Crossing The Boundary (Recipe: Miso Tahini Eggplant Dip)

When things cross the boundary from bad to absurd, I have the annoying habit to start cackling with genuine mirth. I pay for this dearly, of course. There had been at least two relationships that went down the drain because of my, ahem, inappropriate reaction. Had I assume a more sombre or at least sincere attitude, things could have turn out differently. But let’s not dwell on that anymore. I actually have a more light hearted anecdote to share.

Miso Tahini Eggplant Dip with SembeiLast Wednesday I met with a concussion specialist at the university sports clinic. Yes, it’s a confirmed case of concussion even though the symptoms are minor. I am now under the care of some good medical professionals and doing everything necessary to ensure 100% recovery. Last week I mentioned briefly the need to stop thinking. Actually, there is more to it than that. The exact words from the doctor were “minimize stimulation to the brain”. In layman’s term, the brain cells are trying to repair themselves and stimulation would overload them to the point which they sever non-essential connections to protect the nucleus. So, outside of my regular work hours, there would be

  • no TV
  • no movies
  • no music
  • no computer
  • no reading
  • no alcohol
  • no physical activities
  • no bedroom activities

Crunchy Ginger-Pickled Cucumbers

Okay, so “no bedroom activities” were my words, not the doctor’s. He was a lot more matter-of-fact about it, being a doctor and everything. It was at this point that I started laughing, almost uncontrollably. I was fully aware of the seriousness of such seemingly extreme measure but I had to wonder. Concussion is no laughing matter and it’s also common injury in male-dominated sports. How on earth do guys cope with this last advice?!


Seeing the hilarious side of a bad situation is a defense mechanism for sure. When I can still laugh about it, I know that I’ll be alright. My involuntary training break includes exciting activities such as shelling & peeling a whole grocery bag worth of fresh fava beans; pitting 12 cups of sour cherries using a paper clip; scrubbing dirt from loads of new potatoes; shucking two dozens popcorn-on-the-cob; shelling dried beans from their pods; picking stones out of bags of lentils. You know, all the highly labour intensive and time consuming kitchen tasks that I would rather not do under normal circumstances. Oh yes, and my kitchen cabinets have been completely reorganized. Brain-dead productivity rocks!

Miso Tahini Eggplant Dip & Crunchy Ginger-Pickled Cucumbers

In between all these shelling and peeling and pitting and shucking, I managed to squeeze in some cooking too. I made the ridiculously simple Crunchy Ginger-Pickled Cucumbers from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table using brown rice vinegar and loads of grated ginger. Crunchy Ginger-Pickled CucumbersAdditional heat came from a pinch of red pepper flakes but otherwise it was a quick pickle without much complexity. Having spent some time with pickling and preserving, I find this recipe lacking but I did enjoy its refreshing taste. Taking a cue from the Japanese brown rice vinegar, I was inspired to pair these pickles with something much more exciting.

When I saw the Miso Tahini Dressing from The Kitchn, I had a tada moment. Even though we often associate tahini with Middle Eastern cooking, it is quite simply sesame butter which is a basic building block in Japanese cuisine. I often throw roasted eggplants and tahini together to make baba ganoush but it is also a key vegetable on any Japanese dinner table. A Japanese-style baba ganoush makes so much sense I wonder why I didn’t think of it before? Feel free to serve it with soy-sauce glazed rice crackers (sembei) along with the cucumber pickles for an easy summer hors d’oeuvre or toss the luxurious vegan dip with some cold buckwheat noodles (soba) for a quick meal.

Get the recipe from Dessert By Candy.

Miso Tahini Eggplant Dip with Sembei



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