Sunday, August 09, 2009

A tale of two dips

David and I have been on a bit of a Mediterranean kick lately thanks to the two 'dips' listed below. We make them, along with some hummus, and scoop all of it into our eager mouths using pita wedges, sturdy crackers and carrot sticks. A little (or a lot) wine helps wash it down :)


1 12oz. jar of roasted red peppers with garlic, drained*
1 cup walnuts
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses (you can find it at Whole Foods and other specialty stores)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 teaspoons of sugar (optional)

Throw all of the ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and blitz away until it's fairly creamy (though a few chunks here and there certainly won't hurt you).

* If you can't find a jar that contain garlic, add 1-2 cloves garlic to recipe. David says he tends to use two 7-ounce jars, so it's not a big deal if you're off an ounce here or there.

Sweet Basil Tapenade

3 cups tightly packed basil leaves
1 cup walnut pieces or halves
2-4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup walnut oil*
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
Ground black pepper to taste

Throw the basil, walnuts and garlic into the bowl of your food processor or blender and blitz to combine. Then add the oils, maple syrup and lemon zest and process until thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

If you aren't going to eat it right away, spoon it into a glass jar with a thin layer of olive oil on the surface and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

* This is what the original recipe calls for; we just use whatever oil we have on hand (usually canola).

Popeye's favorite cake?

Well, I don't know about that, but I can safely say it may be my favorite snack cake (for now).

Taken from the September 2009 issue of Bon Appetit, this recipe (shared by the owner of Abraco Coffee Shop in Manhattan) is so simple it'll make your head spin. It'll also give your taste buds a whirl :)

Olive Oil Cake

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons orange zest*

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

Toss the first five ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until combined. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and zest. Gradually whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture and then pour into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 60-65 minutes - until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely.

If you aren't going to eat it right away, wrap the cake in foil and store it at room temperature.

* I used the zest fo a tangelo when I made this recipe the other day, but I can't imagine it would tase much different using regular old orange zest instead.