Eggplant, Tomatoes, peppers, chickpeas.

I cook with these ingredients a lot.

Sometimes all together. Sometimes in different combinations with some other vegetables thrown in. But they’re pretty standard occupiers of my fridge.

We all go to the market and we all find ourselves coming back with the same things over and over again.

There’s not an infinite number of vegetables in the world. And there’s not an infinite number of foods to be tried.

BUT!

There are infinite possibilities when it comes to flavors.

Recently I’ve been exploring an aisle in the store I usually shied away from. Instead of picking up the usual salt, pepper and dried basil, I’ve been venturing out with things like coriander and ground ginger.

Mixing spices lets you transform your vegetables. Spices can take eggplant from Italy to Morocco and to your dinner table.

And that’s what I did with this dish. I took my usual suspects of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and chickpeas and tossed them with some new spices. The result? The smoky and complex flavors of the dishes I’ve had in Moroccan restaurants.

For this dish you will need

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander

Drizzle olive oil in a large pot and toss in the eggplant, seasoning with salt and pepper. Let the eggplant cook on its own for a few minutes until it starts to brown. Eggplant is like a sponge, so add more oil if it soak it all up.

IMG_1035

Add the peppers and stir, letting them soften a bit.

IMG_1036

Next add in the tomatoes. This is a one pot dinner that’s all about layering the flavors. The vegetables cook at different times, so by adding them in throughout the cooking process, each gets the chance to cook through without turning to mush.

IMG_1037

Last, add in the chickpeas and the spices. Give the pot a big stir, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. This is a great dish if your significant other is going to be late because it can just hang on the stove over low heat until everyone is home.

IMG_1038

Dish up heaping bowls and top with a scoop of tzatziki.

IMG_1039

The noise of the city fades as the spices transport you to a far off village…

Hummus – Meme’s Secret

Remember yesterday when I told you that I can never get food to taste quite like meme’s?

Well, that was a tiny fib. I can get one thing right.

Hummus.

I’ve told you before about my love of tahini. Hummus is probably the most common introduction most people have to the sesame seed paste.

Nothing compares to homemade hummus. There are some store brands that are okay in a bind, but once you make it yourself, you will never be able to dip your carrots and celery sticks into the plastic tub again.

This is a ridiculously easy recipe. For a while though we couldn’t get it to taste like meme’s.

Granted, meme’s recipe was something like garlic a lil bit of lemon, a lil bit olive oil, some tahini, some pepper and the chickpeas. And fresh lemon juice. My lil bit would always be different from her lil bit.

But no matter what we did, it wasn’t quite right. It was delicious, but not quite right.

Until the day that meme told us her secret. She had been holding out on us.

So here it is. How meme makes hummus

Into the cuisinart (meme calls it a cuisinart not a food processor.) So into the cuisinart

2 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons tahini

olive oil (enough to make the mixture smooth. this is an add and blend and add if you need more ingredient)

juice of half a lemon

a few grinds black pepper

1 can chickpeas, rinsed, and here’s the trick. reserve the liquid the chickpeas are in. Add maybe one or two tablespoons to the mix. Trust me.

IMG_0754

Blend it all up in the cuisinart. Serve with carrots, celery, cauliflower, warm pita, use it as a sandwich spread. This is a great healthy snack or a great way to start a meal if you’re tired of salad.

0-3

I promise you, once you make it, you’ll never buy it again. And bonus, it’s way cheaper to make it yourself, so the money you save can go into paying for the itty bitty city kitchen. You may even be able to buy a new gadget for your kitchen!

If you can find the room for it.