War is illogical. I am not a history buff, but looking at the data from the Iran and Afghan wars I must conclude that the equation does not tilt in our favor. I refer to the 6K lives lost and trillion dollars spent, presumably to avenge that sad day in September more than eight years ago. Of course, you could argue that I speak from the lofty confines of an ivory tower, barricaded by the benches of my laboratory, anaesthesized by academia. Also, that I alliterate. You could be right.
On to a more appetizing theme. Our dinner today has a middle-eastern motif, purely by chance.
- Baba Ganoush
- Couscous salad
- Pita bread
- Strawberry crostata (okay, this is Italian..but what else to do with a bushel of warm strawberries?)
Step 1: Broil eggplant in oven until it collapses (be prudent..place on foil lined pan and puncture at intervals to avoid an eggplant explosion). When cool enough to handle, scrape off the flesh from the burnt skin. This is the closest I get to dissection. Don’t fuss about the little bits of skin..they add flavor.
Step 2: Toss the whole mess in a food processor. Add 2 tbs tahini from a jar (look in the door of your fridge, I promise, it is still there). Bunches of parsley (send husband out to get some from garden and then go out again and get some more). Season with half a lemon and pinch of salt. Pulse a few times until creamy. That’s it. Try not to eat it all up before dinner.
Step 1: Let husband bring to boil some veg stock that he has purchased plus a tbs of olive oil (how much liquid? idk, but the instructions are on the couscous box). Add 3/4 cup couscous, take off heat and cover. In no time at all, liquid will be absorbed, fluff with fork and admire.
Step 2: Add any or all of the following. Chopped cucumber, chopped tomatoes, dry roasted pine nuts, chopped parsley/coriander/mint, 1 cup of cooked chickpeas, remaining half of lemon (from Baba G recipe) squeezed, minced feta cheese, pinch of salt, few grindings of pepper..you get the idea. Toss together, refrain from picking out your favorite ingredients and eating before dinner.
Store bought, warmed on griddle just before serving. I offered to make them from scratch using my handy dandy bread machine, but family voted no (correctly guessing that too much physical effort would make me grumpy and lead to general unhappiness distributed indiscriminately by yours truly).
Step 1: Search foodtv. com for Giada de Laurentis’ crostata recipe. Despite poking fun at her bobble headed-ness and excessive use of pancetta, I admit in all fairness that this recipe is great.
To the food processor (washed after scraping off eggplant heaven), add 1.5 cups flour, 1/3 stick unsalted butter chopped into bits, 3 tbs scoops of mascarpone cheese (yes, this recipe requires some forethought..send family off shopping while you take a nice long shower), one squeeze of lemon juice, two tbs sugar, pinch of salt (not sure why, but the recipe said so). Pulse to mix. Add 1-2 tbs of cold tap water and pulse again. The mixture will look crumbly. Dump onto plastic wrap and gently gather into a ball. Chill in ‘fridge.
Step 2: Slice the strawberries. Considered getting kids to do this, but they are having fun watching an old Sherlock Holmes film on tv, so did it myself. As token gesture, asked daughter to sprinkle sugar on sliced berries. This is a good opportunity to discuss the word ‘macerate’.
Step 3: Roll out chilled dough on clean countertop. No need to be perfect..this is rustic. Spread some cream cheese or ricotta cheese on surface. Artistically arrange strawberry slices until patience wears thin. Crimp/fold edges over the berries in center..I promise this will look fabulous when done. Bake in a 400 deg. oven until sides are somewhat golden. (I don’t go for the egg wash business..too yucky for me). Butterly heaven!