My sister and I have these lists called “life lists.” Nine out of ten times they relate to food. We came up with this somewhat childish classification system on a long road trip with my husband and his friend. We were absolutely bored out of our minds and decided to ask each other what were each of our “life foods,” in other, less eccentric terms, which foods can you see yourself loving for life? Essentially, we broke down our “life foods” by categories such as regional cuisines to something as odd as, “what are your life chips?” I know, you must be thinking that we are a little off in the mind, but little quirks like this make us who we are. I’m sure every group of close friends and family have their own innuendos that no one else would understand.
Back to the “life foods,” I named Mediterranean cuisine as a regional “life cuisine.” I love the freshness and the lightness associated with it. It’s such a vibrant area that yields amazing cuisine in my opinion. Though the term, Mediterranean is a little vague, I love it all, whether it is Southern European, Greek, North African, Turkish, Lebanese, and so on. I would consider this dip truly Mediterranean, because I’m sure you can find it in one form or another all over the Mediterranean. It’s a fresh, light, and a delicious dip. It’s simple, yet packs a lot of intensity.
Eggplant and Pepper Dip
Makes about 2 cups of dip
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
i medium sized eggplant
1 large red bell pepper
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeno chili, roughly chopped (remove the seeds if you like)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 /2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilies, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons olive oil
10 sprigs on chives, roughly chopped
handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 mint leaves, roughly chopped
crumbled feta cheese, for garnish, optional
extra parsley and chives for garnish, optional
pita wedges for serving
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the eggplant and red pepper with a knife so that you create some holes in the flesh. Cover both with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Place on a baking tray with 4 whole garlic cloves and bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and cooked through. Allow to cool slightly and remove the skins off the eggplant and the pepper. Place the cooked eggplant, pepper, and roasted garlic cloves in a food processor with the salt, pepper, cumin, crushed red chillies, lemon juice, jalapeno, 2 raw garlic cloves, chives, mint, parsley, and olive oil. Pulse until the consistency is almost smooth, let there still be some texture. Chill in the refrigerator and garnish with feta cheese, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita wedges.