Chermoula Eggplant With Bulgur and Yogurt

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

Okay, last month I mentioned this recipe, but I didn’t want to distract from that amazing recipe. So now it’s time for this one to shine all on its own.

The Journey:

At the end of the day, this is an eggplant dish. I don’t know how people feel about eggplant one way or the other, but I’m sort of ambivalent on them in general. However, this is the perfect way to eat them. The eggplant is very tender, and the seasonings / toppings give it a lot of flavor.

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The Verdict:

It’s good, not too difficult to make, and it seems very fancy pants (at least to me, who is admittedly not exactly the final word on fancy pants).

In fact, that basically goes for everything in Jerusalem, so you should go out and buy it immediately. We have not had a bad recipe yet.

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The Recipe:

Recipe from Jerusalem.

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel (I’m told they’re available in stores, but ours actually came from the food swap)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/3 ounce (2 teaspoons) cilantro, chopped, plus extra to finish
  • 1/3 ounce (2 teaspoons) mint, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives, halved (we didn’t use these because Sara doesn’t like olives)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. To make the chermoula, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili, paprika, preserved lemon, two-thirds of the olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the flesh of each half with deep, diagonal crisscross cuts, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Put in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.
  4. Meanwhile, place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water.
  5. Soak the raisins in the warm water. After 10 minutes, drain the raisins and add them to the bulgur, along with the remaining oil. Add the herbs, olives, almonds, green onions, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  6. Serve the eggplants warm or at room temperature. Place 1/2 eggplant, cut side up, on each individual plate. Spoon the bulgur on top, allowing some to fall from both sides. Spoon over some yogurt, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with a drizzle of oil.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini & Za’atar

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

We originally checked out the amazing cookbook Jerusalem from the library, but since then we’ve not only bought a copy, but even given a copy as a wedding present. And on the inside cover of the book-as-a-wedding-present, we said TURN TO THIS PAGE IMMEDIATELY AND MAKE THIS DISH.

It is THAT. GOOD.

This is the best thing you’ve ever eaten in your life. You will never eat anything tastier than this.

The Journey:

I only have one picture of this recipe, because I was originally planning to do a combination with this one and chermoula eggplant with bulgur & yogurt. But forget that, this recipe is too good to share the limelight with another.

Roasted butternut squash & red onion with tahini & za'atar

Ah, just breath it in my friend.

This recipe requires a tablespoon of the Middle Eastern spice za’atar. We managed to find it at a grocery store in Chicago, but if you don’t live where it is available, you can easily order it online. Worth it.

The other tip is that you do not need to peel the squash. I mean, that should be obvious from the fact that peeling the squash is not a step listed in the recipe, but somehow that didn’t stop me. I just assumed it was obvious you’d have to peel it, so they left it unsaid. But no, leave the skin on, no problem at all. It sure makes this recipe a lot easier to make!

The Verdict:

Did you try it? Told you. You can die happy now.

The Recipe:

Recipe from Jerusalem.

  • 1 large butternut squash (2 1/4 lb. in total), cut into 3/4 by 2 1/2-inch wedges (skin on!)
  • 2 red onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch wedges
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. light tahini paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp. za’atar
  • 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper and toss well.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  5. To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.
  6. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat.
  7. Add the pine nuts along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown.
  8. Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.
  9. To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley.