Simple Smoky Baba Ghanoush

Simple Smoky Baba Ghanoush | Kneading Home

My life has become completely consumed by school. Literally I stay up until 2am every night of the week reading and writing, I go to sleep exhausted and then wake up and do it all again. I love what I'm studying, I really do. I know this because the thought that so often fills my mind is that in less than five years "I get to be a psychologist". How lucky am I? But that doesn't make it easy.

Last night I came home from class, and watched the Daily Show, something Nate and I watched together nightly before we moved. No laptop, no reading. Just me my dog and the tv. Despite having a different host, the stories, the soundtrack and co-hosts were the same. Then I turned on my favorite pandora station, the one I used to bake to every afternoon in California, and I caught up on reading my favorite food blogs. I was taken back to our apartment in Calabasas. To life as a full-time yoga teacher, with an achy low back from all the hours I spent in the car driving from class to private to class. To long, full days, and evenings filled with teaching in the absolute best way possible. To a husband who I got to come home to, eat dinner with, go to bed too late with in our little apartment surrounded by neighbors we knew in a life that felt comfortable. And my heart ached. 

Simple Smoky Baba Ghanoush | Kneading Home

Nate has been away for four weeks now on a ship in the great lakes. I'm making friends, studying my ass off, barely teaching or making it to class myself. Having enough time to cook myself dinner, let alone spend an entire afternoon playing with ingredients in the kitchen, is a rarity. And by rarity I mean it has been months. And it makes me just so sad. 

Sometimes I wish I could live consecutive lives because there's just not time to be all I want to be. Does anyone else feel this way? And right now all I want to do is blast ingrid michaelson and bake vegan cinnamon apple cheesecake bites while I wait for this new life to feel comfortable.

Simple Smoky Baba Ghanoush | Kneading Home
Simple Smoky Baba Ghanoush | Kneading Home

Simple Smoky Baba Ghanoush
makes about 1.5 cups
adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

Notes: Smokiness requires a gas stove, something I no longer have. So I broiled the hell out of the eggplants instead. The result? They weren't even a little smoky. Fail. Insert liquid smoke. I won't tell if you don't! 

2 small eggplants
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1 lemon, ~ 4 teaspoons
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons parsley, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Slice the eggplants in half length wise, drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place cut size down on the baking sheet and cook for 1 hour until the skins are dark and shriveled and the center looks brown and slightly caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool. 

Using a spoon, scape out the centers of the eggplant and discard the skins. Combine eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, liquid smoke, salt, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until completely incorporated. Adjust to taste. 

To serve top drizzle with olive oil, and top with parsley and sesame seeds. Serve with pita chips or vegetables. 

Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons

Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons | Kneading Home

For as long as I can remember guacamole has been always been my thing. Despite a serious lack of culinary skills, I've whipped it up from the time I was in elementary school. Of course it's evolved and changed since then, but I can confidently say I think my guac is the best out there. But the best thing about guac is that it's totally flexible. Don't like tomato? Skip it. Love the tangy bite of lots of lime? Add more! Don't have cilantro in the fridge? It will still taste pretty fantastic without it. 

That being said, this weekend the hubby and I went to the Calabasas Farmer's market and came home with a bag full of persimmons. Have you ever had them? I hadn't either. I'd heard of them, seen them, and even read recipes with them but honestly I'd never tried them. Despite looking shockingly similar to tomatoes they taste nothing like them. They are sweet like a mango with an inner texture like a firm pear, and they are in full bloom this time of year. The secret to making them taste extra sweet, at least according to the man who sold them to me at the Farmer's Market, is to remove the skin. 

Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons | Kneading Home
Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons | Kneading Home

So when we got home, hot and hungry, and I saw a giant ripe avocado sitting in our fruit basket, I decided to have some fun. The persimmons add a sweet unexpected, but totally appreciated, surprise to this very traditional guacamole. The texture blends in perfectly and even adds an extra element of chunkiness. If there's something I think we can all agree on, it's that guacamole should be chunky. Not to mention, it's football season, and I don't know about you but I've never met a person who didn't like guacamole, especially devout and very serious footballs fans (go niners!). 

That being said, this weekend the hubby and I went to the Calabasas Farmer's market and came home with a bag full of persimmons. Have you ever had them? I hadn't either. I'd heard of them, seen them, and even read recipes with them but honestly I'd never tried them. Despite looking shockingly similar to tomatoes they taste nothing like them. They are sweet like a mango with an inner texture like a firm pear, and they are in full bloom this time of year. The secret to making them taste extra sweet, at least according to the man who sold them to me at the Farmer's Market, is to remove the skin.
Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons | Kneading Home
Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons | Kneading Home
Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons | Kneading Home
Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons | Kneading Home
Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons | Kneading Home

Best Damn Guacamole with Persimmons 
Serves 4 as an appetizer 

2 small avocados (or 1 large)
1 tbsp salsa verde
2-3 tbsp diced yellow onion 
2 packed tbsp diced Roma tomatoes, seeded 
small handful of cilantro, roughly chopped 
1 small persimmon, peeled and diced 
1/4 tsp sea salt 
fresh ground pepper to taste 
1 tbsp lime 

*You can totally use store-bought salsa verde. I like Trader Joe's brand. 

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Using the side of a fork, roughly chop avocado then mix all ingredients together until you'd achieved your desired chunkiness. Serve with chips and devour.