Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Close, but no cigar

As if I needed another lesson in humility recently, the wonderful stuff we had in Arizona was not Baba Ghanoush as it turns out but something close called "Eggplant Butter".

So my Baba Ghanoush guess was close, but no cigar. I received the recipe a few days ago from the friendly folks at the Kierland Resort and Spa, run by Westin in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Jason Christie, chef de cuisine at Nellie Cashman's graciously shared the recipe via email and while it is very close to baba ghanoush, it is not precisely the same. The substitution of a white balsalmic vinegar for tahini is a distinction with a flavor difference, and I am hopeful my attempts to duplicate this later in the week will hit our taste buds with the same pizzazz we previously experienced.

Although, truth be told, it is a rarity in my experience when something you enjoyed on vacation is ever quite as delectable once you get home. Maybe this will be the exception to prove that rule? At any rate, I am enjoying the beauty of having eggplants around.

Here's the recipe - I'll report back on my results in future posts. At least I honed my Pita Chip making techniques while we devoured the Baba Ghanoush I made earlier. No harm done there, except potentially to our waistlines...

2 each roasted eggplants (1/2 cut)

2 tbls chopped garlic

3/4 cups olive oil

Juice of 1/2 whole lemon

2 tbls white balsamic vinegar

Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste

Set oven at 350 F, drizzle eggplants (1/2’s) with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Roast eggplant until soft about 30 minutes
Peel eggplant, add garlic, lemon juice, white balsamic and olive oil, blend until smooth
Finish it with salt and pepper to taste

Again, thanks to Lou Ayers, Director of Outlets for Westin and Jason Christie, chef de cuisine at Nellie Cashman's Monday Club Cafe, for their courteous and prompt response to my recipe request. Our entire stay was characterized by that sort of friendly assistance from all the staff we encountered, and the Kierland is well placed on a relatively short list of places we'd be happy to visit again. In the meantime, Eggplant Butter will be a great way to remind us of our delightful stay.

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