Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Eggplant like I've never had before


A few weeks ago I bit the bullet and bought a new cookbook I'd been brooding over. Maybe brooding isn't the right word, but I just couldn't get this book off my mind! I first saw it in December and then thought about it for the next few weeks, deliberating over whether I should just take it out of the library or add it to my home collection. Anyway, I bought it. Mr. Ripe and I have since been cooking almost weekly out of it. I'll admit, it's not the simplest cookbook. It's not the easiest, nor do recipes have the fewest steps. But with some basic ability to do prep work, a spice cabinet (or good shop nearby), and time on hand, it's manageable. And everything I've cooked out of Jerusalem has been superlative and tasted like nothing I had the palette to create without using a recipe before.

I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand, so I adapted the recipe to this:

CHERMOULA EGGPLANT

1 c quinoa
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 t cumin
2 t coriander
1 t red chili flakes
2/3 c olive oil and 1 T for finishing
salt to taste
10 small eggplants (by small, I mean 3" in diameter) or 4 big eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
1 cucumber, diced
2/3 c buttermilk or plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 c quinoa and 2 c water to simmer. Cook for 20 min or until cooked through. For chermoula, in a small bowl, mix 2 cloves of the garlic, 2 t of the cumin, coriander, chili, olive oil, and salt. Score the flesh of the eggplants with X's with a sharp knife. Do not go through the eggplant skin. Place eggplants, cut-side up on sheet pan. Spoon chermoula over eggplant halves. Roast at 400 for 20-40 min, until easily poked with a fork. 
While eggplants are roasting, place remaining garlic clove, cumin, and olive oil in bowl. Add cucumber and buttermilk or yogurt and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
To serve, place 1 big or several small eggplant halves on plate. Top with quinoa and then spoon buttermilk/yogurt sauce on top. Devour.


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