I’m trying something new. Savoring the present. Not pushing too hard. I’m a goal-oriented person and for the past several months I’ve been throwing myself into my work. Or rather the future of my work. Stressing out over what’s next. Manuscripts, grants, job applications. And I’ve been hitting a wall. Then stressing out about stressing out. Around and around with absolutely no progress.
Summer is over. What exactly happened? The entire thing just passed me by. Likely because I’ve been so preoccupied with figuring out “What next?” that I didn’t hardly take any time to just be. So that’s my new goal.
I made this red pepper and walnut dip while I was visiting my family at the end of August. A gathering with my father’s side of the family. I was enamored with the idea of this recipe, excited while making it and then I tasted it and my reaction was something akin to “eh” (complete with a shoulder shrug). So I fussed; adding salt, tasting, adding some cayenne, tasting again, adding some garlic powder, tasting again … until finally just deciding to let it be. I wasn’t completely happy with it, but fearful that I would start making worse rather than better. I went on to finish the rest of dinner.
A couple of hours later, the family descended upon the house amidst a magnificent sunset. A lovely gathering of people who are not only related to each other, but genuinely care for one another. Yet another reason I miss home so dearly. And you know what? The red pepper and walnut dip easily garnered the greatest reviews. Something magical happened when it was allowed to sit, assimilating all of the flavors that I had assembled. All it needed was for me to give it a little time, to back off and let it come together naturally.
I’m taking my lesson from this dip. Giving myself some time. To be where I am at.
Perhaps something magical will happen.Red Pepper and Walnut Dip slightly fussed with from Food and Wine ********** juice from one lemon 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 3 slices day-old bread, cubed 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 5 tablespoons olive oil 5 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips 1/4 cup water 3 garlic cloves, smashed 2 small dried red chile 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder pita chips **********
In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and vinegar. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Set aside and let the bread soak up the liquid.
Toast the walnuts in a 350º oven for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the bell peppers, water, garlic cloves and dried chiles. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat until 3/4 of the liquid has evaporated. Discard the dried chiles.
Transfer the peppers to a food processor and let cool until warm. Add the soaked bread and pulse to a thick, coarse paste. Add the walnuts until coarsely ground. Season with remaining salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.
Let sit, at room temperature, for at least a couple of hours. Serve with pita chips.