When I was a little girl my mother used to play Mah Jongg with a group of women from the neighborhood. I remember loving the nights when my mother hosted and the “ladies” (as my sister and I referred to them) would descend upon our house to smack down tiles, smoke cigarettes and gossip in loud raspy voices. We would get to stay up extra late and sneak bites of whatever treats my mother had in bowls around the card table.
Now that I have children of my own, I realize what a great idea my mom had to organize game nights. After a long day with three kids, adult company is a much-needed respite. Upon moving to the suburbs, I was lucky to connect with a great group of “ladies” who also love to play. We all learned Mah Jongg together and have been laughing, gossiping, eating, and drinking going on three years now. The only thing missing from the scene of my childhood are the cigarettes and those bright orange cheese doodles my mom always placed out.
Most of the girls in our group like to cook and we all love to eat. So when it is my week to host it is always fun to try a new recipe and see how the “ladies” like it. This week I am trying baba ghanoush.
2 Large Eggplant
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 4 cloves roasted)
1 tsp Kosher salt
3 Tbsp Tahini
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
(we only had dried parsley flakes which worked fine, just use less)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a baking sheet.
Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, and outside is black and wrinkled, about 45 minutes.
Let the eggplant cool. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, scoop the pulp into a colander and let liquid drain. Transfer eggplant to mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
On a cutting board, work garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt together with the flat side of a knife, until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture to the eggplant. Stir in the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley.
Season with more salt, to taste. Garnish with additional parsley.
And the VERDICT is:
(the names have been changed to protect the innocent)
Dorothy: I like it because it is not too spicy, pretty good
Blanche: I have an eggplant in my fridge, maybe I will try this
Rose: I am on a diet….
The Boys: It was unanimous – “Mommy, it looks like POOP!”