dietary fiber. Because of its low soluble carbohydrate content and high fiber, it is the best diet choice for diabetics. One full serving of eggplant is very low in calories. A cup full of sliced one-inch cubes contains only 33 calories. Eggplant is also rich in minerals such as copper, potassium and manganese and is a very good source of Vitamins B1 and B6. So what are you waiting for?

Here is a recipe for baba ganoush.

1 large eggplant (or two small/medium eggplants)
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic (fine chop)
1 pinch cumin (ground)
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian parsley
1 teaspoons cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and broil in the oven for 8-10 minutes (or until the skin is all charred). Then flip it over, flesh-side up, and broil another 6-8 minutes. Take out and let cool. Remove the stem and charred skin. It's okay not to get every single piece of skin. I think it adds to the smokey flavor of the dip a little bit. So then you just add the eggplant to a food processor along with all the other ingredients and pulse until smooth. Baba ganoush is generally served cold but I can't help myself and I usually snag a few bites while it's still hot. This is great served with pita chips and fresh veggies. Enjoy!

In other news... one of the blogs I follow, Diet, Dessert and Dogs, posted a recipe for "happy brownies" that contain hemp seed, hence the name. They sounded yummy and I thought it would be a good opportunity to use hemp seed. According to The Nourishing Gourmet, hemp is a high protein seed containing all nine of the essential amino acids (like flax) and is supposed to be very digestible. It also has high amounts of fatty acids and fiber and vitamin E. And, get this, unlike soy which has super high amounts of phytic acid (that anti-nutrient that prevents us from absorbing minerals), hemp seed doesn’t contain phytic acid. At the very least, this makes hemp seed a step up from soy. So anyway, I wanted to make the brownies so I went to Whole Foods for just a few ingredients that I didn't have. I realized very quickly that I was going to need to get a second job if I wanted to make these "happy brownies." The coconut sugar was $12 a bag. The vanilla stevia was $9, and the hemp seed was $17/lb (even though I only needed about 1/8 lb. So I nixed the brownies and just decided to get my hemp fix from hemp milk ice cream! I do it for you, my loyal blog followers! Haha, any excuse to eat ice cream. I got the coffee biscotti flavor and ate it with a vegan chocolate chip cookie from the bakery at Whole Foods (those are just too good to be true) and it was very tasty and much less stressful than baking a $100 batch of not-so-happy brownies.

Oh, and one more thing before I go... I went out to dinner with my Mom last week. She was in the mood for Mexican food. I knew I was going to make my selection from the vegetarian menu. I was brave and ordered a burrito (minus cheese and sour cream) that had sauteed cactus inside. I was thrilled with my decision because it had a very unique, tangy and sour flavor that was unexpected and quite delicious! So next time you're in a Mexican restaurant, go for the cactus!

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