Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Raw" Basil Walnut Spread

The recipe for this basil-walnut spread (pictured in the middle of the three dips above) kind of came from here, but mostly it came from the inspiration of my mother's kitchen, which is happily filled with special vinegars from the "O" Farm, the organic farm in Newfoundland where she gets her summer vegetable and herb baskets. There was conveniently a basil garlic vinegar in the cupboard, so I'm not sure if it is actually raw (though it may be because it's unpasteurized) but I figured no one would mind. I won't be bringing it to a raw food potluck in Montreal on Saturday just in case. Well, that and other transportation reasons that include the handle of my suitcase breaking in the middle of the one intersection that separates my Montreal apartment from the bus stop that takes me directly to the airport. One intersection! And of course that's where my suitcase decides to curl up and die. Needless to say I hauled it up on top of my other one whose handle was a brute and kept walking...

Anyway, what I actually ended up doing (though you could use this recipe of the other, or something in between...or something completely different and it would still be good) was:

2 cups walnuts (soaked for 4 hours and drained. The original recipe calls for cashews but my mom doesn't do cashews. If you do, however, use cashews you'll end up with a much creamier texture, but lose a lot of the bitter, endearing flavour of the walnuts)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (soaked for 3 hours, drained)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbsp basil-garlic vinegar (the website above has a way of making basil oil that works just fine. The dip will be more lemon-y this way and less complex than with vinegar, but still good. You can add a clove of garlic to the blender if your oil or vinegar isn't flavoured with it already. Be caaaareful with fresh garlic, though. It's strong. Same for if you decided to, say, add half a shallot on a whim)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (only if you didn't use vinegar)
pinch salt
pinch ground pepper

Blend in a workhorse of a blender or food processor. The water should be enough to help it along but you may need to scrape down the sides. I haven't lost a spatula to a blender in awhile. I figure my technique is better. ALWAYS turn off the blender before scraping down the sides. Don't do like I do. I won't have any spoons much longer if I'm not careful...or eyes when spoon shards escape the blender).