Roasted Eggplant Dip
You may not have heard, but today is our first national Food Day, organized to celebrate healthy, sustainable eating. I'm really pumped that a day like today actually exists, to promote things I feel so strongly about. You can read more about the movement's objectives (like supporting sustainable farming, promoting healthy food choices for kids, and fighting diet-related diseases) here or participate in one of the many nationwide Food Day events. Or you can do what I'm doing and cook a healthy meal at home tonight–using the freshest ingredients you can find–and enjoy it around the table with your family or friends.
I read a SHOCKING statistic today: According to The Lancet (the world's leading general medical journal), obesity costs the U.S. $10,273,973 per hour. Not per week or per year. PER HOUR. Also, according the the World Health Organization, diet-related diseases are two of the top five causes of premature death globally. These are statistics we cannot ignore, because the numbers will only go up if we don't make some major changes in the way we eat. If I can inspire even a handful of people to cook (and eat) more healthfully and consciously through this blog, I will feel like my mission is accomplished. Alright, enough preaching for one day. Now for a story and a (healthy) recipe.
When I moved to the city back in 2007, my first apartment was in Astoria, Queens. Living in a predominately Greek neighborhood was fantastic for a budget-seeking foodie. When I wasn't cooking at home, I lived off Greek takeout: salads with cucumber, tomato, and feta, chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, crisp spanakopita, and most frequently, melitzanosalata (pronounced meh-leed-zah-no-sah-LAH-tah in case you were wondering), a garlicky roasted eggplant dip served with warm pita bread. This dip became so addictive that I found myself eating it almost daily.
Now that I live in Manhattan, good Greek takeout is nearly impossible to find (at least in my neighborhood). Rather than trekking out to Astoria every time the melitzanosalata craving hits, I started experimenting with my own recipe and realized that not only is it easy to prepare, it's MUCH cheaper to make it at home. With only six ingredients (three of which are pantry items), it costs around $5 to make and is perfect for parties, or just as a snack or sandwich spread at home. And it’s super healthy, to boot. Try it at your own risk–you, too, may become an addict.[recipe:best-melitzanosalata-roasted-eggplant-dip-recipe]