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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pesto Cheese Spread and Spinach Dip

Balsamic parmesan pasta (3552916238)
Balsamic parmesan pasta (3552916238) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Juvy S. Iliwiliw

Pesto cheese spread was inspired by something we came across at a food fair. The addition of chunks of cheese makes this an addictive spread. You could also use this as a pasta sauce!



PESTO CHEESE SPREAD

You will need:

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves

½ cup pine nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1½ cups cheddar cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes

Here's how:

Put the basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil and black pepper in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Alternatively, finely pound the basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic using mortar and pestle and combine with the parmesan cheese, olive oil and black pepper. Blend in the cheddar cheese. Pesto should be refrigerated.

Yield: 3 cups
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Storage time: 2 weeks, refrigerated
Packaging ideas: Pack the spread in small ceramic crocks with lids or clear plastic disposable containers. Wrap with clear cellophane.


SPINACH DIP

You will need:

1 large bunch spinach
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole head of garlic, minced
1 cup cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 (8 ounces) packaged cream cheese softened at room temperature
¼ teaspoon pepper

Here's how:

Wash the spinach well then remove the leaves. Place the still wet leaves in a large heavy saucepan. Cook, stirring over medium high heat until leaves become tender. Let cool, then squeeze out excess liquid. Finely chop the leaves. 

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Saute' the garlic until lightly browned (do not brown completely or toast) and add the chopped spinach. Add the cream, the cheeses, and pepper. Stir well until well combined. Heat until the cheeses have melted and have just begun to bubble. Let cool, divide into containers.

Yield: 3 cups
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Storage time: 2 weeks, refrigerated
Packaging ideas: Pack the spread in small ceramic crocks with lids or clear plastic disposable containers. Wrap with clear cellophane.


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