Art of a different sort: the weather is still pretty miserable here, so we've been consoling ourselves with cooking. There are beautiful pomegranates in the stores right now, so the other night we decided to make a few recipes from Plenty, a vegetarian cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi that our friend Janet recently lent us. (We've got his Jerusalem cookbook and have enjoyed it a lot.) The pictures here are from the cover recipe - baked eggplants with pomegranate garnish.
Above, J. is using the author's technique for seeing the pomegranate - you basically hit it with a blunt instrument on the outsdie to loosen the seed chambers, and then the seeds just fall out. It's so much easier than any other way we've tried - you can see at the bottom how cleanly the fruit empties.
Here are the baked eggplants, broiled for a few minutes to brown them on top. You score them and brush them with oil and bake for a fairly long time; we used small Italian eggplants, not the big kind.
And the finished dish. The sauce is buttermilk whisked with Greek yogurt, sprinkled with zaatar. J. added some toasted walnuts; we didn't have the thyme sprigs that were called for. It was delicious anyway -- as our Iranian friends would say, nush-e jan! (Bon appetit -- or literally, "food of life.")