Wednesday, July 18, 2012

garlic basil cream cheese spread

Last week was probably the hottest it's been in Edmonton ever so in an act of dinner desperation, I decided to do a sort of tapas spread and forgo my nightly routine of turning on the toaster oven (which is a godsend in extreme heat, by the way).

I picked up a variety of snacky treats so we could just nibble as we wanted (which is about all you want to do when it's hot anyway). I found some spicy olives and peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, triscuits, jalapeno jelly, brie and mozzarella, grapes and cherries, and thuringer sausage (which is the only sausage worth eating, if you ask me).

I paused for a moment in the cheese section and reviewed all of the different flavours of cream cheese dips and pondered getting one until I remembered I had a block at home and could probably whip something up myself (it was leftover from a failed cheesecake popsicle attempt -- either I did it wrong or the ones found on pinterest just look a lot better than they taste).

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, whipping up a flavoured cream cheese spread is super easy and pretty adaptable to any flavour you want. I don't even know why you'd want to buy them premade. It literally takes seconds to make one to suit your tastes and needs.

For mine, I used garlic as the main flavour and added the basil for a little bit of green, but that turned out to add a lot of really great flavour. We ate all of it in two dinners!

{garlic basil cream cheese spread}

1/2 package cream cheese (I used light)
4-5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil (fresh would give a stronger flavour)
olive oil

The only planning ahead you have to do is to allow the cream cheese to soften to room temperature (which doesn't take long in this kind of heat). Then just add all the ingredients to the cream cheese and mix it together with a spoon. Let it sit for an hour or so to let the flavours permeate the cheese and serve at room temperature. 

You can customize the spread to suit your tastes, too. If you don't like raw garlic, you can roast it which gives it more of a caramelized, nutty flavour or you can also reduce the number of cloves. Salt and pepper is more to taste. It seems weird to add salt, but it really enhances the flavours. The basil is also adjustable or you can omit it altogether. I used just a drizzle or two of olive oil to increase the spreadability of the cream cheese. You don't want to go overboard with it, unless you want a really soft dip for lighter crackers.

I really loved it spread on a cracked black pepper triscuit with a spread of jalapeno jelly and topped with a thin slice of thuringer sausage.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I’m always ecstatic to see cheese spread combinations! :D Basil would be a great mix to it. It’s savory, yet it’s classic sweetness blends well with the cheese. I’d try this on Sunday when my cousins come over. They would love to try this as they are cheese addicts as well. :D

Alex Staff