Cream Cheese Herb Spread


Recipe here. This stuff is flat-out delicious. It tastes exactly like Boursin or Alouette. Fantastic with crackers or spread onto your favorite veggies. Also great as a sandwich spread. I add a tiny bit of dried parsley and a bit of celery salt to the specified recipe.

It has come to my attention that the link posted in this recipe is no longer working, so I decided to post the whole recipe.

Cream Cheese Herb Spread

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (softened)

1 cup butter (softened)

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried dill weed

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried marjoram

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp ground black peper

1/4 tsp celery salt

1/2 tsp dried parsley

Stir all ingredients together until smooth (the softer your cream cheese and butter are, the easier this will be.)  Adjust seasonings accordingly.  Sometimes I up the herb amounts just a little and/or add a little sprinkle of paprika.  Cheese mixture may be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen up to three months.

Makes 3 cups.

Black Bean Salsa from our friend A.F.

Black Bean Salsa



1 16 ounce bag frozen sweet corn, thawed to room temperature and drained

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight, cooked until tender and drained)

1 large (or 2 small) white onion, finely chopped

one 10-ounce package cherry or grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped

leaves from 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped

3 large jalapeño peppers, minced (Remove seeds from 1 or 2 of the peppers before chopping to control the spiciness; the “heat” is in the ribs and seeds.)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

salt to taste (start with about 3/4 tsp)

Heat the butter over high heat in a large sauté pan until foamy. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is browned and very fragrant.

Place corn in a very large mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Toss gently to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Feel free to add a little cumin or a minced garlic clove or a little Adobo seasoning or chili powder, if that suits your taste. Of course, you can always adjust the proportions if you prefer less onion, more
tomato, etc.

Serve with tortilla chips (these are fun and hold lots of chunky salsa) or use
in quesadillas, soft tacos or nachos.

This recipe makes a HUGE batch, fit for a large BBQ or potluck, but it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days or the quantities are easy to adjust, if you’d prefer to make a smaller batch.



Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer

Recipe here. Saag paneer is one of our favorites dishes when we go out for Indian food, but this is the first time that I’ve made it at home.

This recipe was really easy and quite yummy. I skipped the step of chopping the spinach beforehand and just gave the mixture a few pulses with the immersion blender, instead, after adding the buttermilk and yogurt.
I added a bit more seasoning than the recipe called for, because we really love the Indian spice palette.

I forgot to buy some naan, so just served it over rice, instead. Very nice.

Herbes de Provence


Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe

2 Tbsp dried savory
2 Tbsp dried rosemary
2 Tbsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp dried marjoram
2 Tbsp fennel seed
1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
1 Tbsp dried tarragon
1 Tbsp dried dill weed
1 Tbsp dried chervil

Stir together and store in an airtight container. I usually make a half-batch, because I don’t go through this stuff super quickly. FYI – half of a Tbsp is equal to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.

Chocolate-Peppermint Stick Ice Cream


I made this fantastic ice cream after reading David Lebovitz’s fantastic article, “Scooped” (an interactive online version can be found here)  in the June/July 2009 issue of Fine Cooking (it had been tucked away in my files for a while.) It is a “Create Your Own Ice Cream” guide and gives a basic custard recipe, with several possible variations and additions. I added some high quality melted dark chocolate and cocoa and crushed candy canes (leftover from our Christmas tree.) This was delicious stuff and is definitely something I will be making again.