It’s almost time to say goodbye to Calgary. Actually, you are probably reading this recipe
after we’ve already left. We’ll be on vacation for four weeks (yay!), before we make the actual move to New York, and I am trying to prepare some posts in advance. I suspect that most of the recipes that you will be seeing will be the perfect type of food for summer BBQs and sharing with friends. These nachos definitely fit that bill. They are just a step up from the typical chips and dips that are ubiquitous at any summer party (For good reason: everyone loves crunchy chips, guacamole and salsa!). With the addition of melty cheese, spiced beans, and pickled jalapeños, they are almost a meal in themselves. There will be a lot of goodbyes in the next couples of weeks, which is always strange and sad. But, if I have to say goodbye, I like to do it over good food.
A few weeks ago, we were leaving our friend’s apartment and she offered us a few springs of fresh oregano from her garden. Obviously, I accepted. Ever since I started my little indoor herb garden, I am convinced that there is nothing more convenient and delicious than having whatever amount of fresh herbs that you need at the ready. I never grew oregano though. I didn’t think I would use it often enough to merit it a spot on my small herb table. I was very pleased to leave with my little gift and made sure to stick the sprigs in a small cup of water in the fridge to stay fresh while I decided what to do with it. That night, I went to the store to buy the reddest tomatoes, crispest cucumbers and the best goat’s feta (which we are now completely obsessed with) that I could find. If I didn’t live with an olive hater, I would have grabbed some of those too. With all of those lovely, summery ingredients, I made a simple Greek salad. It was so good that it has become a weekly staple for us ever since, which is saying something because that rarely happens around here.
This past weekend, I was at a potluck and had one of the most delicious eggplant dishes that I had ever tried. I immediately had to ask where the recipe was from and lucky for me, it was sitting in Jerusalem, one of my favourite cookbooks. I couldn’t believe that I had overlooked the recipe, but when I found it in my book later that night, I wasn’t too surprised. It was one of the few recipes in his book without an accompanying picture. I am so drawn in by Ottolenghi’s gorgeous photographs that I can’t help but skim over those that are unlucky enough not to have a stunning, colourful, full page photograph right next to it. Either way, I knew I wanted to make the recipe as soon as possible but to make it a full meal, I decided to make eggplant and mango salad rolls for a little twist on a classic.
As soon as I saw a recipe for homemade hummus posted on I Will Not Eat Oyster’s blog, I knew I had to give it a try. Hummus is one of my all time favourite dips (it’s main rival is guacamole). I knew if I was going to spend the extra time soaking the chickpeas, it was going to be the centrepiece to a very special dish. I wasn’t going to just snack on it with vegetables or sneak a thin layer into a sandwich (which I also did with leftovers), I was determined to make this hummus the star of the show. And it is. A thick layer of creamy, lemony hummus is the base for this entire dish but it’s the combination with everything else on the plate that makes it the ultimate hummus. If you are ever going to make hummus into a meal, this is how you do it. I have been making my way through the leftovers of this for a whole week and am not complaining.