We are back on the island from our 12-day vacation. Even though we had an amazing time, I am glad to be back home. I will be spending the next couple of days unpacking, doing laundry, and editing & organizing the more than 2,000 pictures I took during our time in Santa Fe, New Mexico and San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. I have to say, I cannot wait to share them with you guys.
I have to admit- this recipe is long overdue. I have had the pictures and the recipe ready for almost 3 weeks now and I had every intention of posting it during our vacation, but quite honestly I couldn’t get myself to sit in a hotel room and write blog posts. Instead, I went out and enjoyed the streets of Santa Fe and San Miguel de Allende, took lots of pictures, and ate a lot of great food.
Needless to say, I am rested, recharged, and happy to be back with lots of inspiration and stories to share with you.
So hang on tight, I am back!
A couple of weeks ago, I invited some friends over for a Sunday brunch. This was a part of our plan with 2 other couples to keep our social life going when most restaurants and hotels are closed on the island due to it being the slow season. We had decided that we would get together once a week, have a meal together, and play some games. To make it easier on the host, everyone would bring a dish based on a pre-selected theme. That way we would have some fun times together when there is absolutely nothing else happening on the island.
That Sunday it was my turn. As the host of the party, I chose the theme of Mediterranean Vegetarian. My goal was to introduce some of the amazing vegetarian dishes that the Mediterranean cuisine offers and have our friends try something that they had never had before. Of course, as a food blogger I decided to make two of the most popular Mediterranean dishes from my blog: simit and spinach and feta cheese börek. In addition to these dishes, I decided to make a quick cheese plate to serve with the simit and some crackers.
On Saturday, I whipped up this herb couer a la crème, placed it in the fridge, and got the börek prepped to bake for the next day. On Sunday morning, I woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning to make the simit. In between waiting for the dough to rise, getting them ready to bake, and cleaning up after all the baking, it took me 5 hours to put them on the table. At the very last minute, I quickly put together a cheese plate, which literally took me less than 10 minutes to prepare.
By the time they arrived, the house smelled like a bakery. I was hoping to get some compliments about the börek and the simit.
But guess what happened?!!??
My guests were more interested in the cheese plate than the other two dishes that I spent hours making. Yes, they did say everything looked good, but neither the simit nor the börek were the highlights of my brunch table. They all went for this herb couer a la crème and the cheese plate in general.
I guess it should not have come to me as a surprise, because this simple cream cheese and herb mixture is a delicious spread that I have been serving for years and getting great comments from everyone who has tasted it. And the best part of it is that (1) it takes less than 10 minutes to whip together, and (2) you can make it anytime of the year for any type of entertaining. I have to say, it is such a crowd pleaser.
For a cheese plate, depending on the crowd and the availability in our island supermarkets, I like to mix and match with cheeses, grapes, dried fruits, and nuts. For this one, in addition to the herb couer a la crème, I used fresh mozzarella, baked brie (drizzled with honey), cashews, walnuts, grapes, dried figs, and olives. I served it with some crackers, baked pita bread chips, and simit. I also used some leaves I picked from my backyard to make it look interesting and inviting. Like I mentioned earlier, it was a hit. They all asked for the recipe of the herb couer a la crème. So here it is…
As we are approaching the holidays and getting ready to do a lot of entertaining (and eating), I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and add it to your holiday party menu. I promise, it will not disappoint.
Herb Coeur a La Creme
- 12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup scallions both white and green parts chopped (approx. 4 scallions)
- 1/4 cup fresh dill chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix cream cheese until creamy in medium speed, 1 minute.
- While the machine is running, slowly pour in the heavy cream and mix until combined.
- Turn it down to slow speed and add the scallions, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix, until combined. (You may need to scrape down the bowl to make sure that it is thoroughly combined.)
- Place 2 layers of cheesecloth over a 6-inch medium mesh strainer placed in a bowl. Pour the cream cheese into the strainer and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Fold the top of the cream cheese with the excess cheesecloth.
- Cover it with stretch film. Place it in the fridge and let it sit overnight or at least 4 hours.
- When ready to serve, invert the crème on to a plate and discard the liquid in the bowl.
- Serve with crackers or slices of toasted French baguette.
Recipe adapted (with minor changes) from here.