Sweat it Out–Eggplant Dip

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I adore eggplant. Maybe even as much as I do winter squash. It’s just so versatile, healthy and tasty. Not too long ago I made a pasta dish using roasted eggplant and the puree was seriously one of the most delicious things I’ve tasted. I remember eating it by the spoonful –straight from the food processor. Then I made this dip and rediscovered how incredibly flavorful pureed eggplant is. And again, I ate it by the spoonful straight out of the food processor.

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{Eggplant Pesto Dip}

adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2000

Ingredients:

  • (1) 1 1/4 lb. Eggplant
  • 1/3 c. Pine Nuts, toasted
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, peeled
  • 2 1/2 T. Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 2 T. Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1 T. Fresh Mint, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for brushing
  • Peel eggplant and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Place on large baking sheet; sprinkle lightly with salt. Let stand 30 minutes. This will “sweat” the eggplant – it is very important to bring out some of the moisture.

  • Preheat broiler. Rinse eggplant; pat dry with paper towels. Brush large baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil. Brush eggplant rounds generously on both sides with extra virgin olive oil. Place on prepared sheet. Broil eggplant until tender, about 6 minutes per side. Cool.

  • Finely grind pine nuts and garlic in food processor. Add eggplant and process to coarse puree. Transfer mixture to small bowl. Stir in chopped basil, parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Allow dip to come to room temperature and serve. Garnish with additional Basil leaves, if desired. Serve with a fresh baguette, sliced and toasted (optional). Or eat by the spoonful (recommended).

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    >Pesto & Butternut Squash Pizza

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    So last night I made a pizza for dinner, it took longer than I anticipated and a late start didn’t help matters but I finally settled in with a couple of slices around 10 PM and it was love at first bite. I loosely followed a recipe I found on another blog and went to town preparing my butternut squash, pesto pizza. I was pretty psyched to use my newly acquired pizza stone (thanks to my mom)!

    Here’s the recipe (makes one 15inch pizza):
    Ball of whole wheat pizza dough
    2 slices lean turkey bacon* optional
    1 cup pesto prepared (or you can make your own… I was lazy)
    4 slices provolone cheese
    parmesan cheese (for grating on top)
    olive oil
    sugar
    20 oz butternut squash (half of a squash or one bag frozen as I used)
    1 can diced tomatoes (I used tomatoes seasoned with oregano and garlic)
    oregano

    1. Preheat the oven to 400. Toss thawed squash (or if you use fresh, dice it into cubes) with sugar (I used just a pinch) and olive oil (a quick drizzle). Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once half way through. *I cooked the turkey bacon in the oven at the same time*
    2. Once squash is done, raise the oven temperature to 450. Roll out the pizza dough onto a floured pizza pan. Top with provolone cheese and tomatoes. Mix butternut squash with pesto and crumbled bacon and pour onto the top of the pizza. Top with oregano and parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

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    Though I absolutely loved the end result, I’d make a few changes next time. I’d definitely make my own pesto (which was the plan but then time and hunger intervened) and use fresh butternut squash. Though the frozen squash held up well, it got a bit mushy during the mixing process and changed my pizza a bit aesthetically from what I was imagining. Oh well. I did think that the turkey bacon was a nice touch… I just added it because I had some in the fridge and welcomed the addition.

     

     

    IMG_2449 IMG_2451 So it wasn’t the prettiest pizza but it was hearty and full of flavor. This recipe has inspired me to dream up other non-traditional pizza toppings!

    >Weekend recap

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    IMG_2355 On Thursday night I made chicken salad and roasted red baby potatoes for dinner.

      The chicken salad was light; I used Greek yogurt and a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard  in place of mayo and added in green onions, dried cranberries and slivered almonds. The potatoes were quartered, coated lightly in olive oil and seasoned with a bit of garlic powder and dried rosemary. I baked them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and then broiled them for an additional 10 minutes until browned.

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    After having a deliciously refreshing Moscow Mule at Stoddard’s in town on Friday night, I decided I HAD to recreate the drink at home. My Moscow Mule:

    • crushed ice
    • juice of half a lime
    • 2 shots lime vodka
    • topped off with Gosling’s Diet Ginger Beer

    So, SO awesome. Now I just need one of those copper cups to drink it out of…

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    The weekend was topped off with a visit to the SOWA Open Market’s 1st Annual Food Truck Festival. It was a gathering of many of the Food Trucks that set up shop around the city during the week.

    The lines were extremely long and we finally decided to wait it out in the line for FillBelly’s. The Food Truck usually offers fried chicken and waffles but when we arrived they were out of wafflesIMG_2367. We decided on the regular fried chicken, the “Mac & Soul Casserole” and the “West Indian” plate which contained fried pork, rice and beans and fried plantains.

    It was a long wait but the food was quite tasty. I enjoyed the fried plantains and fried chicken tremendously.

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    While waiting, I also sampled some Pesto by Pestos with Panache. My favorite was the Prosciutto with Smoked Almond. It was so tasty. My second favorite was the Fabulous Fig and Gorgonzola.

    All in all, a great afternoon and weekend!