Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Revolutionary Red...Pepper and Walnut Spread--Muhammara

Friends, I know I haven't posted in eons, but I do promise to remedy this. It has not been for lack of cooking--I have been in the kitchen/lab daily :), urban gardenin', Ph.D.-ing...engaging in all sorts of subversiveness. Mischief, Mayhem, Mangia, Marx--every day, all day!!!

Let's begin with this song, to match an appropriate dour mood. '"The dream gone Coretta, but the King live on."

So, I hattteeeeeee giving "recipes" for things like hummus or dips because that's like asking for a recipe on how to make tea (and believe me, working in an herbal healing shop, I get asked how to make tea quite often). In other words, it's plain silly; I will give you a general guideline on how to make this absolutely delicious dip, however.

This is a Middle Eastern red pepper dip that features an absolutely amazing(ly) versatile ingredient--pomegranate molasses.

Roasted red peppers--Don't use jarred red peppers. I am serious. It is so easy to roast red peppers and the ones from the jar have a vinegary taste you really don't want in this. Don't be a lazy goat--just throw them in the oven until their skins are black. I found this cute lil' baby ones and they worked well, but you can use any plain red pepper. When you roast the peppers, you can get all fancy and peel and deseed them. I kinda like the seeds, honestly. Extra fiber :) Either way works, however.

Walnuts--maybe 1/2cup for about 2 roasted peppers. Dry toast in a pan on the stove--this is what releases their flavor.

Pomegranate molasses--this is really what makes this dish. Get a bottle of this at any Middle Eastern store; *gasp*, even Whole Foods has it. It can be used in a ton of things--for example, tomato, cucumber, onion, parsley salad, with this + lemon juice as the dressing.  Did you know the word pomegranate derives from medieval Latin: pōmum "apple" and grānātum "seeded." That was your etymology nerd wink of the day (hi, fellow cunninglinguists!)

Garlic--two cloves. You could try frying up the whole clove in a little olive oil to take a bit of the garlic taste edge off...or not. Garlic is crucial though. Keeps you healthy and vampire-free.

Lemon Juice--squeeze about half a lemon

Salt and paper. Throw all this into a food processor or a blender. 

The traditional recipe calls for bread crumbs, but I have never used them myself, and it still tastes wonderful. I also don't really add extra olive oil, but you are welcome to. You can throw in some cumin too. I like to put in some harissa to make it a little spicier, but then again, I put harissa in everything, so don't mind me over here :)

One final fun fact. Muhammara always makes me think of the Bulgarian word "mahmurlia" which means hungover. Fun times. Once you try this revolutionary red pepper dip, you will be hung up on it, for sure.