Green and Red Cream Cheese Spread
|Green and Red Cream Cheese Spread |
Instead of paying $20 a pound or more for pesto-stuffed cheese spread, make your own for a lot less. Whip it up the day before, then serve it with baguette slices or your favorite crackers.
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz butter
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, washed, stems removed, and dried
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T pine nuts (pignoli) or walnuts
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes from a jar, drained of oil
1/4 - 1/2 t cayenne powder (optional)
Place cream cheese and butter in a small mixing bowl and allow to soften at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Blend together when soft.
Place "green" ingredients in a blender or food processor and "pulse" a few times until mixture has the consistency of pesto: basically smooth but with a bit of texture. Do the same with the red ingredients, and keep the two colors separate.
Line a small, rounded bowl with a piece of plastic wrap. Spoon about a 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture into the bowl and smooth out the top. Spread the red mixture evenly on the cream cheese.
Spoon out about a 1/3 of the remaining cream cheese mixture on top of the red and smooth out. Top with the green mixture, then the remaining cream cheese mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and flatten the top. Refrigerate until firm, at least several hours.
To serve, remove plastic wrap cover and unmold onto a serving plate. Peel off remaining plastic wrap. Top with a sprig of basil, a couple strips of sun-dried tomato and a few pine nuts. Surround with baguette slices or crackers.
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