Need something to snack on that doesn’t spoil your diet? How about a tasty dip? Eat as is with fresh veggies or flat bread or make the lettuce wraps that follow for a full meal.
MORROCAN EGGPLANT DIP
1 large (about 1-1/2 pounds) eggplant
3 Tablespoons olive oil or whatever oil you have on hand
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce (or mash up some fresh tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or ‘mature vinegar’ (chen cu) or lemon juice from 1 lemon
Dice eggplant, discarding ends. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and add eggplant, tomato sauce, garlic, green pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt, and vinegar. Cook covered over medium heat for 20 minutes. Uncover and boil mixture over high heat, stirring until reduced to about 3 cups. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. (Freezes beautifully, so buy eggplants when on special and have them on hand for company.) Makes: 3 cups
Homemade Caramelized Onion Dip
The flavor for this homemade onion dip comes from the long slow caramelizing of the onions. Remember the Lipton's Onion Soup Mix dip? This is a far better, made-from-scratch version.
Makes about 2 cups
2 large yellow onions
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup fresh tofu
1/2 cup sour cream (whipping cream easily becomes sour cream by adding some vinegar and salt and pepper—1-2 TBSP vinegar per cup or cream)
1. Cut onions into quarters, then thinly slice quarters.
2. Heat butter and oil over medium heat in large sauté pan. Sauté onions and garlic with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until onions are nicely browned and caramelized. Cool.
3. Beat tofu and sour cream together with whisk or with electric mixer until smooth. Add onions and taste for seasoning.
1 head iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves (whichever you prefer)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce or any bean paste/sauce that you prefer
1 tablespoon dry sherry or wine or whatever vinegar you have on hand
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 slice ginger, minced
3 garlic clove, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1 lb dry tofu cut into thin strips (the one that looks like a sausage—it is firmer and holds together better)
1 red or green pepper, seeded and dice
1 can water chestnuts, rinsed in warm running water and chopped (can substitute shredded or thin strips of carrots)
3 stalk celery, diced or shredded
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
Wash the lettuce, dry, and separate the leaves. Set aside.
Mix together the sauce ingredients. Heat the sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan on high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and green onions and fry until the garlic and ginger are aromatic. Add the tofu and cook until the chicken is browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Add the red pepper, water chestnuts, and celery to the frying pan. Add the sauce ingredients and cook at medium heat, Give the cornstarch/water mixture a quick restir and add to the sauce, stirring to thicken. Add the tofu back into the wok. Cook for 2 - 3 more minutes, stirring, to heat through.
Lay out a lettuce leaf and spoon a heaping teaspoon of the tofu and vegetable/sauce mixture into the middle. The lettuce wraps are designed to be eaten "taco-style," with the lettuce folded into a package. Variations: Try substituting different vegetables, or using one of the many stir-fry sauces that are now on the market in place of the sauce.