Since moving back to DC for a final year at GW, I have already deemed this the best year yet. I live in an amazing apartment with three amazing girls, but the best part about that is how their love of food is almost as strong as mine. We spent our first Sunday at one of my favorite DC restaurants, Co Co Sala, and we’ve been cooking some delicious gourmet meals every week. But, what I must say has been the most important element to our foodie repertoire is our undying love of dips. Salsa, guacamole, spinach artichoke; you name it, we’ve probably gone through at least a jar and have loved every minute of it.
Living a block away from Trader Joes gives my roommates and I ample opportunities to go grocery shopping and discover new products, even if just by chance, which is what our newest obsession was. I must admit, I was not present to witness the serendipity that occurred when Jill and Kate found this beautiful eggplant garlic spread, but the minute they brought it home and served it to me with pita chips, I was in pure heaven.
My favorite part about this spread is its versatility. We dip chips, rice cakes, carrots, and just about anything with a crunch into it. We even used it in place of marinara sauce on pizza last week. Now that’s what I call pizza.
The ingredients in the dip are simple: eggplant, peppers, tomato concentrate, sunflower oil, garlic, sugar, salt, fefferoni peppers. That’s it. No preservatives or chemicals with names I can’t spell, let alone pronounce. But the flavor is so rich and complex. Hearty, roasted eggplant is most prevalent, with sweet undertones of tomato and a hint of spice from the peppers. The spread is rich without being overbearing, and it coats your mouth with flavor, not tomato paste. If you live within 60 miles of a Trader Joe’s, I highly suggest you leave right now and go find this dip, before it’s off the shelves for good.
Now don’t worry; I’m not going to finish this blog post and leave you empty handed. Besides using this dip on pizza I have also been obsessively spreading it on to sandwiches, and my sandwich of choice is perfect for a Meatless Monday lunch. The layers of flavor and texture are complex and diverse. Creamy eggplant dip is countered with peppery arugula, crunchy cucumber and salty feta cheese, all encompassed by toasty pita bread. It is just filling enough to get you through the rest of everyone’s least favorite day of the week. And, oh yeah, its freaking delicious! Here’s the recipe for my Mediterranean Pita Sandwich:
1 whole wheat pita pocket, halved and toasted
2 tbs Trader Joe’s Eggplant Garlic Spread
2 slices vine ripe tomato
4 slices English cucumber
1 tbs feta cheese
small handful baby arugula
Spread one tablespoon of eggplant spread on each side of the toasted pita. On one half, layer the arugula, followed by the tomato, the cucumber and the feta cheese. Top with the other half of the pita and enjoy immediately!