Sunday, October 21, 2007
Work Snacks: Muhammara with Pita Triangles
First things first: no, we don't take a chip-and-dip bowl to the office. We made this for work snacks last month, forgot to take a picture, and then whipped up a batch as a games-and-mezze snack last night, hence the non-lunch-box presentation. But picture this in a work snacks container--doesn't that look like the answer to your 3 pm slump?
Muhammara is a red pepper and walnut spread, tart with pomegranate molasses. You can reduce or even omit the garlic and chile depending on whether you have the kind of job that involves breathing on other people--it's delicious no matter what, since the main flavors are the smokiness of the roasted peppers and the je ne sais quoi of the pomegranate molasses. Pomegranate molasses is available in well-stocked grocery stores (it's next to the honey at the Berkeley Bowl for you East Bay folks) or Middle Eastern food stores. Once you have some in your fridge, you'll drizzle it on everything; it's delicious over yogurt and granola.
Also, no need to limit yourself to pita triangles--tortilla chips, zucchini rounds, carrot & celery sticks or crackers will work too. And if you're serving it at home, it's delicious with fried eggplant slices as an appetizer.
The Antidote to a 2-Hour Conference Call
2 red bell peppers (when you have access to gypsy or marconi peppers, by all means substitute those and use a few more)
1 and 1/2 cups walnut pieces
1 minced jalapeno or serrano chile (with seeds if you like heat, without if you don't)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Now, About That Toner Cartridge...
Roast peppers in the broiler, turning until blackened on all sides. When peppers are completely blackened, remove from broiler and place in a paper bag to steam for about 15 minutes. When the peppers have cooled down, peel off the charred skins, discard cores and seeds and chop roughly. Throw the peppers and everything else in the food processor and pulverize for a minute or so, until you have a thick paste. If you want it thicker, add more walnuts; if you want it thinner, drizzle in extra olive oil.