A Happy Accident

magical buttery basil spreadI love a happy accident.

It’s fun finding a $20 bill in my ski pants.

Not long ago, I learned that a favorite cousin is also an INFJ.  It’s no wonder we click so well.

I happened upon an article about the many uses of Vicks VapoRub and came up with my own use  – no more cracked, sandpaper heels.

The other day, Jen and I were fondling the fabrics at Jo-Ann’s.  A friend from college walked by hunting for something.  She looked up and said, “Hey, I’m back in town.  Let’s get together.”  Now that’s a happy accident – either that or it’s the Universe answering me when I complained about a girlfriend moving and asked, “Could you please send another friend?”

A happy accident is having everything in the pantry to make biscotti when it’s 23 below and we’re gonna be stuck in the house all day.


And so it was a happy accident that we were at grandma’s during the holiday, trying to keep hungry kids fed while consuming large quantities of wine, and I made up this spread for bread.  Grandma’s well-stocked fridge had stuff that I’ve not tried, including this tube of squirty basil stuff.  I had to figure out what to do with it, so I grabbed a stick of butter, some parmesan and a clove of garlic.

I nuked the butter to bring it to room temperature.  (We don’t have a microwave at home, so I have to plan ahead and take the butter out the night before.  That’s not a problem for me since Will is the kind of kid who finishes his last bite of tonight’s dinner, and asks me what we’re having for tomorrow night’s dinner.)

I took a wooden spoon to the butter, added some Parmesan, a pinch of salt, the pounded garlic and a couple squirts of the basil.

The bread turned out pretty good, but that wasn’t the happy accident.

The best part is what I’ve done with the leftover spread.  We brought it home and put it in the fridge.  Since then, we’ve added this magical buttery basil stuff to lots of things.


I add a rounded tablespoon to store-bought marinara making it taste less store-bought.

I spread a couple tablespoons on homemade pizza crust before adding the tomato sauce and toppings.

I stir a couple spoonsfull of the stuff into hot egg noodles for the ultimate bowl of comfort when the temps still hover below zero.

I lather up pieces of toast to go with spaghetti and meatballs or goulash.

I’m thinking of putting a dab on top of a chicken breast, and letting it melt just before it hits the table.  (It’s probably a nice idea, but Will won’t even notice, and Jen likes her chicken “without the green bits and dipped in ketchup, please.”


It’s a happy accident when I come up with something in the kitchen that has so many yummy uses.

It’s still not quite as fun as finding a $20 bill in my ski pants, tho.


Magical Buttery Basil Spread

  • 1 stick unsalted butter – softened
  • 2 Tb finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 squirts of Gourmet Garden Basil (about 2 Tb; or if you don’t have the fancy squirty stuff, use 3 tsp of dried basil)
  • 1 clove of garlic – pounded
  •  pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients and keep stirring until the spread is …  um …  spreadable.

Keep it in the fridge in a covered glass container.  If I’m going to be using some, I set the glass bowl on the stove while I’m cooking.  The residual heat from the cook top will loosen the spread enough to make it easier to scoop out what I need.  (You aren’t going to be putting your spread in a plastic* container, right?)


*Plastic is every bit as evil as a narcissist only it’s more insidious.

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  1. Compound butters like this are so fantastically versatile. I often keep just plain garlic butter around for that reason. Never thought of adding cheese! (I put it on steaks and seafood … And garlic bread, of course).

    Enjoy! And stay warm!

  2. LOVED this post. LOVE the way you look at life and thank you for the new recipe! New doors are always opening, aren’t they?

  3. J. Doe,


    The nice thing about these temps is that I feel less guilty eating fats – you know, we need the extra layers for warmth. Half and half in the coffee, hot buttered rums, “Pass the butter, please.” ;)

  4. Dee,

    Yes, about the new doors. And no matter how many new doors are opened, I still find the same true friends on the other side. Lucky me! ;)

  5. Yum! I cheat and buy basil pesto to keep on hand, but think I will switch and make this instead. Delicious.

    It reminded me of this salmon and fennel butter recipe… http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/bestof/toprecipes/bestsalmonrecipes/recipes/food/views/salmon-with-fennel-and-pernod-240682

    You could use anise seed instead of the Pernod and get similar flavor. I use Raki because I usually have it. Lol. But have used the anise seed also. Fennel bulb is the bomb.

  6. Z,

    “Bahahaha! You want me to eat WHAT?” says Jenny if I dare to suggest that I might serve something other than beef, chicken or pork.

    She won’t even try Rainbow Trout fried in bacon grease in a cast iron skillet over a campfire – which, by the way, ought to be on everyone’s food bucket list.

    p.s. Googling Raki….

  7. I have an entourage of picky eaters so I get that. I am not sure about the trout in bacon grease either… ;)

    I usually make this dish for adult Saturday nights at home (not often! lol) for the pickiest of eaters. Along with pilaf, salad, dolma, fruit plate, etc…and more Raki, of course. We graze and sip while watching movies and talk about whatever. It’s delightful and totally comfort food/atmosphere/memories. This is typical in Turkey and when we were in Istanbul, we went to a fish restaurant under the Bosphorus bridge and did the same. Of course, the quality of fish in the grocery store here is no match for the fresh off the boat in Istanbul, but this dish comes a close second, I think. And we don’t have the Turkish band and people dancing on chairs, but hey, it’s a much cheaper and quieter alternative. It gets the job done.

    How did I miss the plastic comment before? Placing that on my list of conscientious effort to improve my environment…

  8. Z,

    On this cold Monday morning, I am living vicariously through your descriptions of a holiday in Turkey. Thank you.

    On plastic… oh, honey, don’t get me started!

    It’s less about the environment (apologies) and more about what that nasty stuff does to your body – especially if it’s had a turn in the microwave. NEVER microwave in plastic. Don’t ever microwave anything in a glass dish if it’s covered with saran wrap.

    I’ll stop there.

    Happy Monday.

  9. Just delurked to say that your wonderful discussion reminds me of my favourite scene in “Last Holiday” (the remake with Queen Latifah), about the “secret of life”.

    I am sure all of you know what it is. :-)


  10. Jul,

    Oh, see what happens when you delurk? All this time I knew there was something significant about butter.

    For 15 years I’ve let my kids pick the movies so, No, I wasn’t familiar. It’s now on my list of movies to watch when I have the remote to myself.

    I’ll be eating buttery noodles, drinking cheap red wine and watching a stack of movies including “Last Holiday”, “Like Water for Chocolate” (which I watched over 15 years ago and must see again) and anything else that wouldn’t appeal to either one of my kids.

    Thanks for delurking here and spreading some fun.

  11. Hi Jesse,

    All I have to say is that we will brave the arctic terrain and be over for dinner and entirely too much wine. : ) Your resourcefulness sounds divine!!

    Warm wishes . . .

  12. Lynn,

    I hope to set four extra places. ;)

  13. Jesse,

    That would be marvelous and wonderful!! Happy Valentine’s Day!!

    Warm wishes and hugs ; )

  14. Jul,

    It’s a gray Sunday here – a will-winter-ever-end (?) Sunday. Will is skiing. Jen and I are hunkered in. We made some Earl Grey and checked Netflix. Saw “Last Holiday” and remembered you had suggested it.

    Thank you! We both loved it. I’m sure we’ll watch again with Will – at least I hope we do.

    Thanks again. :)

  15. Hi Jesse,

    you are most welcome! So glad you found the time!
    I don`t have much time to post here, but please know that your blog means a lot to me. My father was/is a narcissist, although probably a milder case compared to what I sometimes read here. But I do know a lot about walking on eggshells. :-) Reading your blog really helps me deal with childhood memories and with narcissists I encounter at work.
    Thanks a lot!

  16. Jul,

    Thanks for saying so, and thanks for checking in when you do.

    Here’s to an absence of eggshells this week. ;)

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