Monday, August 31, 2009


Do you know about Benedictine spread? It's a delicious cucumber and cream cheese spread. It was invented in Louisville by a prominent caterer named Jennie Benedict. She was Louisville's foremost caterer at the turn of the 20th century, and Benedictine spread is her most well-known recipe. She also published a cookbook of her recipes in 1904, which she called The Blue Ribbon Cookbook. It was out of print for many years, but was recently reprinted, and I received a copy of it for Christmas last year. Many of the recipes are, well...strange. There's a whole chapter on "Sick Room Cookery," foods meant to help speed the recovery from illness. I haven't made many things from this cookbook, but I did decide to try one of the many Benedictine recipes that have been included. "Miss Jennie" didn't include her own recipe for Benedictine in any of her cookbooks, but many local restarauteurs included theirs in the newest reprint of The Blue Ribbon Cookbook. The one I tried comes from Lilly's restaraunt in Louisville.
My sister Allison loves Benedictine just as much as I do, so I decided to make her a batch of Benedictine to have for her lunch this week. Why? No reason, really. I just love her! I hope she enjoys it. I tasted it, and it's pretty darn good. I'll have to try some of the other recipes as well. Cucumbers have been on sale lately...grab a couple and make a batch of Benedictine!
Lilly's Benedictine
Kathy Cary, owner of Lilly's Restaurant in Louisville
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
2 Tbs. red onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. fresh dill, finely chopped
Bring cream cheese to room temperature. Add other ingredients and mix well.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vote Early...Vote Often

I need your help again! This week, I'm giving The Best Foodie Foto contest another go, and I'd really appreciate your vote! These are the pictures that I've entered into the contest. Let's review...
This is a slice of the Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue pie that I made for this past week's Tuesdays with Dorie event. Delicious!
Here's a photo of the pie before I cut into it. It was not only my first cream pie, but also my first meringue! Woo hoo...another culinary fear conquered!
And here are those yummy Glazed Peanut Butter Bars that I took to the Louden family reunion last Sunday. Peanut buttery goodness! Mmmm...
So, in order to vote, all you have to do is visit Hey, What's for Dinner, Mom?. Look for the photo that you think is the best "foodie foto", and leave a comment with the picture number. Hopefully you'll vote for one of my pictures. I think you can vote more than once, too! The voting will begin sometime tomorrow afternoon and will continue to Monday evening. Please stop by and cast your vote! Thanks a bunch!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Southwestern Chicken Roll-ups

Sometimes, you have high hopes for a recipe, and then you're disappointed with the final result. That's what happened with these Southwestern Chicken Roll-ups.
A couple of weeks ago, David and I went to our local library, which is brand-spankin' new and supremely awesome. David found a couple of Louis L'Amour books he hadn't read (which is unbelievable), and I found a couple of cookbooks. One of them was the 2005 Cooking Light Cookbook, which apparently has every recipe that Cooking Light printed in 2005. I thought this sounded good, so I decided to give it a try.
It's very simple, really. You take some chicken breasts, cream cheese, salsa, and cilantro and roll it all up. Then you dredge it in breadcrumbs and bake it. My review: meh. They were more like cream cheese-cilantro roll ups. The "Southwest" was unnoticeable. They were fine, don't get me wrong, but nothing that I'd rave over. I want to try to make them again, to jazz up the flavors. I'll put the recipe below, but I'd like to hear from you guys! What would you do differently? I think I definitely need to use some salsa that's got more "kick" than the mild stuff we keep here. Help me out...what changes would you make to the Southwestern Chicken Roll-ups?
Southwestern Chicken Roll-Ups
Cooking Light
6 (6-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
6 Tbs. Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese)
6 Tbs. picante sauce
6 cilantro sprigs
6 Tbs. Italian-seasoned bread crumbs (I just dumped some out and rolled the chicken in it)
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Top each breast half with 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 tablespoon picante sauce, and 1 cilantro sprig. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, beginning at narrow end (I used a toothpick to keep them rolled up).
Dredge chicken rolls in breadcrumbs. Place rolls, seam sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; lightly coat rolls with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TWD: Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie

Behold, my first meringue pie! Why, oh why, have I spent so many years afraid to make cream pies with meringues?!Linda, of The Tender Crumb, is responsible for this week's pick...the one that busted me out of my no-cream/meringue pie rut. Thank you, Linda! I had huge expectations to live up to on this one, because David's grandmother, Mama, is the Lemon Meringue Pie Queen. She makes lemon meringue pies on a pretty regular basis, and they are good! I wasn't sure if my pie would compare...but David said it was just as good as Mama's lemon meringue pie! Wow!
Mom and Chet (and David, of course) were the lucky taste-testers on this TWD assignment. Chet (the family chef) was very interested to hear that lime juice was used instead of water in the recipe. He said that all of the lemon meringue pies he'd made in the past called for water. I wouldn't know...I've never made one! I'll admit that I was intimidated by this recipe and nearly wimped out. Any time a recipe calls for the use of a candy thermometer and a specific temperature, I freak out. I don't know why...I've never had a bad result. I think I just equate a candy thermometer with some fancy technique. I did use the "supercharge" method to make the cream...I'm a very impatient person, and I couldn't begin to imagine whisking the mixture for 10 minutes. No way. My mixture turned to cream in a matter of a few minutes! I'm still trying not to think about the amount of butter that was blended into the mixture...good grief! But the results were delicious! I do wish I had used a little more ginger; I didn't really taste it much in the finished product. I really enjoyed the tart, zippy taste of the limes. I'll make this one again! If you want to try this super-refreshing pie, you can get the recipe at The Tender Crumb!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Glazed Peanut Butter Bars

This afternoon, David and I went to a family reunion. Of course, my contribution was a dessert. Yesterday I found this recipe for Glazed Peanut Butter Bars in an old issue of Taste of Home Magazine. I wanted a recipe that would make a nice-sized amount of servings, and this fit the bill. It filled a half-sheet pan, which made lots of tasty little bars! I had almost all of the ingredients on hand, which was a bonus!
The bars were nice and chewy, which I enjoyed. The recipe didn't call for the mini-chocolate chips, but I thought adding them would be the right thing to do!
Glazed Peanut Butter Bars
Adapted from a recipe in Taste of Home Magazine, courtesy of Janis Luedtke
For the Bars:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. water
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 quick-cooking oats
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
For the Glaze:
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars, and water. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.

Spread into a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or until lightly browned.
For glaze, in a microwave safe bowl, melt chips and peanut butter; pour over warm bars and spread evenly. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. Yield: 4 dozen

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grilled Nectarines

Growing up, we never really had dessert after dinner at our house. Dessert was a real treat, and it usually went along with a special occasion, like a birthday or something like that. When I went away to college (at Lindsey Wilson College, in Columbia, KY), our dining center was (and still is) amazing. The food was (and still is) delicious! There was always a huge buffet of desserts available after every meal, so it became a habit to get dessert after lunch and dinner. It was a bad habit. When I graduated and moved into my own apartment, I broke that habit, mostly because I just didn't keep a lot of sweet stuff, so it wasn't available. Then, a few years later, I started working for Cedar Lake, and dessert was provided to our clients after every I got back into the dessert habit again! I don't work for Cedar Lake anymore, but the habit has gotten much harder to break. Still, after every meal I eat (except breakfast), I think to myself, "Now I need a little something sweet." Today after lunch, I felt that way, but I made a healthy little dessert for David and me.

Since it's late summer, stone fruits are in season, so I picked up a couple of nectarines during my last shopping trip. I've seen people everywhere grilling stone fruits of all kinds, so I thought I ought to jump on the bandwagon and see what the fuss is about!
Grilled stonefruit (nectarines, in this case) is amazing. It's so simple...I just sprinkled a little brown sugar on the flesh side and laid it on a well-greased grill pan for a couple of minutes, until it got a few little grill marks (not as dramatic as I had hoped for, though). I added a little vanilla yogurt and a drizzle of honey, and it was as good as an ice cream kidding! The sweetness of the nectarines just seemed to be intensified by the grilling. It was a simple, delicious little dessert that took no time to prepare. If you've got a fridge full of stonefruit, you need to give this a try! Yum!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TWD: Applesauce Spice Bars

Thank goodness we had another easy TWD assignment this week! I love a good baking challenge, but not during my busiest work time of the year. I work for Lindsey Wilson College's School of Professional Counseling, and we're in the last week before our Fall semester needless to is crazy! But thank goodness for Karen, of Something Sweet by Karen, for choosing a delicious and simple recipe.
I was just telling David the other day that I'm tired of summer and ready for fall. I can only take so much heat and humidity before I start dreaming of crisp breezes, the smell of leaves burning, the softness of cozy sweaters, and the smells of autumn baking. This recipe was perfect for satisfying my fall yearnings! Apples, brown sugar, spices...all of the hallmarks of a fall comfort food recipe are here! Dorie's Applesauce Spice Bars were wonderful, and they couldn't have been more simple to prepare. The recipe calls for unsweetened applesauce in the batter, and I didn't have any on hand. However, I did have some homemade applesauce that I decided to use. Since it was sweetened, I cut back on the brown sugar a little...but not enough. These turned out a little too sweet for me, but delicious nonetheless!
If you're pining away for fall and need a little "pick-me-up" this week, you can grab this recipe from Karen's cute little website, Something Sweet by Karen. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Vote for Me!

Remember these?
They're the Brownie Bite Sundaes I made on Tuesday for...Tuesdays with Dorie. They were delicious! Anyway, I was petty pleased with how my pictures turned out, so I entered them into a contest! The Best Foodie Foto Contest is hosted by Laura from "Hey! What's for Dinner, Mom?"

Each week, she invites food bloggers to send her their best food photos from the week, then she compiles them all into one delicious post. To vote, you need to head on over to her site, check out the pictures, find mine, and leave a comment on my photo as your vote.

If you're a regular visitor to The Sweet Life, or if you've just stumbled upon it, I'd appreciate your vote! All you have to do is click on the linke to Laura's site, which is "Hey! What's for Dinner, Mom?" You'll go right to her site, where you can cast your vote.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas

The kiss of death here at The Sweet Life is for me to mention something I plan to make. Inevitably, I never get around to making it, or I post it much later. I've been talking about making something "honey-lime" for about two weeks now...and here's the final result...finally! Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas!
I don't really know why I decided I wanted to try the "honey-lime" flavor profile. I've been using a lot of honey lately in my cooking (marinades, etc.), and the idea just hit me while I was in Kroger one day. I had no idea what I'd end up making with this flavor profile, but I knew I could find something online. I originally kind of planned to make some kind of a marinade for flank steak, but I stumbled along these enchiladas instead. They come from The Sisters' Cafe, which is a great little blog! It belongs to a group of five sisters who take turns posting delicious recipes. They've got a little bit of everything to choose from, and they've become one of my "go-to" sites when I want to try something new.
The recipe is super-simple to prepare. The toughest part of the whole thing was finding the green enchilada sauce at Wal-Mart! I finally found it on the clearance aisle. I guess folks in rural Kentucky don't eat a lot of green enchilada sauce. David and I had these last Saturday, after a very busy day of doing...nothing! They were the perfect ending to a perfect, lazy Saturday with my husband!
Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas
6 Tbs. honey
4 1/2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (I just juiced 2 limes)
1 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. shredded cooked chicken
flour tortillas
Mexican cheese blend, shredded
10 oz. green enchilada sauce
Mix first 4 ingredients together and toss with shredded chicken. Let it "marinate" for at least a half hour (I let it marinate for most of a day). Pour some green enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 10x10 casserole dish or 9x13 pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese. Pour the rest of the can of green enchilada sauce over enchiladas then sprinkle with more cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. (Put it under the broiler at the end to make the cheese brown and crispy on the top.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TWD: Brownie Buttons

This week, we had an easy assignment for Tuesdays with Dorie, thanks to Jayma over at Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen. These tiny, delicious brownies can be made in one saucepan in just a matter of minutes! I've never made brownies in a saucepan before, so that was definitely interesting. The recipe also calls for the zest of half an orange, which I was a little leery of trying, but I went for it. I can certainly taste something a bit different in the brownies, but I'm not sure that I could identify it as orange. They sure are yummy!
The recipe also suggests that they be topped with melted white chocolate, but I was feeling tired and lazy this evening, so I made David a little Brownie Button Sundae! I topped three little brownies with marshmallow fluff, then drizzled them with hot fudge and topped them with crushed walnuts. I had a tiny bite, and they were delicious!

If you're interested in trying a new brownie recipe, you can find the recipe over at Jayma's blog. Or you could go pick up a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours. Seriously...if you like to bake, what are you waiting for?!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beef and Pepper Stir-Fry

A couple of weeks ago, I got my newest copy of Good Housekeeping. I hadn't really had an opportunity to sit down and read it until this past weekend, but as soon as I got it, I flipped through it and noticed the recipe for Beef and Pepper Stir-Fry. I marked it and made note on my grocery list the few ingredients I'd need.
I made the stir-fry dish tonight, and it was delicious! As a bonus, it was healthy, easy to prepare, and quick! That's a dish that meets my "weeknight supper" criteria perfectly! Please excuse my pictures...we've got a storm brewin' here in Kentucky and my natural light is gone.
Beef and Pepper Stir Fry
Good Housekeeping

1 lb. flank steak, cut lengthwise in half and very thinly sliced
4 Tbs. lower-sodium teriyaki sauce
4 green onions
1 c. instant brown rice (I used regular, long-cooking)
3 tsp. canola oil (I used olive)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I used 2 and pressed it)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
In a small bowl, toss beef with 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce.
Thinly slice dark green tops from green onions and reserve for garnish; cut remaining white and light green parts into 1-inch pieces. Cook rice as label suggests.
In 12-inch skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil on medium-high heat until hot. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook 1 minute. Add green onion pieces, red pepper slices, and 2 tablespoons water; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until peppers are tender, stirring frequently. Transfer to medium bowl. Keep warm.

In same skillet, heat remaining teaspoon oil until hot. Add half of beef; cook 1 minute or until beef just loses its pink color throughout, stirring. Transfer to bowl with peppers; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beef.
Add remaining 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce to skillet; cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add to beef and vegetable mixture; stir to combine. Serve stir-fry over rice. Garnish with reserved green onions.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Garlic Chicken Pasta with Spinach

Before I begin, I owe many thanks to Amanda (of Amanda's Cookin') for helping me figure out what's wrong with some of my pictures. If you look at these pictures, and especially the ones of the Classic Banana Bundt Cake, you'll see a bright, blurry spot right in the center of the pictures. I've had a heck of a time figuring out what that was! Amanda asked if I had a smudge on my lens, and lo and behold, that was the problem! I'd never thought of that! Thanks Amanda, for helping out a newbie! I appreciate it!
Now let's get down to business...the food! When David and I got married, we ate lots of pasta. I don't know why. I guess because it's quick and cheap. But it can make you chunky if you eat too much of it, which is what started happening to us. We cut way back on pasta, switched to the whole wheat variety when we do have it, and started eating more lean meats and veggies. But we still love the stuff, so we have it about once a week or so. As you probably know by now, I can easily get bored cooking the same things over and over again, so I'm developing a rather large file of recipes to try. Light and healthy pasta recipes seem to be few and far between, so when I find one, I snap it up and try it out as soon as possible. And, since it's summer, I'm not really feeling heavy meat sauces. The last few pasta recipes I've tried have nary a tomato in sight, and they're great!
I found this recipe on Melanie's site, My Kitchen Cafe. I can't even remember how I found her and her wonderful little corner of the Internet, but I'm so glad that I did. I've tried several of her recipes, and they've all been absolutely delicious! She has no idea, but she got David and me through Bible school week (when I was gone pretty much every night) on her healthy crockpot meals! Because it was Bible school, I didn't get pictures of the dishes, but they were so good that they're definitely on the "make again" list. I turned to her again this week when I needed a healthy, quick dish for supper. The Garlic Chicken Pasta with Spinach was wonderful, and so easy! I think she originally got the recipe from Cook's Country and did some tweaking.
Garlic Chicken and Pasta with Spinach
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
6 Tbs. olive oil (I cut this back to about 4 Tbs.)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
5 oz. baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbs. dried basil
6 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Meanwhile, combine garlic, pepper flakes, and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the garlic/red pepper oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat until oil is rippling. Add chicken and cook until well browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender but still lightly firm (al dente). Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in chicken, spinach, basil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and remaining garlic/red pepper oil, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

TWD: Classic Banana Bundt Cake

Thank you, Food Librarian, for choosing this cake! I, too, love a good Bundt cake. I got my bundt pan at a church yard sale about 4 years ago, and I don't know how I lived without it. If you don't have one at your house, you need a bundt pan. They come in a wide variety of patterns, but I have the basic bundt. I'm happy with it! You can also find bundt pans at a variety of price points. I've seen them for less than $10.00, but all the way up to about $32.00. Spend whatever you like, but definitely pick up a bundt pan the next time you're at Wal-Mart! They're my absolute favorite type of cake to make, so when I saw this one on the TWD schedule for August, I knew there would be no way I'd miss it!
The recipe for this delicious, beautiful Bundt couldn't be easier. You just need flour, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, bananas, and either sour cream or plain yogurt. I'd say that anyone who cooks or bakes even semi-regularly has these items on hand. I had fat-free plain yogurt, so that's what I used, and it turned out great. I also added in some mini-chocolate chips. It just seemed like the right thing to do!My favorite part of baking anything is having leftover batter to eat. I don't fear raw eggs in my batter...I eat batter anytime I bake, and I bake a lot. I've never had any ill effects, so I'll keep on keepin' on. Anyway, this batter was delicious. I knew that the baked cake would be beyond delicious, so I made plans to get it out of the house. Once it had cooled, I made a simple glaze with milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla, drizzled it on, cut a slice for Mama, and sent it to CUB with David. There was no way I was going to let that Banana Bundt Beauty sit in my kitchen and tempt me! If you've got the ingredients on hand, and you probably do, why don't you go and visit The Food Librarian and get the recipe?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer on a Plate

Tonight's installment in the "My Favorite Sandwich" challenge is courtesy of Lindsey B., one of my cousins. Before I get down to the sandwich details, let's talk about me and Lindsey and how we're connected. Her grandfather is my uncle (my dad's brother). Her great-grandmother is my grandmother. She and her sisters grew up in Ohio, and we usually saw each other at Christmas. We're only about three months apart in age, so we were always automatic playmates. As years went by, we didn't see as much of each other anymore...really I'm not sure when was the last time I actually saw Lindsey! But through the magic of Facebook, we've reconnected and found that we both have food blogs (Lindsey's is called Yummy Things)! Lindsey sent me her favorite summertime sandwich: an openfaced tomato sandwich smeared with homemade red pepper spread. Sounds good to me!
David and I haven't had BLT's yet this summer, so I decided to add the red pepper spread as a delicious condiment, instead of our regular mayo. It was GREAT! The roasted red pepper spread came together really quickly last night, and I got two nice little jars out of one recipe. There's a nice bite from the red peppers, but you can also really taste the cucumber in the spread.
David commented that the red pepper spread looks a little like pimento cheese, and I agree. But it's so much better. The BLTs with the red pepper spread tasted like summer on a plate. Absolutely delicious. David had three! The spread would be great by itself on a sandwich, but I think it would also be great on crackers. Or on veggies. Or on a bagel!
Ready for the recipe? It originally came from Cooking Light. If you check out the website, you can see the nutrition information, and I was pretty pleasantly surprised. The suggested serving (a sandwich made only with the red pepper spread), is really pretty large. When the spread is used as a condiment (and has plenty of flavor to do so), the calorie and fat count is quite low. This is definitely a recipe we'll use around here often! Thanks, Lindsey!
Roasted Red Pepper Spread

1/2 cup finely chopped seeded cucumber
1 (7 oz.) bottle roasted red peppers, drained and finely chopped
6 oz. Neufchatel cheese (reduced fat cream cheese), softened
3 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
3 Tbs. red onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
Spread cucumber and bell peppers onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels; let stand 5 minutes to drain excess moisture. Scrape into a medium bowl using a rubber spatula. Add the cheeses, onion, salt, and garlic; stir with a fork until well blended. (Or you can dump it all in the food processor and pulse until combined. The texture won't be as chunky, but it's quick!) Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shellie's Sandwich

You might remember my post from last week about favorite sandwiches. It started from a radio broadcast I heard on KLOVE, during which time callers from all over the US described their favorite sandwiches. Some were classic (bologna and cheese), others were strange (PB and pickles, which I tried). I decided that if you, dear readers, would tell me about your favorite sandwich, I'd blog about it and eat it! Tonight, David and I tried our first sandwich, courtesy of Shellie K., a friend from high school who submitted her entry via my Facebook page.
Here's Shellie's sandwich: peanut butter, strawberry jam, and nacho cheese Doritos. Her sandwich definitely falls into the weird category...right there with the PB and pickles. But I have to say that I liked this one better.
David wasn't so sure about the PB, strawberry jelly, and Dorito sandwich, but he's a trooper and gave it a try! I think the key to this sandwich is having lots of Doritos. I actually went back and added a few more to my sandwich. I liked the crunch and the cheesy saltiness they added. I don't know if it's a sandwich that I'd eat on a regular basis, but it was definitely worth a try! Thanks, Shellie! Hopefully we'll see you in October for our TEN YEAR REUNION!
Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich with Homemade Red Pepper and Cucumber Spread - Lindsey B.
Hot Ham n' Cheese Hoagies - Smith family
Peanut Butter, Banana, and Mascarpone Panini - Amanda C.
Bacon Apple Bleu Sandwich from the North End Cafe - Amanda C.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Homemade Boursin Cheese

Until about a month ago, I had never tasted Boursin cheese. I'd heard about it plenty of times, but I had never tasted it. And then, all of a sudden, Boursin cheese was everywhere! Earl and Shirley had some at their house one evening when David and I stopped by, so I tried it. Delicious! Of course, I've never met a cheese that I didn't like, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed it. Then, a week or so after my first taste of Boursin, Devona brought some to a ladies' group meeting. After experiencing the delightfulness that is Boursin, I decided to check it out at the grocery store. I had never seen it, but then again, I hadn't been looking for it. Well, I found it at Kroger, in the "fancy cheese" case. That's not the case where you find the Kraft cheese slices or the Velveeta. It's where you find the brie, the smoked mozzarella, etc. Anyway, a little container (maybe 6 ounces or so) cost almost $6.00! I looked at the ingredients, and it didn't look like rocket science, so I started looking for a copycat.
The recipe I found came very close to the original. Close enough for me to warrant not ever buying the real deal Boursin cheese again, as a matter of fact! Especially since it took about 5 minutes to make. The recipe I found came from Recipezaar. After checking out the official Boursin website, I learned that there are a number of flavors, and I think they'd probably be easy enough to replicate by tweaking this recipe just a tad.
We enjoyed our copycat Boursin cheese on a variety of crackers, but I've seen numerous recipes that include Boursin cheese as an ingredient. I be it would be out of this world on a bagel. Or a nice thick smear of this homemade Boursin would be delicious as a dip for veggies (celery, carrots, etc.). Take your pick! Just make sure you make it as soon as possible, because you definitely won't be disappointed! I'll post the full recipe, but I just made half tonight for us, and we had plenty left over. I haven't tried freezing it, but the Recipezaar site says that it freezes well. If you try that and have good luck, please let me know. I don't think I'll have many leftovers to worry about!
Copycat Boursin Cheese Spread

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
16 oz. (2 bricks) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried dill week
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Blend cream cheese and butter together until well combined (I was able to do this with a spatula with no problem). Add pressed garlic and herbs. Mix until well combined. The cheese can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to three months.
* I used two cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp. of oregano, and 1/4 tsp. of the other herbs in the half batch and thought it tasted pretty darn good. If you're making the full batch, you might want to start wtih the above amounts, taste it, and then adjust the seasonings to your taste.
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