Hi, my name is Janah, and I a’m a nut fanatic. I completely admit to being a bit crazed about them. Whether they’re right out of the shell, or ground into a smooth and creamy butter, I just can’t seem to get enough!
I usually turn to nuts as my go-to snack, because they’re full of protein, easy to nosh on when you're on the go, and most importantly, they’re delicious! I’ve been known to favor almonds, but ever since I attended the Walnut Harvest Celebration in Sacramento, Calif., I've fallen truly, madly, and deeply in love with walnuts.
Last week I did a bit of pantry raiding and found an unopened bag of chopped walnuts. I was eager to put them to use, so I turned to the VT site for some recipe ideas. I searched through all of the walnut recipes and decided upon the Muhammarah (Red Pepper and Walnut Spread). This seemed like the perfect recipe to make because I had just bought fresh red peppers from the farmers' market earlier that day.
I gathered up all of my ingredients and immediately got to work on roasting the red peppers. There are a few different ways that I’ve seen people roast peppers, but I tend to favor my technique, which is to place the pepper directly onto an open flame. One can easily roast peppers in the oven, but I find that roasting them on an open flame allows me to control the roasting process. To see a step-by-step slideshow of Janah's red pepper roasting process, check out VT's Facebook album How to Roast Red Peppers.
To get started, I washed and patted the peppers dry and used large tongs to set them directly onto the burner. I rotated the peppers every so often to make sure that they were roasting evenly on all sides. Once the peppers were perfectly blistered and slightly softened, I removed them from the flame and immediately wrapped them in plastic. This step makes it easier to remove the charred parts from the outside of the pepper later.
While my peppers were resting, I moved onto readying the rest of my ingredients for the Muhammarah. I toasted the walnuts until they were fragrant and tossed them into my blender with the spices, breadcrumbs, oil and vinegar. I then set my blender aside and unwrapped the peppers. At this point the peppers smelled unbelievable and filled my kitchen with that amazing roasted vegetable aroma.
Next, I sliced off both the tops and bottoms of the peppers and set them aside. To remove the seeds, I sliced down one side of each pepper and used my knife to carve out the core and seeds. I also used my knife to scrape the charred skin off of the peppers, but you can also rub it off using a paper towel or clean dish cloth. Once all of the char was removed, I tossed the peppers into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. I set the blender to puree and within seconds my recipe was complete.
The Muhammarah was unreal. The roasted red peppers added a subtle sweetness to the spread, while the cayenne pepper gave it a little bit of a kick. I couldn’t help myself from spooning heaps of it into my mouth. While spoonfuls of the dip on its own were quite tasty, I it was even better when I spread it onto warmed Naan bread. Mission Pantry Raid: Delish!
For more of Janah's foodie musings, visit DelishYourDish.com.
Do you have wholesome ingredients sitting pretty on your pantry shelves? Pantry Raid is a VT blog series that'll help you clean out your pantry, clean up your diet, and save cash. Stay tuned for more inspirational uses of kitchen staples.