I had a big beautiful purple eggplant that was starting to fade, so I had to find a good use for it fast. I decided to make it into a dip … at first I was going to make some more baba ghanoush, but then I thought perhaps I could make something different with it … perhaps something with the flavors of Eggplant Parmesan … except creamier. Something you could spread on little toasts and munch on with a good glass of wine.
We finished the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook on Saturday … I still need to make my way through all the Zucchini recipes everyone shared, but I was busy with my Mom and Dad’s Anniversary party this weekend. The party turned out well, but I’m exhausted. I need a day off. How nice that we have a holiday today so I have a day just to rest. Although I won’t really be resting. We’ll be harvesting tomatoes and other garden bounty, packing and driving and unpacking, assembling my new chairs that my aunt and uncle brought up for me.
Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip
- 2 1/2 cups roasted eggplant (I used 1 large globe + 1 small Japanese eggplant)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 6 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Your favorite marinara or pasta sauce (I used my crock pot garden marinara sauce)
- Shredded asiago (or parmesan) and mozzarella cheese (maybe a cup of the two cheeses, mixed? I didn’t measure the cheese … use enough to cover the sauce)
- Fresh garden tomato, chopped fine
- Fresh herbs for garnish
- Thin slices of toasted ciabatta or french bread
- To roast the eggplant on the grill, poke the pretty purple fruit all around with a fork, then grill on a hot grill until the outside is black and charred and the eggplant is sagging a LOT … that means it’s fully cooked.
- Pull off the peel and discard, then chop the pulp roughly and measure it. You will need about 2 1/2 cups for this dip (or you can scale down the other ingredients to match the amount of eggplant you have). Put the eggplant, garlic, herbs, and cream cheese in a food processor or handi chopper and blend till smooth. I had to do this in batches because my handi chopper wasn’t big enough to hold it all! Pour the creamy mixture into a bowl and stir in the greek yogurt, then add salt to taste.
- You can serve the dip in individual ramekins or in a larger pie or tart pan. Smear a good thick layer of the creamy eggplant mixture on the bottom of the dish, cover with a layer of marinara or pasta sauce, then top with shredded cheese and some chopped tomato on top. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with thinly sliced toasted ciabatta or french bread.
This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Manic Monday, Talent Show Tuesday. Trick or Treat Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party Wednesday, Thursday’s Treasures and Fit & Fabulous Friday.
If you have never had Baba Ghanoush, you should try it. It’s a creamy, garlicky, silky smooth dip somewhat akin to hummus in flavor, but lighter and smoky tasting and oh so wonderful. It’s made of eggplant, but if someone didn’t tell you it was made of eggplant, you would never guess.
I used the smaller, thinner long skinny Japanese eggplant for this Baba Ghanoush. If you use the larger, globe-style eggplant, you will want to adjust the other ingredients because you’ll end up with more pulp. After grilling your eggplant, measure the pulp and multiply the rest of the ingredients by the number of cups of eggplant you have.
- 3 Japanese eggplant (yielding about 1 cup of pulp after roasting)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
- 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 hot chili pepper (optional … baba ghanoush doesn’t usually have hot pepper in it, but I roasted these beautiful hot peppers last night and thought it would be a good addition … and it IS! I love the kick it adds to the dip!)
- Fresh parsley
- Salt, to taste
- To get the smoky flavor, you need to grill the eggplant, so start up your grill and if it’s one of those gas grills, throw some rosemary or apple wood chips or something like that on the coals to make a good smoke. Poke your eggplant all over with a fork and set it on the hot grill and roast it for quite a while … until the skin is charred and dark on all sides and the eggplant has gone totally limp and cooked down. Let it set for a few minutes to cool down enough to touch it, then pull off the peel, saving the soft wonderful roasted interior. It might not be the prettiest thing to look at at this point, but don’t worry. It will taste wonderful!
- If you are lucky enough to have a hot chili pepper around, roast that on the hot grill too till the skin is black and charred and bubbly on both sides (this won’t take long! only a few minutes on each side), then pull the peel off of the pepper. It should slip right off.
- In a food processor or handi chopper, add the roasted peeled eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, the peeled chili pepper and the parsley and blend until the dip is totally smooth and silky. Add salt to taste. Serve at room temperature (or a little warmer) with little toasts or crackers or vegies for dipping. Baba Ghanoush also makes a great sandwich spread and goes very well in a wrap too.
Yeah, I’m on a dip kick lately. I’ve been feeling kinda down, and I like to munch and dip when I’m sad. My ultimate “comfort” food is potato chips and french onion dip (the kind made with real sour cream), but I have come to realize that eating it just makes me feel worse than before, so I kinda stay away from that store-bought stuff now. Today I tried making my own home-grown version of french onion dip. With bacon. Because bacon makes everything better, right? And the greek yogurt has the same rich texture as sour cream, but it’s good for you, so it makes you feel BETTER after eating it instead of sinking you deeper into depression.
There are a few things that are nagging at me, but I think the biggest one is probably the changes on facebook. Yeah, I know, my life is really easy if all I have to be upset about is the changes on facebook, but you see the social connections I’ve made on facebook are really important to me. I’ve met a lot of foodie friends on facebook (7,264 of them as of this moment) and every single one of them is precious to me. Most facebook users probably aren’t even that aware of the changes or how they impact the pages they “like” on facebook, but what facebook did is cut back the views of our posts unless we pay to “promote” them. It feels like my fan base that I worked so hard to build was just cut from 7,000 to 700. Ouch.
But the worst part is now when someone tags my page, I can’t see that they tagged me, and vice versa.
We foodie pages used to communicate by tagging each other in our status … we did virtual parties on facebook and the invitations were lists of facebook tags. Everyone would bring a drink or dish … the way we would do this is to go to one of our food photos and tag the person having the party (plus a bunch more pages usually … hey, the more the merrier!). We did “shout-outs” telling our fans about other pages we thought were awesome and you always knew when someone else shared your page so it was easy to say thank you by tagging them back. We shared recipes amongst ourselves and tagged the creator of the recipe. Now, if someone shares my recipe or my page, unless it is directly shared from one of my own posts, I have no way of knowing it. There are no more parties. No more shout-outs. No more thank you’s.
It makes me really sad that I can’t see the posts of my friends unless I take time out to go visit their page. They are my inspiration and joy. Oh, yes, there is an alternative: I can make a “list” of my favorite pages from my personal facebook page, but this has several disadvantages:
- I have to leave my page to go there
- I can share to my page from my personal page, but it’s cumbersome, tricky and easy to screw up
- I can’t comment as my page from my personal page
- How the heck am I going to make a list of thousands of people from memory? Okay, not all of my “likers” are facebook pages, but still, there are thousands of them, built up over time. Trying to make a list of all of them is harder than putting together a list of people to invite to your wedding. You’re going to forget someone … and in my case it’s a LOT of someones.
Foodies are a tight-knit group and we are feeling right now like facebook is tearing us apart. I think many of us are turning to Pinterest to fill the gap. At least I can always see my friends’ pins on Pinterest. We have group boards that a bunch of us contribute to, and you can comment and like things just like on facebook.
We’re trying to roll with the punches, but I have to tell you it’s very disheartening. I know this is not personal, facebook is just trying to make some money off of this service they have offered us for free for so long, but can’t they do that without tearing us apart? At least let me know when someone mentioned my page. That’s business networking and analytics 101: you want to know who your referrers are. That’s how you build your network. How can you thank your referrers and help them out in turn if you don’t know who they are?!?
Sorry about the rant, I just needed to get that out … let’s get back to the dip at hand, shall we? It’s a lovely dip with the sweet taste of caramelized onions and the salty, smoky bacon, along with creamy cream cheese and tangy greek yogurt and a few chives for spite (and color). Thinking on it now, I bet some smoked paprika would be nice in this too … I’ll have to try that next time.
Bacon & Caramelized Onion Dip
Inspired by one of my foodie facebook friends: Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- 2 oz. lowfat cream cheese
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup of fat free greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup of lowfat mayonnaise (or plain nonfat yogurt)
- 2 slices of lean bacon, fried till crisp and chopped up
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat your frying pan up to medium heat and swirl around a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the onions and reduce head to medium, stirring pretty much constantly to keep them from burning. When the onions start to brown, add a bit of the wine and cook some more, stirring the onions till the wine has evaporated, then add a bit more wine and stir and cook some more, and repeat until the onions are brown and sweet and all the wine has evaporated. This might take 20 minutes or so, but it’s worth it, believe me.
Remove the onions from the heat and put in a bowl with the cream cheese and stir. The heat of the onions should melt the cream cheese and make it easier to mix in. Add the rest of the ingredients, reserving a few bacon crumbles and snipped chives to sprinkle on top before serving. If the dip is too thick, add a little plain nonfat yogurt (not greek yogurt, the regular thinner kind) or a teaspoon or two of milk.
Serve with crackers and/or vegetables and/or chips. Whatever you prefer. You’ll need a sturdier chip, though, like a kettle chip, if you want to use chips.