Friday, January 9, 2009

Bean Walnut Spread with Pomegranates

I can't believe it's 10 days into the new year and I still haven't written anything on my blog. It's not for lack of cooking. But a few things have been keeping me away from blogging. Some good and some not so good.

The good: Jason gave me a piano for Christmas. It's the first time I've had my own piano since I left Russia in 1991! I am now addicted to this thing like kids are addicted to computer games. Since I've been spending all my free time playing, I haven't gotten a chance to write.

The not so good: I've been swamped with registering people for cooking classes and dealing with cancellations, waiting lists, class swaps, and other parts of running my own business that sometimes give me a headache.

But things are finally settling more or less into a routine. I am teaching again, and that's the best part of my job. I taught a Knife Skills class a few nights ago to a wonderful group of people. Even though I made them cry (imagine 8 people slicing and dicing onions at once in a small kitchen), and didn't feed them till the end of class, they seemed to have really enjoyed themselves. To put everyone in a better mood, I usually make some snacks for the beginning of class. My students are hungry and tired after work, and it's always easier to spend 2 hours chopping vegetables if your stomach is not growling. One of this Knife Skills class snacks was a bean and walnut spread. I got this idea from a dish I had at Oleana restaurant years ago. I never got the recipe for it, but a little improvisation yielded excellent results.

It's also a good way to use up those pomegranate molasses that you bought or made after my not so recent post. What? You haven't tried it yet? This is your chance.

Please note that the measurements are approximate. I just dumped things into my food processor without measuring (as usual), and only realized that this would make a good post after the spread was made.

Bean Walnut Spread with Pomegranates

For the spread
2 cups cooked black beans, drained (it's ok to use canned)
2/3 cup walnut halves (no need to toast them)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp cream cheese, cut into 3 pieces (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

For garnish
pomegranate molasses
pomegranate seeds
  1. Put all the spread ingredients into a food processor and puree until almost smooth. This spread will still be slightly grainy due to walnuts.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning and texture as needed. If the spread is too thick, add more oil. If it doesn't have a bright tang to it, add more pomegranate molasses. If it's too earthy, add more cream cheese. If too bland, add more salt.
  3. Spread on bread, drizzle with more pomegranate molasses and top with pomegranate seeds.


~M said...

This looks fabulous; I recently saw a similar spread with lentils and walnuts.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I have a tiny bit of pomegranate molasses left from a homemade batch -- this looks like a perfect way to use it.

Anonymous said...

This was so great, I needed a recipe for my first bottle of pom mol! We subbed pinto beans and pecans for black beans and walnuts(that's just what we had on hand) and it was delicious!!!! Thanks!

Helen said...

Hi there Anonymous,

So glad you enjoyed this spread. The one in the picture actually has some pinto beans too ;) About 2/3 black beans and 1/3 pinto. That's just what I had on hand, so your improv is perfectly in the spirit of this recipe.


Ulla said...

this looks fantastic!

~M said...

Hi again, Helen,

What do you think about soaking the walnuts first (for, say, 3 hours to overnight) to make a creamier, dairy-free (no cream cheese) version of this spread? I was thinking of making this spread as a dip for Superbowl!

Helen said...

Hi ~M,

Why don't you try the soaking walnuts method and let us know how it goes. I can't see it doing any harm.