22 October, 2014

Hazelnut Ravioli Cookies

Hazelnut ravioli cookies

Among all nuts, I think my favourite ones are hazelnuts. I can't resist them in any form. From cookies to cakes, from spreads to just eating them alone as a snack. Much stronger flavour than almonds, for example, can overtake any other ingredient, and if toast will litteraly get you drunk with that irresistible smell and taste. I know it perfectly. For three years in a row now, my friend in Croatia has been buying them for me, and sending me some over or keeping them for me until I get there in the summer (the best way to keep them for longer periods of time is to freeze them, that way they won't go rancid). And  every time I get my package of hazelnuts, I toast and peel them, my head swirling with new ideas and recipes to use them, only to end up eating more than half of them (my husband being for once a generous assistant) and much less of those end up in recipes.
So with a new hazelnuts bag in my pantry I welcomed the contest organized by four Italian foodbloggers, Stagioniamo, inviting everyone to prepare recipes with seasonal ingredients, more specifically in this case, Walnuts and Hazelnuts, in four categories, appetizers, first dishes, main dishes and desserts.
Since my favourite course is desserts I couldn't but start from the end.
I announced on my FB page that I have prepared my first sugar-free cookies, only to realize later it wasn't 100% true, I forgot I used sweetened cocoa, but of course, to go totally sugar-free, you could use unsweetened cocoa and add more concentrated date juice  if the filling isn't sweet enough for your taste.

I have used other natural sweeteners in sweets before, but it was a discovery for me really to use concentrated date juice. It's really delicious, has a very particular flavour, it's  sweet enough, and althouh it will colour the sweets with a lovely redish-brown hue (the pictures don't show it as beautiful as it was really), the flavour will definitely not overtake. 
The cookies themself are crunchy and soft at the same time, thanks to the ricotta cheese in the dough, while the delicious hazelnut filling will complete the pleasure with every bite, it stays soft and creamy after baking. And I also love the crunchy finish on top.
So, in one word, I'm pretty proud of my little creation. I hope someone else gives them a try.

Hazelnut ravioli cookies

Hazelnut Ravioli Cookies

* 75 g butter
* 75 g ricotta cheese
* 50 g concentrated date juice
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 75 g whole grain spelt flour
* 100 g all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder

hazelnut filling:
* 75 g peeled and toasted hazelnutss
* 2 TBspoons concentrated date juice
* 1 TBspoon heavy cream
* 1 TBspoon sweetened cocoa

+ 1 egg white
   about 50 g rougly ground hazelnuts

Hazelnut Ravioli Cookies
 Hazelnut Ravioli Cookies  Hazelnut Ravioli Cookies  Hazelnut Ravioli Cookies  Hazelnut Ravioli Cookies
Stir together the softened butter, the ricotta, the egg yolk, the vanilla extract and the concentrated date juice using a wooden spoon, until the mixture's smooth.
Add both flours  sifted with the baking powder. Bring everything together and knead shortly to form soft and smooth dough.
Wrap the dough and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.
In the meantime prepare the hazelnut filling.
Toast the hazelnuts in an oven preheated to 180°C for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the dark skin and let them cool down.
Grind the nuts finely and mix with heavy cream, the concentrated date juice and the cocoa.
The mixture will be quite thick.
Roll the chilled dough out, rather thin (3 to 4 mm), and cut out rounds using a 5 to 6 cm round cutter.
Put a little hazelnut filling on each round, then fold it in half. Press lightly the central part to distribute the filling evenly and pinch the edges to seal them.
Lightly beat the egg white with a fork. Put the roughly ground hazelnuts into a small bowl.
Brush the ravioli with the egg white on one side only and then dip them into a bowl with hazelnuts, pressing lightly so they they stick to the surface.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet, just slightly distanced.
Bake them in an oven preheated to 180°C for about 15 minutes.
Once they have cooled down, you can store them in an airtight container.

Hazelnut ravioli cookies

Ho creato questi biscotti per il contest StagioniAMO (potete leggere di più sul blog Crumpets and Co., da Terry, alla quale mando la ricetta per la categoria Dolci). Il tema del contest sono Noci e nocciole. Nocciole che adoro così tanto e non potevo assolutamente non partecipare. Ora vediamo se sarò capace di inventarmi qualcosa anche per le altre categorie, antipasti-primi-secondi.

Ravioli dolci alle nocciole

* 75 g di burro, ammorbidito
* 75 g di ricotta
* 50 g di succo concentrato di datteri
* 1 tuorlo
* 1 cucchiaino di estratto puro di vaniglia
* 75 g di farina di farro integrale
* 100 g di farina 00
* 1 cucchiaino di lievito per dolci

punjenje za raviole:
* 75 g di nocciole spelate e tostate
* 2 cucchiai di succo concentrato di datteri
* 1 cucchiaio di panna fresca
* 1 cucchiaio di cacao zuccherato

+ 1 albume
    circa 50 g di granella di nocciole

Lavorate il burro morbido con ricotta, tuorlo, estratto di vaniglia e succo concentrato di datteri usando un cucchiaio di legno, fino a ottenere un composto liscio.
Aggiungete le farine setacciate insieme al lievito e impastate velocemente e brevemente, giusto il tempo necessario per ottenere una pasta liscia e morbida.
Avvolgetela nella pellicola alimentare e lasciate in frigo per 1 ora.
Nel frattempo preparate il ripieno. Tostate le nocciole nel forno riscaldato a 180°C per circa 7-10 minuti. spelatele e lasciatele raffreddare. Tritatele finemente e unite la panna, il succo concentrato di datteri e il cacao. Otterrete un composto abbastanza denso ma morbido.
Stendete la pasta sottile (allo spessore di 3-4 mm) usando un mattarello.
Con un stampo rotondo da 5-6 cm ritagliate tanti cerchi.
Mettete un po' di ripieno su ogni cerchio (mezzo cucchiaino circa) e piegatelo a metà per chiuderlo. Premete la parte centrale prima per distribuire il ripieno in maniera uniforme e poi premete bene i bordi pizzicandoli con le dita.
Sbattete leggermente l'albume con una forchetta. Mettete la granella di nocciole in una ciotolina. Immergetevi i ravioli solo da una parte nel albume (oppure spennellatelo usando un pennello) e poi passatelo nella granella di nocciole, premendo leggermente per farla aderire bene.
Sistemate i ravioli su una placca da forno rivestita con la carta da forno.
Cuoceteli nel forno già riscaldato a 180°C per circa 15 minuti.
Una volta raffreddati, conservateli in una scatola di latta.

Hazelnut ravioli cookies

Slatki ravioli s lješnjacima

* 75 g maslaca, omekšalog
* 75 g ricotte
* 50 g koncentriranog soka datulja
* 1 žumanjak
* 1 žličica čistog ekstrakta vanilije
* 75 g integralnog pirovog brašna
* 100 g bijelog pšeničnog brašna
* 1 žličica praška za pecivo

punjenje za raviole:
* 75 g očišćenih tostiranih lješnjaka
* 2 žlice koncentriranog sirupa datulja
* 1 žlica slatkog vrhnja
* 1 žlica slatkog kakaa

+ 1 bjeljanjak
   oko 50 g grubo mljevenih lješnjaka

Izmiješajte maslac, ricottu, žumanjak, ekstrakt vanilije i koncentrirani sok datulja drvenom žlicom dok smjesa ne postane ujednačena.
Dodajte brašno (obje vrste) prosijano s praškom za pecivo, i zamijesite glatko i mekano tijesto.
Omotajte ga prozirnom folijom i stavite u hladnjak na 1 sat.
U međuvremenu pripremite punjenje.
Lješnjake stavite na pleh i prepecite ih u pećnici zagrijanoj na 180°C 7-10 minuta. Zatim ih očistite od tamne opne i ostavite da se ohlade.
Ohlađene lješnjake sitno sameljite. Pomiješajte mljevene lješnjake sa slatkim vrhnjem, koncentriranim sok datulja i kakaom. Dobit ćete dosta gustu smjesu.
Kad se tijesto ohladilo, razvaljajte ga tanko (3-4 mm) i okruglim kalupom (promjera 5-6 cm) vadite krugove.
Na svaki krug stavite malo tijesta, oko pola žličice. Preklopite krugove, pritisnite lagano središnji dio s nadjevom da se jednolično raspodijeli, a zatim dobro pritisnite rubove.
Vilicom malo razbijte bjeljanjak. Stavite grubo mljevene lješnjake u zdjelicu. Umočite gornju stranu svakog keksa u razmućeni bjeljanjak (ili ga premažite uz pomoć kista), pa tu istu stranu stavite u lješnjake, lagano pritisnite da se dobro zalijepe.
Složite oblikovane raviole na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje.
Zagrijte pećnicu na 180°C i ispecite kekse.
Ohlađene ih možete spremiti u metalnu posudu.

20 October, 2014

Potato and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

Potato and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

This is the dish that reminds me of home. A dish that breaths summer air and proudly bursts with seasonal vegetables. A dish that was often on my family table when I was a child. Everything coming from our garden. Those times when food on our table was really genuine, when peppers tasted like peppers and tomatoes were really tomatoes, everything absolutely pesticide and other chemicals free, and most of all, sunbathed until ripe, imprisoning all the flavours to be released only once you would bite into them.
I feel a bit homesick, nostalgic, when I think about those times. Because I can't find those flavours in food I eat today.
So forgive me if I'm sharing this recipe now that we are already one month into the autumn, and if I prepared it with probably last "good" vegetables of the season. But, just as I felt a sudden urge to prepare it, in the same way I feel I should share the recipe with you. 'Cause I'm sure there are still lucky folks out there who grow and enjoy their own veggies... And as far as seasonal food, well it's always summer somewhere   ^_^

Potato and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

Potato and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

* 4-6 small to medium sized peppers (sweet, bell peppers or similar)
* 2 medium sized potatoes
* 1 medium sized zucchini
* 1 small onion
* 1 egg
* 1 TBspoon butter
* salt and pepper, to taste

                                            Potato and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers     Potato and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

Using a small kitchen knife, cut all around and remove the stem from the peppers. Clean the inside from the seeds and internal divisions. Wash the peppers, in and out, let the dry on a kitchen towel.
Peel the potatoes and shred them using a grater with big holes.
Cut both ends off the zucchini and shred it, too.
Finely chop the onion, or grate it on a small hole grater.
Put all the vegetables in a bowl.
Add the egg, little softened and chopped butter, salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper.
Mix well with your hands and then fill the peppers with this mixture, pressing it well.
Place the peppers into a deep baking dish, lightly oiled.
Drizzle a little oil on top of the peppers and bake them in an oven preheated to 180°C for 45-60 minutes (or until the peppers and golden brown on the outside and you can feel the potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork, or however, take a little bit of filling and taste to see if they are done).
Remove from the oven and serve warm.
Serve with some mixed or tomato salad as a side, plus sour cream as a topping.

Potato and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

Peperoni ripieni con patate e zucchine

* 4-6 peperoni dolci (piccoli o medi)
* 2 patate medie
* 1 zucchina media
* 1 cipolla piccola
* 1 uovo
* 1 cucchiaio di burro, a tocchetti
* sale e pepe, qb.

Con un coltellino affilato, ritagliate e rimuovete il picciolo e ripulite l'interno dai semi e filamenti. Lavateli e lasciateli scolare e asciugare.
Pelate le patate e grattugiatele con una grattugia a fori grossi.
Spuntate la zucchina e grattugiatela nello stesso modo.
Pulite la cipolla e sminuzzatela o grattugiate anche essa con la grattugia a fori piccoli.
Mettete le verdure in una ciotola, unite l'uvo, il burro leggermente morbido e tagliato a tocchetti, sale e pepe. Mescolate tutto con le mani.
Riempite i peperoni e sistemateli in una teglia, unta con un po' di olio.
Scaldate il forno a 180°C e cuocete i peperoni per circa 45-60 minuti, dipende dalla grandezza. Quando sono leggermente abbrustoliti in superficie e il ripieno risulta morbido se lo infilzate con una forchetta (o comunque potete prendere un po' di ripieno e assaggiarlo), sono pronti.
Serviteli caldi, accompagnati con la panna acida (se vi piace) e un insalata mista o di soli pomodori.

Potato and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers

Paprike punjene krumpirom i tikvicama

* 4-6 paprika (manjih do srednje velikih)
* 2 srednje velika krumpira
* 1 srednje velika tikvica
* 1 manja glavica crvenog luka
* 1 jaje
* 1 žlica maslaca, nasjeckanog na listiće
* sol i papar, po ukusu

Izdubite paprike tako da uklonite stapku, sjemenke i untarnje pregrade, ali da vam paprike ostanu cijele. Operite ih i posušite.
Krumpir ogulite i naribajte na krupni ribež.
Tikvici odrežite krajeve pa i nju naribajte na krupni ribež.
Luk očistite i sitno nasjeckajte (ili ga naribajte na sitni ribež).
stavite povrće u zdjelu, dodajte jaje, maslac, sol i papar, Izmiješajte rukama da se svi sastojci ravnomjerno raspodijele.
Napunite paprike i složite ih u malo nauljenu posudu za pečenje.
Zagrijte pećnicu na 180°C.
Stavite peći paprike, 45-60 minuta, ovisno o veličini paprika (paprike će dobiti boju iz vana, i kad ubodete vilicom krumpir treba biti mekan, ili izvadite malo punjenja i kušajte da vidite je li dobro pečen).
Poslužite paprike tople uz sezonsku salatu (miješanu ili samo od rajčica)  i poželji prelivene kiselim vrhnjem.

16 October, 2014

Cornmeal Braids (9th World Bread Day)

Cornmeal sourdough braids

Today, the 16th October is  the 9th World Bread Day an event organized year after year by Zorra.
Hopefully, we'll fill her huge bread basket with all sorts of bread this year as well. Because baking bread  is not only fun,  it's also important to be aware how important it is to have bread on our tables daily. To appreciate it and help those who are less lucky than we are.

                                                  Announcing World Bread Day 2014 - 9th edition!

"The idea of World Bread is to honor our daily bread by baking a loaf on this day and blog about it. So we can show that baking bread is easy and makes also great fun."

I'm joining this year with these Cornmeal braids.
I prepared those as soon as I noticed them here, and made them many times. I have slightly changed the ingredients in the recipe and  adapted it to use with my sourdough starter.
These are the most delicious savoury buns I have made in a long time. You really need nothing else and you simply can't stop munching on those. Perfect as a snack, but also to serve as a part of your breakfast or dinner table. 
This was also the first time ever I baked bread with cornmeal and I loved the flavour. 
Bake something nice today, be grateful for it, and share it with your family and friends.

Cornmeal Braids
(recipe adapted from Sweet and Salty)

* 200 g cornmeal
* 300 g wheat flour
* 200 g sourdough starter (50%-hydratation) / or 20 g fresh yeast
* 200 ml milk
* 100 ml water
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon barley malt syrup
* 1,5 teaspoons salt
* aprox.  80 g salted butter
* polenta for sprinkling the kneading board

Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids

 Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids

 Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids  Cornmeal sourdough braids

Feed your sourdough starter  3-4 hours before starting preparing the dough, to give it time to ferment. Take the quantity required by the recipe and put the rest back in the fridge.

Put the cornmeal into a mixing bowl of your stand mixer, add the water and stir just enough for the flour to absorb the liquid. Seal with a piece of plastic wrap and let rest for 1/2 hour.
In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the sourdough starter with milk (at room temperature), adding the barley malt syrup as well. Use your hand or a whisk to mix it and dissolve.
Add the dissolved starter, the eggs and the wheat flour to the bowl with the cornflour mixture, start kneading with a hook attachment. When the dough has come together, add the salt.
Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and comes off the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured kneading board and knead shortly with your hands. Form a ball and place it in a clean bowl. Seal with a plastic wrap or lid and let proof for at least 3-4 hours or until doubled in size.
*If using the yeast, the procedure is the same, just the proofing time will be significantly shorter.

When the dough has doubled, drop it on the kneading board sprinkled generously with polenta and divide in two parts (work with each part separately, following the same procedure).
Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough forming a rectangle (size is not particularly important).
Spread a thin layer of softened butter on the lower half of the rectangle. Fold the empty part of the dough over the butter and press the edges to seal them.
Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter cut the dough into 4-5 cm wide stripes. Make a central incision in each stripe (not all the way through, but only up to 1,5 cm before each end).
To form this kind of braid, pass one end through the central incision folding it through two or three times, depending on the length.
Place the braids on a baking sheet lined baking paper.
Cover the sheet with slightly oiled plastic wrap and let the braids proof for at least 1 hour. To check if they are ready for baking, press lightly with the tip of your finger. If a little indentation forms and then slowly disappears, they are ready.
Preheat the oven to 220°.
Prepare an emulsion, mixing olive oil and water in equal proportion in a small container with a lid, shake well and immediately brush the braids.
Put the braids in the oven, lower the heat to 200°C and bake until golden.
For even better results, throw a few ice cubes to the bottom of your oven when you start baking the braids, as the steam will help them rise better in baking and develop nice, crispy crust.

Cornmeal sourdough braids

Treccine al mais
(ricetta originale qui)

* 200 g di farina di mais fioretto
* 300 g di farina "0"
* 200 g di PM solida / o 20 g di lievito di birra fresco
* 200 ml di latte
* 100 ml di acqua
* 2 uova
* 1 cucchiaino di malto d'orzo
* 1,5 cucchiaino di sale
* circa 80 g di burro salato (o burro normale)
* polenta per spianatoia

Rinfrescate la pasta madre 3-4 ore prima di impastare dandole il tempo di fermentare. Prendete la quantità richiesta dalla ricetta e mettete il resto nel frigo.

Mettete la farina di mais nella ciotola della planetaria, aggiungete l'acqua e mescolate per farla assorbire. Lasciate in autolisi per 1/2 ora.
Spezzettate il lievito madre e mettetelo in una ciotola. Aggiungete il latte a temperatura ambiente e il malto, e mescolate con la mano o una frusta a mano per farlo sciogliere.
Aggiungete il LM sciolto al primo impasto di mais, unite le uova e la farina "0" e impastate con il gancio. Quando l'impasto inizia a formarsi, aggiungete il sale e continuate ad impastare fino a ottenere un impasto liscio che si stacca dalle pareti della ciotola.
Trasferite l'impasto sulla spianatoia leggermente infarinata e impastate ancora brevemente. Formate una palla e mettetela a lievitare in una ciotola, coprendola con la pellicola o con il coperchio.
Lasciate lievitare l'impasto fino al raddoppio, ci vorranno circa 3 o 4 ore.
* Se invece del LM state usando il lievito di birra, la procedura è la stessa, ma il tempo di lievitazione si riduce a circa 1 ora.
Quando l'impasto sarà raddoppiato, rovesciatelo sulla spianatoia cosparsa con la polenta.
Dividete l'impasto in due (lavorate separatamente seguendo la stessa procedura).
Stendete una parte del impasto con il mattarello, formando un rettangolo.
Spalmate la metà inferiore del rettangolo con il burro morbido. Piegate la pasta a metà, coprendo la parte imburrata. Premete i bordi con le punte delle dita.
Usando un coltello affilato o una rotella per la pizza, tagliate il rettangolo in strisce larghe 4-5 cm.
Incidete la parte centrale con un taglio che arriva a circa 1,5 cm dalla fine.
Formate le treccine, passando un estremità della striscia attraverso il taglio centrale due o tre volte.
Sistemate le treccine su una placca da forno rivestita con la carta da forno. Coprite la teglia con la pellicola leggermente unta e lasciate lievitare ancora 1 ora circa.
Per controllare se le trecce sono pronte per il forno, premete leggermente con la punta del indice. Se si forma una piccola fossetta che gradualmente scompare, l'impasto è pronto per la cottura.
Scaldate il forno a 220°.
Preparate un'emulsione con l'olio e acqua nelle proporzioni uguali, in un vasetto di vetro con il coperchio scuotendo per bene. Spennellate subito le trecce con l'emulsione e infornatele abbassando immediatamente la temperatura a 200°C.
Togliete le trecce dal forno non appena sono dorate in superficie e lasciatele raffreddare su una griglia.
Per ottenere un risultato ancora migliore, nel momento di infornarle, buttate qualche cubetto di ghiaccio sul fondo del forno per creare il vapore. Le trecce si svilupperanno meglio in cottura e avranno una crosticina sottile e croccante.

Cornmeal sourdough braids

Kukuruzne pletenice
(recept s izmjenama preuzet s bloga Sweet and Salty)

* 200 g sitno mljevenog kukuruznog brašna
* 300 g bijelog pšeničnog brašna
* 200 g kvasa/startera (50%-na hidratacija) / ili 20 g svježeg kvasca
* 200 ml mlijeka
* 100 ml vode
* 2 jaja
* 1 žličica ječmenog slada
* 1,5 žličica soli
* oko 80 g slanog maslaca (može i obični)
* kukuruzna krupica/ palenta za posipanje radne površine

Nahranite kvas najmanje 3-4 sata prije nego ćete početi mijesiti tijesto. Odvojite potrebnu količinu a ostatak možete spremiti u hladnjak.

U zdjeli u kojoj ćete mijesiti tijesto, pomiješajte kukuruzno brašno i vodu. Ostavite da stoji 1/2 sata.
Kvas nakidajte na komadiće i stavite u manju zdjelu s mlijekom (sobne temperature ili sasvim malo umlačeno). Dodajte ječmeni slad. Razmutite malo ručnom pjenjačom ili rukom da se kvas otopi.
Dodajte kvas, jaja, pšenično brašno i (na kraju) sol u zdjelu s prvim tijestom od kukuruznog brašna i zamijesite tijesto (ručno ili stolnim mikserom s kukastim nastavkom za tijesta).
Kad je tijesto glatko i odvaja se od posude, premjestite ga na sasvim lagano pobrašnjenu podlogu i kratko izmijesite rukom. Oblikujte kuglu i stavite je u čistu zdjelu, pokrijte (poklopcem ili plastičnom folijom) i ostavite da se diže dok se ne udvostruči. S kvasom će vam trebati 3-4 sata najmanje.
Kad se tijesto udvostručilo, podijelite ga na dva jednaka dijela.
Razvaljajte svaki dio na radnoj površini posutoj kukuruznom krupicom (palentom) oblikujući pravokutnik. Premažite donju polovicu pravokutnika omekšalim maslacem, pa preklopite gornjom, praznom polovicom i stisnite krajeve.
Oštrim nožem ili kotačićem za rezanje pizze izrežite na trake širine 4-5 cm.
Svaku traku zarežite po sredini ali tako da gornji i donji rub ostanu cijeli.
Provucite gornji (ili donji, svejedno) rub kroz urez dva ili tri puta tako da se uvije i oblikuje neka vrsta pletenice.
Smjestite oblikovana peciva na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje. Pokrijte pleh(ove) prozirnom folijom i ostavite da se dižu ponovno najmanje sat vremena.
Zagrijte pećnicu na 220°C.
Pripremite emulziju od ulja i vode u jednakom omjeru tako što ćete staviti oboje u manju teglicu s poklopcem i dobro protresite. Odmah premažite pletenice uz pomoć kista i stavite ih peći. Čim stavite pleh u pećnicu smanjite temperaturu na 200°C.
Za još bolji rezultat, u trenutku kad stavite pleh u pećnicu ubacite na dno par kockica leda da dobijete paru koja će pomoći da tijesto još ljepše naraste u pečenju i da peciva imaju tanku hrskavu koricu.
Pecite peciva dok lagano ne porumene.
Ostavite ih da se ohlade na rešetki.

bilješka: ako radite sa svježim kvascem, postupak je isti samo će vrijeme dizanja biti znatno kraće.

15 October, 2014

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush

I rarely post two recipes in the same day. But these two, homemade Tahini paste and Baba Ghanoush, are so connected that one might inspire you to prepare the other one, whatever the order of your interest might be. Just like I did myself. The step that takes from one recipe to the other is very short indeed.
The evening I wanted to prepare the Baba Ghanoush recipe I didn't have any tahini paste so I ended up making this Eggplant Caviar, which is rather similar. But I really wanted to enjoy some Baba Ghanoush, too, so I prepared Tahini paste and that's how I ended up eating eggplant dips for days in a row. Which I didn't mind at all, to be honest.
There's plenty of recipes out there for this dish, so after reading several I just set out to making it, improvising really, because I think with this kind of recipe you have to follow your personal taste as far as quantities, respecting the ingredients, of course.
The pita bread you see in the pictures is also home made, although improvised, as I was baking some sourdough bread and just took a little piece of the dough and baked it as you would do with pita. But I'll probably elaborate that recipe specifically later on.

Baba ghanoush is a Levantine dish of cooked eggplant mixed with olive oil  and seasonings. In Syria and Lebanon, baba ghanoush is a starter or appetizer. It is made of eggplant blended with finely diced onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The Egyptian version, known in the Levant as mutabbal, is made of roasted, peeled, and mashed eggplant, blended with tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Cumin and chili powder can be added. It is normally served with a dressing of olive oil and pomegranate concentrate. In the traditional method, the eggplant is first roasted in an oven for approximately 30 to 90 minutes (depending on the size of the eggplant) until the skin appears almost burnt and the eggplant begins to collapse. The softened flesh is scooped out, squeezed or salted to remove excess water, and is then pureed with the tahini. There are many variants of the recipe, especially the seasoning. Seasonings include garlic, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, mint, and parsley. When served on a plate or bowl, it is traditional to drizzle the top with olive oil.

Baba Ghanoush

* 2 eggplants
* 2 TBspoons tahini paste
* 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
* lemon juice
* olive oil
* cilantro or parsley or paprika (optional), for serving
* pomgranate (optional), for serving

Baba Ghanoush will taste better if you provide it with a little "smoke" flavour. You can do it in different ways. Grill the eggplant or roast it initially over the gas flame. If you have neither of the two possibilities you might initially cook it under a broiler in your oven.
I used the gas flame - insert a fork on one end of an eggplant and roast the eggplant over the gas flame turning it continuously. When the skin is slightly charred, it will even start exploding a little, remove and repeat with the other one.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the eggplants and the unpeeled garlic clove(s) on a baking tray (you can put them whole, but I prefer cutting them in half lenghtwise, easier to cook plus extra flavour on that cut side).
Roast the eggplants until tender (it may take up to an hour, depending on the size of your eggplant), but remember to remove the garlic after 30 minutes.
Remove the eggplants from the oven, let them sit a little bit, then scoop the flesh and place it in a colander, leaving it to cool down and lose some of the liquid.
Put the eggplant flesh, peeled garlic, tahini, 1 TBspoon olive oil and 1 TBspoon lemon juice into a food processor. Puree until (almost completely) smooth. Add salt to your taste and more lemon juice if you feel so.
Transfer the dip into a deep plate, make swirls with the back of a spoon, drizzle with more olive oil, and according to your taste or mood sprinkle with some paprika (plain or smoked), or cilantro or just garnish with pomgranate kernels and serve with some toasted pita bread.

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush

* 2 melanzane
* 2 cucchiai di pasta tahini
* 1 o 2 spicchi d'aglio
* succo di limone
* olio di oliva (o olio evo leggero)
* coriandolo o prezzemolo o paprika (optional), per decorare
* semi di melograno (optional), per decorare/servire

Per migliorare il sapore di Baba Ghanoush bisognerebbe prima affumicare un po' le melanzane. Si può fare in diversi modi. Grigliando la melanzana intera con la buccia o cuocendola inizialmente sopra la fiamma della cucina a gas. Se non avete nessuna delle due possibilità potete cuocerla sotto il grill del forno.
Se usate la fiamma della cucina a gas, inserite una forchetta ad un'estremità e cuocete la melanzana girandola continuamente finché la pelle diventa bruciacchiata. Ripetete con l'altra melanzana.
Nel frattempo scaldate il forno a  200°C. Sistemate le melanzane intere o tagliate a metà nel senso di lunghezza su una placca da forno con l'aglio non sbucciato accanto. Cuocete le melanzane finché diventino tenere (ci vorrà fino ad un'ora), ma ricordatevi in ogni caso di togliere l'aglio dopo i primi 30 minuti.
Togliete le melanzane dal forno e lasciatele raffreddare qualche minuto.
Poi con un cucchiaio togliete la polpa e sistematela in un colino. Lasciatela raffreddare e perdere l'acqua di vegetazione.
Mettete la polpa di melanzana, l'aglio sbucciato, tahini, 1 cucchiaio di olio e 1 di succo di limone in un robot da cucina. Frullate fino a ottenere la consistenza (quasi) liscia. Condite con un po' di sale e altro succo di limone secondo i propri gusti per bilanciare il sapore.
Trasferite la salsa di melanzana in un piatto o ciotola, condite con un filo di olio e secondo i propri gusti decorate con la paprika (dolce o affumicata), foglie di prezzemolo o coriandolo oppure con qualche chicco di melagrana.
Servite la salsa con il pane pita tostato.

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush

* 2 patlidžana
* 2 žlice tahinija
* 1 ili  2 češnja češnjaka
* sok limuna
* maslinovo ulje
* korijander ili peršin ili mljevena paprika (slatka ili dimljena), po želji - za ukras/posluživanje
* sjemenke nara (po želji), za ukras/posluživanje

Okus Baba Ghanousha bit će bolji ako patlidžane prvo malo prodimimo. Možemo to napraviti na nekoliko načina, ispeći patližane cijele na grilu, ili ih ispeći iznad plinskog šporeta, ili ako nemate ni jednu od te dvije mogućnosti ispeći ih pod grilom u pećnici.
Ja ih prvo zapečem iznad vatre plinskog štednjaka pa onda ispečem do kraja u pećnici.
Zabodite vilicu s jedne strane patlidžana i pecite ga iznad vatre okrećući neprestano da se ravnomjerno peče, dok kožica lagano ne pocrni i počne pucati.
U međuvremenu zagrijte pećnicu na 200°C. Stavite patlidžane (cijele ili prerezane na pola po dužini) na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje i pored njih neočišćen bijeli luk. Pecite patlidžane dok ne postanu mekani (može vam trebati i do 1 sat ovisno o veličini patlidžana) ali ne zaboravite izvaditi bijeli luk nakon prvih 30 minuta.
Izvadite patlidžane iz pećnice i ostavite ih da se prohlade par minuta.
Žlice izdubite samo meso/pulpu i stavite u cjedilo da se potpuno ohladi i da se ocijedi voda iz njega.
Kad se pulpa ohladila stavite je u električnu sjeckalicu, zajedno s očišćenim češnjakom, tahinijem, 1 žlicom soka limuna i 1 žlicom ulja. Izbledajte da je manje ili više glatko, kako vam se već sviđa.
Posolite po ukusu i dodajte po želji još soka limuna da podesite okus.
Premjestite namaz od patlidžana u dublji tanjur ili zdjelu, pospite uljem i ukrasite (po želji) listićima korijandera ili peršinom, ili mljevenom paprikom ili jednostavno ukrasite zrnima nara.
Poslužite baba ghanoush namaz uz prepečeni pita kruh.

Baba Ghanoush