Finally it’s been good weather!  I’ve made a couple of springy dips that I haven’t tried before, with most ingredients bought at the local market.  I wanted to experiment more with the oven this time so I tried roasting and baking the dips today.

Roasted Tomato Salsa With Sweet Corn:

I love to experiment with different salsa recipes and roasting was a new step for me.  This salsa was very light but added a lot of flavor through the roasting process.  Especially with the tomatoes in China that tend to be flavorless and a little tart.

(enough for 2 large jars of salsa)

6 beefsteak tomatoes (西红柿 xihongshi)

1 large white onion (洋葱 yangcong), roughly chopped

4 cubanelle or anaheim peppers (尖椒 jianjiao)

5 cloves garlic (蒜 suan)
3 ears of sweet corn (甜玉米yumi)3 tbsp olive oil (橄榄油 ganlanyou)

1 tsp cumin (孜然 ziran)

1/2 tsp black pepper (黑胡椒粉 heihujiaofen)

1 lime (青柠蒙 qingningmeng)

salt to taste (盐 yan)

1 bunch of cilantro/coriander stems and leaves (香菜xiangcai)

1 can of black beans or pinto beans (黑豆 heidou) (optional)

Hand blender

Heat oven to 450 F (220 C).  Coat full tomatoes and peppers with olive oil and salt and place in oven.  leave tomatoes and pepper in oven for 20 minutes and then add garlic cloves to the roasting pan.  Turn peppers at this point as well.

Leave the ingredients in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have been slightly blackened.  Remove from oven.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add corn and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from water once corn is cooked through.  When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut off corn kernels and separate into individual kernels.

I feared that the salsa might come out a little too soupy, so I used tongs and squeezed out the liquid in the tomatoes out on the roasting pan before placing them in the bowl with the garlic and peppers.  Add roughly chopped onion to bowl, and using a hand blender blend all of the ingredients.  Add cumin, black pepper, and lime and mix through.  Season with salt to taste.  Add cilantro, corn kernels, and black beans.  Chill overnight for more flavor.


Roasted Eggplant Spread:

I originally based this recipe off of Ina Garten’s recipe  I expected a dip but I blended it a little too much so it was more like a spread or sauce.  I used it as a pasta sauce and grated a lot of pecorino romano  into it and it was delicious.  I used this spread on top of cheese and crackers.  This is a great base for eggplant dip. Next time I might try using some more herbs or seasonings like oregano, parsley, or cumin.  Maybe even a squeeze of lemon would be a great addition.

3 medium round eggplant (圆茄子yuan qiezi )

3 large red peppers ( 红柿子椒hong shi zi jiao) (the ones I got were a little spicy)

1 large red onion (hong yang cong 红洋葱)

4 garlic cloves ( 蒜 suan)

2 tsp sea salt (盐yan)

4 tbsp olive oil (橄榄油ganlan you )

2 tbsp tomato paste (fanqie jiang 番茄酱)(in china fanqie jiang can be tomato paste or tomato sauce.  I buy the individual tomato paste packets that are about 1 tbsp each)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F or about 270 C.  Remove the skin of the eggplant and cut into 1 in pieces.  Also cut the onions and red peppers into about 1 inch pieces.  Place eggplant, onions, peppers, and garlic in a large bowl and toss with salt and olive oil.  Put in a single layer on a baking sheet lined in aluminum foil.  Roast for 40 minutes and then remove and place into a large bowl.  I had to do this in about 2 or 3 batches because all I have is a tiny toaster oven.

Using a hand blender, roughly blend all of the roasted vegetables and you’re ready to eat!



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