Back in August 2010 I attended the Big Summer Potluck. The event was mere days after I learned of my pregnancy. So soon, in fact, that I hadn’t yet told my family (aside from my husband) and the morning sickness wasn’t in full swing. Both of those things changed within a week.

The “morning” sickness lasted all day and night, and for basically the entire autumn I felt ill and weak. I actually lost weight in the beginning of my pregnancy (oh, how that has changed). My husband and I decided to be very frugal and thrifty, preferring to buy used baby things when we could, rather than register for a bunch of brand new stuff and have our friends and family spend a lot of money. So I spent my sickly autumn scouring craigslist and driving all over the Philadelphia area to purchase lightly used furniture and other baby goods. It’s nice to be thrifty, and it’s even nicer to save things from a landfill and help prevent new products from being produced. More about our baby thrifting to come in a future post.

So between the mad dash to gather all of our necessary baby supplies and my overall queasiness, my blogging took a backseat. I had too much on my mind and was just generally too worn out. Also, I could barely look at food, let alone write in detail about food. I even had to stop reading the multitude of food blogs in my feed reader. It was a dark time.

I’m embarrassed to say that I just now realized I never posted the recipes for the spreads that I took to the Big Summer Potluck. I had gotten a few emails about them, and responded with a cheerful and not-at-all sick-sounding “I’ll post them any day now!” hoping that I really could do just that. And then I forgot.

So here they are, my spreads. I served them with my crusty no-knead bread. To anyone that asked my for these recipes in August or September, please accept my apologies. It’s really all the fault of the little girl growing inside of me, though, I can take no blame.

Sun-dried Tomato Spread

11 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (from oil)
2 teaspoons oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 clove minced garlic
2 teaspoons half-and-half

Use sun-dried tomatoes in oil. Remove them from oil and chop to get 1/4 cup. Use the oil from the jar as the oil in the spread. Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

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Vegan Bean Spread


Sorry about the quality of this picture, it’s the only one I have.

2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup canned soybeans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Use food processor or elbow grease to blend the beans and oil to a smooth consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine thoroughly. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste and mix again.

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Cherry-Rum Goat Cheese Spread

11 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup rum, not spiced
1/4 cup cherry preserves
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sugar

Soak cherries in rum for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. When ready, remove cherries from rum and add them to the goat cheese. Add remaining ingredients and combine. Use the rum from the cherries to help combine the ingredients, adding it 2 teaspoons at a time until proper consistency is reached. Top with extra pecans if you have them. If you’re not a fan of rum, brandy would be a great alternative.

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Blue Cheese Spread

16 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup caramelized onions
1/2 cup chopped herbed mushrooms
5 ounces blue cheese crumbles
various herbs

Slice 1 yellow onion very thinly, and chop slices into 1/2 inch long pieces. With a touch of oil in a pan, begin sauteing onions over medium-high heat. When they start to brown, stir them and turn heat down to medium low. Continue stirring once every 5 minutes, for about 30 minutes. When onions appear to be caramelized, remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly. You should have about 1/4 cup of caramelized onions.

In a clean pan, place chopped mushrooms with a bit of olive oil and some herbs. I used thyme, garlic, basil, and a tiny bit of tarragon. Cook over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, until mushrooms have decreased in size and begun to brown. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. You should have about 1/4 cup of mushrooms.

When all ingredients are cool, combine everything except a tablespoon or two of the blue cheese crumbles. Use the remaining crumbles as topping.

Big Summer Potluck Spreads
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