Peoplewhoeat’s Weblog

March 5, 2011

Stuffed Dates

Filed under: Appetizer, Good for party food, Quick cook, Snacks, Special occasions — Tags: , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 2:09 am

Got this from Rachel Wilkerson‘s excellent rundown of Thanksgiving recipes. But I think these puppies are awesome enough to deserve their very own blog post. Also, unlike Rachel, I don’t think the cheese is optional. I’ve made them three times now, and they’ve always been a hit!

Dates, the big ones, the best quality you can afford (it’s actually easier to buy the ones with the pit still in)
Gorgonzola cheese

Pit the dates, and replace the pits with a similarly sized and shaped bit of cheese.
Cut the slices of bacon in half, and wrap a half-piece of bacon around each date.
Bake at 400* for 20 minutes, turning halfway.

They’re best slightly warm but not hot (about half an hour after coming out of the oven).

Ta-da! A filling, impressive, and easy appetizer! I made these the other day, chilled them, then reheated them at a party and they were still delicious.

(No picture, because while they are DELICIOUS, they are not photogenic)


February 20, 2011

Lobiani (Georgian Bean Bread)

I made this recipe from Darra Goldstein’s excellent The Georgian Feast. I brought it to a Super Bowl party, and it was a big hit–a savory, finger-food that’s quite filling but also a little different. The texture wasn’t the same as the lobiani that I bought on the streets of Tbilisi, but it was still very good. My friends suggested, though, that they would prefer a different spice blend; I’m not sure what would be good though. Any suggestions?

Makes 2 incredibly large breads (fortunately you can freeze it after you cut it)

For dough:
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) softened butter
2 eggs
2 cups sour cream (light worked fine)
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda, divided into quarters

For filling:
1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight to soften
3 or 4 medium onions
2/3 cup vegetable oil (yes, you do need that much or else it gets dry)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper to taste

one egg yolk to brush on top while baking

Cream the butter. Beat in the eggs and sour cream. Mix in flour to make a soft dough.

On a well-floured board, roll the dough to a 15 x 18 rectangle. The dough will be INCREDIBLY sticky at this stage, but it will calm down fast, so just do your best the first few times. Sprinkle the rectangle with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Fold the dough into quarters and reroll, repeating the baking soda, fold, re-roll procedure until the baking soda is used up. Place the dough into a floured bowl, cover it and leave to rise for 6-8 hours indoors or 2-3 hours in the sun.
For filling: Boil the kidney beans for about one hour. Drain, and then mash. Dice the onions and sautee them in the oil until soft. Stir the onions (and oil) into the kidney beans, and add the spices. Divide in half, and set aside.
Before you start assembling the bread, preheat the oven to 350* F. When the dough has risen, divide it into two parts. Roll each out in a large circle, keeping the inside of the circle thicker than the outside. Place the filling in the center, and bring the dough up around it, forming a sort of ball. Flatten this out, to a large disc. Brush the top of the bread with beaten egg yolk, and bake for 40-45 minutes until browned.


September 18, 2010

Irma’s Amazing Eggplant Mush

This is a delicious Georgian specialty, one of my absolute favorites…this is my teacher’s recipe, and it’s one of the best!

1 kg (approximately) eggplant
1 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 onion
Spices (use what you can to taste of the following):
1 tablespoon saffron
1 tablespoon dry coriander
1 tablespoon uckho suneli (Georgian spice blend, don’t use the Russian version…its very different, but yellow curry powder is a possible substitute)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
splash of olive oil
splash of white wine vinegar

Roast the eggplant in a lightly oiled pan (20-25 minutes) until golden.

Mix the walnuts, garlic, spices and vinegar and oil in a blender to make a paste.

Mush the roasted eggplant, chopped onion, and spice mixture together.

Eat as a salad, or serve on top of bread.

October 20, 2009

Aubergine/eggplant caviar

A nice simple roasted aubergine and red pepper spread. Next time I might add some chilli and raw garlic to sharpen up the flavours.

2 aubergines / eggplants
1 red capsicum / pepper
Half a head/bulb garlic, unpeeled
Squirt of lemon juice, to taste
Salt, to taste
Olive or vegetable oil, to grease

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (about 350F). Cut tops off aubergines, prick several times into the body with a sharp knife or fork (to let steam escape so they don’t explode, like when you bake potatoes!). Do not peel aubergines.

2) Grease a baking sheet. Lightly grease aubergines. Place onto baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

3) Cut capsicum in half and remove seedy core and stem. Rub oil over it lightly. Oil the unpeeled garlic bulb. Add to baking sheet; bake, along with aubergines, another 20 minutes or so. Aubergine should be soft, the capsicum should be collapsed with the skin lightly blackened and coming away, and garlic cloves should give way when pricked with a knife.

4) Peel capsicum. Cut aubergines in half and scoop out cooked flesh; discard skins. Peel softened garlic (this should be easy). Blend together in a blender or using a stick blender – or just chop very finely. Add splash of lemon juice, to taste. Season with salt. Make sure to taste and adjust the flavours, adding more lemon juice if you need to. Don’t skip it – it really lifts the flavour.

June 25, 2008

Pico de Gallo: Fresh Salsa

Filed under: Appetizer, Healthy, Quick cook, Snacks, Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 8:06 pm

Salsa doesn’t have to come from a jar at the store!  It’s delicious when you make it yourself, and is a good way to use garden tomatoes when an onslaught comes. 

You can obviously increase the quantity easily, but I’m giving proportions for one normal-sized tomato.

1 fresh tomato
1/2 onion (I prefer red) (optional)
1 clove garlic
1 TBSP cilantro
1 TSP salt
juice of 1/2 lemon (can use lime, too)
a dash of hot sauce or a chopped chipotle pepper

Cut everything up and throw it in a bowl.  Simple and tasty.  You can experiment with some additions for fun;  my mom sometimes adds mango, and it’s delicious.  Use it just like salsa from the jar; dip in tortilla chips, or add to tacos or burritos.


June 12, 2008

Parmesan potato wedges

Filed under: Appetizer, comfort food, Snacks, Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 12:34 pm

These were both simple and delicious. I adapted the original recipe a little to be more convenient for me (e.g. it’s not easy for me to use only eggwhites, so I used a whole egg). It was very tasty and a delicious and super-simple accompaniment to some stuffed baked peppers (recipe soon!). It would also be a really nice side to something like roast or meatloaf.

Parmesan potato wedges

6 potatoes, cut into about 6 wedges each
1 whole egg, beaten
finely grated parmesan, about 3/4 cup

Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Oil a baking sheet. Toss the potatoes wedges into the beaten egg (you may need more) and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle parmesan over the wedges and bake until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

Original recipe here.

Eat well…life is too short not to!


April 13, 2008


Filed under: Appetizer, Healthy, Light lunch, Quick cook, Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 10:26 pm

I have occasionally been accused of eating nothing but this.  While that isn’t entirely true, bruschetta is my favorite quick meal, and it’s what I usually bring to shared meals.  It’s obviously best with garden-fresh tomatoes, but I even love it with the pale winter grocery store variety.

These are the rough proportions when using one medium sized tomato; it’ll taste different with every tomato, and can be adapted to more tomatoes…

One medium-sized tomato
One clove of garlic
Five or so leaves of basil
Salt to draw juice from the tomato
a Sploosh of balsamic vinegar (the juicier the tomato, the less vinegar you need)

Take the tomato and cut it into cubes.  Put the cubes in a bowl with some salt to draw out the tomato juice; let this sit while you chop the other ingredients.  Dice the basil and garlic, and add it to the tomatoes.  Add some balsamic vinegar to give the mixture some liquid, but not enough to cover the tomato.  The amount will depend on how juicy the tomato was.  Let the mixture set for as long as you can bear…the more it melds the tastier it will be, but you’ll have to wait to eat it.  If you’re just making it for yourself, serve the tomato on top of toast drizzled in olive oil.  For a fancier version, serve it on nice garlic bread, or slices of a nice bakery loaf with olive oil set under the broiler a few minutes. 

Bon appetit!


March 23, 2008


Filed under: Appetizer, Quick cook, Snacks, Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 5:21 pm


Guacamole is one of the best foods in the world if it’s made well.  If it isn’t made right it can be downright disgusting.  To me, the most important part is that the texture isn’t too smooth.  To get the right consistency, mix the guacamole with the blade of a knife, cutting the avocado into progressively smaller chunks, stopping while there are still some reasonable sized pieces, but everything is mostly incorporated.

Here’s what I use:

1 avocado
juice of 1/2 lime
pinch of salt
small splash of Tabasco sauce
1 clove diced garlic
a few sprigs of chopped cilantro (aka fresh coriander)

Everything is to taste, really.  You want to balance the salt and lime so that you can’t really taste either.  You shouldn’t be able to taste the Tabasco, or feel the heat; it will just give the guacamole some depth to the flavor.  Mix together as described above, and enjoy atop Mexican food, or with corn chips (my favorite).


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