Monday, August 10, 2009

Hummus, Babaganoush, and Roasted Grapes

Nothing completely new tonight, but the meal was tasty.

It's best to soak dried beans overnight, but if you forget, as we did, it's generally just as good to boil them an hour in the morning. Never salt the water for boiling beans: it toughens the skin. So, bring to boil and then simmer 1 cup dried garbanzo beans and 1 cup dried canelini in 6 cup water for an hour, remove from heat, and let sit about 6 hours. Bring back to a boil and cook 3 to 4 hours, until the beans are falling apart. Drain the beans, and mash with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup tahini, one clove minced garlic, minced rosemary and parsley, and cumin and salt to taste.

Score the sides of three small eggplants into strips, to aid the later peeling. Bake eggplant close to an hour. Remove from the heat, and let cool. Or, if you are me, don't let them cool enough and just be careful. Also if you are me, unintentionally undercook the eggplant and then blend it in the blender. Regardless, combine the eggplant with a lot of tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, cumin, and paprika, all to taste.

A year ago I Heart Kale suggested making savory roasted grapes, and they quick became one of my favorite easy dishes, because I love the sweet-and-salty combination. The reds today, which were wonderful table grapes, lost most of their flavor when roasting, but the greens, to sour to eat raw, were wonderful. Toss grapes with salt and lots of olive oil, and back uncovered in a glass pan about 30 minutes.

We paired the meal with the "French Rosé" from Red Bicyclette. We were dubious of the rosé, having had a series of much-too-sweet "white" Zinfandels, but Alice Waters seems to love rosé wine. And we've been very happy with the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir from Red Bicyclette, so we decided to give them a try. Turns out, it's very good: light with fruit overtones, but understated.

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