Labor Day Paddleboarding and Muhammara Dip/Spread

This morning I spent over four hours on my paddleboard in the waters off Harpswell.  I swam, bird-watched, checked out some mansions from the water and just generally soaked it all in on the last official day of summer.  Though, here we will squeeze every last minute out of it (I have been known to swim in Echo Lake on Mt. Desert Island on my birthday almost every year in Oct).

TODAY WAS ABSOLUTE HEAVEN

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I would have stayed out longer but I’d eaten all my snacks, drank all my water and I was HUNGRY.  I came back and promptly prepared and inhaled these open-face sammies on toasted bread with Muhammara spread and a leftover onion, mushroom and scallion sauté.

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It’s been a productive long weekend – I got my long run in yesterday in preparation for the Maine Half Marathon (coming up in a few weeks) and I also got after it in the kitchen and made, among other things, a big batch of Muhummara.

Last week on the way home, I stopped at Rosemont Market in Yarmouth and picked up a small package of Muhammara, which is a Middle Eastern dip/spread made from walnuts and roasted red peppers.  I hadn’t had it in a long time – over a year???  I was instantly in heaven again and almost ate the whole thing with some Mary’s Gone Crackers.  I had taught myself how to make it a few years ago after trying Rosemont’s version, with the help of Google, YouTube and Rosemont’s ingredient list on the package and eventually came up with my own recipe.  The amounts are very forgiving and you can also lay off the garlic a little if you don’t like too much (as I’ve said in the past, I like a TON of garlic).  The only ingredient that you may not be familiar with is the pomegranate molasses which you may find in your local grocery near all the cans of Goya beans and artichoke hearts, but you also may have to hit up a specialty store or buy online.  DO NOT LEAVE THIS OUT – it is the SECRET 🙂  It’s worth it for this recipe and for making yummy vodka drinks (that’s for another post though 😉 )

Ok, so I get that the dip looks a little unappetizing (the color, maybe?) but the taste is so amazing that you’ll want to bathe in it, or at the least dip every possible thing from the cupboard or fridge in it.  It is also great as a spread on sammies and, in my case, eaten by the spoonful out of the jar 😉

You basically just put all the ingredients in your food processor and pulse until combined (don’t make too soupy – you need some small chunks).  After the first couple pulses, you can add the olive oil a bit at a time (or leave out entirely – up to you, if you are trying to go oil-free).  These measurements make about 2 pints, so if you don’t want that much, just cut the recipe roughly in half.  The measurements are pretty forgiving so you can kind of wing it / adjust to taste.

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One 16 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained (or roast your own but I didn’t have time for that)

1 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs

1/2 cup each toasted pine nuts and toasted walnuts (for 1 total cup and a little more is ok)  To toast – put a dry pan on medium heat and toss the nuts in there, shaking, stirring around until they brown a bit.

4-6 garlic cloves, smashed in the smasher or diced up fine.

2 tablespoons lemon juice (listen, fresh is great but I always keep a bottle each of Nellie & Joe’s lemon and lime juice on hand AT ALL TIMES PEOPLE!)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (i.e. 4 teaspoons) of pomegranate molasses

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1 bunch scallions, chopped (greens and whites)

1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

I just know you will love this, and if you make some, please let me know how you like it!   I would love to hear from you.  I hope you had a restful long weekend. XOXOXOXOXOX Han