Saturday, June 30, 2007

Basil and 2 delicious spreads

We recently had a hail storm here in PA with hail the size of quarters or even ping-pongs, so a lot of my plants and herbs got bruised and many of leaves were shredded a bit, so I'm hoping that they recover and keep doing as well as the were before the storm. With gardening, it's always something!!

Basil is one of my favorite herbs to grow, largely because I love pesto. I love to make pesto during the summer and then pop it in the freezer to use all year long. I've already shared a recipe for pesto and a few tips for adding spinach here, but I wanted to post an original photo instead of the photo I borrowed from Cooking Light. As you can see from the photo, I use very little olive oil, but you can add to taste. I like to make it with very little oil initially, so that I am free to use pesto as a spread, a flavorful addition to soups (just add it by the tablespoonful), or as a sauce for pasta or pizza. If you're using it as a sauce, you can add more oil, or to keep it lower in fat, you can add a bit of chicken stock and maybe even a little half and half for a creamier texture.


Pesto is one of my favorite ways to use basil, but I recently found another spread that is just wonderful. It's sort of a morphing of pesto and hummus. This spread comes from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers. One of the chefs/owners of this collective taught a cooking class this past spring at a local kitchen store and this was the appetizer he prepared. It's delicious and a little different than other spreads I've tried.

Sicilian Chickpea Spread

As with hummus, it starts with a chickpea base, but unlike hummus, there is no tahini. The chickpeas are given a whirl along with basil, olive oil, roasted red peppers, and pine nuts, resulting in a light, creamy spread. Not only are the colors in this spread pleasing to the eye, but all of the flavors blend nicely - each bite seems to reveal a different ingredient - sometimes the basil shines through, sometimes you are more aware of the pine nuts - no one flavor seems to get muddled or lost.

This post will be my submission for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Kalyn herself. It's another basil submission, but I hope that readers will appreciate another delicious use for this wonderful and versatile herb.


  1. Very yummy sounding. There can never be too much basil, if you ask me. And I love the sound of the chickpea spread with basil and pine nuts. Great recipes.

  2. Hi Kalyn. I agree - never too much basil. I planted 6 plants one summer and ended up with a basil hedge! It was great - I had so much I couldn't possibly use it all.

  3. That's a nice spread. Love basils, and I've to give your hummus recipe a try, kiijs creamy, yummys !:)

  4. I have to try the chickpea spread: it sounds delicious.

  5. meltingwok and simona - Hope you enjoy the chickpea spread if you try it.