Lenten Challenge, Day 14, with Recipe!

Chore-wise, it was an okay night. Somehow, I ended up with only enough leftovers to manage either dinner last night or lunch today. (Truthfully, I had enough ready-to-eat ingredients to put together a light meal, but my lunch was lighter, so I didn’t want to do miso soup with lunchmeat and an artichoke for dinner). Lunch is a harder meal for me to eat out, with dog responsibilities, so I was forced to eat out, order in, or come up with something. I had some pasta sauce with sausage frozen, so I thawed that and roasted a small spaghetti squash. Because dinner was going to take awhile, I steamed an artichoke and ate it with some homemade balsamic vinaigrette I put together a week or so ago, and then lost in the fridge. While I was rummaging through the crisper but after I’d started the squash, I realized I had a use-it-or-lose-it eggplant situation. I didn’t want to add eggplant to the sauce and I didn’t want to substitute it for the squash, so I roasted it and made it into baba ganoush. The only other times I’ve tried that, I was disappointed (eggplant is a deceptively difficult veggie to get right), which is a shame, because I love baba ganoush. I found a recipe, followed it loosely, and ended up with a really delicious, though not at all authentic, baba ganoush.

In case you’re interested, here’s how I deviated:

I had already peeled the eggplant by the time I read the recipe. I sliced it (roughly half-inch thick) and grilled it on the George Foreman grill, then roasted it in the oven for 20 minutes on 350 (what the squash had been in at.) When I checked it, it seemed like it needed more time, so I kicked it up to 375, as the recipe suggested. Unfortunately, at that moment, the dog needed to go out. I was hoping it would be a relatively short walk, given that we’d taken some longer walks during the day, but it was snowing hard, so we were out for 40 minutes or so (and I had to wheedle to get the walk that short), and the thinner pieces of eggplant were burning by the time we got back. I included anything that wasn’t actually charcoal and threw it in the food processor with the recipe-prescribed amounts of tahini (which had separated and I needed to reconstitute with a hand-blender— cue my mother saying “you never pick the easy way out…”, which, by the way, I can live with, as an identifier), lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, olive oil, and, lacking olive brine, I threw some of the brine from some pickled vegetables I canned awhile ago. Probably less than the recipe called for. And I processed it until it came together as a spread, and hoped for the best.

What I love about baba ganoush is that for something that’s really good for you and vegan, it tastes like it has bacon in it. Mine is smoky (not a euphemism for burnt, I promise), but not bacon-y, And with the addition of the brine, it’s tangy, and tangy is my favorite thing. Given that I’ve been eating crudites for basically two weeks, usually as an entire meal, you would not believe how much I’m looking forward to my crudites and baba ganoush snack.

To make it more authentic, I’d probably go longer on tahini. The olive brine might lend more authenticity than the pickled veg brine— the way I cooked the eggplant was non-standard but effective. The bits of eggplant are chewier and therefore more pronounced, but I kind of like that about it.

Okay— cleaning. While the dinner portion of my adventure was cooking (and the dishwasher was running. I thought I’d started it the night before, but I must not have pressed “start”), I sorted/shredded everything that was left in a big tub that I’d gotten almost all the way through. I got all the way through to the bottom last night. I took out the trash and the recycling. I emptied and reloaded the dishwasher. Then I needed to put together the package for my great niece and great-nephew, which involved lots of wrapping, and probably took 30 minutes.

It would have been great if I had also managed vacuuming or dusting upstairs or washing the floors, (though since it’s snowing for a few more days, I can almost excuse waiting on that.), but I think I got to the important stuff.

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