Little known fact about me: I really love the Olympics.
I know…surprising, right? I can hardly sit through a football game and I view Nats games as merely an alternate venue for me to consume beer. Yet, give me the 400 meter individual medley, and I can barely tear myself from the TV. I do love a good hockey game, but that is a prerequisite as a New England girl; the fact that I have a healthy blood lust makes it all the more desirable.
I wouldn’t consider myself patriotic, nor sports minded. Of course, the tight, athletic bodies on display have their draw. Yet, for me, I think it really all boils down to one thing: Bob Costas.
I watch him and I feel like I can trust him. His voice calms me. I find him oddly attractive, though his waspiness is the antithesis of my “type”. An ex would catch me watching “Costas Now”, a show in which I have no interest in any of the subject matter, and merely shake his head. I could watch him read the dictionary. He speaks a narrative that touches me, even when he is conveying those horribly cheesy personal interest stories that always run during the Olympics. He makes me care about the intersexed diver who was born in a war torn village, found as a feral child, and rescued by two loving gay men only to watch them both die in a freak carousel accident. Bob Costas, you make me a better, more loving, kind, and caring person.
When Cindarella suggested we get together and watch the Olympic opening ceremonies, I jumped at the chance. I adore her, naturally, but the opportunity to spend so much time with my Bobby was a rare one that I had to grab on to. I relished every single moment with him. Cindarella and I kvetched over wine and noshed on some cheese, crackers, cornichon and this baba ghanouj that I threw together. I have been wanting to make some baba ghanouj for a while and this recipe hit the spot. It is a snap to throw together and a much healthier dip than most. It is one of those dishes were the sum parts are much better than the individual components. It would be perfect to bring to a party as it is a tad more exotic than guacamole or hummus.
It wasn’t quite as excciting as my man, Mr. Costas, but it came a close second.
Slightly adapted from Simply Recipes
1 large eggplant (about 2 lbs)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp roasted tahini (sesame paste)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of one lemon – about 2 1/2 tablespoons
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down, and roast until very tender, about 35 minutes. Place the eggplant in a colander to drain and cool for 15 minutes, then scoop the flesh out of the skin.
Combine the eggplant, remaining olive oil (about 1/2 Tbsp), tahini, garlic, cumin, 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice, the salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the eggplant is somewhat smooth but retains some of its texture.
Allow the baba ghanouj to sit for an hour at room temperature, then season to taste with additional lemon juice, salt, and cayenne. Toss in cilantro and serve.