I feel like I’m pretty close to perfecting my summer picnic menu. For beach BBQs I do a savory grilled flank steak, juicy watermelon, deli potato salad and a corn and tomato salad; I add margaritas or wine depending on the crew.
As a crowd-pleasing appetizer, I’ve been trotting out my cottage cheese guacamole here and there. But there I was Friday afternoon, rushing about getting ready to meet friends for jazz in the park, when I realized my avocados were not in the mood to cooperate. They were too hard, and even when I managed to whack them open, they completely lacked flavor. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that they’d been in the refrigerator for nearly two weeks. A bit much to ask of an avocado I suppose.
So I grabbed handful upon handful of basil, some baby spinach wilting away in the fridge and created this concoction: spinach and basil cottage cheese dip. Doesn’t sound as sexy as guacamole but it’s every bit as good. I’m filing this one in my “everything but the kitchen sink” department, solely because you can just start tossing in whatever greens you have on hand until you have a dip that whets your appetite. Scallions would be nice but mine, like my avocados, were beyond hope.
No matter. Everyone from kids to grown-ups liked this dip, and I was happy to clear out my veggie drawer for a good cause. But I hereby promise to keep my eye on those avocados next time, because an avocado is a terrible thing to waste. Let’s eat!
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 16 ounces low-fat cottage cheese
- Juice of one lemon
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red peppers
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Set up a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the garlic and pulse until chopped. Scrape down the sides.
- Add the basil and spinach and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.