Tuesday, August 2, 2016


LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  I will admit, I grew up not really knowing what an eggplant was. (Raise your hands if you, too, were raised in the hinterlands!) Then, when I started learning to cook, eggplant scared me. They often came with brown spots on the inner flesh, which made me worry that they were bad and would attack me. (Not so; it can mean age or bruising, or sometimes, it’s just the way they roll.) Some recipes call for salting them, and then I wondered how much salt, for how long, and would I over-salt or over-rinse or over-worry? (Too late for that, I know!)

But they are so yummy that I persevered. And discovered that they are mostly worry-free. My local grocery rarely has the tender baby eggplants, or the yummy Japanese eggplants, so for this recipe, I end up with the larger Italian variety. No matter—the purple skins are glorious, regardless of the variety, and the flesh inside cooks so beautifully. Mr. Right is a mean man with a grill, and it turns out that roasting eggplant is easy, relatively quick, and totally fab. (Here’s last month’s Tangy Summer Vegetable Salad with Bulgar—featuring roasted eggplants, bell peppers, and zucchini.)

This recipe is a slight variation of a Weight Watchers recipe; WW counts it zero points, which veteran trackers will know is a ploy to get us to eat more veggies. (If you brush on olive oil, rather than use a spray, count it one point.) I am here to tell you, that is a successful ploy!

It may seem odd to thin the Greek yogurt. I like the Greek variety for sauces because the flavor is more intense than regular varieties; WW likes it because it’s a little higher in protein. If you’re using a standard variety, skip the thinning, especially if your yogurt has a little liquid on top—pour that off and use it, or stir it in before spooning it up.

Regular paprika will be fine, if that’s what you have. But if you’re shopping, try a smoked paprika. Sweet and spicy varieties are equally fabulous—and worth the hunt.

We served this initially with grilled shrimp seasoned with Old Bay, and a second time with a basic grilled chicken. Yummy both ways!

Congratulations to Daryl Wood Gerber on today's release of GRILLING THE SUBJECT, #5 in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries!


3/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus extra for garnish
3 baby eggplant or one full-sized eggplant (about 1-1/4 pound), sliced lengthwise, 1/4" thick
olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
1/4 cup mint leaves, thinly sliced (“chiffonade”)

Pre-heat your grill.

In a small bowl, stir the yogurt, water or yogurt liquid, salt, cumin, garlic, and paprika. Set aside to let the flavors meld while you prepare the eggplant.

 Slice the eggplant. Brush or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Grill until tender and lightly charred, about 8-10 minutes, turning once. Place on serving platter. Spoon yogurt over slices; garnish with mint and paprika.

One serving is two slices and two tablespoons of yogurt sauce. Serves 6.

From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON: 

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper. 

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

Now available in audio and large print, as well as paperback and e-book And watch for KILLING THYME, out October 4! 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. I like this recipe, Leslie since it looks easy to do, and you can still really taste the eggplant.

    Our family always ate eggplant but they were asian-inspired dishes that really ruined the taste/texture of the eggplant (i.e. cooked to a mushy texture and soaked in lots of soy sauce/ginger, or deep fried in a vegetable tempura). Only when I left home did I learn about wonderful dishes that contained eggplant such as ratatouille or even eggplant parmesan. I love making both & is one of my favourite vegetables!

    1. Ah, the over-cooked vegetable! I think we've all had to learn to get past some of those mushy memories! Glad you discovered such yummy dishes!

  2. this looks yummy Leslie, and our eggplants are poised to come in, in the garden!

  3. I like the addition of the mint. Bet that is the perfect final touch.

    1. Thanks Libby -- it's surprising and fun!

  4. I love grilled eggplant. WW wouldn't love me much, though, because I sometimes marinate it first. Everything except ice cream is better on the grill!

    1. Yeah, ice cream doesn't grill well. But peaches do, and they go beautifully with ice cream and a sweet balsamic reduction!

  5. Great recipe!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for sharing. I love eggplant. . .actually other than bananas and Jello I love pretty much everything. We should be getting a few eggplants from the garden soon so I will have to try.

    1. Ah, red Jello with sliced bananas -- a childhood memory on par with Grace's mushy eggplant! Enjoy your garden delights!