Tag Archives: cheese

Cream Cheese Spread

My mother-in-law made us a book of family recipes. One is her mother’s recipe for cream cheese, olives and nuts sandwich spread.

cream cheese spread photo d stewart That looks good, I’d think every time I saw the recipe, must make that. But I did so only recently. Oh, l regret those wasted years!

cream cheese olive spread elizabeth smock* My second time making it, I also added plain yoghurt, about half the amount of mayonnaise. It made it creamier with a little tangy taste. I didn’t add olive juice, as in Heloise’s recipe below. That may give the softer texture I was looking for.

mixing-cream cheese olives and nuts -photo-d-stewartCrushed walnuts or pecans are best. I only had sliced almonds first time I made it. My husband said it’s good but doesn’t taste like grandma’s. Second time, with walnuts, he pronounced it as good as hers.

Googling cream cheese and olive spread

olive cream cheese spread-toasted-rye-photo-d-stewartI googled it to see if anyone other than grandma Elizabeth had ever made this. Have they! Apparently, it’s part of Christmas and Thanksgiving and all special events in the United States, especially in the South. It’s good for everyday sandwiches but also can be dressed up as fancy as you like. In tea sandwiches, little pinwheels, on toast points, stuffed in or on vegetables.

I leave the last word on cream cheese and olive spread to Heloise, of Heloise’s Hints. She explains its joys and versatility ever so well. Thanks, Chipmunknits, for posting this treasure. Tap to enlarge so you can read it. I especially like the story of the neighbour hiding her container of it in the back of the fridge so her kids don’t find it.hints from heloise chipmunknits.blogspot.com_2010_01_heloise-olive-spread

Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

A zucchini that escaped, hiding under foliage in order to grow huge. cheese stuffed zucchini with dinner rollStuff it. With what? What about a cheese stuffing? Something light and summery for the last days of summer. Light cheese. Maybe egg too. Below is what I used, but other combinations of cheese and herbs would work just as well.

Ingredients

1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
1-2 tbsp chopped onion
1/3 cup (100 g) cream cheese
1/3 cup (100 g) ricotta or cottage cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
salt, pepper
fresh or dried herbs
turmeric, garlic (options for taste)
cheddar cheese, grated

Recipe for stuffed zucchini

Scoop out zucchini insides and keep. I left about a half inch of zucchini in the shells. Set them aside to fill later.scooped-zucchini

Take seedy parts out of the zucchini pulp and discard. Chop up the rest of it.

sauteeing-zucchini Melt a bit of butter in a frying pan and add zucchini pulp, onion, salt and pepper. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric for colour. Garlic would probably be good too.

A lot of water will come out of the zucchini. Drain it and put in a bowl.

cheese added to zucchiniAdd one large egg, beaten.

Add 1/3 cup each cream cheese and ricotta to zucchini-egg mixture. Blend with a fork.

You can use any kind of hard or soft cheese, alone or in combination. I thought the cream cheese and ricotta I had on hand would make a light, almost fluffy filling, and it did.

zucchini egg breadcrumbs and herbsMix in 1 cup breadcrumbs. I added fresh herbs – parsley, basil and rosemary – and green onion, chopped coarsely.

Put a bit of olive oil on zucchini boats and fill with mixture. I added cherry tomatoes on top and grated cheddar cheese over them.

zucchini-ready-to-bakePut them on a baking sheet and add a bit of water to the pan so they don’t stick. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes, until cheese on top is nicely browned and zucchini on the sides is soft.

Cut each baked zucchini boat in half, which gives you four servings.cheese-stuffed-zucchini

Alternative suggestions

My husband said the zucchini stuffing on its own would make a great casserole. Its texture is almost like a soufflé. So if I try that, I’d scrape out the whole inside of the zucchini. Then, his suggestion, put the mixture in ramekins for individual servings.  If you want to stick with stuffed zucchini boats, but heartier ones, you can use a thick pasta sauce. Here is how I make  those. And you can buy zucchini corers! (See Paderno’s below) Who knew?

Macaroni and Cheese

This stove-top macaroni and cheese recipe is the best ever. I’ve made it a lot of different ways, and love this one. It is easy and consistently good.

stove-top macaroni and cheese cookingMakes 4 main-course servings or 6-8 side-dish servings (If you really like mac & cheese, you’ll want this amount for two people so you can have seconds)

Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 12-oz (341 ml) can evaporated milk
¼ tsp (1 ml) Tabasco sauce
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
¼ tsp (1 ml) ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tsp (5 ml) water
½ lb (225 g) elbow macaroni
4 tbsp (50 ml) unsalted butter
12 oz (350 g) Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (abt 3 c/750 ml). Use sharp or mild cheddar, as desired
Toasted bread crumbs or crumbled saltine crackers* (optional)

1. Mix eggs, 1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk, Tabasco sauce, ½ tsp (2ml) salt, pepper and dry mustard in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 qt (2 L) water to boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add remaining 1½ tsp (7 ml) salt and the macaroni; cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.

3. Drain and return the macaroni to the pan over low heat, add butter and toss to melt.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the buttered noodles along with three-quarters of the cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and cheese starts to melt.

5. Gradually add remaining evaporated milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes.

6. Serve immediately, topped with toasted bread crumbs or crumbled crackers.

Macaroni and Cheese Styles

macaroni and cheese served with peasI got this recipe several years ago from a London Free Press AP article written by Tommy C. Simmons. He says about the different ways of making mac & cheese:

“There are two styles of macaroni and cheese. One combines macaroni with a cheese-flavoured white sauce… The other is layered macaroni and cheese topped with a milk or milk-and-egg mixture that forms a custard when the combination is baked.

The food staff at Cook’s Illustrated magazine found a third style of macaroni and cheese preparation, which they credited to John Thorne’s Simple Cooking cookbook. [This recipe.] The recipe testers at Cook’s Illustrated described Thorne’s recipe and their adaptations in the January-February 1997 issue and rated it the best macaroni and cheese recipe they tested.”

Reading a Kirkus review of Simple Cooking, John Thorne’s books sound worth reading as much for his commentary on food and foodie trends as for the cookery information and recipes.