Hi Guys! I’ve missed you! Due to lots of travel and visitors and lack of pre-planning, I completely skipped June with my Cook the Book Fridays friends. It was a great month with two family graduations and my college reunion.
The past week, New England has been under a “heat dome” with high humidity and temperatures day after day in the 90s. It reminds me of the weather of my childhood in Maryland, which I thought I’d escaped with my residence in New England. Warmer summers have migrated north. A house without air-conditioning is not always workable. A bedroom unit helps, though not wanting to hole up there all day, the current approach involves frequent outings to cooler inside places. Howard rigged up a brilliant mister system that works for outside time. I figured out how to sit in the spray and keep a book dry while I read.
This week’s cooking challenge for Cook the Book Fridays Baba Ganoush (or moutabal, in French) fits perfectly in a sane cooking strategy for a hotter-than-hell week as it involves minimal cooking. Howard charred the outside of the eggplants while the grill was fired up for some burgers. The eggplants finish cooking in the oven. After that, all the ingredients were pureed in the food processor for a wonderful dip to scoop up with pita chips for a snack or part of lunch. Howard tried it, but as you know, eggplant’s not his thing. I, on the other hand, really enjoyed this version of baba ganoush. The recipe makes a generous amount, so one eggplant’s worth (half) might have been enough.
I never seem to make the same recipe twice, but this is a good one. The smoky Aleppo pepper adds a subtle undertone that complements the charred eggplant. I also liked the recommended puddle of olive oil on top. We did the same thing with the hummus from the same book. It’s an attractive and tasty technique. If you’d like to give this a try, you can find the recipe on page 64 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. You can see other reviews of the recipes by following the links here.
Not all my cooking plans for this week were sane. For some reason, I decided that homemade bagels would be the perfect holiday breakfast on the 4th of July. What genius thought boiling water and turning the oven up to 500 degrees when it was already in the high 80s in the kitchen was a good idea? I did follow through, with delicious results, but next time I will take the weather into account.
I’m glad to be back. See you again soon!
It seems like the weather on the first day of September is always cool and crisp. It’s technically still summer, but it’s as if autumn pops its head up to say “Hi! Missed me? I’m coming soon!” A taste of autumn for a day or two, then summer resumes its place for the duration.
Produce-wise, it’s the peak of summer vegetables. Tomatoes, corn, zucchini abound. It’s one of my favorite times of year for eating.
This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays fit right into the “peak of summer” theme. Baked Provençal Vegetables aka Tian was the order of the day. Sautéed onions and garlic for the bed for an arrangement of thinly sliced zucchini (home grown!), eggplant, and tomatoes sprinkled with thyme and handful of Gruyère cheese. The ingredients resemble those ratatouille, but the technique, baking instead of simmering stovetop, makes a tian so much easier to prepare.
I served the meltingly tender vegetables atop leftover spaghetti. It was delicious. What’s not to like? Well, that assumes you’re a fan of zucchini and eggplant, which Howard is not. Obviously, I was solo for dinner the night I made this.
If you’d like the recipe, you’ll find it on page 226 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. This recipe from Saveur is also very similar. You can also find the reviews of my Cook the Book Fridays friends here.