Baba Ghanouj, Hummus, and Tzatziki – Ripping the “Whole” out of Wholesome

baba ghanouj
Candyland. Monopoly. Risk. If you’re a real player, Axis and Allies. Game Night is a very wholesome Friday night with friends and family and perhaps a lonely co-worker or two, playing PG-13 board games.

trivial pursuit for game night
wholesome out of the box

Unless, of course, The Delicious lets loose on a Trivial Pursuit board with a pink playing piece and the determination to Roll Again until she hits every green-is-Nature-and-Science.

Call me competitive. Call me driven. Call me the Champion when I’m all up on your battleship with a candlestick, Colonel Mustard. I take playing games seriously. Really. Seriously. In the words of a very great man, Notorious SJG says “I’m not just a client, I’m the player president.”

They say that it’s not whether you win or lose, rather how you play the game, but obviously “they” are all losers, too busy enjoying the baba ghanouj, hummus, and tzatziki I made the night before. Hey, does the Rule Book state that you are not allowed to distract your opponents with food? Right, I didn’t think so. However, as much as I relish in spewing my utter triple word score genius all over the place, I do recognize that the point of Game Night is spending quality time with people.

“Quality,” though, is a very subjective term.

The first time we got together for a Game Night with this particular group of friends, we played several different games – Wise and Otherwise (like Balderdash on IQ steroids), Jenga (about the exact opposite of IQ), and at the end, late night Trivial Pursuit to the point we were giving away questions so we could just End. The Game. Please. The card says that the answer is “Audrey Hepburn” but hey, “Mel Torme” is close enough!

The second time, we got together for a Game Night, we played Taboo, and that, “taboo,” pretty much represents the rest of the night. I cannot go into too many details – mostly because I have no memory – about how an innocent game of intellectual charades lubricated with Stoli Vanil+diet orange soda=Creamsicle degenerated into straight shots of vodka and an impromptu post-midnight pool party up on the rooftop.

Midnight. Rooftop. Pool.

No, we weren’t partying like rockstars at the downtown Standard Hotel.

We were playing board games at my house.

Not sure when I’m having a third Game Night, but you’re all welcome to play for second place!

Sarah’s Baba Ghanouj REcipe

(pictured at top of post)
This is the same recipe I always use for baba ghanouj, a roasted eggplant dip/spread. Make more than you think you need because you can use whatever is leftover to make Pita-chos.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Slice 2 medium, heavy eggplants in half, rub the cut sides with olive oil, then place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until very soft. Remove from oven and cool until you can handle it.

Scoop the eggplant pulp from the skins into a fine mesh sieve and let sit for 20 minutes to let excess liquid drain out. Of course, if you’re imptient like me, you can just press down gently on the eggplant with the back of a spoon to squeeze the liquid out.

Whom am I kidding? I just grabbed that eggplant by my bare hands and squeezed it over the sink.

Pulse 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic in food processor until minced. Add roasted eggplant, 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp tahini, juice of 1 lemon, ½ tsp salt (add more later to taste) and puree until it reaches the desired consistency.

I also added a pinch of cumin to add more “roasted” flavor.

Serve with toasted pita bread.

game night, tzatziki
Q: What is the name of the Greek cucumber and yogurt sauce?

Tzatziki Recipe

(pictured directly above)
Place 2 c. yogurt in a fine mesh sieve lined with two to three layers of cheesecloth, or if you’re ghetto kitchen-tech like me, paper towels. Set the sieve over a bowl, fold edges of paper towels over top of yogurt, and place a large can of tomatoes or other equally weighted item on top for pressure.

Let this drain overnight. Yes, “overnight” means you have to plan ahead. A winner always plans ahead. That’s called “strategy.”

Grate a large seedless cucumber on the largest holes of a grater into a bowl, toss with 1-2 tsp salt, and place into the same kind of setup as the yogurt. Let sit for a few hours to let the salt draw out the cucumber’s water, then squeeze the entire contents of the sieve over the sink.

In a bowl, combine the drained yogurt, squozen cucumber, juice from 1 lemon, 2-3 cloves of super finely minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

Some people add a few teaspoons of fresh chopped dill. Sure, you can do that if you want, foodie.

** a year ago today, can i get a wot, wot at rosalind’s ethiopian? **
** a year ago today, i went korean kah-pae style at home with kimchee dooboo (tofu) **

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 m September 25, 2007 at 7:18 am

Been getting a lot of mileage out of Hive (2 person game) Yinsh (2 person game) and Fearsome Floors (best with 4+) as far as boardgames in my house.

Boardgame geek is a good resource.

I live with a cursed boardgame shop 2 blocks away. It eats away my food budget sometime. So many games, so many games.


2 Hillary September 25, 2007 at 9:20 pm

I’m pretty competitive when it comes to word games like Boggle, Scrabble and the like. I try not to get an ego, but I’m pretty damn good. Haha. I could maybe be distracted with some baba ghanouj, hummus, and tzatziki though….good choices!


3 sarah September 25, 2007 at 11:30 pm

m: have not heard of hive nor the others! will have to check them out…

hillary: word games are the ones i love – scrabble especially! we should have a showdown :)


4 suz September 25, 2007 at 11:54 pm

I love your blog – accessed 1st time today through tastespotting… Beautiful pictures and a fun read. Read your about me section, too; I like your style. Tip that you may or may not want to try: Trader Joe’s greek yogurt (even the nonfat!) for the tzatziki – no need for draining and messy cheesecloth. =)


5 TeddyBallgame September 26, 2007 at 12:07 am

A question: Following great suggestions for snacks during board gaming and related acts of communal leisure, what foods are NOT appropriate for a night of salon diversions?
Here, here – the blog is a bright spot.
Suz + Notorious SJG: Good stuff that.


6 shinae September 26, 2007 at 12:04 pm

Hiya Sarah!

Coming out of lurking (for a bazillion years) to tell you I love your blog and also to ask you for some input on mine:

I’m mostly grounded in the OC (where I know you slum it from time to time ;) ) unless I’m traveling, but I don’t get up to LA often enough, so was wondering if you might be interested in either contributing or advising. Not that you’re not busy enough!

Would love your $.02,



7 shinae September 26, 2007 at 12:07 pm

btw, I’m viewing you on IE, and I have to scroll down a whole page length to see your first post.


8 sarah October 1, 2007 at 4:02 am

suz: welcome! and thanks for the tip on trader joe’s. now if only i could force myself to drive out to one…

teddy ballgame: hm, the second game night actually featured a plate of antipasti, a plate of tomatoes and mozzarella, and a plate of meats and other cheeses. easy to eat. what NOT to serve? hm, i would stay away from soup. :)

shinae: thanks for stopping by and for the offer to contribute! however, i can hardly keep up with my OWN mouth :)


9 David October 3, 2007 at 6:53 pm

Very entertaining blog!I just started following your blog and I follow you through twitter as well. We enjoy board games but have gotten away from it recently but after reading this blog post you have sparked my interest again. Thanks David


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