Just Under the Wire

November 7, 2006 § Leave a comment

So, um, I forgot that I’d used all my pomegranate molasses for muhammara* at my parents’ 25th anniversary party. Which might have dissuaded me from making BBQ Pomegranate Tofu, if I’d noticed before the tofu had baked for 20 minutes and the rice was on the hob.

Anyway, I soldiered on somehow, and it turned out to be quite a nice dish even without the key ingredient, plus it gave me a chance to use that 500mL bottle of rose flower water in the back of the pantry that I expect to include in my Will since I can only manage to use about 2 teaspoons per year.

It was good enough that it went into Winter Recipe Rotation even without the titular ingredient. Almost miraculously, I remembered to pick up a bottle of pomegranate molasses at the Middle Eastern store while we were in Halifax today. Also, a new bag of Israeli couscous and fresh walnuts.

Speaking of which, can anyone help me with Israeli couscous? The instructions on the package are in Arabic, and following the instructions in my cookbooks yields unpleasantly chewy grains. You come away with an admirably muscular jaw.

There’s a lovely orange moon here tonight, Lunenburg is silent, and we’re listening to the MPBN coverage of the elections. All of which feels very homely (in the British sense, mind you).I’m quite embarrassed to admit that I didn’t vote this cycle. It’s really difficult to get absentee votes delivered in time, since Canada Post and USPS don’t work together even as well as a rusty, broken-down machine for one thing.

For another, although I identify strongly as a progressive, I can’t find much to dislike about Olympia Snowe. She’s smart, she’s dedicated, she makes a consistent effort to be bipartisan, and she’s pro-choice (to a point), she’s an environmental advocate, and she cares about small businesses, child care, and prescription drug costs. And I think it would be a mistake to lose whatever small influence our small state has in Washington. Happily, she was never in danger of losing her reelection bid.

Having said that, I am hoping for a Democrat victory, of course, and then a quick, vote to pass an unadulterated form of Nancy Pelosi’s Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006.

*Muhammara. Have you tried it? You really should. This recipe is from Didi Emmons’ book Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, and it was a huge hit even with the unadventurous baby boomers at my parents’ party in May.

Ingredients

for the muhammara
1 6-inch pita bread
1 cup chopped walnuts
2.5 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 garlic clove
.5 teaspoons ground cumin
.66 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

to serve
vegetables for crudite
toasted pita chips
Triscuits, in a pinch

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Carefully separate the pita bread into two disks, and place them, rough-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast for ten minutes, or until golden. Set the walnuts in a single layer on the same baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden. Careful not to burn them. If you’re the forgetful sort, toast them in a skillet on the stovetop. When they’re toasted, tip them into a bowl.

In a food processor (though I do think you could do it by hand with mortar and pestle) pulse one of the pita disks until finely chopped but not pasty. You’re looking for a sandy texture, but leave stop before all the chunks are gone. Transfer to the bowl with the walnuts. Process the remaining pita and add the hot sauce, pomegranate molasses, garlic, and cumin to the processor and puree till smooth.

With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube (or if you’re going old school, bash the mixture quickly and mix in the oil in a steady stream, I suppose) until well-incorporated. Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the walnuts and other pita. Stir to combine and add the salt. Serve at room temperature with the vegetables and pita chips.

Makes 1.5 cups

November 7, 2006; 11:10pm AST

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