My mama was in town all last week and we had a time. When we weren’t covered in paint or dust we were covered in flour and wine and good long hugs. Just as things should be. You’ll have to wait a minute for the before/after of all the projects we tackled… but first! I must tell about the Kitchen Garden Cooking School. This was the theoretical “excuse” of her visit, that she would come up and we would meet our dear old friends (a mother and daughter just as prone to nesting and cocktails as we, of course) and take a short class on Lebanese cooking. Glorious. The air was gilded, the kitchen was warm and bright, and the lions share of the ingredients came directly from the garden. Things I didn’t know about before: sumac (a deep red powder that lends a lemony sprinkle), pomegranate molasses (deep, dark, tart, sweet, the best new discovery since Maggi Seasoning, and available at Sahadi’s on Atlantic avenue), and, of course, how to make pitas from scratch:We left with full bellies and a packet of recipes- some that will become favorites, some that may never be attempted again- my favorite? Muhammara. This roasted red pepper dip is not only a total revelation of deliciousness, it’s made from ingredients that can simply lie in wait in the pantry, ready to ambush a blitzkrieg of unexpected dinner guests.
2 roasted red peppers (from the jar is just fine)
1 cup walnuts
½ cup fine bread crumbs, crackers or panko
1 T lemon juice
2 T pomegranate molasses
1 tsp dried Aleppo pepper or hot paprika
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
2 T olive oil
In a food processor, puree all of the ingredients except the olive oil until completely combined and creamy. Add the olive oil in a thin stream. Serve at room temperature. Marvel at the skill and ease with which you entertain.
(from Sheila McDuffie and the Kitchen Garden Cooking School)