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Roasted Red Pepper Spread & Pita Chips

Makes: About 2 cups, serving 8-10

Serve this dip with Pita chips (below), fresh pitas cut into wedges, or baguette slices.

* 1 cup walnuts
* 12 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 0.25 cup coarsely ground plain wheat crackers
* 3 tablespoons juice from 1 large lemon
* 1 tablespoon mild molasses
* 1 teaspoon honey
* 1/2 tsp ground cumin
* 3/4 tsp salt
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place the walnuts in a medium skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan occasinoally to turn the nuts, until they are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool the nuts on a plate.

2. Process the toasted walnuts with the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until the flavors meld, at least 30 minutes; serve cold. (The spread can be refrigerated for up to 2 days)

Pita Chips

Makes: 48 chips, enough to accompany 2 cups of dip

* 4 (8 inch diameter) pita breads
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 tsp salt

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Using kitchen shears, cut around the perimeter of each pita bread to yield 2 thin rounds. Stack the pita rounds and, using a chef's knife, cut them into 6 wedges each. Spread the pita triangles, smooth-side down, over 2 rimmed baking sheets. Brush the top of each chip lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt.

3. Bake the chips until they begin to crispy and brown lightly, about 6 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and flip the chips so their smooth side is up.

Return the baking sheets to the oven, reversing their positions from top to bottom, and continue to bake until the chips are fully toasted, about 6 minutes longer.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and cool the chips before serving. (Store the completely cooled pita chips in a resealable bag at room temperature for up to 2 days)