[What better day to share something I love? A COLLECTION OF  (ACO) is one of the most beautiful, creative, and inspiring sites on the web. It is produced by two very special artists, Stefani Greenwood and Gilda Davidian, who live in Southern California. I am one of their biggest fans and am so glad they agreed to be guests here. And I am also super excited for the giveaway that they are offering!]
Hello, friends! We are so very excited to be guests on Lottie + Doof. We have been fans since the start of the blog and when we started A COLLECTION OF, Tim was one of the first people we interviewed (see it/read it HERE ). Today we are making muhammara, a middle eastern dip with walnuts, bread crumbs, pomegranate molasses and red peppers. I learned to make this dip from my grandmother who lived in Lebanon for most of her life, and learned it from her mom when she was young. The dip is complex – a bit nutty and chock full of flavor. The pomegranate molasses is the only tricky ingredient. You can find it at your local middle eastern store or order it online . One bottle goes a long way, so don’t let it keep you from trying it out. The dip is really easy to make and can be served with pita bread, crackers, cucumbers (or whatever you’d like, really).
[I couldn’t have Stefani and Gilda here without asking them to respond to the L + D food quiz….]
LOTTIE + DOOF FOOD QUIZ!
Sweet or salty?
S: Definitely salty (and then sweet and then salty…)
G: Sweet! Oh how I love sweets.
Chocolate or vanilla?
G: Chocolate, most definitely.
Hot or mild?
S: H O T !
G: Somewhere in between.
What won’t you eat?
S: I will try anything once which may in turn be the last. I recently just tried mắm nêm for the first and last time. (Side note: I will try anything again with Bourdain if the occasion ever arises.)
G: I’m a pescitarian/vegetarian, so you won’t find me eating anything that falls off of that umbrella. Otherwise, I’m not a picky eater and love to try new things.
Most memorable meal?
S: Fresh, just caught, grilled squid with lemon on the island of Pantelleria during my honeymoon.
G: I traveled through Lebanon and into Cyprus by myself for a month after graduating high school to visit family. I had lunch at the house of a childhood friend of my mother’s one Sunday afternoon. There were platters of tiny fried fish and mezzes of all kinds. It was beautiful and delicious. I remember thinking the fruit we ate after lunch tasted like the full potential of every fruit I had had before that. The flavors were incredible.
Favorite object in your kitchen?
S: My porcelain glove mold that holds the dish towel.
G: My one and only Kitchenaid. Cleaning off my KitchenAid after a bout of baking makes me think of every movie I’ve seen in which a girl lovingly grooms her beloved horse.
What are you scared of in the kitchen?
S: Forgetting to put the timer on.
G: Burnt baked goods… there is something so tragic about burnt desserts.
Do you prefer to cook alone or with others?
S: With others and for others! Oh those others.
G: It depends on my mood. I do like cooking by myself because it affords a freedom for experimentation that I don’t exercise with others. But I also love cooking with friends! On regular weeknights, my husband and I team-cook our dinners: I start the dish (prepping, sauteing base ingredients) and he finishes the process (sauces, seasoning, finishing touches).
What country would you move to for the food?
S: Northern India with a rail pass.
G: Send me to the Middle East, please!
What’s for dinner?
S: I just got the pasta attachment for my mixer and I want to make homemade rigatoni tonight with a classic tomato sauce accompanied by the celery and fennel salad I got from Mark BIttman’s NY Times feature. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/26/dining/26mini.html)
G: We’ve been making loads of greens (tis the season!) and experimenting with various kinds of tahini sauces. I find that they complement each other well. But tonight… cupcakes and champagne!
- 2 cups chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4-5 tablespoons red pepper paste
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
Place walnuts, bread crumbs, olive oil, onion, pomegranate molasses, cumin, red pepper paste, sugar and salt in food processor. Turn on-off to mix well, but do not puree. It should have a coarse texture.
Spread on serving plate. Sprinkle lightly with extra oil, if desired. Serve with crunchy cucumber slices, bread, crackers or crudites.
We asked our friends and favorite bloggers to contribute their favorite starter recipes for a booklet that Stefani designed for this guest post. We have 25 copies ready to go so please leave a comment below and email us your address at firstname.lastname@example.org  so we can send you one. We will be mailing the booklets out to the first 25 people whose address we receive.
Thanks for having us, Tim, and happy making!
*************************************FREE + AMAZING!
[Thanks, you two! So happy to have you here. Readers, get to commenting! Remember, ACO wants you to comment here and then (if your comment was in the top 25) to email them with your mailing address. So excited to check out their recipe booklets. And remember to bookmark A COLLECTION OF! ]