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Plucked Like A Chicken

Last week my brother and his fiancée moved from Cleveland to Atlanta.  Since Atlanta is only 4 hours away from me, they asked if I could help unload their truck.

Now, I’m not proud of this. . . but my biceps are the size of chicken tenders.  They max out when I lift a gallon of milk or a cast iron skillet.  So asking me to help move a household is like asking a flight attendant to wear feather earrings: it’s just not going to help get things off the ground.  Not a chance.

But I drove to Atlanta anyway.  Part of me was thinking he ain’t heavy; he’s my brother!  And the other part was hoping there would be pizza at the end.

When I got there, I listed off the activities I was interested in participating in: (a) handing out Gatorade; (b) organizing toiletries; and (c) carrying pillows, scarf collections, and small potted plants.

My brother stared at me in disbelief, like I was a waitress who had brought him the wrong appetizer three times in a row.  Then he said, “You see that television over there?”

He pointed at a square object the size of a medium cow.

“Let’s get it upstairs, eh?!”

He slapped me on the back as if we were playing a jaunty game of pick-up basketball.  As if I were not about to perish under the crippling weight of a TV manufactured in 2002.  As if my friends would not shake their heads at my funeral and whisper, “It’s such a shame.  Not even a flatscreen!”

I suggested we wrap the TV in one of the U-Haul blankets and gently drag it to the elevator.

He was quiet again.

“Dude,” he said.  “We have to carry it.”

So we carried it, and my biceps grew THREE SIZES THAT NIGHT, and that’s pretty much the last thing I remember until the pizza, which we ate cross-legged on the floor at 1 in the morning.

When I got back to Alabama the next day, I was still exhausted.  As they say in Yiddish, I was plucked like a chicken.  So I made myself something delicious to eat–something satisfying that I could dip bread and vegetables into while resting my new muscles on the couch.

eggplant 1I made baba ghanoush.  It’s one of the few good things to come of an eggplant, as far as I’m concerned.denuded eggplantFirst I cut up an eggplant, salted it, and let it sit for half an hour to release some water.eggplant in a bowlThen I drizzled a little olive oil on the cubes and roasted them for 10 minutes.eggplant dipThey came out of the oven all caramelized and crinkly.  I puréed them with lemon juice, a little olive oil, and a tiny bit of tahini paste.  (Peanut butter also works.)eggplant dip 2The result was a whipped spread that tasted creamy and rich at first, then lemony like sunshine.  It was delicious.  Plus, eggplant is high in fiber and manganese, which will increase your ability to move large, out-dated electronic equipment with a resale value of 29 cents.  Win/win!

Baba Ghanoush {Download & Print Recipe}
by eggton
This eggplant dip is really tasty, but I don’t pretend it’s authentic.  Baba ghanoush is from The Levant, which is the area covering Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Kurdistan.  I was just goofing around in the kitchen and didn’t consult recipes for a proper baba ghanoush.


1 large eggplant

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 large garlic clove

1 tsp. tahini paste or 1 1/2 tsp. creamy peanut butter


Peel the eggplant with a vegetable peeler.  Chop it into 1″ cubes.  Place the cubes in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt.  Toss with your hands and let the cubes sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to release some of their moisture.

Preheat the oven 425°F.  Drain the cubes of excess moisture and pat them dry on paper towels.  Place the cubes on a baking sheet and, using your hands, toss with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil.  Spread the cubes out on the sheet and roast for 12 minutes, until most of the cubes are soft and golden or slightly caramelized.

When the cubes are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a food processor with the remaining ingredients (including the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil).  Blend until the mixture is smooth and the clump of garlic is gone.  Taste it and adjust the seasonings, adding a little water if the mixture is too thick for your liking.

Serve the baba ghanoush warm or cold with vegetables or pita bread, or spread it on veggie sandwiches.  (I pop my store-bought pita bread in the microwave for 10 seconds so that it’s not so tough.)

Tired ThunderThunder, resting her muscles.

44 Comments Post a comment
  1. Linda Costa #

    Was I the only one who thought the first photo was of a frog on a rock, and that the recipe to follow would be for frogs’ legs sauteed in white wine and garlic? Glad I was wrong, and that you’re not torturing little critters. Plus, I love baba ghanoush, authentic or not!

    So…when I advised your brother to hire a “professional” mover, you’re the one he called? Sorry! But it’s nice to know you two can depend on each other.


    July 8, 2013
    • jenny_o #

      Frog on a rock – yes! My first thought, too!

      July 8, 2013
    • Jeanne Lipham #

      Yes, that was what I thought, too. I didn’t think of frog legs, though. I thought, why is she showing us a frog?

      July 10, 2013
  2. Baba ganoush really is the only thing to do with an eggplant – besides ooh and ahh over how pretty it is. I’m sure your new, enormous muscles appreciate the snack.

    July 8, 2013
    • I agree. Eggplant Parmesan just doesn’t sound all that awesome. (To be fair, I’ve only had it once. I think I peeled the mozzarella off of it and ate that with bread.:)

      July 27, 2013
  3. Jean G. Woodhouse #

    While I really like the way you write, your humor, also your recipes are awesome, may I say, a look at Thunder makes my day.

    July 8, 2013
    • Aw, thanks Jean. Isn’t her face just the most adorable? I can’t believe how she lifts my spirits. I think her little face and ears and the way she cuddles changes the chemistry in my brain for the happier.

      July 27, 2013
  4. mmmmmmm! Baba Ganoush! Now I’m hungry! I hope those new muscles of yours are not terribly sore! 😦 And you are a good sister. Not sure if I would have driven 4 hours for pizza and sore muscles!

    July 8, 2013
  5. Great post!

    July 8, 2013
  6. Lovely post, hope you’re muscles are well rested now you’re back home.

    July 8, 2013
  7. Eek, sorry for the typo. “Your” muscles.

    July 8, 2013
    • Linda, I hear you. The apostrophe key on my keyboard is broken. This has adversely affected my grammar in a major way.

      July 27, 2013
  8. i feel like ya’ll are missing out on the awesomness of eggplant parm, which is the only other worthy use of an eggplant 🙂

    i’ll definitely try this recipe once our CSA starts churning out eggplants later this summer – I have a more ‘authentic’ recipe but it requires roasting the eggplant whole for over an hour, and aint nobody got time for that.

    July 8, 2013
  9. Amy #

    I LOVE baba ganoush and yours looks so good. Tell your brother to visit my brother’s restaurant in Atlanta!!! It’s called Grindhouse Burgers.

    July 8, 2013
    • I absolutely will. I’m mad I didn’t make it there. Last year I knew he had a restaurant there, but then my friend moved out of Atlanta so I stopped going as often and I guess I forgot. I’ll pass it along so that at least ONE of the Monahan clan gets to go!

      July 27, 2013
  10. The following is not in any way intended as advice. I’ll just lay it out there, you do with it what you will.

    I have found it extremely helpful, the last several times anyone I know has moved, to have been pregnant.

    “Oh, you are just a doll for helping us! Here, we could really use these toiletries organized and sorted. Can I bring you a gatorade?”

    I should go thank my daughters for their help with that.

    July 8, 2013
    • This is probably the most helpful piece of moving advice I’ve ever read.

      July 9, 2013
      • Agreed. This is quality stuff. Krisann, you should write an advice column for a major newspaper. I would read the hell out of it.

        July 27, 2013
  11. jenny_o #

    Eeek – but what about your recent foot trouble? Did that not get you any sympathy or reprieve?


    July 8, 2013
    • Jenny, the foot saga continues. Because it never freaking ends. I’m getting more tests done next week, but for now it’s healed up quite a bit. Which is great! But I have a feeling I’m going to move to Chicago and the whole thing will start up again with different doctors. SUPER FUN TIMES YAY.

      July 27, 2013
  12. I went for the frog right away too – what a wonderful surprise that it was delicious baba. Hope you are recovering )

    July 9, 2013
    • I see the frog now! Now ALL I SEE is the frog!

      July 27, 2013
  13. So, is your foot better? Or did your cruel brother make you move his crap on a pathetic, limpy limb? Thank goodness he’ll still be four hours away – otherwise he’d have to over moving refrigerators and sofas all of the freakin’ time…

    July 9, 2013
  14. Nice recipe! Hope your new muscles are recovering from their ordeal… I’ve only ever made baba ghanoush before (also with no recipe and) by roasting/grilling the eggplant whole first, then scooping out the inside and blending it up, but your method seems way simpler actually—first using the tried & true dicing + salting the cubes to drain off the bitterness. I love the idea of just roasting the cubes in the oven instead of the whole eggplant—so much easier! 🙂

    July 9, 2013
  15. Hooray! A really easy vegan dish that looks de-lish (see what I did there?).
    Thunder Ghanoush says, “Oy!”

    July 9, 2013
    • Ok, we have about 900 names for Thunder and Thunder Ghanoush is definitely going to be one of them from here on out.

      July 16, 2013
  16. stephbo93 #

    Wait a minute……you were in Atlanta? I totally would have helped out! Not really. I don’t even want to move myself the next time. I love baba ghanoush. Mostly because I think it’s fun to say. I love the simplicity of this recipe, even if it’s not authentic. I’m looking forward to trying it!

    July 9, 2013
    • Ack! We could have gotten a bite to eat or something. They moved in near La Fonda in Buckhead, so I picked up some Mexican food the next day. (It was pretty good!)

      July 16, 2013
  17. Jeanne Lipham #

    Reminds me of moving one of those huge and heavy televisions in the nineties. We bought a new one and put it in the trunk of my Lincoln Town Car. Those cars had trunks you could rent to a small family, they were huge! So, my husband has me get INTO the trunk and pick up the TV. HE stayed outside the trunk to help get it out. This whole time, I was saying, “Glenn, Glenn, PLEASE! Can’t we just ask the MARINE up the road (he had a house a few doors up) to help you?? I can bake him a pie in recompense! Please!” Nope, he wouldn’t hear of it. A real man doesn’t ask another real man for help when his wife was described as (and I tell the truth, I have the report) by her physician, when she was a teenager, as “naturally thin and frail.” Of course, I use that argument only when I don’t want to do anything. I have been known to move an entire apartment by myself. But that is BESIDE the point. Glenn would not let me get that marine! So, we struggled into the house and THEN we had lift it above waist high to put it in the entertainment center. Long story short, I told him NEVER again!
    But, he is a good man, nonetheless.

    July 10, 2013
    • This story is hilarious, Jeanne Mara! Especially the bit about the physician’s report! So…do you still have the TV or did it perish at some point?

      July 16, 2013
  18. Agree: baba ghanoush is one of the only good things to come from eggplant. there’s something else, but it’s outside my brain right now; it’s dippish, though, and very similar to this. All i can think about now is how “dippish” really should be a word.

    July 11, 2013
    • I might be able to survive on dippish things. I just love them. Scott kind of avoids them (unless they are queso) but I could last at least a week on hummus, guacamole, veggies with ranch. . .

      July 16, 2013
  19. I like to fry floured eggplant but will keep in mind this recipe!

    July 13, 2013
    • Oh gosh, that sounds good. How big do you cut the pieces of eggplant before you fry them?

      July 16, 2013
  20. Authentic or not, sounds pretty darn good to me! A quick note for the next time you need to carry large visual equipment: My husband bought a cargo net at an Army surplus store and wrapped the tv in it. I don’t remember how he secured it at the top, maybe zip ties or bungie chords. Anyway, it makes multiple handles for grabbination and makes the whole process less awkward.

    July 13, 2013
    • I’m thinking you should start a company called Grabbination, Wendy. In this day and age, the fact that the word “nation” is in there will help it sell! You could make tupperware and picnic baskets and tents and cargo nets. It’s not as exciting as opening up a vintage record store or selling local lavender honey, but maybe it’s where the money is?

      July 16, 2013
  21. It´s probably the BEST thing to come out of an eggplant! Nice story. Now they owe you…jaja

    July 14, 2013
    • They DO owe me, don’t they? I should probably sit around all day cackling and strumming my fingers along my chin, brainstorming evil ways they can repay me.

      July 16, 2013
  22. baba ghanoush always tastes like how bandaids smell. at least any that I have had. maybe I’ve just had bad baba?

    but I loved the story. I typically get out of helping people to move my offering to pay them so they can hire someone… “you know what, how about instead of me helping you move, I just give you this $50?”

    usually works.

    July 15, 2013
    • What an amazing description, Wendy! I’m going to pay closer attention to the smell now and see if I agree. I kind of hope I don’t. Obviously.

      July 16, 2013
  23. I’ve been so behind on my blog reading, it was just lovely to hear about your weight lifting escapades and of course to see Thunder. Here’s a toast to your new muscle definition!

    July 18, 2013
  24. Eggplant is one of the only things I’ve ever grown successfully since not even insects seem to want to eat it.

    July 18, 2013

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