Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Brain block

I’ve been a little slow about posting lately. (Sorry about that. I’ve got a lot on the brain.)

I’ve been slow on the uptake in other areas, too, if that helps. An explanation, by way of a digression: one of the by-products of having a child in preschool is that they meet other kids. Those other kids have parents. If you’re lucky, your child will hit it off with some other children, and you will hit it off with some other parents. If you’re very lucky, some of those children and parents will be related to each other.

Miss B and I have been lucky: we've found a compatible mother-daughter pair to hang out with. They, as it happens, often have a couple of hours to kill between pickup time at preschool and pickup time at the “big” school, which their older sister/daughter attends, and which is about three minutes from our house. So they’ve been coming over for impromptu play dates. The “impromptu” part has meant that, although I’m well-stocked with the kind of foods that the girls like to nibble on in their after-school grazing session (which goes on all afternoon, apparently), I keep forgetting to have anything in particular on hand for us adults to eat beyond the weird and varied selection of leftovers that usually constitutes my lunch, and which is not really fit for public viewing. As a result, I was embarrassed to find myself offering blue cheese and bread three times running. Good blue cheese, but still. Is that any way for a self-respecting chowhound to behave? Especially when her regular guest is of the same ilk?

Today my brain was working a little better, and I had this ready ahead of time, just in case.

Garlicky sun-dried tomato spread
Adapted from The Best American Recipes, 2002-2003
This spread is described as “earthy, sweet, and intensely garlicky” and it scores on all those counts. It is also quick to rustle up, and chances are you already have all of the ingredients on hand. I bet it would also be amenable to adaptation; I’m already thinking of a pine nut variation, and of testing it out as a pasta sauce.

12 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
4 cloves of raw or roasted garlic
¼ cup olive oil

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water for 10-15 minutes, until softened. Remove the tomatoes (reserve the water) and place in a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Process to a chunky consistency; use the reserved tomato soaking water to thin if desired.
Serve with sturdy crackers or bread. (I toasted soldiers/sticks of stoneground wheat and hearty white bread, brushed with olive oil.)

Makes about 1 cup.


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