Baba Ganoush

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant or a few small ones
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 Tbs. refined olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika and cilantro for presentation

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F

  2. Pierce the skin of the eggplant in 6 to 10 places with a knife. This will prevent the eggplant form exploding. Place on a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.

  3. With a good knife, cut off the top 1/2 inch of the head of garlic exposing the fleshy tops of most of the cloves. Thoroughly coat the garlic with the olive oil and place on the roasting pan next to the eggplant for the last 20 minutes of cooking. Remove eggplant and garlic and let cool. 

  4. Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the skin and place the flesh in a colander and allow to drain for about 10 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, pull apart the garlic cloves. A simple squeeze at the bottom of each clove should easily render the roasted flesh. Set this aside. (If you don't use all of the garlic, store the remainder in a jar and drizzle with olive oil. It is best if you use it up in a few days.)

  6. In a food processor or by hand, add the eggplant, lemon juice, tahini and about 2 or 3 teaspoons of the roasted garlic. Blend well. Taste test and add more garlic if desired. Salt and pepper to taste. If the eggplant is a bit bitter, add a teaspoon of sugar.

  7. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped cilantro.

  8. Serve as a dip with pita chips and crackers, or as a spread in pita pockets or sandwiches.

Panzanella

Ingredients:

  • 4 large vine ripened tomatoes, cut into large cubes or wedges
  • 1/2 lb. stale country-style Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed (about 8 cups)
    • or as a substitute for stale bread: toast bread until hard, crunchy, and crouton-like
  • 1 1/4 cups thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed, washed and spun dried, cut into pieces
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, bread, and onions.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar and oil. Pour the dressing over the bread salad and let sit at room temperature until desired texture. For crunchy bread let sit for shorter time, and for softer bread, let sit for a longer time. Add the basil and salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to combine. Serve.

Note: Add fresh summer stone fruits for some sweet or tart flavor!

Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped onion
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 ears of corn
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. butter, divided
  • 8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. Fill a large pot about 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil. Dissolve 1 Tablespoon of salt and add the corn. Shuck off the outer husk and silk from the corn. Fresh corn should cook in about 3 to 5 minutes. Older corn should cook in about 6 to 8 minutes. Let corn cool for a couple of minutes then cut along the cob to remove kernels.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in beans and corn, then add sugar, salsa, and pepper flakes; mix well. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet, sprinkle evenly with cheese, then top with some of the bean mixture. Place another tortilla on top, cook until golden, then flip and cook on the other side. Melt more butter as needed, and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Note: Serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream if desired!

Eggplant Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil for brushing
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2-in rounds
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 48 oz. chunky tomato sauce 
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil 2 baking sheets and a 9x13-inch baking dish with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Whisk eggs and water together in a shallow dish. Combine Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and ground black pepper in a separate shallow dish. 

Dip eggplant slices into egg mixture, then press each gently into bread crumb mixture. Gently tap off any excess crumbs. Arrange slices on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake eggplant slices in the preheated oven until tops are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Flip eggplant and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove eggplant from the oven and increase temperature to 400°F. 

Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and stir in ground beef. Season beef with salt and ground black pepper. Cook and stir until beef is browned and crumbly, about 10 minutes. Drain and grease. Stir tomato sauce into ground beef; bring to a simmer and set sauce aside.

Place 1/3 of the eggplant slices on bottom of the dish. Pour 1/3 of tomato sauce with ground beef on top of eggplant layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of mozzarella cheese on top of sauce layer. Repeat 2 more times, finishing with a layer of mozzarella cheese. 

Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing.