© Nicole Franzen
Lemony pesto-goat cheese dip
Recipes featuring your favourite citrus fruits
Tangy goat cheese is a natural with lemon and pesto. And who doesn’t love goat cheese? You’ll come to rely on this creamy dip more often than you’ll care to admit.
1/3 c. (80 ml) pine nuts
8 oz. (230 g) goat cheese, softened
1/2 c. (125 ml) whole milk
2 tbsp. (30 ml) lemony basil pesto (recipe follows)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. (125 ml) diced roasted red bell pepper
assorted raw vegetables for serving, such as carrots, celery, fennel, broccoli, and
red and yellow bell pepper strips
lemon, pepper and asiago crackers (recipe follows) or your favorite store-bought
crackers for serving
In a microwave-safe bowl, toast the pine nuts for 30 sec¬onds. Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir again and if the nuts aren’t oily and fragrant, microwave for another 30 seconds. Let cool. Alternatively, toast the nuts in a skillet over medium heat, tossing them every now and then, about 3 minutes.
Combine the goat cheese, yogurt, pesto, lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and process until well blended. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a fork. (Add more yogurt to thin the dip, if desired.) Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Transfer the dip to a serving bowl, and top with the roasted red bell pepper and toasted pine nuts. Serve with the vegetables and crackers.
Makes about 1½ cups (375 ml).
Lemony basil pesto
Pesto is “summer in a jar.” This lemony version just shouts “party!” It’s delicious spread on crostini for an easy appetizer or added to soups and stews.
2 garlic cloves
1 c. (250 ml) walnuts
zest of 2 lemons, plus 2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
3 c. (750 ml) fresh basil leaves, stemmed
1/2 c. (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 c. (250 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper
Drop the garlic into the bowl of a food processor while the processor is running. Turn off the machine, add the walnuts and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and pulse until finely ground. Add the lemon zest and basil, and pulse until still a little chunky. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and Parmesan, and season with pepper. Pulse again until the desired texture is reached.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
Transfer to storage containers and drizzle a little olive oil on top to keep the pesto green. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes about 1½ cups (375 ml).
Lemon, pepper, and Asiago crackers
It might seem crazy to make your own crackers, but these crispy shingles are incredibly beguiling with their rustic, homemade charm. Pair them with local goat cheese and olives or serve them with a dip, but nothing firmer than hummus because the crackers are fragile.
13/4 c. (430 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 c. (90 ml) sugar
1 tsp. (5 ml) freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) baking powder
1/2 c. (125 g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 c. (125 ml) grated Asiago cheese
1 large egg
zest of 2 lemons, plus 1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. (15 ml) whole milk
specialty sea salt such as Maldon, pink Himalayan or black Hawaiian
3 tbsp. (45 ml) black sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line four baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the flour, sugar, pepper, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to com¬bine. Add the butter and Asiago, and process until they are cut into the flour and the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 20 pulses. Add the egg, lemon zest and lemon juice, and process until the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a log 12 inches (30.5 cm) long. Cut into 12 pieces. Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.
Flatten out one piece of dough on the work surface. Using a pasta roller, feed the dough through the rollers set on the widest setting (the dough will become very long). Place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat to roll out the remaining dough, refrigerating each baking sheet as it fills up. (You can also roll out the dough using a rolling pin, but the crackers won’t be quite as thin and crispy.)
Brush the milk over the tops of the dough and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and the sesame seeds (if using). Bake for 20 minutes or until the crackers are firm and brown. If you are baking more than one sheet at a time, rotate them 180 degrees about halfway through the baking time. Let cool on the baking sheets on wire racks. The crackers will crisp up as they cool. Break the crackers into the desired size. Store in sealable plastic bags at room temperature for up to 1 day. Makes 12 4-by-12-inch (10-by-30.5-cm) crackers.
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