the taste space

Muhammara (Syrian Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

Posted in Appetizers, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on July 21, 2010


I went on a mission the other day to find pomegranate molasses. I know I could make it myself, but I wanted to find it in a store. It was harder to find then I thought. My trusty Bestwin did NOT carry it. I turned to google and found another local food blogger who went through the same ordeal to find pomegranate molasses in Toronto. Her post brought me uptown to Super Khorak, a Persian grocery store on Yonge just south of Steeles. The staff were incredibly helpful when I began looking for the pomegranate molasses. After pointing me to shelves carrying at least 5 different kinds of pomegranate molasses/concentrate, they also proceeded to show me pomegranate juice and fresh pomegranates. I sampled their freshly made flatbread (only $1.59! Freshly made in-house, you can watch them make it!) and it was delicious. I also picked up some baklava with a walnut filling, but found it too sweet for my liking.

**update July 31: Without looking for it, I found pomegranate molasses at the No Frills on Victoria Park, next to the orange blossom and rose water (on sale this week, to boot!). It was next to the bulgur and wheat berries.

You see, I went on a mission to pomegranate molasses because I really wanted to make muhammara, a Syrian/Turkish roasted red pepper and walnut dip. Many versions of Muhammara exist, with some recipes having tomato paste, others do not, some do not use pomegranate molasses, and some don’t even have roasted red peppers. I ended up adapting the Muhammara recipe from Gourmet (December 1993).


And the dip was delicious. I had everyone curious as to its components as it was quite complex in flavours. Slightly sweet from the red peppers, slightly sour from the pomegranate molasses, slightly spicy from the garlic and chili pepper (use more if you want real heat), add some bulk from the bread crumbs with a smoothness from the walnuts.  I brought it, along with my peanut butter hummus, and chopped flatbread to dip, to a work potluck and it was enjoyed by all. Funnily enough, the hummus disappeared faster, but the muhammara received more compliments.  Doesn’t matter – both were delicious.

Now that I’ve used 2 tsp from my bottle of pomegranate molasses, what to do next? No worries, I have amassed a few more recipes in my treasure troves of recipes to try:

Vegetarian Eggplant Moussaka from Esurientes
Fouliyeh (Fava beans and rice)
from Taste of Beirut
Eggplant Stuffed with Cheese and Nuts
from Taste of Beirut
Pasta with Muhammara Sauce
from Taste of Beirut
Stuffed Cabbage (Mehshi Malfoof)
from Taste of Beirut
Bulgur Salad with Pomegranate Dressing and Toasted Nuts
from The Wednesday Chef
Bulgur, Pomegranate and Walnut Salad
at Food & Wine
Spoon Lamb
from the New York Times
Pomegranate and Date Lamb Tagine by Closet Cooking
Pomegranate and Pistachio Couscous Salad by Closet Cooking
Roasted Eggplant, Red Pepper and Green Bean Pomegranate Salad by Closet Cooking
Pomegranate Molasses and Pistachio Cookies by Avocado & Bravado

This is my submission to Sara for this month’s Monthly Mingle featuring party treats, and to Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Mondays.

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Asiago Crusted Baked Zucchini Sticks

Posted in Appetizers, Sides by janet @ the taste space on June 5, 2010

Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable which is great when gardens are overflowing with zucchini. Sadly, I don’t have a garden, YET.  I have a balcony, still devoid of plant life, but no backyard, courtesy of living in an apartment. I was *this close* to signing up for a shareable backyard garden through Sharing Backyards or the Yes In My Backyard through The Stop Community Food Centre. But my mom convinced me not to do it this year as the backyards were a bit further than in my immediate neighbourhood. Our compromise will be a deep dish herb garden for my balcony. However, zucchinis won’t fit in there. It won’t stop me from buying them, though.

Adapted from Closet Cooking, this is an interesting way to bake zucchini into fries. Zucchini is cut into sticks, coated in egg and dredged in Asiago cheese and (panko) bread crumbs mixed with smoked paprika and oregano. My Asiago cheese was freshly grated and I found it a bit difficult to stick to the zucchini when in a 1:1 ratio with the breadcrumbs, so I diluted it with more bread crumbs which helped. I liked the extra smokey flavour brought by the paprika into the crunchy coating. A bonus for this recipe is that the zucchini is baked, not fried. Perfect as a side, and if you make big pieces, great for dipping into a marinara or tzatziki sauce as a appetizer.

This is my submission to Preeti’s Green Gourmet Event at W’Rite’ Food and my second submission to this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient event, featuring Paprika, hosted by PreventionRD, and this month’s Side Dish Showdown.

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