The boys were home all last week for spring break, bringing their own little whirlwind of boyish joy and drama. Do I look frazzled? We had a nice week, though. We went away for a few days, which we never do. And I got to go on lots of walks with Malcolm. He’s good to walk with because he talks and talks. You can just walk next to him and listen. He talks about how he gets all his best ideas right before bed, he wonders if I’d like yoshi from some game we don’t have, he thinks that everybody thinks that we’ll have flying cars some day, he had one lamb’s ear that we bought that died, and one he dug up that lived a long time till some kid at a party tipped it out of its pot. And he came up with the idea for these peppery crisps. He wanted them to be very spicy and very crispy. He wanted them to have lots of different kinds of pepper in them. Sweet red peppers, red pepper flakes, cayenne, black pepper, and smoked paprika. He wanted to make the red peppers themselves crispy, but I couldn’t think how we’d do that, so we made the roasted peppers into a puree, and mixed it into a sort of pastry dough. Then we rolled the dough out quite thin, cut them into diamonds, and fried them in olive oil. They got nice and puffy and crispy, and they didn’t take too much oil to make. Everybody loved them! Isaac ate them by the fistful (and he’s a hard boy to feed!). Malcolm was a little disappointed that they weren’t spicy enough, so we’ll up the red pepper flake content next time.
I made some ginger and basil red bean dip to go with them. Very quick to make and tasty. But they were quite flavorful all on their own!!
Red bean dip
Here’s Desmond Dekker with Mother Pepper
2 cups flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, frozen
1 T mustard seeds
1 t basil
1 t smoked paprika
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1/2 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 t cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, pureed with
1/2 t balsamic
Combine the flour with all of the spices, herbs and seeds. Grate in the butter. Mix well till you have a crumb-y consistency. Stir in the pepper puree. Add enough ice water till you have a workable dough. Knead a few times and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
When you’re ready to make the crisps, heat some olive oil in a wok or frying pan. About 1/3 inch deep should do it – just to come above the crisps when you drop them in. Roll out the dough to be about 1/8 inch thick. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut diagonally across to make diamonds about 2 inches wide.
When a small crumb of dough sizzles, put as many crisps as you can fit into the oil. Press them down a little with a slotted spoon to help them puff up. Fry on each side for a minute or two, then remove to drain on paper towels or a drying rack. Sprinkle with salt.
RED BEAN DIP
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cloves toasted garlic
1 t basil
1/2 t ginger powder
2 t balsamic
2 T olive oil
Whiz everything together in a food processor or blender. Add water to make it a nice creamy consistency. Taste for salt. That’s it!