Artichoke with spicy roasted eggplant dip

I had about 10 or 15 minutes to come up with a good dip for my artichoke. All I can say is that sometimes the best things come from rushed spontaneity. I have always had such a hard time finding a good dip for artichoke. My friend always likes to eat it with lemon and butter or mayonnaise. But lemon and butter doesn’t seem to have that satisfactory consistency with eating artichoke, and mayonnaise is just gross. 

Perhaps I should explain. After about 3 1/2 hours of intensive training and a hunger that could eat up an elephant, as well as the fact that my artichoke (and the rest of my dinner for that matter) was about to finish cooking in 15 or so minutes, I put myself in a rush to try and figure out some ingenious artichoke dip creation. Hunger does pay off, I will tell you. If ever in doubt, listen to your stomach because it knows what it wants.  I have actually never made anything like this before. What’s great about this dish is that its firstly dairy-free (a nice little dance for those of us who either can’t or wont eat dairy) and it’s not strictly lemon, or garlic, or any of those weird nut purees that vegans always like to use (not that it’s bad but, come on, who actually happens to have soaked cashews at all hours of the day- too much pre-planning involved).

I realized I had some eggplant wasting away in my fridge (not that it really was more like I needed to use it up) and then thought of baba ganoush. Then of course you add some soy sauce, lemon, and some spicy paste and get what I ended up with.

Now let me just say, if you had the choice between a blender and a food processor. CHOOSE THE FOOD PROCESSOR. Blending took about 10 minutes too long! A nutri-bullet probably would have been better but of course I have no 5 star kitchen nor do i want to spend the money on something i would use maybe once or twice a year.

Can I just point out the wonders of cast iron. I mean of course you have to season it each and every time after you use it and there’s no cooking anything acidic in it and it also takes a long time to heat, but once you go through all that trouble, there’s nothing better than a nice cast iron skillet. Why are you rambling about cast iron?! There is a reason i swear. Cast iron is great if you want to roast or “grill” anything either indoors or because you don’t have  grill and re too lazy to take the time to heat up your oven and wait an hour for both your garlic and eggplant to roast. In the cast iron, it took about 10 minutes tops! A little drizzle of olive oil, some water, a pinch of salt, a lid, and fire. Whoever created cast iron was a genius. You can get that same somewhat smoky flavor as yo would get from a grill.

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Artichoke with spicy roasted eggplant dip

Ingredients

• artichokes

• enough water to cover

• tablespoon salt
Dip

• 2 Japanese eggplant cut into pieces

• 3 cloves garlic smashed

• 1 cup water

• juice of 1 lemon

• pinch of salt

• 1 tbsp. Regular soy sauce

• 1/2 tsp. Chili oil

• 1/2 tsp. Honey/honey powder/ sugar

Directions

  1. Clean artichokes and boil in water with lots of salt for about 45 minutes or until it’s tender enough to pull of the leaves without much effort
  2. Roast garlic and eggplant in a cast iron skillet with a little drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 2 minutes. Then flip over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Add in some water and cover eggplant fcooking for about 5 minutes or until the eggplant and garlic is completely mushy and soft
  4. Place the eggplant mixture into a blender or food processor and add in 1/2 cup of water plus the lemon juice and soy sauce. And pulse until smooth. If you need more water add in the other 1/2 cup.
  5. Remove from the blender and place in a small bowl and add in the honey powder and the chili oil. Serve with the artichoke and enjoy!

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