Friday, April 11, 2008

A few of my favorite things

My most favorite dip in the whole world, or at least of the ones I've tasted so far, has roasted red peppers as it's base. I'm in love with roasted red peppers. The second largest component is almonds. They may be my favorite nut. Add in a clove of roasted garlic, a couple dashes of balsamic vinegar, a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you're done.

There are some convenience foods that I will never understand, and jarred roasted red peppers are one of them. Sure, they'll save you a little time, but it's so easy to roast them at home, and the smell of them cooking is phenomenal. Why Yankee Candle Company doesn't manufacture a roasted red pepper votive is beyond me!

Some people oil them up and roast them in the oven. I stick them right on the flame of the stove, sans oil. If the oven isn't getting turned on for another reason, I'm too impatient to wait for it to heat up.

Give it a few turns, and make sure to use tongs unless you want roasted red fingers, too. When it's nice and charred, stuff it into a plastic bag and let it cool. The steam inside the bag allows you to easily peel away the peppers skin, seeds, and ribs, leaving you with nothing but fleshy pepper goodness.

I like this dip with fresh garlic too, but some folks find it too stringent, so usually I roast it, to mellow out its flavor. It has to be done in the oven with olive oil, or you're probably going to burn the house down. No shortcuts here.

Roasted Red Pepper and Almond Dip
3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted
3 whole red peppers, roasted
1 clove garlic, roasted
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar to taste

Whizz the toasted almonds in a food processor until they are the texture of sand.
Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined.

It's so easy! All hail the mini food processor!

If you're planning to bring this to a party, package it in a reusable take away container, and sprinkle with fresh parsley. No one will believe that you made it.

It's good with pita chips, and especially good if you bake the pita chips yourself and cut them at really evil angles.

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