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Friday, March 4, 2011

A Week of Peace Pt 4 (Recipe: Makhouda D'Aubergine)

There's an old cliche about saving the best for last....and that's certainly the case with today's recipe. Tunisian in origin, Makhouda D'Aubergine is a mix and marriage of Tunisian and French influences. Tunisian food is particularly interesting because it is a vast fusion of the many culture that have, at some point, permeated Tunisian society.

This brings up an interesting point as well. I don't deny that Tunisia has faced many difficulties in it's history. Being overtaken by so many different groups, plus natural disasters and authoritarian dictatorships takes its toll. I would never do or say anything to minimize their struggle. However, with the recent Jasmine Revolution and the current struggle to instill a fair and democratic government for the country, one can't deny that their hardships have made the Tunisian people even stronger.

Their strength and courage have been an inspiration to so many throughout the Arab world, and they have even opened their borders to the Libyan refugees and provided humanitarian aid via their military for those needing to flee. This compassion and strength is a beautiful, wonderful thing. It is truly worthy of celebration.

Of course, this mirrors a very human concept; that life is often very difficult and challenging but that the struggles we face ultimately shape us. If we choose to let them, they can shape us for the better. Hardships are a part of life, and what troubles we face in life become a part of us. We are inevitably shaped by them. However, if we let them, they can galvanize us instead of tearing us apart. If you feel as though life has torn you apart, make this dish and remember that everything leaves a mark...but those marks can be interpreted as something beautiful. Enjoy!

Makhouda D'Aubergine

(adapted from this recipe)

1 large eggplant, peeled and quarter inch diced or diced in food processor
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
8 large eggs
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh cilantro and parsley
4 garlic cloves, put through press
8 oz gruyere cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 t bharat OR 1/2 t black pepper, 1/4 t cinnamon and 1/2 t rosewater)
harissa or cayenne pepper (to taste)

1. Salt eggplant dice and drain for about 20 minutes in a strainer. Preheat oven to 400 F and in a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant, onions, and red peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until soft and golden. Transfer to a strainer to drain off as much oil as possible.

2. While the eggplant mixture is draining, mix eggs until scrambled. Add cheese, herbs, garlic, and breadcrumbs. Mix in eggplant mixture and add bharat, harissa, and salt.

3. Grease a 2 qt souffle dish  and pour the mixture in, baking on the middle rack for 40 minutes. Mixture should puff and turn golden and knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving!

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