Adapted from a recipe in The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, by Paula Wolfert, who calls it “one of the outstanding dips of the eastern Mediterranean.” Many thanks to Jeffery Mickelson, an inventive Yukon chef last seen at Klondike Kate’s, in Dawson City, who planted the idea in my head. Check out his blog: nosetotail.blogspot.com.
4 large sweet red bell peppers
1 small hot chile pepper or 1 tsp. (5 ml) Sambal Oelek or other hot sauce
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) walnuts
1/2 cup (125 ml) bread crumbs
1 tbsp. (15 ml) lemon juice
2 tbsp. (30 ml) pomegranate molasses (substitute 2 tbsp. high- bush cranberry jelly)
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) ground toasted cumin, more for garnish
Salt to taste
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil, more for garnish
Roast the peppers and chili under the broiler or on the barbecue until they’re black and blistered. Place in a covered bowl or a brown paper bag to steam for 10 minutes. Peel off the skin and remove the stem, core, and seeds by grabbing the stem in the fingers and pulling; alternately, slit the peppers open and use your knife. Paula Wolfert advises draining the peppers on paper towel, but the juice is too delicious to waste, so I reserve the peppers in a bowl, juice and all, until I’m ready for them.
In a food processor, grind the walnuts with the lemon juice, bread crumbs, highbush cranberry jelly, Sambal Oelek (if you didn’t use a chile pepper), cumin, and salt until smooth. Add the roasted peppers and process until thoroughly blended and creamy.
With the machine on, add the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the chile to taste. If the paste is too thick, thin with 1–2 tablespoons of water. If you have time, refrigerate overnight to let the flavours develop. If not, serve right away. It’s still fabulous.
To serve, let the dip come to room temperature and sprinkle with cumin and olive oil.
Makes about 3 cups (750 ml).
Adapted from a recipe by Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson, executive chef and co-owner of Aquavit, in New York City. With thanks to Christian, Emilie, and Helene--enterprising students in the vegetarian cooking class at Takhini River Lodge last summer. The soup can be served hot or cold, depending on the weather and your own inclination. It was a hot day in July when we concocted this beauty, so the group opted for cold. But try it warm after a fall day of berry picking to help your fingers uncurl.
Note: Pineau des Charentes is an aperitif from the Charentes region of France made with fermented-grape must and cognac eau-de-vie, with a flavour slightly reminiscent of conifers. It is currently available in the Whitehorse liquor store.
6 cups (l 1/2 L) fresh or frozen wild blueberries 3 tbsp. (45 ml) birch syrup
2 tbsp. (30 ml) maple syrup
2 tbsp. (30 ml) lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp. (12 ml) ground cardamom
1 cup (250 ml) Pineau des Charentes (ice wine or white wine)
1 ripe mango, diced
1/2 cup (125 ml) plain yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraîche