I whole heartily believe that I live in the best neighborhood in Atlanta. Westside wasn’t always this way. When we first moved in, the area around us was underdeveloped (including sections of missing sidewalks) and was a bit sketchy. What can I say– rent was cheap and Roark could bike to his classes at Georgia Tech. However, over the past five years, some of the cities’ hottest restaurants, bars, and shopping have popped up within walking distance from our door. Everyday it’s something new, which makes Westside so exciting (and expensive- ugh)!
One of my favorite shops in the area is Preserving Place. Dangerously located right next to the J.Crew, the store sells all of the canning equipment that I need and for reasonable prices. They also make their own jams, which are all fantastic and use locally sourced ingredients. In the back, there is an industrial kitchen where they routinely host cooking classes. I’ve had the pleasure of attending two- one a kombucha making class, another a ladies’ night out cooking class.
For the ladies’ night out class, we made recipes that are perfect for serving one person or a group. The hit of the night, besides the wine, was the Muhammara Dip. I had never heard of Muhammara Dip before the class, but apparently Trader Joe’s carries it. After reading the recipe, I soon found out it’s a super tasty dip made from roasted peppers and nuts mixed with spices. We made a lot of food that night, but the dip was the only thing we actually ran out of, it was that good!
The recipe is easy to recreate at home if you have a food processor. It doesn’t take long to make and stores well in the refrigerator for about a week (if it’s not all eaten by then). Roark and I have been putting it on pita chips and cucumber slices, but I’ve heard it tastes equally as good spread on chicken breasts before roasting them or slathered over some thick and hearty bread slices. The dip is a great snack as the nuts supply a good source of protein to help keep you full. For now it’s been my go-to over humus, because honestly, I’m a bit burnt out on humus right now.
With bell peppers and sweet peppers coming in fresh at the farmer’s market right now, it’s the perfect time to make this dip. I’ve been buying these pretty green and purple sweet peppers, which you might have seen on my Instagram, that serve just as well as the red bell peppers that we used to make the dip with in class. I really hope you give this recipe a try–you’re going to be obsessed!
- 3 Peppers, can be sweet peppers or red bell peppers
- ½ Cup of Raw Walnuts
- ¼ Cup of Raw Pine Nuts
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon of Ground Cumin
- 1½ Tablespoon of Pomegranate Juice
- 3 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon of Aleppo Pepper (I couldn't find Aleppo Pepper, so I've been using a ½ teaspoon each of Sumac and Moroccan 42 Spice)
- ½ Cup of Olive Oil
- 4 Mini Pitas, each cut into 8 triangle pieces
- Spray Olive Oil
- Cucumber, sliced
- Heat your heaviest skillet, preferably a cast iron one, over medium high. Once warm, place the peppers into the skillet, charring them on each side until black and blistered, turning them every few minutes. Once good and charred, transfer them to a glass or metal bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap for them to steam for 10 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bowl, and peel off the skin and seeds. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in another skillet over medium low heat, brown the walnuts and pint nut, shaking the pan frequently. Once they start to turn a golden brown and the the room smells a bit nutty, add the Garlic and Cumin to toast for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from burner and skillet, placing everything in a bowl to cool.
- Next, heat the Pomegranate Juice on low in a small sauce pan until it reduces. Set aside.
- Using your food processor, combine the peppers, nuts and spices, pomegranate juice, Aleppo Pepper, and Olive Oil until smooth. You may need to scrape the sides a few times. Season with Salt and Pepper, put in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
- Make the pita chips by putting the cut triangles on a pan, spritzing them with Olive Oil Spray, and sprinkling a bit of salt over them. Toast the pieces in the oven for 10 minutes at 350F, turning the pan once. Let cool.
- Seve the cooled dip with the pita chips and cucumber slices.