Despite this, I tried to make the best of it by either cozying up at my boyfriend's parents house playing with their new kittens Oliver & Sam
or gulping down multiple Hot Toddys while cuddling with my estranged cat, Marlowe, at my sister's apartment.
Speaking of Hot Toddys, since I was downing so many—the
You simply twist it into one end of the lemon and squeeze. No lemon juice flying into your eye or spraying across your counter, plus you can cap it and save the lemon til it's dry! Super handy when you're using juice from half a lemon at a time (like for my hot lemon and cranberry juice detox drink).
I could probably babble on about the homemade gifts I made for Christmas or the wonderful books I received as gifts, but I'll save that for a future post.
Now we must focus on this ahhhhhmazing spicy roasted red pepper dip that I discovered and altered to suite my taste. I found it on the food52 site, which payed homage to the originators of this savory concoction (Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone of Torrisi Italian Specialties in NYC) while tweaking the recipe a bit.
Since I didn't have access to their recommended brand of B&G peppers and generally fancy spicier and strong foods, so I substituted peppadew peppers, used fire roasted diced tomatoes instead of regular for more flavor, bumped up the crushed red pepper, added in garlic powder and cayenne pepper and left out the sugar.
The Food52 post went on and on about how amazing this sauce was and at first I was slightly skeptical. It looked deceptively simple. Let me assure you—it's worth all the hype! So far, my favorite use is to simply dip warm or toasted bread into it, but I've also eaten is three times for breakfast alongside fried or scrambled eggs. Another time I spread it on a hot shredded pork sandwich. The Food52 gang was not exaggerating when they explained how versatile this dip/sauce is. You can use it in a myriad of ways.
I loved it so much that when my friend asked me to contribute a few treats for her older sister's baby shower this past Saturday, this was the first thing I made.
I think it'd be perfect as a dip for a New Years Eve gathering or for brunch the next day. Some people like to paint the town for New Years Eve, but I'm generally wiped out after celebrating my birthday the day before (Dec 30), so I typically assemble an array of snacks and foods, plus libations and watch movies all night. If you're in the same mindset as me be sure to try this!
Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip (Torrisi's Spicy Sauce Revamped)
A slightly creamy and spicy pepper and tomato sauce that's perfect as a dip for bread or crackers or paired with sandwiches, cheese, pasta, veggies, eggs or pizza.
Adapted from Food52's Torrisi's Spicy Sauce
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil (use the best you have)
4 tablespoons of jarred roasted red peppers
5 peppadew peppers (jarred or from an olive bar)
2 tablespoons of fire roasted diced tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen)
1 tablespoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sea salt, to taste (I use it liberally)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse a few times until it's mixed, but there's still a few chunks. If you do not have access to a blender (I didn't in the pictures above), chop the red peppers, peppadew peppers and tomatoes into small, uniform pieces then mix everything in a small bowl, stirring well.
Notes & Tips
Control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper. The jarred peppers hardly are mild, so they don't contribute much spiciness.
Use the best olive oil you have. This doesn't mean spend $20 bucks on a small bottle. Perhaps shell out a few extra buck for a slightly higher end brand than you normally use for your general cooking. It's worth it since there are only a few basic ingredients and the olive flavor comes through.
If you're using cheaper EVOO (I did the first time I made it) and aren't loving it's particular flavor, bump up the garlic and salt in the recipe. Trust me, it'll balance everything out!