Friday, July 25, 2008

SUMMER INSPIRED: Two Summer Spreads

It's Friday evening and instead of fluttering around town like the champagne-sipping social firefly I planned on being this week, I am instead, in the kitchen--looking anything but glamorous with my hair in a librarians bun, and spectacles perched on the tip of my nose--cooking up a storm. But I don't mind, because it's all for a good cause, as tomorrow I have a little ladies cocktail luncheon to attend. A friend of mine is turning thirty-nine for the fiftieth time, and so I am whipping up some quick and easy appetizers to counter the effects of our late afternoon cosmo-fest. I'm making two of my favorite spreads for the occasion--a white bean spread with rosemary and a bit of lemon zest, and a sun dried tomato and goat cheese spread that is so flavorful my mouth is actually watering just from typing the name of it. They are the perfect summer recipes as far as I am concerned, because they use just a handful of inexpensive and easy-to-find ingredients, and require no cooking whatsoever. I'm going to serve them tomorrow with warm pita bread, toasted baguette slices and a vegetable crudite, but I love the bean spread on toast, topped with slices of ripe tomato, or roasted red peppers out of the jar, or even chopped black olives. And the sun dried tomato spread does double duty as a delicious pasta sauce that tastes like summer itself (or, stuff some into an omelet, add a little to your next BLT, use it as a pizza topping if you are grilling pizza outdoors this summer).

These are two healthy and soul-pleasing recipes you will turn to again and again, and want to keep in your refrigerator well after the summer season has passed.


WHITE BEAN SPREAD with Rosemary + Lemon Zest
2 - 15.5 oz cans cannelli beans (drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped lemon zest
salt + pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

10.5 oz log goat cheese
6.5 oz jar sun dried tomatoes in olive oil

Place the goat cheese and 3/4 of the sun dried tomatoes (drain them first) in the food processor and blend until creamy. If you'd like you can add some fresh rosemary to this recipe.

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