Thursday, July 9, 2009

And now for some spice...

I grew up on a mild American diet and never really enjoyed spicy food. For some reason, however, I've been fascinated by how to use red chilies in my cooking, particularly my vegetable dishes. I bought a pack of baby chilies (I have no idea if my English terms are accurate!) and was determined to use the whole thing. Nearly. After a few experiments I made something good...real good. And versatile...

Chili Romesco Paste

This sauce is actually a hybrid between chili paste, pesto, and romesco. It has no cheese (hence no pesto), but I've opted to add pine nuts for an amazing texture. Measurements below are estimates only, as I just threw it together to get the right balance.

3 T organic tomato paste
1 small red chili
1 garlic clove
1 T pine nuts
1 T olive oil
salt to taste (no more than 1/2 teaspoon)
pinch of cumin
fresh parsely
  • Remove stem and seeds from chili with a knife and chop into quarters

  • Chop garlic and roughly chop parsely
  • Add all ingredients to your food processor
  • To get the right texture, and add more water to thin

  • Adjust seasonings to taste - careful it's hot!

I was able to use this, with a little extra water to cook, to create this amazing sautée of eggplant and cauliflower. My five a day should be fine as long as I keep it interesting.

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