Grilled Aubergine Dip

After sailing (and eating) my way through the Mediterranean on our honeymoon, I have come back inspired! One day at lunch, we were served “eggplant goop”. Sounds tasty, right? There was actually an Italian name for this hummus like dip made from eggplant instead of chick peas, but we can’t remember what it was to save our lives. Do you know? Please comment if so!

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Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
1Tbsp. Olive oil + 2 drizzles worth
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup nuts (pine or walnuts)
1 tsp. lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp. paprika + a sprinkle for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat grill to medium low heat. Drizzle eggplant with olive oil to thinly coat. Grill for 30 minutes while rotating frequently.
2. Cut up eggplant into 1 inch chunks and add to food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend on high for 3 minutes or until smooth.
3. Transfer dip to a serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with veggies or other dippers.

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Grilled Eggplant Caponata

We did it! We grew our first eggplant of our new garden! Just like any proud parent, I must show off my little bundle of joy. Here he is:

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Ok, now it’s time to cook him!

Caponata is a traditional Italian dish, and the very first thing that came to mind when looking to cook this guy. My version is the traditional version with a couple of twists that I hope you like! You can serve it in dip form as an appetizer, or substitute it for bruschetta. I will be topping grilled chicken with it tonight. You can also toss it with some pasta. Use your imagination, and please comment to let me know some of your awesome plans for it!

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Ingredients:
1 medium to large eggplant
1 large red pepper
1 large onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic – minced
20 olives of your choice – pitted and chopped
2 Tbsp. pine nuts – toasted
1 Tbsp. capers
10 leaves fresh basil – chopped
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat grill to medium high heat.
2. Trim the ends off eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Cut pepper in half and remove seeds. Drizzle a little olive oil on veggies, and grill for 5 minutes per side.
3. While eggplant and pepper are grilling, sauté onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until onion begins to caramelize.
4. Remove veggies from grill, allow to cool until you can handle them, and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.
5. In a large mixing bowl, combine veggies, onions with garlic, olives, pine nuts, capers, basil, vinegar,and olive oil. Careful stir and season to your liking with salt and pepper.
6. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold… But please let me know how you serve it!

Sundried Tomato Hummus

I know I have mentioned this before, but I am getting married soon! In 36 days to be exact. This weekend, my girls are kidnapping me to bring me away for my bachelorette weekend. I have no clue what to expect, but I have been told to pack myself a lunch. Usually I would be thrilled by the notion of a bag lunch. As a teacher, I always look forward to field trips for the chance to pack myself a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a granola bar and juice box. Now, with my modified paleo diet, it isn’t quite a no brainier anymore. As I get whisked away tomorrow, I plan on packing a big container of this hummus, carrot sticks for dipping, mixed nuts for some extra protein, and plenty of water….after all, who knows what lays ahead of me!

Hummus for this weekend is a win/win/win situation. I get to use my Ninja Blender (by far my favorite kitchen gadget…ever.), I get a yummy lunch, and I get to send my fiancĂ© off on his bachelor party fishing trip with a tub of hummus for the guys.

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Ingredients:
1 can chick peas drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. chopped sundried tomatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. water
Salt to taste
“Dippers” – sliced veggies for the paleo crew (pita chips to make the others happy)

1. Combine chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, sundried tomatoes, and olive oil in food processor. Blend for at least two minutes until smooth.
2. Add water little by little mixing in between until hummus reaches your desired thickness.
3. Add salt to taste and blend one last time.
4. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika (optional). make sure to have lots of carrot sticks, celery, and sliced red peppers for dipping!