I’ll be the first to admit it: I hate reading directions. I suspect it’s a matter of being right-brained, left-brained or something to that effect but I just am not good with reading directions and understanding them. I often times find them far too complicated because I tend to unintentionally overthink and overanalyze things and then get completely confused.
I much prefer visuals like videos, pictures, or, best yet, someone to show me in person. It’s because of this that I feel that each time I go on a trip, I come back a better photographer.
Due to my stubborn-ness in not wanting to read directions on how to use a camera, let alone my own camera, I find myself largely uninformed when it comes to how to use my little Canon Rebel. As a has-been Fine Arts student and person who uses photography on her own blog, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know how to adjust the ISO on my camera (which becomes even more embarrassing once you realize that there’s simply a button for it).
Each time I go on a trip I find myself taking lots of photos in various settings and invariably find myself in the company of someone who actually knows a lot about cameras and photography. This last trip, one on of my final days within LA I found myself at a bar, learning from a stranger all about the different manual settings and adjustments on my camera.
After coming back and organizing this dish, I found myself feeling more confident in my ability to photograph, but also more confident in my ability to control and deal with different settings and situations (oh hey there natural light).
I am also excited because this dish was created from eggplants within my own garden! Before I left for LA I noticed that I had quite a few eggplants starting out and moving along in growth so it was wonderful to come back and find several that were all ready to pick and several more that would be ready before the week was done.
While earlier this season I had an extremely prolific garden of zucchini, there ended up being some bug issues and the zucchini and squash plants unfortunately died. The tomatoes have been extremely slow growing (I fear that we will have dozens ripen at the exact same time) and so there’s been a bit of a lag in home-grown produce. That’s why I’m so thrilled to see lots of eggplants popping up and growing merrily away! Have I mentioned I love eggplants– especially roasted ones?
While this dish is loosely based on baba ganoush, it’s missing a key element: garlic. Because of that, and the fact that I realize I know/ have very little first-hand experience with Middle Eastern cuisine, I will just describe this as a delicious roasted eggplant dip.
Roasted Eggplant Dip with Lemon Zest, Tahini and Sumac
Makes approximately 3 Cups
1 Medium Eggplant, or 3 Small (when you chop it later, you’ll want about 2.5 Cups)
Zest of 1 Lemon
1.5 TBSP Lemon Juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 TBSP Tahini
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Sumac
Sumac, Toasted Sesame Seeds and Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Prick a few holes in the eggplant from various sides (I’ve had eggplants explode in the oven when I didn’t do this) and place on a baking sheet before tossing into the oven. Cook for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. The eggplant skin will likely be hard but the interior will be soft. Once it is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool (it should deflate slightly during this time).
Once the eggplant has cooled, cut off the stem and the brown part at the base of the eggplant. Once removed, roughly chop the eggplant. For a smoother texture, toss in a food processor or blender briefly but don’t blend it completely – texture is nice in this dish!
Add the eggplant to a large bowl and mix in the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, tahini, salt and sumac. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.
To serve, sprinkle some sumac and toasted sesame seeds on top and drizzle with olive oil.
I enjoy dipping this with red bell peppers but crackers, such as pita chips will also work well. Covered, it also keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.