Angela has been selected as a winner of the National Merit Scholarship — one of the most prestigious awards for a high school senior. It’s a great encouragement and affirmation for her especially during this anxious time of waiting. The last of the college admission announcements will be sent out in two days. Every aspiring applicant, no matter how excellent his or her resume is, will get rejection letters — probably one of the very few true disappointments in their young lives. I suppose the randomness of life, and the inherent unfairness of it will be a significant lesson for them. On the last day of March there will be tears for these kids — tears of joy or tears of despair. Wherever there is hope, there is inevitably despair. In her book And The Pursuit of Happiness, artist Maira Kalman observed: “We hope. We despair. We hope. We despair. That is what governs us.” Life is the axis between these two opposite poles.
What can I do for Angela? Not much, other than what I have always done and always will — love her, be there for her at her beck and call. And of course, I can cook yummy food for her. Angela loves eggplant and this roast eggplant with yogurt tahini dressing is one of the best eggplant dishes I have ever made. It is a simple vegetarian dish that is extremely satisfying.
The spiced rubbed roast chicken was so delicious that tonight Audrey decided to forgo her vegetarianism for it. The meat is slightly spicy so she drank two glasses of milk to quell the heat. That was a major coup for me. I’ve always been a little worried about Audrey’s protein intake ever since she became a vegetarian about two years ago.
Roast Eggplant & Spiced Rubbed Chicken with Yogurt Tahini Dressing
Ingredients for Yogurt Tahini Dressing:
1 cup Greek Yogurt (I used Fage)
2 heaping tablespoons Tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (Add a teaspoon or so if you like yours more lemony)
1 heaping cup peeled, seeded and diced English cucumber
1/4 cup chopped parsley, or cilantro, or mint (whichever is your favorite)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Ingredients for Spice Rubbed Chicken:
4 skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, more if you like it more spicy
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
A few dashes of cinnamon
A few dashes of pepper
Serve with sliced cucumber and radishes
Ingredients for Roast Eggplant:
1 eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick (choose long rather than fat eggplant)
2 to 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the dry spices and salt in a bowl.
Preheat oven to 425.
Sprinkle salt on both sides of the sliced eggplant. Wait for the eggplant pieces to “sweat” (about 30 minutes) and press dry with paper towel. Rub olive oil on both sides of the eggplant and leave in single layer on parchment paper lined baking dish. If you use foil to line the baking pan, make sure you spray oil on it.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Rub with olive oil and then the spice mixture. Leave on parchment paper lined baking pan.
Roast the eggplant and the chicken in preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes.
Mix all ingredients for dressing. Serve with the eggplant and the chicken. Garnish with chopped green herb and lemon zest.