You'll find this recipe in:
The Blender Cookbook
By: Ann Seranne and Eileen Gaden
New York, 1961
The Original Recipe:
(A Favorite Cocktail Dip in Lebanon)
Cut a thin slice from bottom and top of 1 medium eggplant and backe in a 350˚ F. oven for about 1½ hours, or until tender. Split and remove pulp. Into container put
1 cup eggplant pulp
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive or sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
Cover and blend on high speed for 1 minute, or until very smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl and fold in 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley. Serve with vegetable sticks or crackers. Makes about 1½ cups.
This dip recipe is delicious and very straightforward, although I'm kicking myself for not remembering to pop the eggplant on the scale to find out its weight for those of you who aren't in North America. Hopefully this will be an edit I make later on the next time I make a baked eggplant dish. It was a tad on the salty side for my palette, so next time I make this (and there will be a next time, it's really tasty!), I'll probably start with half a teaspoon of salt.
You've probably realized by now that this Taheeni recipe isn't a Tahini recipe, simply because its main ingredient is eggplant and not sesame seeds. I'd describe Taheeni as basically Baba Ganoush, ironically without the tahini!
Taheeni is found in the International Specialties chapter of The Blender Cookbook under "The Near East". Today, I'm able to walk into almost any grocery store and buy myself a container of tahini or baba ganoush, but this was likely not the case in 1961. I'll chalk up the name to something getting lost in translation, but whatever it's called, my tastebuds give this this dip two thumbs up.
I grew up with a copy of The Blender Cookbook on the cookbook shelf in the kitchen, so I jumped at the opportunity to pick up my own copy when I saw it at Bibles for Missions, which is my favourite place to pick up historic/vintage cookbooks here in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. I lucked out that I happened to be in the store on a day when books were half price, so I invested an entire 75₵ to add it to my library.
We're in a blenderizing boom these days, thanks to the popularity of green smoothies and make-your-own nut milks. In their Introduction, Ann Seranne and Eileen Gaden urge housewives to get their blenders out of storage and into regular rotation:
If you have only used your blender to mix drinks and make soups, you will find within these pages exciting new ideas, short cuts, and magic recipes that will take the drudgery out of cooking and make it a pleasure. If you own an electric blender and have it stored away on a top shelf, get it down! You don't know the treasure you are hiding! Attach it to the handiest electric outlet and keep it there. And begin, right away, to make some of the easy and quick recipes – all delicious – in this book. Soon you will find that you will use your blender many times every day in the preparation of your daily meals, to grind, grate, crumb, purée, chop, aerate, and homogenize. Your entire cooking habits will become revolutionized almost overnight. You'll find yourself relegating much of your obsolete, old-fashioned kitchen equipment to that top shelf!
I selected this recipe because I was searching for a historic recipe that followed the guidelines of the Cleanse program that I was taking part in last week, but I plan on asking my Mom what her favourite recipes are from the book and trying them out. I actually don't have a childhood memory of her referencing The Blender Cookbook, so she may not have used it very often (or I just didn't notice because I was a kid with bigger fish to fry). My Mom is also one of those cooks who uses a recipe as a starting point, creates her own version and makes the hybrid recipe often from memory. Who knows - perhaps a dish that appeared regularly on our kitchen table has its roots in this book?