2nd Day of Christmas: carrot dip & spicy pepita spread

So, in the last post I showed you how I marinate zaytun (the Arabic word for olives). Today we are moving on to the dips. I didn’t take pictures of the hummus, you can find that anywhere. Instead I’ll get right to the slightly fermented Pepita (pumpkin seed) Spread, and Carrot “Hummus” which, for the sake of hummus purists everywhere, I’ll just call Carrot Dip.

I should mention I usually just make all different kinds of foods for my Christmas party – Mexican, Syrian, Japanese, Indian and whatever, but this year I was doing a very small sit-down dinner. I had a hard time coming up with a menu for some reason, but decided to try a blend of my two favorite kinds of food: Syrian and Ethiopian. It wasn’t easy, but I think I pulled it off. You get a sense of it in these dips.

20121226 pepita dip
I started by soaking 1 cup of pumpkin seeds for about 2 hours, then drained them…

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and put them in the food processor with an Ethiopian Spice Blend, a little coriander, a sprinkle of cayenne and salt, with water and a couple tablespoons of juice from fermented sauerkraut.
**The seeds will be really slippery after soaking them. I found it much easier to process them when I first started WITHOUT the liquids. After they were ground up a bit, I added the liquids a little at a time.

20121226 pepita dip3
Once the desired consistency was reached, I put the mixture in a colander lined with damp paper towels and folded the paper towels over it. I placed the colander on a dish to catch any liquid, and used a jar of water as a weight to sit on top of the mixture and press the liquid out. I let it sit out overnight….

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then put it in a jar until it was time for the party. (Btw, this is oil-free, another great Lenten snack for a strict fasting day.)

20121226 carrot dip
For the carrot dip: 3 pounds of carrots, peeled and chopped, were placed in a baking dish lined with parchment paper. I threw in 5 unpeeled cloves of garlic, drizzled everything with olive oil and sprinkled the mess with kosher salt. I roasted the carrots & garlic at 425 (convection) for about 25 minutes or so, or basically….

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until the carrots and garlic looked like this. They really shrink down!

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After they cooled to room temp, I peeled the garlic and added the cloves, with the carrots, to the food processor. I added a couple raw cloves, too, along with cumin, salt and lemon juice to taste…

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and a couple tablespoons of tahini.

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Then processed until a hummus-like consistency was reached. I think this made about 3 cups. Next time I would probably roast 8 cloves of garlic and skip the raw. I was told by a couple people the roasted garlic really made the dip/spread/hummus/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

By the way, the cumin is what tied together the Middle Eastern flavor with the Ethiopian flavor. Hummus, these days, seems to very neutral, so I think you can serve it with almost anything.

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