Alli Baba

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Let’s talk baba ghanoush.

Everyone I know with ancestry from the part of the world that loves baba ghanoush has someone in their family that makes it the right way or the best way. It’s one of those “house” foods where I feel like every family has their own style and is convinced their recipe is the one.

I didn’t grow up in one of those families. I hadn’t heard of the stuff till maybe a year ago? I think? There couldn’t BE anything more foreign to me and my family. We’re straight up Italian/Irish Catholic. Baba say wha?

BUT for so many people out there- eggplant is a big deal. And good baba ghanoush is a big deal. A mere taste of a variation on the classic dish that tastes like the one that someone grew up with- is a big deal. It is one of those homey things (that I talked about yesterday) to a lot of people I know.Eggplant

This is one of the reasons I’m attracted to baba ghanoush (besides my unending love for eggplant). It has a history- a story- and it’s a traditional thing close to the hearts of so many people out there.

The idea of little old me making my own was intimidating. So intimidating in fact that I didn’t make it for months because I didn’t want to screw it up or do something wrong. But really- what I should have been doing- was just making it. It’s not a dish from my family so its up to me to make it one. I don’t have a predecessor. I don’t have anything to live up to. It’s mine to make a tradition out of for the future generations I might influence in my family.

I shoved fear aside and cranked my broiler to high.P1040358

I followed the recipe in the cookbook Well Fed (one of the best paleo cookbooks out there) and loved it. Big surprise. Lucky for you all- Melissa posted the recipe online- check it out!P1040359

I used it to top these lamb sliders from Jessica. I subbed her whipped feta spread for the baba ghanoush. And used fresh tomatoes as opposed to sundried.P1040362P1040363P1040364

Another perfect summer balcony dish.P1040366P1040367

Side note: If you’re curious about the title of this post- it’s honestly the first thing that popped into my head. When I was growing up, people occasionally would take my nickname, Alli, and put it with a variety of other words- alligator being the primary one- but sometimes I would get “Ali Baba” (you know- and the forty thieves). I didn’t know who this Ali Baba character was, but it reminded me of Aladdin as a child and sometimes I would pretend Prince Ali (aka Aladdin) and the parade song about him- was about me. I’m pretty sure Aladdin encapsulated all that I knew about the Middle East and Arab world for quite some time. Embarrassing.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

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