Quick, Grab an Eggplant and Run to Your Slowcooker. It’s Baba Ghanoush Time

Steamy baba

When I got my slowcooker, the intent was definitely hearty one-pot meals–cassoulet, chili, beef stew. But lately I’ve been exploring the world of simpler dishes. I made apple sauce a couple of months ago, which is also a great way to make the entire house smell like apples and cinnamon, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Yesterday, inspired by Big Girls, Small Kitchen’s slowcooker challenge and wanting to use my eggplant before going out of town, I made baba ghanoush. It was easy, came out delicious, and despite it not being traditionally a one-pot meal, I did just scarf down a bowl of it for lunch.  As with most of my recipes, this one’s made to be adjusted and not super precise, but here goes:

Ooooh shiny1 large eggplant
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. tahini
1/2 lemon juice
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
pinch black pepper
pinch hot pepper

Cut the eggplant in half, as pictured at right. (Mine’s got a chunk missing from the top. A sandwich needed it.) And then peel it. I did this with a paring knife.  Smash the garlic cloves. Put everything in the slowcooker and cook on low for three hours. Mash with potato ricer. You can also use a food processor if you like creamier baba ganoush, but I like it chunky and don’t like washing dishes.

I love, love, love eggplant–I mean, it’s up there with cheese for me–so I’m always happy to have a new way to get it into my face. And this was so absurdly easy to make, it’s likely to become a staple. So thanks, Big Girls, Small Kitchen. And thanks shiny purple veggie.

 

Ugh Failure

I’m not observing the High Holy Days—I know, I know—but I did think yesterday would be an appropriate time to cook my first brisket. In my memory, it was a frequent feature of Friday night dinner (we didn’t call it shabbos, as my father’s a devout atheist) at my grandparents’ house. There always seemed to be a lot of fuss, technique, timing and luck involved in a good brisket. But after making grating potatoes and onions by hand to make a mean batch of latkes for Chanukkah last year, I was feeling frankly a little cocky. Just throw the thing in the slow cooker, right?

I rolled out of bed and went to the slightly fancy grocery store (not to be confused with the cheap grocery store or the gross grocery store, my other two local options), was disappointed by the lack of fresh butchery, grabbed a vacuum-sealed corned beef brisket and went on my way.

Did you catch that? Because I didn’t. It was corned beef brisket.

I sliced potatoes to line the bottom of the slowcooker, diced up some onions, put a little seasoning on the meat, added some red wine and beef stock, and set it on low heat for eight hours. When I got home about seven and a half hours later, it was still alarmingly pink, so I turned up the heat. My mom and grandmother happened to call, and I bragged that I was making brisket. “Did you use Lipton’s French onion soup mix?” my mom asked. Nope. “I use ketchup,” my grandmother said. None of that either.

Even full-cooked, it’s bright pink. It’s also stringy and very salty, but it’s edible. A told me it was good, and he’s not one to lie. So I guess not a total failure. But briskets (of the noncorned variety) be warned: I’ll be back. With a vengeance.

Chickenlicious

After reading The Kitchn’s post about Jamie Oliver’s chicken in milk and then eating some curried chicken, I wanted to try my hand at adding some currylike flavors to the chicken in milk. I love coconut curries but find them a little too rich, so I thought the milk would give some creaminess without being overpowering. And I was right! It was delicious. I’m not one for recipes, so measurements are approximate, but here goes:

3 pieces quartered chicken, on the bone with skin (I suggest cutting them to separate drumstick from breast for a total of 6 pieces)

1.5 cups 2% or whole milk

10 cloves garlic, peeled but not chopped

4 bay leaves

2 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. Adobo con pimienta (in my house, chicken is never cooked without adobo)

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. coriander

If you have a slowcooker, throw everything in all together as one does in a slowcooker. I did it on high for three hours, but low for five would work just as well. A fun tip: I made rice as a side and mashed up the garlic cloves with the rice. I think the recipe would also taste good with bell peppers, but A won’t eat those, so someone else will have to let me know.