What does this have to do with food? Well, everything! As Jews, we seek to preserve our traditions, our heritage, and our local community culture -- and what better way to do that than through family recipes? As a result of the diaspora, our ancestors compiled aspects of the cultures they lived in to form their own family culture. Many of the recipes they've passed along to us are a reminder of the places they've been (and moving forward, our recipes will function in a similar way for future generations). Much like Yiddish is a smorgasbord of languages combined into one, Jewish recipes are like a culinary passport of where we've been.
Do not forget the things you saw with your own eyes, So that they do not fade from your mind as long as you live, Make them known to your children and your children's children.
What responsibility do we have to pass along elements of Judaism through food? Something to think about over the coming weeks.
The eggplant recipe we made this week came out a bit spicier than intended - so I've lowered the spice ratio in this version. Many of us really loved the rice stuffing that went into the eggplants, and I could see it being made on its own as a side dish with chicken, fish, or grilled veggies.
Spicy Roasted Eggplants with Spiced Rice and Yogurt Dip
(from Lady and Pups)
8 small eggplants
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one lemon
1 tsp chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups cooked Basmati rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
4 tbsp vegetable stock
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste
5 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) With a mortar and pestle, ground garlic, salt, lemon zest, chili flakes, cumin, coriander, paprika and olive oil into a paste.
3) Cut eggplants in half length-wise, score flesh diagonally without breaking skin, and place on a baking sheet. Cut 1/8” off the bottom if wobbly. Apply oil/spice mixture on top of eggplants and cook for 30-40 minutes or until soft.
4) Create spiced rice: soak raisins in warm water until plump (about 5 minutes). Remove and coarsely chop; set aside.
5) Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet and add onion with a pinch of salt. Saute on medium-high heat until browned all over on the edges. Add the cooked rice, vegetable stock, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add raisins, lemon juice, chopped cilantro, and chili flakes. Stir and set aside.
6) Make the yogurt dressing: whisk yogurt, lemon juice, pepper and salt together until smooth. Set aside.
7) Once eggplants are cooked, use 2 forks to gently make a well in the middle of each. Stuff with spiced rice and top with yogurt dressing.