foodie

Minted Tahini Eggplant

Minted Tahini Eggplant!

I can't lie, when I received Plenty - the cookbook by the infamous Yotam Ottolenghi, all I could do was stare at the cover. The longer I stared at it, the more I fell in love! A few weeks later I decided to take a spin on that cover photo. I made one of grandmother's favorite side dishes - Tahini eggplant! As a young boy growing up in Lebanon - eggplant was at every meal. This is my take on a modern healthy lebanese eggplant dish! This could be a main dish, or  a side dish - whatever you prefer :)

 Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 people

Eggplant:

  • 2 large eggplants, washed

  • 3 tbsp EVOO

  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped

  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • Salt + black pepper

Garnish:

  • 6-7 parsley leaves

  • 6-7 mint leaves

  • 1 pomegranate, seeded

Sauce:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp evoo

  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Preheat oven, or grill to 450F.

2.   Slice the eggplant into thirds, lengthways. Make four small parallel cuts, throughout the heart of the eggplant.

3.    Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, and drizzle with olive oil. place eggplants, cut-side up. Sprinkle with the rest of the olive oil, thyme, rosemary, cumin, salt and pepper. 

4.     Bake for 45 minutes, until brown, soft and tender.

5.    While the eggplants are baking mix greek yogurt, tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice, oil, and salt. Mix until combined, and smooth.

6.   Serve eggplant, with plenty of tahini yogurt. Sprinkle with salt, pomegranate seeds, mint, and parsley.

7.   Sahtein!

Shakshuka

Shakshuka!!!

This is the ULTIMATE most epic TASTIEST flavorful OUTSTANDING BRUNCH EVER! No but really this is the best crowd pleaser. It's hearty yet healthy and delicious. Shakshuka is a Moroccan breakfast food. This my way of making it. You can make this meal vegetarian by easily switching the sausage to vegetables like mushrooms or spinach! So invite a few friends over and make a homemade brunch for once! 

Video + Photos by Sean Fagan

Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp EVOO

  • 1 large onion, peeled + sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled + finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 tbsp aleppo pepper (or paprika)

  • 3 sausages, casing removed

  • 1 can diced tomato

  • 2 large tomato, diced

  • Salt + Pepper

  • ¾ cup, goat cheese ½

  • 5 eggs

  • 6-7 parsley leaves (garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Preheat oven to 400F.

1.    In a large cast iron skillet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over high heat.

2.     Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes or until it translucent and changing color. 

3.     Add garlic, cumin, and aleppo pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

4.    Add the sausage, and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes.

5.    Stir in the canned tomato, and fresh tomato. Season well with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes or until tomato juiced have thickened up.

6.   Crumble ½ cup of goat cheese, and mix with tomato sauce.

7.    Crack eggs on top of tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

8.    Bake for 8 minutes.

9.    Garnish with crumbled goat cheese, and parsley!

10.   I normally enjoy this with a side of greek yogurt, pita bread, and cold brew! Cheers!!!

Two-Way Hummus

Two-Way (5 minute) Hummus

This takes me back to my real roots. When I first moved to the states Hummus was not yet popular, but fast-forward to 2017 hummus became an American fridge staple. So here it is - my 5 minute, 5 ingredient hummus + a traditional topping that transforms this dip from basic to extra! 

Side note: Hummus can be stored for up to two weeks in the fridge

Photos by Brandon Kaiser

Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people
Yield: 1 Quart

INGREDIENTS

Hummus:

  • 2 15-oz cans chickpea, drained

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • ½ cup tahini paste (preferably al-wadi)

  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tsp cumin, ground

  • Salt, to taste

Ground-Lamb Topping:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • ½ lb ground lamb (or any ground meat)

  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses

  • 1 tsp 7-spices seasoning

  • Salt, to taste

  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

Hummus:

1.     Add chickpeas, garlic, cumin, and salt to a food processor and pulse on low for 30 seconds. 

2.     Add lemon juice, and tahini paste and pulse on medium for one minute. 

3.     Accelerate the speed to high and add olive oil slowly until it is fully incorporated. Pulse the hummus for 2 minutes or until it becomes a smooth consistency.

4.    Plate, and garnish with paprika/chile powder, drizzled extra virgin olive oil, and a few chickpeas.

5.    Voila! Ready to enjoy, dip away kids.

Ground-Lamb Topping:

1.     In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

2.     Add ground meat, pomegranate molasses, seasoning, and salt.

3.     Cook for 3-5 minutes or until meat is fully cooked.

4.     Adjust seasoning, and incorporate the pine nuts.

5.    Serve as a topping on hummus, and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

6.    Enjoy!

 

Ramen Carbonara

Ramen Carbonara

This dish was created when I first moved to Brooklyn. I decided to live in prime Williamsburg, getting line cook hourly pay, which meant a lot of ramen dinners. One night I was having the worst case of munchies and just wanted to be sitting at Rosemary's in the West Village eating their famed carbonara, when the lightbulb went off and my very own ramen carbonara was born! 

Photos by Carmen Ladipo

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2 people
Yield: 2 bowls

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 package of ramen noodle soup (preferably chicken flavored, maruchan)

  • 3 egg yolks

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt

  • ramen seasoning

  • 2 pancetta slices,1.5-inch thick, cubed

  • 1 cup peas, frozen

  • black pepper, freshly ground

  • Parmigiano Reggiano

INSTRUCTIONS

1.     Bring a medium pot of water to boil for the noodles.

2.     On medium-low heat, brown the pancetta for 13-15 minutes, or until golden crispy.

3.     Add noodles to the boiling water, and cook to al dente, 5-6 minutes.

4.     In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper, and ramen seasoning until well combined.

5.    Drain noodles, and keep 1/2 cup of starchy cooking liquid.

6.     Add the noodles back into the pot and heat on high with the extra ½ cup of starchy liquid. Swirl the noodles until the water has evaporated. Turn the heat off and mix in the egg mixture. 

7.     Keep swirling for 1-2 minutes until the eggs are cooked. Leave the burner off, you do not want to scramble your eggs. The key here is creaminess. 

8.     Add peas and pancetta mix again.

9.     Serve and finish off with freshly ground black pepper, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

10.    Slurp away!

Savory Lebanese Toast

Savory Lebanese Toast

This is a little twist on one of my favorite breakfast foods. I tend to eat more savory than sweet so I decided to switch it up. Instead of making a sweetened toast, I used an olive loaf, topping it off with tomatoes, mint, cucumber, grilled halloumi cheese, and the legendary Black & Bolyard aleppo pepper brown butter.

Photos by Carmen Ladipo

Total Time: 25 min
Serves: 4-6 people
Yield: 1 large stack

INGREDIENTS

French Toast:

  • 1 olive loaf, sliced ½’

  • 4 whole eggs

  • 2 tbsp za'atar

  • 1 tbsp sumac

  • Pinch sea salt

  • Aleppo pepper brown butter

Toppings:

  • 2 each tomatoes, cubed

  • 1 each cucumber, halved and sliced

  • ¼ cup mint leaves, washed

  • 1 block halloumi cheese, rinsed and sliced ¼’

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.     In a medium bowl, crack eggs and whisk with za'atar, sumac, and sea salt – until well combined

2.     In a large bowl toss cubed tomatoes, cucumber, mint, EVOO, and salt together – and set aside. 

3.     Dip bread in egg mixture, until fully coated

4.     In a large cast iron skillet, melt the brown butter over medium high heat.

5.     Cook each slice for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

6.     Let the bread cool, and sear the halloumi cheese for 2 minutes until the edges are crispy.

7.     Assemble the toast by adding a slice of halloumi, and a scoop of salad.

8.     Finishing it off with melted brown butter, and za'atar.

9.     Cheers