This marks the fourth year food bloggers have celebrated Julia Child's August 15 birthday by cooking one of her recipes, and after seeing Julie and Julia last week, this birthday celebration seems even more fun. I got down my only Julia Child cookbook and searched for something that could possibly be made South Beach Diet friendly, and this recipe for pureed white beans with garlic and basil was the winner!
Julia says that this can be made with canned beans, and the amount specified for the beans is exactly what I measured from one can of beans, which seems like good evidence that the cooking goddess did indeed use canned beans. The book also says the recipe can be made in a "super-blender-food-processor" which is what I used! It surprised me to see that the recipe from a book published in 1970 included tahini paste (which Julia called "sesame seed paste") so if you made this with garbanzo beans you could probably get away with calling it Julia Child's hummus. I used white beans and increased the amount of basil a little, and ate it with whole grain Flatout flatbread, wishing I was in Paris sharing the plate with Julia and Paul.
I made a double batch so I'd have leftovers in the fridge, so be aware that amounts in these photos are two times what the recipe says. I started with canned Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained in a colander.
You can see from the holes that some kind of pest is eating my basil, but luckily I still had enough to use a generous amount of chopped basil.
I used the food processor to partially chop the basil before I added the other ingredients, because I wanted finely chopped basil in the finished dish.
Here's how the white bean puree looked after I pureed the beans, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic. Decidedly short on looks, but long on flavor.
Julia Child's Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs
(Makes about 2 cups, recipe slightly adapted from my only Julia Child Cookbook - From Julia Child's Kitchen.)
1 can white beans (recipe says garbanzo beans or black beans can also be used)
20 leaves fresh basil
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice (or more)
1/4 cup Tahini paste (or less, if you're not sure how much you like tahini)
2 tsp. minced garlic (or more)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T olive oil (plus more for drizzling on top if desired)
chopped parsley for garnish, optional (could also garnish with other herbs)
Empty the can of white beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse well with cold water and let drain at least 5 minutes.
While beans are draining, wash basil leaves, spin dry in salad spinner or dry with paper towels, then put basil in the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
Add beans, lemon juice, tahini paste, and minced garlic and process until beans are well pureed, about 1 minute. When mixture is blended, add olive oil through the feed tube, 1 T at a time. Taste mixture to see if you want more lemon juice, then season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and pulse a few times to mix in. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired, and serve with pita bread, veggies, or crackers.
South Beach Suggestions:
Canned white beans are a perfect low-glycemic food, and this dip alone would be suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Served with whole wheat pita bread or crackers, it would be phase 2 or 3 for South Beach. You could serve with celery, red bell pepper, or broccoli dippers for phase one. (I included this recipe with Christmas Recipes because I think it's flavorful enough to be a healthful holiday appetizer.)
More Recipes from Julia Child:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Cook Something Created or Inspired by Julia Child from BlogHer
Spaghetti Marco Polo from Kalyn's Kitchen
Beef Bourguignon from Simply Recipes
Julia Child's Waterzooi from Nami Nami
Julia Child's Cucumber Salad from A Veggie Venture
Julia Child's French Bread from Andrea's Recipes
Vegetable Crepe Torte from A Fridge Full of Food
Julia Child's 16 Hour Baked Beans from A Yankee in a Southern Kitchen
Julia Child's French Onion Soup from Daily Unadventures in Cooking
Online Recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking:
Blogging the Art of French Cooking is an amazing compilation of posts by bloggers, re-creating all the recipes from Julia Child's famous book, created by Whisk, A Food Blog.