Saturday, June 26, 2010

Eggplant with Pomegranate Dip

Collaborative Photography by Slava Pirsky and Anna Hayat

Since 1999, Anna and Slava have been working together on photographic projects.
Anna received her fine art education in Israel. Slava, originally from Russia, received his degree in fine arts in Russia.
They live in and work currently in Jerusalem, Israel.

Exhibition Opening: Sunday, June 27th . 4-7pm
Still Life Gallery 8173 Main Street Ellicott City, MD

I will be serving Israeli:
Barkan Classic Pinot Noir from Negev.
Golan, Sion Creek Red,  
Barkan Classic Sauvignon Blanc from Adulam, Israel
Zan Shiraz Rose' a wine dedicated to  "The White City"-the old section of Tel Aviv, an area with the largest concentration of Bauhaus architecture in the world!

For the Hors d'œuvre, I will be serving Eggplant with Pomegranate Dip and grilled wheat pita, pomegranates, fresh figs, and grapes.
Join Us !

Eggplant with Pomegranate Dip
3 medium eggplants
2 medium onions, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
4 medium local tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pomegranate paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon angelica powder (use pinch of fennel seeds and celery seeds, if you don't have this)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Preheat oven to 350, prick eggplants with a fork and place on oven rack . Bake for one hour.
Let cool , peel and chop.
In a deep skillet , fry onions, garlic and 3 tablespoons oil. Add tomatoes, pomegranate paste and cook for 10 min over medium heat, add eggplant, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, angelica powder, and mint. Stirring occasionally , simmer over low heat for another 35 min, adjust seasoning.
Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or cold.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Le Trésor Grey Sea Salt

I thought I would take a moment and express the importance of certain ingredients, especially salt. I have been using Le Trésor Grey Sea Salt lately. This natural unrefined salt comes from the prestigious salt ponds of Guérande, France.The grey hue comes from its extremely high level of minerals and nutrients. 
Try biting into a sun ripened tomato with a touch of coarse sea salt or sprinkled on sweet summer grilled corn. It gave a final touch to herb and lemon stuffed trout that I cooked on my coal fired grill last week! I am going to experiment with Himalayan pink salt next. Exotic salts have been treasured throughout history, consider using in your next recipe, before reaching for that boring salt shaker.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bouquet Garni, It's Necessary!

My first job was at Crabtree and Evelyn, I was 16 years old. I remember coming across a box of Bouquet Garni in our food section. "What the hell is this, and why would anyone spend this much on a cheesecloth ball of herbs?" You don't have to spend alot. You don't have to go the classic route and buy a ton of herbs and wrap in cheesecloth. If you have started an herb collection for the summer, just snip what you like and put into a tea ball, or simply tie a sprig of thyme, a bay leaf and several stalks of parsley together.
Right now you can easily pick up herb bundles at the Farmer's Market for $1 each!
You just want to add a savory hint and be able to lift the bouquet garni away, without all the herbs floating about in your recipe.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Moules Mariniere

I made this the other day for a Summer cookout, and everyone seemed to enjoy.
Perfect for impromptu gatherings, serve with chilled white wine. I love wine from Languedoc .
This recipe comes from the Normandy region of France, where cider is sometimes used instead of wine.
Moules Mariniere
3 qt mussels
1 cup white wine
3 shallots very finely chopped
bouquet garni
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped parsley

Clean the mussels. In a large pot (not aluminium) combine the wine, shallots, bouquet garni and plenty of pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 min. Add the mussels, cover and cook over a high fire, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 min. or until the mussels are open. Sprinkle with chopped parsley , stir and taste the liquid for seasoning.
  Serve the mussels in soup bowls and spoon liquid over them. Serve with grilled bread. Yummy to dip bread in the tasty broth!