March 15, 2007

Flavored Cream Cheese

What's not to like about Cream Cheese on toasted bagels or bread?
My workplace has a tradition of one of us bringing in bagels and cream cheese for breakfast for everyone. We get it from a nearby bakery where the bread and bagels are made fresh on its premises daily. As you walk in, the aroma of freshly baked bread wafts all around you tantalisingly luring you to buy some even if you just went in for a cup of coffee.
They have a display counter (similar to ice cream tubs under a glass case)with endless varieties of cream cheese to choose from. Some very interesting flavors such as strawberry, scallion, maple pecan, olive and some very peculiar (unless you are inclined towards that)such as smoked salmon, anchovies. So each time, we linger over the choices finally settling for one trusted and one adventurous flavor.
After trying out some of those on a regular basis, it just didn't feel right to settle for plain cream cheese at home and that's how the blending started at home.
So here are four different flavors that I like but this is just the tip of the iceberg. So if you have your favorite recipe for a flavored cheese that you have blended, write in and I will add that here.
Preparation: All of them start the same way. Leave a tub of cream cheese outside the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to help mixing in. All the ingredients have to be chopped into even and extremely tiny pieces so that the cheese coats it evenly. These blended cheeses will stay fresh for a 3-4 days(except the ones with onions) but I prefer it fresh so I don't keep it for so long. How much you make is based on how much gets used up at a sitting. The proportions are just indicative and feel free to change as per taste.

1. Spicy Jalapeno-Olive:
For the days when you need to kickstart your day..
Cream Cheese: 3 tbsp
Pickled Jalapeno Slices( or fresh green chilies)-3-4
Green Olives-3-4
Finely chop the olives and chilies and use a fork to mix it with the cheese. Add a couple of drops of lemon juice if it looks too thick. The pickled chilies have their liquid so you may not need any more.

2. Walnut-Raisin:
Hmm.. my favorite when I have a sweet tooth..
Cream Cheese-3 tbsp
Walnuts- 1 1/2 tbsp
Raisins/Cranberries/Dried Cherries- 1 1/2 tbsp
Maple Syrup/Honey- 1 tsp
Chop everything finely and blend. The Honey helps in making it a spreadable mix.
This stays well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

3. Vegetable Spread:
A healthy serving of veggies in the morning..
Cream Cheese-3 tbsp
Carrots finely diced-1 tsp
Cucumbers- 2 tsp finely chopped without the seeds.
Chopped Onions- 1 tsp or substitute with scallions(spring onions)
Chopped Cilantro/Parsley- 1/2 tsp
Green Chilies(optional)- 1
Lemon Juice- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste.
Mix everything together. Take care to scoop out the seeds of the cucumber before dicing as it adds too much water.

4. Sundried Tomatoes:
This is for a true Italian food lover. The flavor of the sundried tomatoes is very strong in this so try it if you like that pungency.
Cream Cheese-3 tbsp
SunDried Tomatoes- 2 tbsp
Dried Basil- 1tsp
Red Chili Flakes(optional)- A pinch
Blend the sundried tomatoes to a paste in a chopper. Add the rest of the ingredients and adjust taste. Use vinegar if it is too bland to add moisture and sourness.

5.Herbed Cheese:
Sorry, no photos on this one.
Cream Cheese-3 tbsp
Chopped Cilantro or Fresh Parsley- 2 tbsp
Chopped Mint-1/4 tsp
Lemon Juice- 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper-1/4 tsp
Salt to taste.
Blend the ingredients by hand and adjust taste.

Related Links: Some time back, Akshayapatra had blogged about flavored butters here.

And while you are all thinking of summer vacations and planning trips to India, I just wanted to bring to your attention a wonderful resort, Over the Hill, in Kerala designed and managed by my friend and her husband. It is located in Poovar, 30 kms from Trivandrum airport in Southern Kerala. Do check it out.


Nabeela said...

I add LOTS of chopped chives with roasted garlic and mediterrnanean sea salt to cream cheese to spread on my bagels :)

sunita's world said...

Wow!! look at all those flavours...looks great!

Sandeepa said...

Thats a nice array of flavors. Can I come and work at your office :)

Meeta said...

We love flavored cream cheese too. The vegetable spread will certainly be a gret new addition! Thanks Shaheen.

Asha said...

Great looking Cheeses.I have three flavored cream cheeses too at Aroma created like Indian flag for Republic Day!!:))

I love the Sun dried tomato ones.Thanks.

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Mishmash ! said...

Hi , liked that pic alot..heard of favoured butter, but this was new...looks like u have a great work place:)


Anonymous said...


As we live in the same city, why dont you just send a pack of them to me? I wud be much delighted and elated :))

The 'Over the Hill' was really superb...even am planning to visit my home soon, but dunno if i ll have time ever to go far from my home again...let's see...insha Allah

Richa said...

ooh i love the walnut-raisin cc, but somehow never thot of making it at home, you gave me an excellent idea, thankyou.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shaheen,
nitu here - this is as weird as it gets - last time I wrote in to you was when you wrote on your Napa Valley trip and I responded back about the cheese and grapes I encountered on a flight. Now I'm suddenly into flavoured cream cheese myself again and here you are with your take on it. Coincidendce or what? Discovered an assortment of crackers made for eating with flavoured cheese at IKEA too yesterday. Ive never tried making flvd. cheese myself but I tasted an apple cinnamon combo that was great too. Congratulations on your blog turning one...proud of you as a fellow calicutian!
Also wanted to tell you about flavoured hummus being interesting enough to spread on crackers and (tried them on bagels too) they were delicious. You must have tried them.
Even though I dont always drop a comment, I read your blog everyday. Doin a graat job - Im always introducing it to anyone and everyone I know.
TC and bon appetit!

Surya Hith said...

Looks great Shaheen.I make flavored cheeses with herbs regularly, but I never tried other flavours.Thanks

KitchenFairy said...

Wow!!Looks tasty..I never tasted before.Thank u for the information about holiday destination

Anonymous said...

i hav never tried it b4. looks tempting,endless possiblities....

and wish you a belated happy anniversary!

rahin said...

shaheen , aswrb :), gud blog , i started blogging recently , a nicely toasted bread with a well blended / flavoured cream cheese.....yumm .....hard to resist, to top it all u have a lovely display . Also a very happy anniversary :)

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

I realy like making spreads of different varity.....
Thanks for sharing this :-)

kc said...

i love jamaican jerk seasoning just mix jerk seasoning (as munch as u like) to cream cheese and blend

Divya said...

hi.. just a question - when you say blend does it mean in a blender or just by hand? Sorry, never lived in the US so don't know how these things look like, looks very interesting on the blog, so wanted to give it a try! Thanks!

mallugirl said...

Divya, just blend by hand.