Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Mediterranean Menu in February

Without further ado, here's the scoop on my first dinner party in a long long time. Some friends and I get together every so often and this time it was my turn to entertain. It was mid-February and pretty cold and snowy, so to warm things up I cooked a bunch of Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes. On the menu: baba ganoush, hummus, bread and pita triangles to start; Moroccan chicken and a Tuscan green bean salad as the main; and maple-poached pears for dessert.

I made this baba ganoush using a delicious recipe of my boyfriend's mother, and it goes like this:

Baba Ganoush

1 large eggplant
2 teaspoons tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Peel the eggplant and quarter it. Salt the quarters and let them sit for an hour until the water comes out. Rinse the quarters. Slice thinly and lay in one layer on a baking sheet. Brush with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and bake in oven for half an hour at 375 F (or you could microwave for about five minutes). Mash with a fork and serve on a plate (more authentic) with olive oil drizzled on top and toasted nuts and chopped parsely.

This next picture is of the moroccan chicken with tomatoes and saffron-honey jam, a recipe I found on Chubby Hubby's website, originally published in Diana Henry's Crazy Water Pickled Lemons. It goes well with couscous, but I served it with a similar grain called quinoa (pronounced "keenwa") because one of my guests had a wheat allergy:

I served it with a Tuscan green bean salad, from Dana McCauley's Pantry Raid. I use this book a lot because most of the recipes are less than 10 ingredients - and they are all really tasty!

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/3 C diced pecorino or asiago cheese
1/2 lb green beans
salt and pepper

Whisk lemon peel with juice, garlic, salt and pepper, EVOO and cheese. Wash, trim and cut green beans in half. Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the bright green colour. Combing with cheese mixture.

The best thing about these recipes is that I made them all in advance! I made the chicken a week in advance and froze it. The baba ganoush and the maple-poached pears I made the night before and the green bean salad I made a couple of hours before my guests came.


google said...

Looks yummy! I'll have to try my hand at some of these in my day-to-day - especially those pears!

Dana McCauley said...

Thanks for your kind words about my book Pantry Raid!

You can get 'free samples' of my recipes at and at my blog

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