Baba Ganoush (Translation: Yummy Eggplant Dip)

Fun factoid #1: literal translation from Arabic– Pampered Papa or Coy Daddy

Fun factoid #2: Eggplants contain nicotine. Why is this? Good question! Because the tobacco plant is a member of the nightshade family, along with eggplant, tomato, tomatillo, chilie, peppers, potatoes! Eggplant contains more nicotine than the other nightshades, aside from tobacco, at 100mg/gm. Twenty eggplants equal one cigarette. Better get to eating if you’re trying to quit!

Fun factoid #3: As usual we have an excess of eggplants, which is fine because my Montana daughter insists I overnight the excess to her. Short growing season and this past week they’ve had several feet of snow. (Hello ice age!)

So I’m making Baba Ganoush. Love. It.

It’s super easy. First I grill the eggplants (2 large or 4-5 small-medium) until they are soft and the skins are charred. Then I stick them in a plastic bag to steam. I let them cool to make peeling easier.

Grilled Eggplant. Ready to Peel.

Grilled Eggplant. Ready to Peel.

Toss the charred skins. Throw the meat of the eggplant into a food processor or blender. Add salt, 2 cloves of garlic, the juice of 3 lemons and 1/2-1 cup of tahini. Start with 1/2 cup. Blend. Add water, slowly, as needed to make the Baba Ganoush creamy. Taste. You may need to add a little more salt, lemon juice or tahini.

Scoop into a wide bowl. Sprinkle with sweet paprika or zaatar and drizzle with olive oil. And voila! Serve with pita bread and crudites.

Baba Ganoush.

Baba Ganoush.

And done!

 

Julia’s award-winning totally addictive tuna salad.

Long line tuna.

Long line tuna.

I’m actually famous for this award-winning tuna salad (and my chicken salad), so you all are special snowflakes!

2 6-oz cans of solid packed albacore tuna – drained

1 8-oz package of full-fat cream cheese

3 sticks celery – chopped

1-2 large dill pickles – chopped

4-5 small sweet gherkins – chopped

1/2 small sweet onion or 1/4 large sweet onion (a Vidalia or Walla Walla) – chopped

Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip to taste

(Occasionally I toss in a handful of chopped walnuts and a couple chopped hard-boiled eggs.)

Throw all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix everything together with your hands. Add mayonnaise or Miracle Whip to taste. I use about a half-cup to get the right texture. Done. Lick your fingers. Wash your hands. Refrigerate. Serve on a toasted bun or whole grain bread, or serve with lettuce, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, endive, olives, roasted beets… whatever you like. This recipe makes 8-12 servings of tuna salad.

Love ya! Julia

Oatmeal In a Jar. It’s the Latest Craze!

First off, let’s get one thing straight. Unless you are making three servings at once, it don’t look like this:

Stylish Oatmeal in a Jar.

Stylish Oatmeal in a Jar.

But… It does taste dang good and a single serving is filling and healthy.

So here’s what you do… and I’ve got it down, ladies and germs. I will give you the basics, and then I’ll tell you how I take my oatmeal.

Stick with the basics. Add your own frills.

The Basics.

The Basics.

My basics for a single serving:

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup milk or cream

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 pinch Kosher salt

1 heaping tsp. brown sugar

2 Tbs. toasted nuts (obviously leave out the nuts if you’re allergic)

fruit – 1/3 of an apple, chopped, or 1/4 cup berries, or peaches or whatever fruit you have on hand

You also need a 1 pint mason jar.

Pour the plain rolled oats (not steel cut) into the jar.

Rolled Oats.

Rolled Oats.

Pour on 1/4 cup milk or preferred liquid.

1/4 Cup Milk.

1/4 Cup Milk.

Add 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt.

1/3 cup Yogurt.

1/3 cup Yogurt.

Add sugar or another sweetener, pinch of salt, and any spices.

Teaspoon brown sugar.

Teaspoon brown sugar.

Cinnamon.

Cinnamon.

Add fruit of choice.

1/3 of an Apple, Chopped.

1/3 of an Apple, Chopped.

Toast nuts and add.

Toasting Sliced Almonds.

Toasting Sliced Almonds.

Toasted Almonds.

Toasted Almonds.

Screw on the lid. Shake well. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy the next morning.

This is what it looks like after shaking.

This is what it looks like after shaking. Looks the same the next day.

The texture is nice and nutty. There’s no raw flavor. This stuff is tasty and filling. I’m not a hot cereal eater anyway so cold oatmeal is right up my alley.

If you’re interested in calorie counts I figure the above recipe contains about 380 calories. Remember, a calorie is not a calorie because it takes more energy to digest whole grains, nuts, fruit and fats. I do suggest a pinch of salt, otherwise you risk a sort of bland outcome. Feel free to leave out the sugar. I like brown sugar so…

I do believe in toasting nuts and seeds. Toasting makes the nutrients bio-available and decreases the toxins. And I think nuts taste better toasted. I’ve also tried mango, pineapple and banana. I like all of them. The bananas do tend to turn brown though.

So have fun with this! Just remember it is not as pretty as the first picture and it only fills the jar maybe 1/3 to 1/2 full. Still good. Still filling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My New Love Affair- The Slow Cooker.

Or when in desperate straits do what the desperate, i.e., pragmatic, do– use a slow cooker. Slow cooking is very new to me. I bought myself a slow cooker after Christmas– having been terrified of them since I was young when our neighbor’s kitchen caught on fire from a short in a slow cooker.

However, thanks to my son and his love for slow cooking, I’ve since learned how safe and practical and versatile a slow cooker really is.

Using a slow cooker is pretty much all I can do these days anyway since I can’t stand at the stove long enough to cook a complicated meal.

Tonight I’m making my own version of salmon pineapple stir fry- using unsweetened canned pineapple, and the juice, without apologies. Oh, and I was able to harvest enough of our own asparagus for two servings! Yeah, baby!

Slow Cooker Pineapple Salmon.

Slow Cooker Pineapple Salmon with homegrown asparagus.

The other night I made slow cooked sweet and sour beef short ribs and I used… shock and awe… frozen veggies. Do you know how much time one spends sliced and chopping all the types of vegetables one uses? The short ribs were amazing- rich, tender, savory-sweet. I made enough of the basic sauce to use in the salmon recipe– with a few additions– and I had extra veggies all ready to go.

I even made our favorite addictive chocolate cake. No, not in the slow cooker, but I took Tom Stronach’s advise and prepped my wet and dry ingredients the night before (I have to sort of ration my standing time) so all I had to do the next day was mix the two and stir. The cake turned out better than ever, moist and scrumptious. I plan to use this method from now on.

Gramma Jennie's Chocolate Sheet Cake.

Gramma Jennie’s Chocolate Sheet Cake.

Want the recipes? If so I’ll stick them on my recipe page. Just let me know.

Laters! Julia