19 September 2009


We returned from a lovely (if hot) vacation in Malta, spent a day in DC, and then left the following evening for Seattle for a wedding, plenty of good food, and some kayaking. And then I came back to DC and went back to work, and I'm still trying to sort through the massive pile of mail, catch up on bills and emails, and mainly just figure out what time zone I'm in.

Oh, and I need to update the blog.

And of course the one recipe I want to tell you about, the recipe just waiting in the queue wondering when, oh when, will she finally get home from vacation so I can get posted? Well, what happened is what often happens, I made the recipe for a party, everyone loved it and devoured it, and I forgot to take a picture of it until the next day, when all was left was this measly little dab. See:

So, pathetic pictures aside, that's muhammara up there, and you should really get to know her. Muhammara, the word coming from the Arabic for red, is a spicy dip made of roasted red peppers, walnuts, and chile flakes. It has this sort of amazing dense nutty texture that comes from the walnuts and the handful of breadcrumbs that are added to the dip. Muhammara is a specialty of Aleppo, Syria, which is unique among Middle Eastern cuisines for it's use of fiery spices, especially the famous Aleppo pepper. If you don't have Aleppo pepper I'd really recommend you seek it out, as it is both spicy and subtly smoky. But if you don't have any, a mix of half paprika, half red chile flakes will do in a pinch.

The nice thing about muhammara is that while it's excellent spread on bread, it has a myriad of other uses too. Add it to a sandwich with some sliced avocado and baby lettuces, slather it on top of pan-roasted chicken, or use it as a sauce for fish.

So, at least I've gotten you this recipe, and I've also figured out today is Saturday. I hope to get around to telling you about the delicious eats of our trips, as soon as I figure out what time zone it is again.

Pomegranate molasses and Aleppo pepper are available at Middle Eastern groceries.

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
2 tbl tomato paste
1 1/2 tbl pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
2 medium or 3 large roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cup bread crumbs
pinch each sugar and salt

1. If you are roasting the peppers yourself, roast them, then peel off the skins, core and remove the seeds. You can also use jarred roasted peppers
2. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until the resemble the texture of coarse meal. Add the tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, Aleppo pepper, roasted peppers, and cumin and process until yo achieve a relatively smooth mixture. Add in the bread crumbs and season to taste with sugar and salt. Pulse everything to combine.
3. Refrigerate at least two hours before using to allow the favors to meld and the red crumbs to soak into the dip. Serve at room temperature with pita bread or as desired.

09 September 2009

A Pause...

We've been in Malta on holiday, eating good Gozitan cheese and bread and nougat and ice cream, going to the beach, sightseeing, and drinking good wine. We're now off to Seattle for a few days but I will get back to posting as soon as we're home!