Monday, August 15, 2011

Dinner: Gigi's Macaroni; Baba Ghanoush; Grilled Corn

In a rare fit of brilliance I managed to throw this together for dinner for a group of six kids and me.   While I can never get one kid to eat everything, everyone liked at least one thing.  I call that success when dealing with 6-year-olds.  I am especially fond of this kind of dinner because it requires very little premeditation at the supermarket.  Parenting requires flexibility, and this fits the bill.
  (the kids at the dinner table; my plate)

The macaroni recipe comes from my mother and originally included a tad more butter and American cheese slices, though I generally use whatever kind of cheese is on hand.  Gruyere is exceptional in it and sophisticated enough for adults. My oldest son asked to pick jalapenos from the garden to add some kick.
(mac in the oven, with my son's special dish of jalapenos to the right)

The Baba Ghanoush is paraphrased from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and I serve it with sliced carrots from the garden.  Of course, pitas with a little oil and heated in the oven are lip-smacking, too. I make this as an alternative to dairy-based dips.  It's super healthy, easy to make, and absolutely delicious.
(look at that Baba Ghanoush!  A little pita in there for dipping.  Mmmmm!)

And, the simple corn is inspired by my friend S.P. who taught me it's just as easy to throw things on the grill as into a pot of boiling water.  And, tastier, too!

(I don't have a pic of corn on the grill, so here is my friend who inspired me.  Way prettier than corn!)

Cook 2 C elbow macaroni.  Drain in colander.  In the same pot, melt 1/4 C butter.  Whisk in 2 T flour to make a roux.  Pour in 1 1/2 C milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly.  Melt in 4 to 6 oz cheese.  (Try cheddar and jack, or gruyere, or Mexican blend, or even a mild bleu!)  Pour macaroni in a casserole and pour the cheese sauce over. Optional: Add in extras like sliced and seeded jalapenos, diced zucchini, or peas and corn.  Bake in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until brown and bubbly on top.

Grill a large eggplant at 500 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the skin turns black and starts to fall into itself a bit.  Remove from the grill and let cool.  Meanwhile, dry roast 1/2 C pine nuts.  Put the eggplant and pine nuts in a food processor, along with 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1/4 C lemon juice, 1/4 C sesame tahini, and salt and pepper.  Blend in the processor until nearly smooth.  Serve with baked pitas or veggie slices.

Shuck the corn.  Brush on olive oil or melted butter directly onto the corn kernels.  Sprinkle on seasoning of your choice.  For example, a Tex-Mex or Italian blend, or maybe cilantro and basil.  Dried or fresh herbs work equally well.  Set grill temp at about 400 degrees and place the corn directly over the heat.  Grill for 5 to 7 minutes, turning as needed to brown lightly on all sides.

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