Baba Ghanouj (Roasted Eggplant Dip)

This eggplant dip seems complicated but is ridiculously easy. It was too hot to really cook for a few weeks this August. That made things difficult, as I love to cook and don’t particularly care for raw food. Cliff is an avowed hater of eggplant, so it took a little cajoling to get his buy-in on this one. Even eggplant haters should give this one a shot, though. Much of the texture-weirdness that people have against eggplant is mitigated through the roasting and mashing. Plus, it’s ridiculously easy to make if you roast the eggplant with plenty of time to cool. The original recipe is here, but the changes I made are listed below.

1-2 large purple eggplants, about 2 lbs
3 T olive oil
2-3 T tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 t ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon
pinch smoked hot paprika
salt to taste
2 T chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise, puncture the skin several times with a fork and rub all over with olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet, cut side down, until very tender, 30-40 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Scoop the cooled eggplant flesh out of the skins and combine with the rest of the ingredients, except parsley. Baba Ghanouj, not yet blendedMash everything together with a fork or put it all in a blender and pulse until combined but not completely smooth. Serve topped with parsley as a dip with pita or raw vegetables.

Guacamole

Avocados and cilantro are getting more and more common around here. Ergo, more guacamole for my belly. Now, if we could just get the corn chips right…

All of these ingredients are “to taste,” so start small and add in more of each ingredient along the way as necessary.

Ingredients

4 medium Hass avocados
cilantro leaves (we used a small bunch)
onions (we prefer a small bunch of green)
juice from 1 freshly squeezed lime
3 small cloves garlic
1/3 tsp salt
3 small tomatoes
thai chili or jalapeños (minced)
2 pinches cumin
1 dash of chili powder (if you like)

Instructions

  1. Pit and spoon out your avocados into a bowl. Squeeze in the juice of at least one lime (add more later if necessary). Mince up the cilantro, garlic, seasonings, and chilis. Mash it all up together (our pastry blender worked great).
  2. Slice the green onions and dice the de-snotted tomatoes, then mix into the avocado mixture.
  3. Taste and adjust any ingredient (remember that the chips might add saltiness of their own). Try to resist the urge to immediately buy airfare to Mexico.

Bitte haben Sie mit dem Wetter etwas GeDULT

Regensburg’s annual fall festival — the Dult — kicked off last night with some pretty sloshy weather, but that didn’t keep the crowds away.

It was a great opportunity for a Radlermaß and pretzel to close out the work week.

The rain kept coming down, and we had to remind ourselves that it was actually quite a welcome change from the sticky, muggy weather we’d been having all week.

Nevertheless, I was glad these ponies didn’t have to work in the rain.

Indian Meatballs (Kofta)

We learned three things from this recipe:

  1. You CAN get a restaurant-like texture to your sauces at home if you’re patient enough to let them simmer the full time and are willing to get a few more pieces of equipment dirty
  2. Metzgerei Salzberger is our new hookup for ground lamb in Regensburg
  3. A rice cooker is certainly a convenience a lot of the time, but we can do great pilau rice on the stovetop, too.

More on those three points:
Continue reading Indian Meatballs (Kofta)

Death (for fruit flies) Trap

I bet you all know about this already, but I’m posting it anyway. Feel free to tell me in comments just how behind the curve I am.

We’ve had quite a nasty fruit fly infestation here, thanks to the Bavarian bounty in season right now (strawberries, sweet corn, various salad fixins, etc.). I’ve tried to bait them outside, then shut the window and throw away the bait, but they keep making it back in. But thanks to this helpful tip from The Kitchn, I’ve stopped playing games with them.

Gross? Yes. Encouraging? Definitely.
Take a small glass and pour in about two fingers of apple cider vinegar, then add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid. Place the glass somewhere near a fruit fly magnet – a bowl of fruit, next to the trash, where ever they congregate. Then try to stay clear of them for a few hours. They will find their way to the glass and drop dead to the bottom.

Your kitchen will smell like easter eggs for a day or so, but your hovering little problems will be gone.

WEBMU 2012 in Berlin — Schedule of Events

Under a month to go — time to firm up your plans for WEBMU 2012 in Berlin! Snooker in Berlin has posted the agenda for our annual expatriate blogger meetup weekend in our discussion forum. We converge on Germany’s capital (for the first time in the history of this tradition) officially on Friday night, September 7th. There’s a pre-event during the day on the Friday, and this year, there’s even a pre-pre-event for those making an extra-long weekend of it (like we are).

Snooker and Mandi of No Apathy Allowed have wonderful things planned for us. Besides the exact agenda, there’s also a guide to local transit and a hotel/hostel/apartment recommendation list. There’s even a handy map of all the points of interest for the weekend.

It’s not too late to sign up, or swing by and take a look if you’re still on the fence. Visit http://forums.expatbloggersingermany.com and click on one of the buttons under “Howdy, Stranger!” to get started. You qualify for membership if you

  • live in Germany,
  • are from somewhere else, and
  • blog in English

So tell us all those things about yourself when you apply, please. But hurry — WEBMU’s almost here!

Esquites – Mexican Corn Salad

I’m kind of agnostic on fresh corn. It’s good and I’ll eat and like it if someone serves it to me, but I’m rarely moved to do anything with it myself. Plus, I get sick of flossing after a cob. So when I found this recipe on the food blog Serious Eats, I wasn’t hugely hopeful. I just thought it might make a good side with grilled meats. Then I made a test batch and we decimated the bowl.

When you make this, you might be tempted to up the spicy elements. Try to resist the first time – you don’t want the spiciness to overshadow the fresh and sweet flavors at play. And be very sparing with the salt – you get a nice punch from the cheese.

2 T vegetable oil
4 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed (about 3 cups fresh corn kernels)
pinch salt
2 T mayonnaise
2 oz (50 g) feta or cotija cheese, crumbled
1/2 c finely sliced green onions
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and stemmed, finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, pressed
juice of 1 fresh lime
pinch chili powder

In a non-stick skillet, heat oil over high heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels (careful – they’ll probably pop and splatter) and stir until well distributed, then allow to cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes. When you stir, the bottoms of the kernels should appear browned and caramelized. Add salt and cook another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and browning corn on all sides without burning. Remove corn from heat and allow to cool completely.

After cooling, add remaining ingredients, stir well and enjoy!