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How to make delicious Baba Ghanouj

Right about now(or in the near future!) you probably have a ton of eggplants ready to go from your garden. What to do with them? Roasted eggplant can be tasty, but it’s not my favorite. The only eggplant dish that I absolutely LOVE is Baba Ghanouj.

If you’re not familiar with this dish, it’s a slightly sweet, smoky, really tasty dip made from eggplant which originates from Middle Eastern countries.

So, how to make really delicious Baba Ghanouj? Well, if you’ve never had it before, then your first step is to taste Baba Ghanouj as made by someone who knows what they’re doing. Head to your local middle eastern restaurant to get an idea for the flavor you’re going for!

Then get yourself these ingredients:

1-2 Large Eggplants or Several Small Eggplants
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 TBSP Tahini
1-2 Garlic cloves (minced)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2-3 TBSP Olive Oil

First, pierce the skin of your eggplants a few times with a fork or knife.

Preferably, you want to cook the eggplants with fire, but if you don’t have a grill or a gas stove to work with, you can bake them in a very hot oven(350 – 400 degrees farenheit) for 30 minutes to an hour. You won’t get that smoky flavor that fire instills in the eggplants, but it will still taste fine.

If possible, use a grill and cook your eggplants directly over the flame, turning occasionally, until the outside is completely blackened and the inside is very soft. This should take between 30 minutes and one hour. If you’re using a gas stove, roast the eggplants directly over the burner.

Allow the eggplants to cool slightly. When you are able to handle them, remove the skins and place eggplants in a blender. Blend the eggplants until smooth. Alternatively, if you are lacking a blender you can mash them by hand with a fork or other mashing utensil.

I don’t generally measure the ingredients for dishes like this. The above measurements are suggestions and are intended to be experimented with. Use them as a guideline but don’t be afraid to add more or less of any ingredient until the flavor is satisfactory to you.

Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, and salt & pepper and mix well. If the flavor does not taste quite right to you, add more of any ingredient you think is lacking in small increments.

Pour in olive oil and stir. Serve with pita bread or fresh veggies for dipping, or use as a spread on sandwiches.

baba

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Easy instructions for making chicken or vegetable stock.

Have you just roasted a chicken(or duck, turkey, any kind of bird!) for dinner, and you’re about to throw the carcass in the trash? You’ve been throwing all those onion skins and vegetable ends into the trash? Stop! You can still make use of those bird carcasses and veggie scraps. Making your own chicken or vegetable stock is incredibly easy, but it does take several hours.

Here are instructions for how to make a tasty soup stock.

Note: If you’re a vegetarian or just don’t have any bird carcasses laying around, simply omit the carcass and add extra veggies to your stock.

Ingredients
1 or more chicken carcasses and leftover bones (optional)
carrots
onions
celery
whole garlic cloves
peppers
your favorite herbs and spices, fresh or dried both work fine (I like to add rosemary, thyme, and marjoram but you can add whatever herbs are your favorite!)
salt & pepper to taste

Keep in mind that the veggies will get thrown out or composted after the stock is done, so if you’d rather avoid wasting whole veggies just save up a bunch of the ends of carrots, onions, etc. as well as things like onion skins to use for making stock later.

1. Chop the veggies into quarters, and leave any skins on. Garlic cloves can be left whole.
2. Throw the chicken carcass(es) and all of your veggies, herbs, and garlic into a large stock pot. Add just enough water to cover all of the ingredients.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered for approximately four hours. If any foam rises to the surface, skim this off. After the stock has had time to simmer, you can add salt & pepper if necessary(avoid doing so at the beginning so that you don’t over-salt your stock).
4. When you think that the flavor has developed enough, remove the chicken carcass(es) and strain out all the vegetable matter. Put this vegetable matter into your compost!

Now you have a pot of delicious, homemade chicken or veggie stock. You can either make soup right away by adding chopped veggies, beans, or anything else you’d like and simmering until the veggies are soft, or you can put it into a container to refrigerate for later. If you’d like to save it for a long time, toss it in the freezer and thaw out when you’re ready to use it.