If At FIrst You Don’t Succeed…Call It Something Else.

Finally. A blog post. Sorry, but it was a long, busy week. And too much to think about. And too many demons to wrestle…so…

Before I worked for The Bank, I worked for the City of New York for eight years as a Project Architect. The learning opportunities at the Housing Preservation and Development were great- not only did I get to design and build housing for lower income families, I learned the fine art of running a business out of a cubicle.

ALL the city workers do it…

I learned the tools of my trade at this job- Autocad. I also learned that not all architects are created equal. Especially if you’re male. If you’re male, you are naturally a much higher caliber individual. And smarter.

Of COURSEyou are…

But the most important lesson I learned while working for HPD was one my future husband taught me. He taught me to love different ethnic foods. Lunches at Indian restaurants. Dinners in Chinatown for Thai. Snacks at out-of-the-way Pakistani stands. He introduced me to spicy foods and now it’s one more thing I’m indebted to him for.

Working for the City was like working in the United Nations. I worked elbow to elbow with every nationality. And with those nationalities came the food.

Oh, yes. Bharti’s vegetarian lunches. Mike’s hummus.. Lily’s scallion pancakes. Ann’s spicy curdled milk.

Different folks, different foods. I tried all of them and loved it all.

One day, we had a brainstorm. Instead of going out one day, let’s all bring in something from home for a potluck. I always dreaded being on the supply side of a potluck- especially an ethnic one. This American white girl has no ethnic history. White girl usually brought cornbread. Or salad. I think on the day of the HPD potluck I brought in a huge bowl of lettuce. Oh so boring.

But on the receiving end? I was in heaven. All the homemade Russian, Greek, Polish, Indian, Middle Eastern, Jamaican, Italian, Chinese, Guyanese food…and salad…was wonderful. We ate and picked all afternoon. It was the first time I tried dishes like hummus, babaganoush, tabouli, saag paneer and kielbasa. My favorite? Our Egyptian engineer’s wife’s babaganoush. I remember taking the whole bowl back to my desk after lunch to nosh on with the toasted pita points. Heaven!

So I was craving this eggplant dish the other day and decided to document making it. Hey-all the big name bloggers are all doing it…so I figured I’d try my first photo recipe. Since I cleaned the fridge and threw out the tahini, I needed a recipe that didn’t include it. I remember Mike’s babaganoush to be tahini free, too, so I found the recipe here:

2 eggplants
2 tbsp lemon juice
5 cloves minced garlic, preferably roasted
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cumin (the stuff in the blue bowl)
1/2 tsp parsley

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice eggplants in half and pierce with a fork in several places.

Roast for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool slightly, then scoop out inside of eggplant, leaving skin behind. In a blender or food processor, process eggplant with remaining ingredients until smooth.

Easy, huh? One would think. I split the recipe in half and used the other eggplant to make this:
Chili Lime Babaganoush
2 medium eggplants
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Slice eggplant in half, and roast in 400 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until soft.
Allow to cool slightly, then scoop out inside of eggplant, leaving skin behind.
In a blender or food processor, combine eggplant and remaining ingredients until smooth.

I don’t know if I processed the eggplant mess too much, but it didn’t have the consistency I’ve come to know as babaganoush. It came out more like a tapanade. Spreadable. Creamy. Not “ganoushy” at all. Or maybe too “ganoushy?”

So I call it eggplant tapanade. I’ve been spreading it on wraps and stuffing the wraps with baby spinach and sprinkling dried cranberries on top. Oooh, what a great tapanade. So spreadable! Delicious! Perfect for my new low-carb diet.

Yeah, that’s not raspberry jam and caramel sauce. It’s my wonderful new tapanade/babaganoush fail.
I’ll keep trying to perfect not only the babaganoush, but also my picture taking.

Because I like typing the word BABAGANOUSH!

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