Sunday, December 16, 2007

Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Dip (Page 10)

  • Date: Saturday, December 15, 2007 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Mike M, Teresa, Paul K, Beth, Lauren K, Jeremy, Ayelet, Michael L, Ann, Daniel L, Kent, Sue, Allan, Ann E, Jim, Marcia, Matty, Vladimir, Kitty, Muriel, Marc, and Tricia
  • Recipe Rating: B

I chose this dip to serve at our holiday party yesterday because it was the first recipe in The Book that I hadn't made yet (now I have made the first 14 consecutive recipes!). This dip was fine. The thing about serving dips is that if you serve anything else, the dips don't get eaten (unless it is guacamole -- that is the exception to this rule). It has very little to do with how good the dip is. So I am always hesitant to serve dip at parties. But, The Book has tons of them, so I do it anyway. If I hadn't made this dip, there is no way I would have guessed that it contained eggplant. Frankly, I doubt I could have picked out a single ingredient other than the roasted red peppers based on flavor alone. Maybe the garlic was recognizable, but everything else (eggplant, lemon, jalapeno...) was completely overshadowed. It tasted simply like pureed roasted red peppers, which doesn't taste bad, but also isn't terribly exciting. Further, whoever wrote this recipe was clearly a little off his or her rocker. You start by roasting the eggplant and peppers (ok, done). Then you peel the peppers, scoop out the eggplant flesh and puree them with the rest of the ingredients (still ok). Then you are supposed to simmer the puree for 20 minutes, or until thick. Hmmm. What I had after pureeing had a viscosity somewhere between that of thick applesauce and that of mashed potatoes. What happens if you attempt to simmer such a thing? You get volcanic bubbles that splatter your entire kitchen with roasted red pepper puree. So I didn't know what to do -- should I continue to "simmer" and let my kitchen pay the price? I was supposed to simmer until thickened, but it was already thickened, so maybe I didn't have to. I worried though that this simmering had another purpose (e.g. cooking the garlic and jalapeno to mellow them). In the end, I covered the pot (to save my kitchen) and let it bubble volcanic bubbles for 20 minutes. In summary: these directions are a bit mysterious. Overall, this dish was fine, but probably not worth the trouble.

Here is the recipe.

Matty eventually made it on Friday night, and yesterday we hosted a holiday party for the topology group! We served 12 recipe from The Book, which I dare say is a record for how many book recipes I have served at once. And, shockingly, there were no complete disasters. Some things were better than others of course, and there were a couple that I don't have such positive feelings about, but there was nothing terrible. Yay for that. The party was hors d'oeuvres and dessert, partly because I wasn't sure I felt up to doing dinner for 22 people this week, and partly because the Hors D'Oeuvres and First Courses section in The Book is one that I am making very slow progress on.

Overall I think it was a success. I had fun anyway! Plus, now I have a bunch of recipes to blog about as we travel these next few days. Tomorrow we are off to Madison, with a stop for a few days in Chicago on our way there.

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