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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fire up your dishes with red pepper paste


Now that you know how to make red pepper paste, I'll share some ideas on how to use it in everyday fare.

Yeranuhe Nanny (my mom's mom) used red pepper paste in her Armenian specialty recipes of Musa Dagh - kufta (stuffed meatballs), banerov hatz (cheese-onion bread), samsag (a pototo-cheese filled turnover, of sorts).

I'll share those with you another time. For now, here's one of her simpler recipes, and a few other suggestions on how you might use red pepper paste to jazz-up more common recipes.

Nanny's Armenian Potato Salad
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, boiled, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tsp. red pepper paste, diluted with a little water
cumin, allspice, salt and pepper, to taste
about 2 Tbsp. olive oil
lemon juice, optional

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, mix the red pepper paste with a little water to thin it out. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onion, parsley, diluted red pepper paste, and seasonings. Add olive oil; gently toss. Adjust seasonings, if needed. Add a little lemon juice, if desired.
3. Serve at room temperature, or chilled.

Ways to Use Red Pepper Paste:
1. Stir it into small-curd cottage cheese, add a little dried oregano and olive oil. Blend well. Use as a spread.
2. Add to a basic Hummus recipe.
3. Add to green beans.
4. Put some into a meatloaf mixture, or hamburger patties.
5. Combine with some olive oil, then add to cooked pasta or pasta salad.
6. Add to tomato sauce or tomato soup.
7. Add to vegetable soup or other soups.

Use your imagination! You'll find that making the paste is worth the effort.

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