Dear Hurricane Irma:
While I would prefer you just dissipate, please leave Charleston alone. Our bank account is still recovering from Matthew and the tropical storm the month before that!
My parents always had a string of “I remember” statements like, “I remember having to walk to school for a mile in the snow.” So here are a few of mine…
I remember when:
Spam is/was a meat-byproduct loaf that we ate when we could not afford ham or bacon not junk email
I remember when outlet malls were for overstocks and seconds. And it was all about “the hunt” for the great find. Now an outlet Coach bag is merely a brand approved knock-off using inferior leather, different stitching, and fabric with a Coach label slapped on it.
I remember when someone, anyone including telemarketers, left a voice message when you were not able to get to the phone.
…When drivers used their turn signals.
I remember when we had three tv channels and we watched great programming every night. Now we have over 200 channels, and there is nothing to watch.
I remember when, if you missed your turn you looped around the block or drove to the next exit versus stopping in the right lane to turn left.
…when fishing was spelled with an “f” and not a “ph” and was an outdoor activity that involved fish and the only scam was “the big one got away!”
Simple Baba Ganoush (with Electric Oven^)
2 medium/large Italian eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
3-4 medium cloves of garlic, crushed then minced
3 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon, plus more as desired
Zest from half of a lemon
3 tablespoons tahini*
1/3 cup Holy Smoke extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Slice eggplant lengthwise. Brush inside flesh with olive oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the inside flesh is soft and very tender. Test with fork or knife top middle and bottom. You should get no resistance. Cover with foil and allow to cool.
Once cooled enough to hold, scrape the flesh of each half an eggplant into a colander that is sitting in your clean sink. Allow for excess moisture to drip into the sink for approximately 20 minutes. You can use a large spoon to press and push the flesh onto the sides of the colander to speed the process. Pat dry with a paper towel and place in a small mixing bowl. At this point look through and remove any seed clumps, skin or blackened flesh.
Add garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice to eggplant and thoroughly blend using a fork until eggplant breaks down. It should only be about 2 minutes. Now add the tahini followed by the Holy Smoke olive oil in a thin, steady stream. The mixture should become creamy. At this point, you want to taste to determine the level of smokiness and need for salt and lemon. If you want it to have a smokier taste now add 3-4 drops of liquid smoke. Then season to taste with salt and more lemon juice if you wish.
Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm pita bread or vegetables.
Serve Baba Ganoush at room temperature for maximum flavor.
^Using a Gas Cooktop or Grill.
If you have a gas cooktop or grill, you can char the eggplant on the heat source. It can take approx 40 minutes, and you need to be proactive to turn the eggplant using tongs to get it charred on all sides. Once charred and soft, wrap in foil and allow the skin to steam off. With this method can forgo the liquid smoke and use regular olive oil as the charring of the skin accomplishes the same result.
It is expensive to buy and comes in a jar that is way more than the average American will use in a year. So make your own. Buy a 1/4 pound of hulled sesame seeds in the bulk section of your local natural foods market. Pour seeds onto a sheet pan and spread out so all on one layer. Toast in a 350-degree oven for 3-5 minutes (lightly toasted – not brown). Pour roasted seeds into food processor bowl and process until finely crushed. Add olive oil on table spoon at a time until you get a creamy paste. Should be 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons.
Use what you need and refrigerate the rest until you need again.
Thanks to Carl Heyerdahl for allowing us to use his fishing image as our feature.
PS – The Olive Tapenade was posted on Tuesday.
That is all for now.