Before I get started on tonight’s post, I want to let you all know that tomorrow we will be starting a regular series on Mind Your Bees and Trees with an awesome guest blogger so stay tuned. I promise—you don’t want to miss it!
It’s summertime and summertime means BBQ season. Who doesn’t love a good BBQ? My favorite part about BBQs is, of course, all of the great food! There are always so many great appetizers, side dishes, salads, and desserts, not to mention the meat, but honestly I’m usually much more excited about all of the other goodies. It is a rare occasion when the meat at a BBQ wins me over.
When we go to BBQs, I almost always make a dessert (or two!). Dessert is my specialty—a trait I inherited from my mom. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I love to bake and I love to share my baked goods with others. As my mom always says, “the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach” :).
Since I’m not eating any processed sugar this summer, I can’t turn to my old favorites when I’m looking for something to make for a BBQ. I told Amanda that I thought going to BBQs and not eating all of the yummy desserts would definitely be the hardest part of this challenge for me. Well so far we have been to a few BBQs and parties this summer, and although it has been a little hard not to eat any dessert, it has not been as bad as I imagined it would be—especially when there are delicious savory goodies to munch on like the Roasted Eggplant Dip I made for a 4th of July party at our friend’s house.
I saw this recipe on Courtney’s blog and immediately knew I had to try it. Giff and I pretty much love anything with eggplant in it (and I love anything with feta) so I figured it would be pretty awesome. If you think you don’t like eggplant, then you probably haven’t had it cooked very well because eggplant is excellent when it’s cooked well. I promise to post some more of our favorite recipes using eggplant in the future, but for now, let’s focus on this dip.
Last summer I made Ina Garten’s eggplant dip for a party and it was a huge hit. I loved that dip so much that I was slightly worried that this new eggplant dip might not live up to the other one, but it definitely did. Ina’s dip is pureed and although it has an excellent flavor, you can’t specifically taste the eggplant since everything is mixed together. The eggplant and feta dip is not pureed so it’s more salsa-like. I loved the chunky texture of the dip and it was excellent with either fresh veggies or crackers (side note: I was excited to find some crackers at the store that don’t contain sugar!). Although I pride myself on always bringing awesome desserts to parties, I think I could get used to the savory thing too. My dip was one of the first savory items to go so I’m going to go ahead and say that it was a hit :).
Roasted Eggplant and Feta Dip
*Recipe adapted from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life
▪ 1 medium eggplant, (about 1 pound)
▪ 2 tbsp lemon juice
▪ 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
▪ 1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
▪ 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
▪ 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
▪ 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
▪ 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
▪ 1/4 tsp chili powder
▪ 1/4 tsp cumin
▪ 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
▪ 1/4 tsp garlic powder
▪ 1/4 tsp salt
▪ Drizzle of honey (optional)
- Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler.
- Line a baking pan with foil. Place eggplant in the pan and poke a few holes all over it to vent steam. Broil the eggplant, turning with tongs every 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and a knife inserted into the dense flesh near the stem goes in easily, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
- Put lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scrape the flesh into the bowl, tossing with the lemon juice to help prevent discoloring. Add oil and stir with a fork until the oil is absorbed. (It should be a little chunky.) Stir in feta, onion, bell pepper, basil, parsley, spices and salt. Taste and add honey if needed.
Question: What is your favorite thing to bring to a BBQ? What is your favorite thing to eat at a BBQ?