Smile Politely

Mediterranean dishes for summer’s last glimmer

I admit it —- I am a little in denial about summer being over. But who can really blame me when it was in the 70’s last weekend? Also, I am still using up the surplus crops from my garden. Watching my heirloom tomatoes ripen in my kitchen provides a temporary form of escapism on the cold and blustery days that remind me of evil winter ahead. So pardon my recipes that are based on summer crops.

Eggplant was Rookie of the Year in my garden. I almost ran out of new and exciting ways to prepare it. My default recipe was baba ghanoush. Here’s how I prepared it:


Baba Ghanoush

One large eggplant

¼ cup lime juice

¼ cup tahini

2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Place eggplant on baking sheet, and poke numerous holes in the skin with a fork. This is very important — if you don’t poke holes in the skin, your eggplant will explode! Roast eggplant for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally. Once eggplant is soft, remove from oven, and place in a large bowl of cold water. When the eggplant has cooled, remove from water, and peel skin off.

Place eggplant and all other ingredients except for oil in the blender, and puree. Transfer mixture to a medium sized bowl, and slowly stir in the oil. Refrigerate for two hours before serving. Serve with pitas.


Got leftover pitas? Good, because I have leftover cucumbers, and that can only mean one thing — tzatziki! Here’s how I make mine:



1 cup reduced fat sour cream

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 large cucumber

1 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. fresh mint

1 tsp. fresh dill

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Drain excess water from yogurt using a paper towel or a cheese cloth. Mix yogurt and sour cream together. Peel and grate the cucumber. Use paper towels to soak up as much excess water from the cucumber as possible. Mix cucumber, oil, and spices into the yogurt and sour cream. Refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Both tzatziki and baba ghanoush are not only good for snacking, but also fairly nutritious condiments to add to a sandwich. Make a batch of each, and place a bowl of leftover tahini on a platter with olives, pitas, and scallions for an impressive Mediterranean spread. Enjoy!

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