It sounded like the perfect option for our on-the-go family: a semi-pourable creamy cheese designed for cooking, and I assumed it was just that - super soft cheese. When I checked it out at the store, though, I was balked as much by the host of non-foodlike ingredients as by the price tag. Over $5 for a teeny container of mostly unpronounceable chemicals? Come on. Then I saw a recipe on Finding Joy in My Kitchen to make you own - two ingredients, purely customizable, and cheap compared to the manufactured version.
I did have to make changes to that recipe, though. The original used chicken stock as the cooking medium, which to me seemed too salty (even using a low sodium version) and definitely lacked the tartness my mom was looking for in her dairy addition. I considered yoghurt, but nixed it when I realized it might curdle too quickly. Then it hit me - buttermilk. Naturally thick, tangy, and perfect for melting with the cream cheese, it's also plain enough that the herbs and garlic I added could be tasted without any off flavours. A short time later I had a good-sized container of my concoction mixed up and chilling in the fridge, perfectly ready by the time dinner was in the works. A couple spoonfuls added to the pot of marinara sauce added the perfect amount of creaminess for a weeknight pasta supper, and the fact that it keeps so well has earned it a spot in our condiment rotation.
Shared with Gluten Free Fridays
Ever - Variable Cooking Creme
Makes about 1 1/4 cups, 8 (2 1/2 tbsp) servings
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (I used an all natural, low-fat kind), cut into pieces and softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
up to 1 tbsp dried herbs and spices (optional, see Tips)
- Combine the ingredients in a small saucepot over medium-low heat.
- Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth (you may need a touch more buttermilk for consistency, I found 1/2 cup was perfect).
- Stir in flavourings, if desired.
- This will keep in the fridge for as long as the buttermilk's shelf life.
Italian: 1 tsp oregano + 1 tsp basil + ½ tsp garlic powder + ½ tsp parsley
Southwest: ½ tbsp taco seasoning + 2 sundried tomatoes, minced
Roasted Garlic: 6 cloves roasted garlic, pureed
Greek: ½ tbsp dried dill, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp lemon zest
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 5.0 g
Cholesterol: 16.2 mg
Sodium: 117.6 mg
Total Carbs: 2.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 3.4 g
Now onto the GIVEAWAY! You know how much I love making my own condiments and sauces, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of Homemade Condiments: Artisan Recipes Using Fresh, Natural Ingredients to review on Reading, Writing and Cooking. Now it's your chance to turn your kitchen into a gourmet pantry! Enter below - open to US and Canadian readers.
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