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Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Dip

Garden training session picnic, 9/19/12

This dip is a great new way to use fresh summer vegetables. Try it with raw vegetables, crackers, bread, or even as a sauce with chicken, pork, or beef.

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 large bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

OVEN METHOD (preferred): Preheat oven to 400. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and place cut side down on greased baking sheet. Place whole pepper on sheet. Roast until both eggplant and pepper are tender (the pepper may take a little longer).

MICROWAVE METHOD: Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and pierce the skin with a fork in a few places. Cut the top off the pepper and remove the seeds. Place eggplant and pepper on a plate and microwave on high for about 8 minutes, until both are tender.

Peel the pepper and eggplant: place hot cooked pepper in a sealed container for 20 minutes to steam. Afterwards, peel off the skin with your fingers. If roasted whole, remove seeds and stem. Peel the eggplant when it’s cool – you should be able to take the skin right off.

In a food processor or blender, combine cooked peeled vegetables and all remaining ingredients. Process until smooth, then taste and adjust salt as needed.

Yield: about 1 cup

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Baba Ghanoush

Garden training picnic, 9/19/12

This Middle Eastern eggplant dip is smooth, creamy, tasty, and a perfect introduction to eggplant for people who can be put off by its unusual texture.

  • 2 medium eggplants*
  • 4 cloves garlic*, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parsley* leaves, chopped

Cook the eggplants directly on a burner (high heat) or on a hot grill. Continue to cook until the skin is completely blackened and the inside is completely soft, about 20-30 minutes. (Alternatively, you can cut the eggplant in half, place it cut side down on a baking sheet, and bake at 450 until completely tender – less mess, although you miss out on smokiness.) Once eggplant is cooked, place in a tightly covered dish to steam for 15-20 minutes. Then, uncover and allow to cool. Peel cooked eggplant using your hands.

Into a food processor, add cooked eggplant flesh, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Blend thoroughly. Then, with the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream. The baba ghanoush should become lighter in color and creamy. Add chopped parsley and pulse briefly to combine. Add additional salt to taste if needed.

Serve with crackers or pita.

*These items can be grown right in your garden.

Yogurt Chive Dip

Community garden training snack, 8/8/12 – served with fresh carrots, cucumber, peppers, and kohlrabi

This dip is a healthy, tasty, creamy way to dress up your vegetables or crackers. Chives and garlic can come right from your own garden.

  • 1 clove garlic*, finely chopped (or omit and use garlic salt – see instructions below)
  • 2 tablespoons olive, vegetable, or canola oil
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, preferably greek-style or strained
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or garlic salt – see instructions below)

If using fresh garlic: in a small saucepan, combine garlic and oil. Heat on medium-low for 3-5 minutes, until the garlic smells very fragrant and begins to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, chives, salt, and the garlic with its oil. Or, if using garlic salt, combine the yogurt and chives with 2 tablespoons oil and the garlic salt.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle, then serve.

Makes 1 cup.

*These items can be grown in your garden.

Roasted Garlic Bean Dip

Committee meeting working lunch, 11/29/11 – Served with carrots, celery, and homemade wheat crackers.

This dip can be made using dried or canned beans. Serve with raw vegetables like carrots, celery, peppers, and broccoli, or with crackers or bread.

½ cup dried beans, any variety (or one can of beans)*
1 head garlic*
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided use
Salt

If using dried beans, soak the beans overnight (up to 24 hours) in plenty of water. Then, rinse the beans, put them in a pot, and add water to cover by about 5 inches. Bring beans to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until beans are tender, 1-2 hours (taste them to see when they are done, and overcooked is better than undercooked in this recipe). (Can be done in advance – add a large pinch of salt to the water, cool, and refrigerate in the cooking water for up to 4 days.)

While the beans are cooking, preheat oven to 350º. Cut the top (pointed, gathered end) off of a whole heads of garlic, exposing the cloves. Place in a baking dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt, and cover with foil. Roast until tender when cloves are pierced with a knife, 45-60 minutes. Squeeze cloves out of papery exterior. (Can be done in advance – refrigerate until ready to use.)

In a food processor or blender, combine cooked beans (prepared as above, or start at this step using canned beans) with roasted garlic cloves, remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Process or blend until smooth, then add up to 1 tablespoon cooking liquid (or liquid from can) to reach a dip-able consistency. Add salt to taste.

Yield: approximately 1 cup dip

*Both garlic and beans can be grown in Nebraska and stored for long periods of time.