How one word can tell a life story. And its ending.
It gave me enough reason to reconsider my usual recipe for Baba Ganoush, the famous Mediterranean eggplant spread.
I never felt a stronger message in just a name.
A few minutes before I had started to think about what to do with that bunch of carrots in my fridge. What to have for dinner. But my inspiration paralyzed. Carrots. I couldn’t think of carrots anymore.
My friend MJ had simply written the name of her husband in her emails subject. With a tab of my finger I clicked the email on my phone open and my premonition turned out right. Something was terribly wrong. Her husband M. had died in an motorcycle accident.
We met at a bee keeping course. The fout of us started talking and never stopped. Our families, a green living, the reasons for not having kids, his old Harley Davidson which was built as a transport motor and used in the Second World War which he brought back in perfect shape, keeping bees and having pets, exploring the world by camping, simply about all those important things that makes a life worthwhile.
Food was an subject as well. When he had bought a Cobb barbecue in the midst of the winter, we showed him how to use it. By firering it indoors underneath the hood. All those other meals we shared, some made with ingredients she and I were growing in our vegetable gardens. And I’m probably not the only on who remembers that time he came by with dog Mona, got called away (as he was a voluntary fire fighter) and the dog chased cat Juli high up into the tree.
It made me go back into my own kitchen to reconsider my usual recipe.
The mild flavor of this restaurant’s version made me conscious I tend to over-spice it. But it was its structure with soft little lumps of roasted eggplant that surprised me most. Made me go back into my own kitchen to reconsider my usual recipe. Inventing a new version in which I don’t use my immersion blender or my food processor to puree it completely, but use a fork to mash the eggplant and the seasonings.
I don’t know if M. liked baba ganoush, if he ever had eaten it. But from now on, I will always think of him when I eat this famous roasted eggplant spread. Needless to say I ate it lot of baba ganoush this week.
Baba Ganoush [vegetarian | vegan spread]
The advantage of making baba ganoush with a fork is that you can keep on tasting and adding your spices without overstirring it. You best double this recipe, in case you keep on tasting and eat the entire bowl while the spread is warm like I did.
1 big eggplant (approx. 400 gr | 14 oz.)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of tahini
2,5 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
salt and pepper
Roast the eggplant. Preheat the oven at 200 C | 400 F degrees. Remove top of the eggplant and cut lengthwise in half. Mix both parts generously with the olive oil, lay them flat side down in a baking tray and make a few incisions with your knife. Roast about 25 minutes, or until the eggplant is completely soft.
Start with the base. Mix tahini with half the lemon juice to soften it a little bit.
Add the eggplant. Scrape with a spoon the soft eggplant meat out of its skin. Add to the tahini and mix well with a fork. Add rest of the lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper and the eggplant flavored oil that’s left on the baking tray – all to taste. Keep tasting and stirring with the fork. I like my baba ganoush to be smooth, soft and with mostly the eggplant and tahini to taste.