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Muhamarra (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

This vividly flavored and textured mezze dip is particularly popular in Syria and Turkey, the two places famous for their hot red peppers. Some variations of Muhammara include tahini and feta cheese.

2 red bell peppers, grilled or roasted with skin and seeds removed

4 oz. walnut, coarsely ground

1 head garlic, roasted OR 2 -3 cloves of fresh garlic

1 tsp. flaked Middle Eastern red pepper, finely chopped

Juice of I lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

4 oz. yogurt cheese (yogurt strained overnight)

Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

Remove skin and seeds of the peppers and chop to a pulp. In food processor jar, grind the roasted peppers, walnuts, and garlic together to make a textured paste; add in the Middle Eastern red pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Lastly, add the yogurt cheese and process until thoroughly blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper and lemon juice.

Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and drizzle a little olive oil over the top to keep it moist.  Garnish with a few extra walnuts or cloves of roasted garlic, fresh mint or black olives. Serve with flat bread or pita bread to scoop it up.

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