Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sunday's with Marlena Spieler - Muhammara

Love the matzo crackers with it...and any fresh veggie. Pickles and cheese? Yes. On kebabs or fish? Natch.
Click on photos to enlarge

[Photos by my gold mine of a husband, Dave Koontz.

So it begins. Three bloggers and three recipes every Sunday until we finish the book... or kill each other. Please check out Shankari's blog and Eileen's blog each Sunday and follow along with us. If you make the recipes, send me a photo and I'll post it! If you have a blog, be sure to include the link. Let me know where you are I can make fun of you. (no)

I decided to make Muhammara..or my version of it. It can be found on page 74 of Marlena Spieler's Jewish Cooking cookbook. Due to my huge fear of being sued by a publisher, I will not infringe upon any copyright laws. I switched the recipes up a bit and besides .. I thought I had all the ingredients and then..didn't! Adapt. Actually, I was going to start with Bulgarian Cucumber and Walnut Appetizer but changed my mind. I felt an urgent need to add some spice to my life. I checked with Ms. Spieler before starting the project and she has been helpful in so many ways. She spoke of feeling flattered and was so kind. Whew! wipes brow.

Instead of roasting red bell peppers, which I didn't have...I decided to use some jarred ones that I had. I didn't have any mild peppers either, so I used a few teaspoons of salsa taste. I had the choice to use pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar and I used the latter. I have some really great balsamic which I purchased at Corti's. (I did not buy the one that costs $499 bucks). I have purchased some at Taylor's both of those stores! it is a delicious dip or condiment. I am going to use it on sandwiches..absolutely. Veggies dipped in it is perfect is just about anything. Hell, I'd slide Stanley's paw down in it and lick it off! He is our cleanest cat.

So here is my adaptation of the recipe:

1 and 1/2 slices of toasted whole wheat bread
1 and 1/2 jars of Mezzetta roasted bell peppers
3 tsp of hot salsa verde...or to taste (oh baby, I like it hot and spicy)
one cup walnut pieces
3 or 4 medium sized garlic cloves
2 and 1/2 tablespoons of decent balsamic vinegar (I also like Oak Aged California Balsamic)
juice of 1/2 a lemon...a real lemon
1 teaspoon of ground cumin ( I toasted mine first in a med. hot dry pan.. and then ground it)
1/2 to 1 tsp. of sugar.. or I suppose you could use honey
7 tablespoons or so of good extra virgin olive oil

So I tore up the toast and through it in, added the walnuts and ground cumin and pulsed it all in my food processor until it was ground up..but not like flour or anything. An immersion mixer would work too..or a decent blender. Next, the rest of the ingredients go in and get pulsed.. except for the olive oil. That goes in last while the processor is still running. Pulse more until it looks like a thick puree. I slowly added in the olive oil until it had a smooth consistency. It is best to serve at room temp.

My new favorite party dip and sandwich spread. Smokey luscious goodness. From so much pleasure, one could plotz!

On Sunday, November 15th I'll be posting Bulgarian Cucumber and Walnut Appetizer and my husband is making challah! The man is a bread baking machine. If you make it, or this weeks, send me some photos and a bit of info. I'll post the pics next week! [I have decided to make Fragrant Beetroot/Vegetable and spiced lamb Kubbeh well]


Hahn at Home said...

Great start - can't wait to read the other gals' bits later!

Dave said...

As the first one in line to sample Melody’s take on Marlena’s Muhammara, it is my completely unbiased opinion that this stuff is amazing. The flavors come at you in a timed release sort of way. First there is the taste of the peppers, not hot, but more like that of a smokey red bell pepper. Then right behind that is a sweetness that I couldn’t link to any specific ingredient. Then after a couple of seconds you start to feel a little heat that grows and then plateaus at a very acceptable level. I rate my first Sunday with Marlena and Melody a complete success. Please understand that my wife is a magnificent cook in her own right, and when she becomes inspired, as she has with Marlena’s work, I have nothing to look forward to but great food and an ever expanding waistline. Keep up the great work Sweetheart!

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...


That was so sweet. Thank you honey. Very well written too!

Rajesh &Shankari said...

That was such a cute note from Dave!

Eileen said...

Looks so good, and Dave did an awesome job taking pictures. I'll have to have you send him over to my house to take pics!

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...


Thanks! It kinda looks like baby poo but it tastes like heaven!

I'll bring some pumpernickel bread over tomorrow. It is so good.

He would love to make bread every Saturday for our blog. He transferred the UK values into US values and it worked out fine. We could do that!

Pat said...

What a wonderful dish...can't wait to try it. Vanessa will be home soon and I think we will attempt to recreate your dish. Dave's description is heaven, I can taste the spice, sweet and smokey in my mouth. Way to go Mel!! Mom would be so proud.

Carolyn Jung said...

I love Corti's! It's good in a way that I don't live closer to that store, or I'd surely be broke. Hah!

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

My brother sent this to me in an email...I laughed so hard. I am posting it.
I tried the recipe, but I must not have done it correctly. Like Dave, the time released feeling was the same. At first my scrotum burned a little, but eventually it hurt like hell! I tried spreading less of the mixture on, but by then even my rectum was starting to burn. I'm pretty sure that I didn't apply it correctly or evenly. Even my manhood turned into any inny, and may have actually been protruding out my ass!

In a panic, I managed to get some in my right eye and when I reached up to wipe the eye, I forgot I was holding a butter knife! Very painful and red.

I might have to go back and re-read the instructions.

Love, John

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

What???? Balsalmic for $499? Eeeeeekk!!!

And if it looks like baby poo, but tastes like Heaven, then I'll chalk it up to delicious every time.

TaraDharma said...

Looks and sounds fantastic. Your bro's email practically made my coffee shoot out my nose.

btw: word verification here: colonve.


Julie Powell said...

This looks amazing. I will be following for sure.... Good luck!