Unforgettable – Emily Kaiser Thelin – Recipe & Giveaway

Grand Central Life & Style will be releasing Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life on October 17. Now is the time to preorder this fascinating work if you missed the first printing. Back in March, I spoke with Emily Kaiser Thelin, the author, about her experience working with Paula Wolfert and shared the interview before the Kickstarter-funded release

Everyone must own this book – it is as simple as that. Not only is it a collection of recipes from the incomparable Paula Wolfert – it is a piece of culinary history. Emily Thelin is responsible for bringing a whole new generation to Paula’s table.

Brilliantly done, Unforgettable shares Paula’s story along with personal photographs from her humble beginnings in Flatbush, Brooklyn to “living for the now” in Sonoma today. Sandwiched between those decades is a life well lived – traveling the world, bringing global cuisine to American tables through her cookbooks, and her resilence and strength in the face of Alzheimer’s. I was intrigued to learn of Paula’s trendsetting work with a program called International Home Dining (a Sun Basket type service before there was such a thing) where subscribers were sent a box with everything they needed to throw a dinner party from a different country.

Recipes included in Unforgettable range from James Beard’s easy entertaining dishes, Indonesian beef satay, a tempting Walnut roll, a menu for a Moroccan Party and so much more. Eric Wolfinger is responsible for the stunning photographs 

Grand Central Life is offering two copies of this title to our members in the US and Canada. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter. On your way to the giveaway,  stop and bookmark this striking eggplant dish. 


Eggplants with creamy walnut spread and pomegranate seeds
Add this recipe to your Bookshelf (click the blue +Bookshelf button).

This stunning meze combines two of Paula’s great loves: eggplants and stuffed vegetables. It’s no wonder it ignited her love of Georgian cooking when she tasted it on a junket to the USSR in 1988. She admired the technique of steam-sautéing the eggplants, which “eliminates greasiness without sacrificing taste,” as she wrote. She also enjoyed the contrast of flavors and textures in the silky eggplant, creamy pureed walnuts, lively herbs, and crunchy pomegranate seeds. Dried marigold petals are a Georgian staple but turmeric is a worthy stand-in.


Serves 4 to 6 as a meze or side dish

  • 12 baby eggplants or 6 slender Asian eggplants with stems (about 2 pounds | 900 g total), halved lengthwise
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • 2 cups (200 g) walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (pimentón de la Vera picante), or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground marigold petals or ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) ice water
  • 1/3 cup (15 g) chopped celery leaves
  • 1/3 cup (15 g) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (10 g) shredded fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons mild vinegar, such as cider or rice
  • 1/4 cup (45 g) fresh or thawed frozen pomegranate seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • Svaneti salt, for garnish (optional)

Line a sheet pan with paper towels. Sprinkle the cut sides of the eggplants with 1 teaspoon of the salt and arrange them, cut side down, on the prepared sheet pan. Weight the eggplants down with plates and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse the eggplants under cool running water, then squeeze gently with paper towels to draw out excess moisture.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, paprika, marigold petals, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and process until an oily paste forms, about 2 minutes. Add the ice water and process until the paste is light and smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, add the celery, cilantro, basil, onion, and vinegar, and stir to mix. Fold in the pomegranate seeds. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and vinegar if needed. Cover and set aside.

Line a sheet pan with paper towels. In a large nonstick frying pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the eggplant halves, cut side down, cover, and cook until the cut sides are golden brown and the eggplant flesh is very tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the eggplant halves to the prepared sheet pan and let drain and cool to warm or room temperature. As needed, add 1 1/2 teaspoons more oil to the pan before frying the second batch.

Using your fingers or a fork, split open the cut side of each eggplant half along the center, creating a cavity. Mound an equal amount of the walnut filling in each cavity. Garnish the eggplants with more pomegranate seeds and with the parsley leaves and Svaneti salt, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Grand Central Publishing from Unforgettable 2017 by Emily Kaiser Thelin. Photograph by Eric Wolfinger.   

The publisher is offering two copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on November 11th, 2017.

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  • Zosia  on  October 5, 2017

    Duck you can eat with a spoon

  • heyjude  on  October 6, 2017

    Easy Oven Duck Confit

  • Kristjudy  on  October 6, 2017

    Duck you can eat with a spoon

  • vickster  on  October 6, 2017


  • articshark  on  October 6, 2017

    Mussels Saganaki

  • kmn4  on  October 6, 2017

    Greek butter-almond cookies with ouzo

  • sgump  on  October 6, 2017

    "Sprinkle pie" sounds fun!

  • Siegal  on  October 6, 2017

    I want to try hand rolled couscous

  • sarahawker  on  October 6, 2017

    Walnut roll

  • milgwimper  on  October 6, 2017


  • Karla123  on  October 6, 2017

    I'm definitely using my garden eggplant and tomatoes to make this salad– "Eggplant zaalouk." The bold flavors in this dish should make a fantastic accompaniment to a Moroccan meal or just enjoyed as a tasty dip. I can't wait to try it.

  • lpatterson412  on  October 6, 2017

    Tuscan White beans with sage and garlic!

  • Lyndaherman  on  October 6, 2017

    Chicken m'chermel sounds fantastic, as do so many other recipes listed. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

  • ladybrooke  on  October 6, 2017

    Ricotta cheesecake

  • DFed  on  October 6, 2017

    Pork chops with cornichon butter sound interesting!

  • Gneissspice  on  October 6, 2017

    Turkish yogurt. Looks like labneh…my favorite!

  • choppergirl  on  October 6, 2017

    Grated cucumber salad with oregano

  • stockholm28  on  October 6, 2017

    Armenian cauliflower

  • chowfamily  on  October 6, 2017


  • MmeFleiss  on  October 6, 2017

    Duck confit for sure.

  • DarcyVaughn  on  October 6, 2017

    Sizzling shrimp with garlic and pimentón

  • matag  on  October 7, 2017

    Scallops with tangerine sauce

  • ravensfan  on  October 7, 2017

    Ricotta cheesecake

  • Mivas  on  October 7, 2017

    Cassoulet in the style of Toulouse

  • trudys_person  on  October 7, 2017

    Shrimp suquet with almond picada – you can't go wrong with this list of ingredients: jumbo shrimp; tomatoes; almonds; parsley; dried red pepper flakes; yellow onions; Cognac !

  • infotrop  on  October 7, 2017

    Tuscan white beans with sage and garlic (assuming the sage in my garden is still going strong)

  • Grywhp  on  October 7, 2017

    Grated cucumber salad – still getting cucumbers from the garden!

  • Scotsman61  on  October 7, 2017

    Duck you can eat with a spoon

  • cecrofts  on  October 8, 2017

    Wild greens jam!

  • ncollyer  on  October 8, 2017

    Berber couscous for Spring-sounds delicious.

  • Larkspur  on  October 8, 2017

    No stir polenta!

  • PennyG  on  October 8, 2017

    Mushroom caps stuffed with olives and porcini sounds great!

  • LaurenE  on  October 8, 2017

    hand rolled couscous

  • skenoyer  on  October 9, 2017

    Deconstructed hummus!

  • skipeterson  on  October 9, 2017

    Sizzling shrimp with garlic and pimentón

  • lgroom  on  October 10, 2017

    Mushroom caps stuffed with olives and porcini

  • bstewart  on  October 10, 2017

    Probably the ajvar, looks beautiful!

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  October 11, 2017

    I would make the Ćevapčići. I had this a few times in restaurants and it was delicious.

  • laffersk  on  October 12, 2017

    always wanted to try Preserved lemons

  • annieski  on  October 13, 2017

    Shrimp suquet with almond picada

  • mpdeb98  on  October 13, 2017

    Pan-seared pork chops with cornichon butter

  • ktwalla  on  October 14, 2017

    Sizzling Shrimp with Garlic and Pimenton

  • BarbraW  on  October 14, 2017

    All the pork chop recipes!

  • jim.windle  on  October 14, 2017

    Cassoulet in the style of Toulouse

  • Dmartin997  on  October 14, 2017

    Indonesian beef satay

  • gravesgoetz  on  October 14, 2017

    Eggplant Zaalouk. Just got an eggplant so I'll make it later today.

  • Kelos  on  October 14, 2017

    Love the sound of Mushroom caps stuffed with olives and porcini 🙂

  • nevans72  on  October 14, 2017

    I would like to try the Moroccan salsa.

  • jackermn  on  October 14, 2017

    Mushroom Caps stuffed with Olives and Porcini!

  • gypsymagic  on  October 14, 2017

    Pomegranate-glazed pork skewers (I love Paula Wolfert)

  • Blueelm  on  October 14, 2017

    Poached pears with dried fruit

  • rachael_mc  on  October 14, 2017

    mushroom caps stuffed with olives and porcini

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  October 14, 2017

    Indonesian Beef Satay found on page 72

  • RickPearson54  on  October 14, 2017

    Poached pears with dried fruit

  • alicebrody  on  October 14, 2017


  • njk4  on  October 14, 2017

    can't wait for more wonderful recipes from Paula first is Eggplant zaalouk

  • sequoia55  on  October 14, 2017

    Walnut roll

  • percussion03  on  October 14, 2017

    This book sounds so interesting–and so does Sprinkle Pie!

  • skichick  on  October 15, 2017

    Walnut roll

  • JenJoLa  on  October 15, 2017

    Cracked green olive, walnut, and pomegranate relish

  • Nancith  on  October 15, 2017

    Vegetables in the style of Laguiole

  • Shelley.b  on  October 15, 2017

    Catalan fried rice

  • tararr  on  October 16, 2017

    Easy Oven Duck Confit

  • skinnelly  on  October 18, 2017

    Eggplants with creamy walnut spread

  • kitchenclimbers  on  October 18, 2017

    duck confit

  • fbrunetti  on  October 20, 2017

    Pan-seared pork chops with cornichon butter

  • RSW  on  October 21, 2017

    Ricotta cheesecake

  • SheenaSharp  on  October 22, 2017

    Scallops in tangerine sauce. definitely.

  • Jenamarie  on  October 22, 2017

    Sizzling shrimp with garlic and pimentó

  • lhudson  on  October 24, 2017

    Sole Duglére

  • Julia  on  October 25, 2017

    Duck Confit.

  • Sfgordon  on  October 26, 2017

    mint and egg salad

  • thecharlah  on  October 29, 2017

    Duck you can eat with a spoon – the name alone puts it at the top of my list.

  • Uhmandanicole  on  October 30, 2017

    Mushroom caps stuffed with olives and porcini

  • fiarose  on  October 31, 2017

    ooh, eggplant zahlouk, or shrimp suquet!

  • orchidlady01  on  November 1, 2017

    Pan-seared pork chops with cornichon butter and Bulgur with blended greens

  • KarenDel  on  November 1, 2017

    Eggplant zaalouk

  • KarenDel  on  November 1, 2017

    Put in wrong tweet link should have been https://twitter.com/KDFF/status/925700482181619712

  • Amandaspamanda  on  November 1, 2017

    Hand-rolled couscous – I've never mace couscous from scratch before, it could be fun!

  • vinochic  on  November 2, 2017

    Sprinkle Pie!

  • RoseMGenuine  on  November 3, 2017

    Duck you can eat with a spoon

  • Katiefayhutson  on  November 4, 2017

    Sprinkle pie

  • madelainelc  on  November 6, 2017

    Ricotta cheesecake or easy oven duck confit. Both favourite dishes I would love to make

  • bibliophile02  on  November 7, 2017

    Bulgur with blended greens

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  November 8, 2017

    Berber couscous for spring

  • Senkimekia  on  November 8, 2017

    Catalan fried rice

  • jterry  on  November 11, 2017

    no stir polenta

  • jmay42066  on  November 11, 2017

    Catalan fried rice

  • HollyWass  on  November 11, 2017

    I would love the poached pears

  • AnnaZed  on  November 13, 2017

    Eggplant zaalouk (page 95)

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