September 26, 2017

Tasteful

By Jan Kenney

‘Boursin’ Cheese It’s mid-August, and I don’t know about you but this time of year I just can’t be bothered with a lot of fuss — the dog days of summer I guess. It is too hot to be cooking much, unless it can be done outdoors on the grill.

Heavy, complicated foods just aren’t appealing either. But with a loaf of artisan bread, some fresh fruits and veggies and a crock of creamy, delicious “Boursin” style cheese, you have at hand all the ingredients you need for a lovely hors d’oeuvres plate for a party, the makings of a fantastic picnic or even a simple evening meal. At craft fairs and flea markets, you will find packets of dried spices that you can buy that are similar to this mix.

But of course the joy of making it yourself is the control you have over your flavors. If you like it spicier, add more pepper. Don’t like garlic? Leave it out. Once you’ve found your perfect blend, why not mix up a big batch and make your own flavor packs to give to friends and family as gifts? If you have access to fresh herbs, by all means use them!

As a rule of thumb, use three times more fresh herbs than dried. Pair it with a Vermont-brewed beer, your favorite wine, a sangria or a mint-infused iced tea and enjoy.

Garlic and Herb Flavored Cheese 1 stick butter, softened 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1/2 tsp basil, dried 1/2 tsp chives, dried 2 tsp garlic, fresh 1/4 tsp marjoram, dried 1/2 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp parsley, dried 1/4 tsp tarragon, dried 1/2 tsp thyme, dried 1/4 tsp black pepper, finely ground 1/2 tsp kosher salt Place everything in a food processor.

(You can use a hand mixer if you’re using dried herbs). Blend until mixed. If possible, let it chill in the refrigerator (or cooler) for a half hour or so to give the flavors time to disperse.

Let it warm back up a little before serving. It’s so good spread on bread or crackers, or use as a dip for veggies (it can be thinned with a little milk if it’s too thick). If you’re up for a little bit of cooking, this is a great stuffing in cooked mushroom caps.

And on the grill, if you pound out chicken breasts, spread on the “Boursin” and roll them back up before cooking … Yum.

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