Mediterranean eggplant tomato dip

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This is my contribution to plant power cooking challenge.

I chose from the list of six items, to use eggplant(aubergine)and tomatoes. When I see those items together I think automatically of the Mediterranean.

I think back to when I was introduced to a Mediterranean restaurant that was open really late until 4 a.m. When I was in a band, the boys went there on our way back from Toronto. The first time I was annoyed that we had to stop to eat. When I ate the food I was mesmerized with the taste of everything. I will describe it as lemony and garlicky.

Over the years my friends and I would go there after a night out. At that time I ate meat. I also tried other things.

One appetizer that I loved was eggplant tomato dip. The restaurant called it a salad. I didn't see any resemblance to a salad in this dish that came with pita bread.

I don't know what the ingredients were but I did my best to replicate. It was pretty close.

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I have a broken element in my oven but the grill still works so I stuck the eggplant under the broiler.

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After it's roasted the moisture comes out and becomes more meaty. I also remove the skin.

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I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned because there seem to be plenty in stores now for a good price. Probably from the U.S. We have good tomatoes a little later.

Eggplant tomato dip
1 large eggplant diced
3 or 4 tomatoes (roma are the best but I used regular)
1 onion diced
1 shallot minced
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Spices and seasonings
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt to taste

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I like to dry toast the whole spices until they get aromatic and start crackling.

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I now love using a mortar and pestle to grind it. My machinery is not the best.

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I first saute the onions garlic and shallots until they are quite caramelized, then I add all of the spices and continue frying.

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After they are golden I add the eggplant.

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Then the tomatoes.

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Then the herbs and tomato paste.

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The dish that I had at the restaurant was thick and pasty. It was much like a spread. To get this consistency I simmered until most of the liquid was out.

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At the restaurant they didn't serve this with tahini sauce but I decided to take it up a notch. I made tahini sauce with sesame paste, lemon juice garlic and olive oil.

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I made pita bread in a pan from a basic bread dough. I won't bore you with the details as this is about the listed ingredients.

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This is the kind of thing I want to have when I am sitting and pecking on snacks, by the Mediterranean sea in my dreams which will probably not happen in this lifetime. Dreams are good though.

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