Cooking for two is boring -- I want to cook for the entire blogosphere!

Tuesday, April 24

Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce

After a long hiatus of few cooking adventures, some exciting things are happening in the kitchen. Most thrillingly, I bought an ice cream maker at a thrift shop in the West Village. It's your standard we-got-married-twenty-years-ago-and-haven't-used-this-thing-once-let's-finally-get-rid-of-the-clutter ice cream maker; I think it's the same model my dad and I had back in the late 1980s for girl scout ice cream chemistry projects. It's never been used, so at $8.00, quite the bargain. For quite some time now I've been ready to spend $30 or $40 for the priveledge of making my own delicious frozen confections.

My first attempt at making mocha frozen yogurt tasted like, well, yogurt that was cold. The book is wrong when it says, "Just pour in any flavored yogurt, turn, freeze, and voila!" What I made did not taste at all like any frozen yogurt I've had anywhere. I think the key is to add sugar, and maybe to use Greek yogurt, which is milder and creamier. In any case, I'm moving on to regular ice cream tonight or tomorrow, and hopefully that recipe will yield better results.

I've also been thinking for a while now about an eggplant dish I had at an Afghan restaurant while I was in California last Christmas. It was soft eggplant smothered in a creamy sauce, and it was delicious -- unlike any eggplant I've ever had. This week I found myself in possesion of a few little Chinese eggplants, so I decided to try to replicate the dish as best I could. I think it turned out lovely, though not quite what I had in California. I roasted the epplants with a few chopped onions in the oven, then made a variation on a yogurt sauce from a cucumbers-in-yogurt recipe. Finally I added some chickpeas to the mix to make it a full dinner (I guess I would have used lamb if I ate that) and served over brown rice. While I doubt this dish is authentic to Afghan, Moroccan, Turkish, or any kind of Middle Eastern cuisine, it was my own take and pretty good in the end.

Eggplant in Yogurt Sauce

For the Eggplant:

2-3 small Chinese eggplants or 1 large European variety, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked pepper

- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Toss the vegetables with the oil and seasoning. Scatter in one layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip the veggies and bake another 10-15 minutes, until they are soft and crisp at the edges. Remove from oven.

For the Yogurt Sauce:

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (preferably Greek)
Juice of one lemon (2 tbsp)
1-2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cracked pepper
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp dried seasoning (I used sage but dill or parsley is preferable)

- Mix all ingredients. Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes to meld flavors.
- Pour over the eggplant and onion.
- You will use only about a third of the sauce; the other two-thirds can be mixed with cucumbers for a side salad or with warmed chickpeas for a main course. This dish should be served at room temperature or slighly warm but not hot or cold. Serves 2 with leftovers.

*Yogurt sauce recipe adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.