Monday, January 17, 2011

Mediterranean Red Pepper Spread/Dressing

I have the day off of work today, and I've spent the morning doing "GGTL" (gym, groceries, tidying up and laundry). All that running around built up an appetite. I have been meaning to try my hand at a Muhammara for a long time now. It's a traditional Middle Eastern spread that I miraculously have never encountered in a restaurant. It's spicy and tart, so I have been dying to put some in my face, but hadn't gotten around to it. In the past few weeks, though, the Universe has been nudging me towards this goodness. I first read about it in Supernatural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson. I opened up the book to that page about a month ago and kept looking back at it. Then, a few weeks ago, my friend Gena made a raw version. So, last night, I looked up an old Gourmet (R.I.P.) recipe and melded that with Gena's and my own special twists. This is what I came up with and it's extremely delicious if I do say so myself. With the walnuts and bread crumbs, it makes for a hearty spread on top of homemade (vegan) spelt flour soda bread (recipe forthcoming). I mixed about a tablespoon of the spread with some olive oil and additional lemon juice to make a dressing for my salad (just green and carrots to keep it simple). The "authentic" version has pomegranate molasses, but I couldn't find it at my Whole Foods. I wouldn't know, but I don't think the spread suffers.

Muhammara (makes enough for several lunches/snacks)

1/3 c. spelt bread crumbs (or Ezekiel) --this should be about half a slice of bread
1 c. raw walnuts
3 roasted red peppers (I used jarred 365 brand in water)
4 sun-dried tomatoes, quickly immersed in warm water to soften
juice of one lemon
1 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp red pepper flakes
1-4 cloves of garlic (I uncharacteristically forgot this, but I will be adding it next time)
2 T. olive oil (as desired for blending)

Put the bread in the food processor and blend until crumbs. Add the other ingredients. Blend until kind of smooth. Try not to eat it all standing at the counter. Dip in veggies. Spread on bread. Throw in a sandwich.

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