chickpeaA working dad with kids ages 4 and 2, executive chef Frank Brunacci of Sixteen at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago needs to make the most of his time. So, he often prepares quick, easy meals—like these—using a central ingredient.

When he’s traveling with his family, however, Brunacci seeks getaways near and far that offer kid-friendly amenities and creature comforts of home. Trump Kids program, which is available at all the locales, is one such example. It offers up child-sized robes and slippers, a kiddie cocktail menu and coloring book upon check-in to make family trips magical.

Now: Chickpea salad with grilled eggplant
Serves 4

Salad
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
One-half onion, chopped
One-half cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 small tomato, chopped
One-quarter cup red wine vinegar
One-half cup olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Grilled eggplant
2 large eggplant (one for now, one for later)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 pinch each of dried thyme, dill, basil and oregano
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl combine chickpeas, onion, cucumber, tomato, red wine vinegar and oil. Mix well and set aside to allow flavors to meld.

Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium-high. When it’s hot, slice eggplant into one-half-inch-thick rounds. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the eggplant with the oil and vinegar mixture. Place eggplant on the hot preheated grill. Grill about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through. Reserve half of the grilled eggplant for your next dish.

Serve eggplant warm or at room temperature alongside chickpea salad.

baba_ghanoushLater: Baba Ghanoush
Serves 4

1 grilled eggplant (reserved from earlier dish)
1 glove garlic, minced
One-quarter teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
One-quarter cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Warm pita, cut into wedges, or toasted pita chips

Place grilled eggplant into a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. On a cutting board, work garlic and salt together with the flat side of a knife until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture to the eggplant. Stir in the parsley, tahini and lemon juice. Season with additional salt salt, to taste. Garnish with additional parsley and serve with warm or toasted pita chips alongside a salad for lunch or a light dinner.

Recipes courtesy of Frank Brunacci, executive chef of Sixteen at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago.