Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Roasted Eggplant Tapenade



This is a recipe I pulled together when all I had at the time were two eggplants and a loaf of roasted garlic Tuscan Ciabatta bread. I wanted something light but with amazing flavor. Most anything you put on top of a slice of grilled or toasted Ciabatta is delicious.

I found myself staring at the bread, then staring at the eggplant. It’s as if it came to me in a dream, Roasted Eggplant Tapenade!



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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Toasted Ciabatta Bread


Eggplant Tapenade

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Eggplant Tapenade


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (10-cup) food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, Microplane, chef’s knife

Ingredients For Roasting Eggplant:
2 large eggplants halved lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1  1/2teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients For Roasted Eggplant Tapenade:
2 large eggplants, roasted and flesh removed
1 (15.5-ounce) can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemon, zested
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, (2 lemons)
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons *E.V.O.O.
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped basil
Smoked paprika for garnish (optional)
1 loaf Tuscan Ciabatta bread (yields 16 slices) substitute plain Ciabatta bread or a good French baguette
Garnish with smoked ground Paprika and *E.V.O.O.

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by cutting the tops off of two eggplants. Next, cut them in half lengthwise and arrange them flesh side down onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Drizzled with olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, set aside to cool.

Scoop out all the flesh and transfer to a food processor. Add the Cannellini beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, spices, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and *e.v.o.o.. Pulse until smooth. Next, add the grated cheese, fresh chopped herbs, and pulse until combined. Transfer the Tapenade to a serving bowl.

Directions For Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven 375-degrees F.
Slice bread into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place them onto a baking sheet. Drizzle each slice with a little olive oil. Sprinkle each slice with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.

To serve:
Place the Roasted Eggplant Tapenade into a serving bowl. Sprinkle ground smoked paprika and a drizzle of *E.V.O.O. over the top. Alongside, I serve a platter of sliced grilled or oven-toasted Ciabatta bread.

*E.V.O.O. is the abbreviation for Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Homemade Pork Tamales

Homemade Pork Tamales

My Homemade Pork Tamales are simply to die for. This is one of those recipes that requires a lot of love, and that’s why they are only for special occasions. I serve my pork tamales with a side of sweet Dragon Fruit Salsa.

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Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Red Onion

Diced Red Onion (2)

Pineapple chunks

Pico de Gallo Two Ways (4)




Pico de Gallo Two Ways (10)

Pico de Gallo Two Ways (11)

Dragon Fruit

Homemade Pork Tamales

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Equipment: Roasting pan with a rack, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl, 1 (10-cup) food processor, stand mixer with the paddle attachment, Quick-Pot, large measuring cup, small mixing bowl, 1 (6-quart) saucepot, large platter, rimmed baking sheet pan, foil, sharp knife

1 (2-pound) pork butt
2 cups of chicken stock, unsalted

Ingredients For Wet Rub:
2 chipotle peppers, seeded
2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce from the chipotle can
1 medium-size onion, quartered
1 tablespoon of garlic, (2 cloves)
1 (12-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of ground coriander
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of dried Marjoram (Mexican oregano), substitute dried oregano
2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of Champayne vinegar
1/4 cup of water

Ingredients For Masa:
4 1/2 cups of Masa Harina, (Maseca)
3 3/4 cups mixture of the cooled cooking liquid and room temperature unsalted chicken broth (substitute all cold water)
1 1/2 cups of cold lard or vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt

You Will Also Need:
14 to 18 corn husks, available in Hispanic or Ethnic food section of the grocery store
a small bowl of warm water to dip your fingers in when assembling tamales

Ingredients For Dragon Fruit Salsa:
2 dragon fruit, peeled and diced
1 cup of pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup of fresh mango peeled and diced
1/2 red onion, small dice
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced (substitute jalapeno pepper)
3 limes, 1 juiced, 2 cut into wedges
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, finely chopped, extra for garnish
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

Prior To Starting:
Soak the corn husks in warm water for at least 1 hour. Add them to a large saucepot then cover with warm water. Weigh the husks down using an inverted heavy plate.

Directions For Pulled Pork:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Start by placing the onions, garlic, all the spices from the spice rub, plus Kosher, fresh ground black pepper, water, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and Champayne vinegar. Pulse until everything comes together to form a paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Next add the Piquillo peppers to the food processor, pulse until puréed. Combine the puréed Piquillo peppers with the wet spice rub, mix to combine.

Using your hands, massage the entire pork butt with the wet rub and place it onto the rack of a roasting pan. Pour chicken stock into the bottom of the pan. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes.

Adjust the oven temperature to 350-degrees F.
Cook the pork for another 40 to 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 155-degrees. Transfer the pork to a large plate, cover with foil, allow the pork to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the bone(s) and fat cap. Using two forks, shred the pork, discard, and large fatty pieces. Transfer the pulled pork to a large mixing bowl. Transfer all of the cooking liquid to a large measuring cup to cool.

Directions For Masa:
In a large mixing bowl combine Masa Harina and enough chicken stock to the cooled cooking liquid to total 3 3/4 cups. Mix with your hands until ingredients are evenly incorporated and the dough is moist throughout. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine lard or vegetable shortening and Kosher salt. Beat on high speed until shiny and white in color, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and add dough in handfuls, allowing the dough to mix in before adding more. Continue until all the dough is added. Continue beating for about 10 minutes, scraping at least once halfway through, until a smooth soft dough is formed.

Cover and refrigerate for a least 1 hour.

Note: Take an extra corn husk and shred it into long ribbon-like strips. Use these corn husk ribbon-like strips to tie the tamales to hold that folded tip in place.
Note: Masa dough can be stored for up to 2 days.
Note: Keep in mind as you assemble the tamales that they will need to fit in your Quick Pot vertically on the steamer rack. The length of each tamale should be no longer than about 6 inches.

Directions For Making Tamales:
Start by placing a wet corn husk on your flat work surface so that the pointy end is facing you. Place a good helping of masa dough on the corn husk. Wet your fingers to prevent sticking and spread the masa dough into a thin layer in the shape of a square. the bottom of the masa dough square needs to be 3 to 4 inches from the bottom of the point and the dough to extend leaving a 1-inch border on both sides and stop short by 1 inch from the top of the masa dough square.

Spoon the pork filling in a vertical line down the center of the masa dough square. You need to leave a little room at the top and bottom so you can seal the tamale.

Hold onto the corn husk, grab the right and left sides bringing them together until the sides meet. Once the edges of the masa are touching, pull the left side of the corn husk away and wrap the right side over. then take that left side and wrap it over the right side. With the seam side down and the point still facing you, fold the bottom tip up towards the seam.

Take one of the shredded corn husk ribbons and use it to tie the tamales to hold that folded tip in place.

Place the steamer rack into the Quick Pot (or Instant Pot). Fill the base of the pot with water, enough so the water reaches the bottom of the rack, at least 1 cup, maybe more if the room in the bottom will allow.

Place the tamales in the Quick Pot vertically, open side up. They may require you to push down on them a bit to get the lid to fit correctly. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.

Directions For Dragon Fruit Salsa:
In a large mixing bowl add pineapple chunks, fresh diced mango, minced Fresno chili, diced red onion, lime juice, chopped cilantro, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix to combine.

You want to add the dragon fruit last. It’s very delicate so I toss the dragon fruit in last.
To peel the dragon fruit:
!. Cut off both ends of the dragon fruit using a sharp knife. …
2. Create a cut along the length of the skin to keep the fruit whole. …
3. Slice the dragon fruit in half for an easy peeling process. …
4. Peel the skin off slowly using your fingers. …
5. Remove any excess skin using a sharp knife.

Dice into 1-inch pieces. Gently toss in with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve hot. These are my Homemade Pork Tamales with a side of Dragon Fruit Salsa. 

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