Tag Archives: garlic

Best Baba Baby! (“R” rated but worth it!)

A very small amount of the hand mushed and textured version of Baba Ganouj/Ganoush. The small cup is a favorite of mine, meant for green tea, but graced with a frog (my favorite creature) and sitting on one of my brother Paul Barchilon’s tiles.

1–5 eggplants (the big round/long ones, not small Japanese ones). The variation in amounts of eggplant is related to how much you want to have on hand for the volume of folks you are serving

tahini 1 tablespoon per eggplant

juice of ¾ to one whole lemon per eggplant

salt (a few shakes or pinches of good salt, not table salt) See my post Let’s Talk Salt.

drizzle of olive oil (approximately ¼ cup for 2 or more eggplants)

1–3 cloves of peeled garlic per eggplant. It is crucial to remove the centers of the garlic cloves for this dish, so your Baba is not bitter.

both garlic

DISCLAIMER: The following recipe descriptor is considered inappropriate by some. It is R rated and for mature audiences.

This is the easiest eggplant dish there is, and in fact the key is to forget you are making it. Wash your eggplant and fork it, then place it on a baking pan in the broiler or oven. You can do this over a flame or in a cast iron pan on the stove, but I don’t recommend doing it that way. It takes a lot more effort on your part. You have to turn it every few minutes so all the sides get exposed and the eggplant cooks through and through. The oven method is less hard on your fingers, but the flavor will be less smokey. Preheat your oven to 400° or use the lower rack of your broiler. The broiler method is much faster cooking and you have to turn the eggplants at least once, so it’s not the walk away method.

The key here is that once you’ve placed that eggplant in the oven, with some oil spread on the baking sheet or on a piece of tinfoil, walk away, wash your hair, write a few letters, do something else! When you smell the eggplant and wonder what that aroma is, then it is done.

It will be collapsed and mushy. This can take anywhere from 20–40 minutes depending on your eggplant. Using a hot pad or glove remove your eggplant from the broiler or oven. Let it sit for about twenty minutes until you can handle picking it up by its stem. My hands are seasoned from years of cooking, so I do this fairly quickly. You can wait an hour if you want. In a bowl, start to peel your eggplant, with your fingers. It will start to fall apart, that’s fine. If it’s a very seedy eggplant, get rid of as many seeds as you can with your hands. You need to gentle the seeds away from the pulp. The seeds can make this dish bitter. It’s very hard to get all of them without also losing some of your eggplant, so a few seeds is okay, but you want to remove as much of them as you can.

Warm eggplants minus skin, waiting to be gently separated from their seeds.

This is the best part of the dish.  Getting intimate with a warm wet eggplant is like interacting with a certain lovely part of the female anatomy. In fact making this dish can be a good prelude to sexual activity. When you’re done enjoying yourself put the eggplant pulp into the blender or if you want to continue your sensual experience, mash it with your fingers or use a fork. It will be wet and juicy.

I often do this step directly over the blender if the eggplants aren’t super seedy since I want the smoked eggplant oils as part of the flavor. Discard the stem, the peels and the extra seeds. Combine all the other ingredients into the blender or your bowl and mix. Add more salt if you need to or more lemon. Serve warm with a garnish of fresh chopped parsley. This can be eaten with crackers, bread, vegetables, or served over rice. It is best at room temperature or warm. It will keep in the fridge for a week or so. Some folks like their Baba more blended with a creamy texture, others like it more thick and wild. Use the blender for the smoother variety and the fork and finger mushing for the chunkier variety. No matter which way you like your eggplants, you will enjoy making this dish!

From my heart, hands and other parts of me, Lots of Love to you as you get into your Baba! See Commandment number 6!


Batata Ben Lamoun-That’s Potato Lemon Soup to you!

Batata Ben Lamoun soup in a Fire&Light dish, next to coasters made by Paul Barchilon
Batata Ben Lamoun soup in a Fire & Light dish, next to coasters made by Paul Barchilon

Ingredients: for a large pot of soup, you can cut in half for a smaller soup, but it freezes well and most folks want seconds and thirds. This recipe was adapted from Sephardic Cooking: 600 Recipes Created in Exotic Sephardic Kitchens from Morocco to India by Copeland Marks (in my top ten cookbooks list).

  1. 4-6 carrots (large)
  2. 6-8 stalks celery
  3. 6-12 Yukon gold or other yummy potato (peeled and sliced or cut into chunks so that they will cook fairly quickly and mash down)
  4. olive oil
  5. 8 or more cloves of garlic (prepared properly with the centers removed)
  6. juice of 2-3 lemons
  7. 1/2-1 tsp turmeric
  8. salt to taste (use good salt)
  9. Several quarts of water or if you have time make Roasted Root Veggie Stock (see recipe for this nested in my post for Brazilian Sweet Potato, Tomato and Carmelized Onion soup).

Fill your soup pot 3/4 of the way full with water, or stock. Place on stove and start the heat. In a food processor grind up the carrots and celery. Add them to the water and let the whole shebang boil vigorously. Skim the scum off the top and discard.

Serious scummy stuff
Serious scummy stuff


Removing scummy stuff from the soup
Removing scummy stuff from the soup

In a small saucepan heat the oil on low and add the garlic, cook until foamy. Don’t let the garlic get brown. Add this to the scum-free soup, turn the heat to medium, let cook for 5–10 minutes. Add potatoes and cook on low to medium for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Soup is ready for the other ingredients when you can mush up the potatoes in the soup with a masher. Mash up the potatoes in the soup, then add the turmeric, lemon juice and a salt. This soup is better with mashing then with food processing. You want to have small bits of potato and carrot and celery, occasionally engaging with your spoon. My daughter doesn’t food process the celery and carrots, she just cuts them really tiny. I do prefer my version, but go ahead and try hers if you want. Let the flavors blend together and cook at least another ten minutes after you’ve mashed the potatoes in the soup, serve with other yummy foods, Esti’s Parsley, Garlic, Lemon, Jalapeno Supremely Special Sauce or by itself with bread.

Sapta Rachel’s Best Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes, Wine and Art from Barcelona
Tomatoes, Wine and Art from Barcelona

This recipe comes from my daughter’s Israeli Italian grandmother on her birth-father’s side. Try saying that three times fast! Rachel is an amazing cook and this very simple recipe is truly hers. I learned it from my daughter who brought it home with her after spending a few weeks in Israel with her Sapta.

  1. 3–20 fresh tomatoes (any variety)
  2. 1–8 onions chopped finely (crying time)
  3. 2 cloves of garlic per large tomato (always prepare the garlic with the centers removed). You can chop it fine or press it once you’ve removed the centers.
  4. olive oil (a healthy amount, at least ¼ cup or more)
  5. salt and pepper
  6. fresh basil (chopped finely)

Cover the bottom of your saucepan with a thinnish layer of olive oil. Don’t ever be afraid to use more than a few tablespoons of olive oil! Heat the olive oil and fry the onions up until they are soft, stirring frequently, don’t burn them (at least 10 minutes). Add the garlic into the pan with the onions and cook for several more minutes. Grate the tomatoes over the pan, if you are just using a smaller amount of tomatoes.

Otherwise grate all those tomatoes in a bowl separately and then put them in with the onions. Grating the tomatoes, with a cheese grater over the pan or bowl, is the quick way to peel tomatoes, because the skin stays in your hand and the pulp goes in the pan/bowl. If you hate using a cheese grater, and some folks do, you can also steam the tomatoes, let them cool and then peel them and just chop or mush them up with your hands into the pan instead. This takes more time and more dishes, so I prefer the cheese grater method.

Add a lot of fresh ground pepper and a fair amount of salt, more than a dash (see the Let’s Talk Salt post). Cook this down on medium to high heat, then simmer, stirring frequently, until it is pulpy and thick, not watery. This can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to several hours depending on the water content, heat of your burner, and amount of tomatoes. I generally like to cook mine for a few hours, the flavors just get better. Do not cover the pan, let this aroma waft through your home and inspire and titillate all who venture into your space. Add the chopped basil at the last-minute before serving. Use this sauce over pasta, in any eggplant dish or in any other recipe that calls for tomato sauce. It will keep for a week or more in the fridge. You can freeze it or can it also. Enjoy!

© Nicole Barchilon Frank

Esti’s Parsley, Garlic, Lemon, Jalapeno Supremely Special Sauce

Parsley ready for Esti's sauce, washed and dry
Parsley ready for Esti’s sauce, washed and dry

This recipe was given to me by an elderly Israeli woman who I used to visit and help. She was an amazing woman and this sauce, while slightly adapted from her original (I like mine spicier) is in memory of her. I should also warn you, this stuff is addictive and some of my friends just eat it by the spoonful.

The tops only of 1–3 bunches fresh parley, Italian flat preferred, washed very thoroughly, the bucket method (putting all the parsley in a large bowl or bucket of water, soaking it, then draining and doing this two more times over ½ hour to an hour). Then dry or drain so the parsley is not too wet. You can do this the day before and keep the parsley that has been washed in a cloth bag or dish towel in your fridge.

One whole bulb of peeled cloves of garlic per 2 bunches of parsley (2:1 ratio, 2 bunches of parsley to 1 whole bulb of garlic). The garlic must have the centers removed from each clove, this takes about 20 minutes to a ½ hour depending on your technique. Do not make this recipe or any recipe using raw garlic without removing the darker colored centers of each clove of garlic. The only exception to this rule is if you are using very fresh garlic that is young, it won’t have had time to spoil in the center. Also, if you are baking garlic you can avoid this step, but for any raw garlic dish, not doing this will make your recipe harsh, and bitter and will upset stomachs as well.

Better Garlic

One to two whole bulbs of garlic, not cloves, but bulbs, the whole bulb times two. This garlic MUST be prepared as described and shown or else the sauce will not be good. See the Ten Commandments of Nicole’s Kitchen (in reference to following my directions, refer to commandment #1).

Juice of 1– 2 lemons per bunch of parsley

1–5 fresh green whole jalapeños or serranos (just cut off the very tops)

1/4 cup -1/2 cup or more of virgin olive oil

Salt to taste (at least 1/2 tsp or more of good salt, please see upcoming posting “Let’s talk Salt”

Combine all of these ingredients in the blender and blend away. This sauce is to die for. Put it on everything and anything, bread, fish, meat, tofu, veggies. Don’t cook this sauce though or use it as a marinade. It is best cold and will keep for about 5 days in the fridge. You can use fewer peppers if you want less spice, or more if that’s your desire.

from Divine Delights, Persian, French & Sephardic Savors from the Kitchen of
© Nicole Barchilon Frank

Hoummous ~ Hummus ~ Who?Moose

Hummus served right, in a beautiful Moroccan bowl, with Henry's Olive Oil, paprika and chopped parsley from my garden. The plate underneath the bowl was made by my brother Paul Barchilon
Hummus served right, in a beautiful Moroccan bowl, with Henry’s Olive Oil, paprika and chopped parsley from my garden. The plate underneath the bowl was made by my brother Paul Barchilon
  1. two cans (16 oz) of drained organic garbanzo beans (Westbrae Organic is my preference) when you aren’t soaking and making fresh beans, which is always better, but the Westbrae brand is very good.
  2. juice of 4–6 lemons depending on the juiciness/size of the lemons
  3. many cloves of fresh garlic, half to a full bulb’s worth with the centers of each clove removed. (see picture at end of recipe)
  4. ¼ cup or more of organic tahini (roasted or raw)
  5. ¼ – ½ cup of water to make the blender deal with all this (I went through a blender a year until I got a Vitamix, guaranteed for life and so far six years without a problem)
  6. ¼ cup or so of organic olive oil
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. chopped parsley
  9. paprika for color on top
  10. Za’atar if you can find it (Israeli herb mixture, try ordering on-line or ask everyone going to Israel to bring you some home)

The trick here is lots of lemon and garlic, if you use less than I recommend it won’t taste as good!

If you have the time, soak some organic chickpeas overnight, then boil for an hour and use those instead. If you don’t, it’s fine to use the canned ones. Rinse them thoroughly to get off the canned juice goo they come in. Blend all beans, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, water and ¼ cup olive oil, salt and pepper together in the blender. Start on your lower setting and build up. You don’t want your hummus too liquid and I like mine very blended. Taste and adjust, adding more lemon, salt, garlic, etc…

Discard, Dont Use!Pour out into a bowl for serving and then liberally douse with paprika, cover the entire surface with it, then drizzle olive oil over that and sprinkle freshly and finely chopped parsley or the Za’atar all over it. Serve with dinner, lunch, bread, and crackers or make sandwiches with artichoke hearts, tomato, lettuce, Dijon mustard and hummous, on French bread is best. (This is one of my favorite sandwiches.) This Who?Moose will keep for a week in a glass container.

Keep and Use
This recipe is in my cookbook, Divine Delights, Sephardic, French & Persian Foods ©2012 by Nicole Barchilon Frank, which is being updated and will be available for purchase here on this website in the not too distant future.