"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Easy Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

Prep: 20 min. + chilling
Yield: 24 Servings
6 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Place cucumbers and onions in a large bowl; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook and stir just until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumber mixture; cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Yield: 6 cups.

Nutritional Analysis:1/4 cup equals 58 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, trace protein.
Originally published as Easy Refrigerator Pickles in Country Extra July 1999, p51

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

YaYa's Eurocafe Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush at Ya Ya's Eurocafe in Chesterfield on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Photo by Erik M. Lunsford

When YaYa’s opened its doors 15 years ago, Mediterranean food was largely an unknown in St. Louis. “People didn’t know what hummus was,” laughs Alex Hayworth, executive chef at the Chesterfield restaurant. YaYa’s owner Paul Khoury is half Greek, and the restaurant is named for his grandmother. “We serve a little bit of Greek, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Italian and French. And North African too, during colder weather,” Hayworth says.

YaYa’s is famous for its happy hour’s buy-one-get-one-free appetizers and $4 martinis. Recently, the restaurant has focused on “sea to table” fresh seafood. Hayworth says, “We want people to find both great food and a great experience here.”

Baba Ganoush is YaYa’s bread service, a pool of creamy sauce sprinkled with herb oil and za’atar, an Arabic spice blend with YaYa’s own bread, baked by Fazio’s, for dipping. Baba ganoush is an Arabic dish with numerous alternate spellings, pronounced ba-ba (sounds like papa) ga-NOOSH. YaYa’s recipe calls for yogurt instead of the usual tahini to keep the spread fresh and light, says Hayworth, with just a touch of garlic, preferably minced by hand. “The other ingredients are so mild, even a little garlic comes through.”

YaYa’s roasts 90 pounds of eggplant a week for Baba Ganoush. Hayworth says that guests sometimes ask, even before sitting down, “Could we get some of that bread and eggplant dip?”

To re-create YaYa’s Baba Ganoush at home, Hayworth offers tips. Puncture the eggplant before roasting, otherwise, he says, “Look for a big mess in the oven.” In addition, add the oil to the blender in a slow stream, otherwise the Baba Ganoush may “break.”

{hr /}YaYa’s Eurocafe

15601 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield


Yield: 4 cups
2 1-pound purple eggplants
1¼ cups plain low-fat yogurt
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¾ cup canola oil
¼ cup olive oil
Generous salt
Generous white pepper
Herb oil and za’atar, for garnish
Thin slices white airy bread, such as French or Italian
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Puncture eggplant skins in several places with the tip of knife, then roast whole on a baking sheet for about an hour; the skins will darken and deflate, interiors turn soft and airy. Let cool. Slice open, remove seed pods as best as possible, some will remain. Scrape flesh off skins and place in a blender, discarding skins and stems.
3. Add yogurt and garlic, puree until smooth. With blender running, gradually add oils until very smooth and creamy, seasoning with salt and white pepper as you go. Refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to meld.
4. To serve YaYa-style, dollop 2 tablespoons Baba Ganoush onto a bread plate in a loose oval shape. Drizzle with herb oil and sprinkle with za’atar. Serve with bread on the side.
Notes: Za’atar is an Arabic spice blend with numerous spelling variations. To make your own, mix 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves with 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons sumac and ½ teaspoon sea salt.
Per 2-tablespoon serving: 75 calories; 7g fat; 1g saturated fat; 1mg cholesterol; 1g protein; 2g carbohydrate; 1g sugar; 1g fiber; 5mg sodium; 20mg calcium.

Recipe adapted for home kitchens by the Post-Dispatch



Combine 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, 1 Tbsp. sumac, 1 Tbsp. ground cumin, and 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds. Stir in 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

You can find sumac at Middle Eastern markets, specialty foods stores, and