Thursday, 8 December 2011

Cream Cheese Vegetable Spread

As many of you know, I've been know to throw a party.  Or 2.  Or half a dozen in any given year ;-)  One type of party that I love to throw is a lady's tea.  People have alwoys loved my cucumber sandwiches, and asked for the recipe, but I always just throw it together at the last minute!  I made a batch today, and it turned out perfectly, so here it is in recipe form!

This is a great all purpose cream cheese dip/filling/spread.  Great with a veggie tray, crackers, cucumber sandwiches, etc.  For a dip, thin slightly with milk.

Cream Cheese Vegetable Spread

2 blocks philadelphia cream cheese, room temp
1 stick real butter, room temp
1/2 red bell pepper, minced finely (see notes in recipe)
1/2 cucumber, seeded and minced (see note)
2 green onions, halved lengthwise and minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon (or more) dried dill

optional - a few dashes of tabasco or worcestershire, for kick.  I never add these for cucumber sandwiches, maybe for use as veggie dip.

Basically you mix everything in a bowl with an electric mixer until creamy.  Makes about 3 cups.  For cucumber sandwiches, spread thinly on both pieces of bread, fill with a single layer of paper thin cucumber slices, remove the crusts and quarter the sandwiches.

Use English cucumbers if you can get them, which have tiny or non-existant seeds.  Otherwise, peel and quarter your cucumber lengthwise, then cut out the seedy center before mincing.

For the veggies, when I say minced, I don't mean "finely chopped".  I mean "minced until they begin to liquify".  If you have a mini food chopper, magic bullet, etc, this will be easy.  To do it by hand takes longer.  Chop each veggie until its very small, then gather it all up into a pile.  Beginning at one side of your pile, hold the knife in one hand, and place the other hand about 2" up from the tip.  Rock the knife back and forth quickly, while slowly progressing across your pile of veggies.  I usually scrape it all together and do it over and over until the pieces are super tiny, and they are standing in their own juices on the cutting board.  Pour it all into the bowl - including the juices.  Your mix will be slightly salmon-colored by the red bell pepper.  Speaking of which, smoked salmon in or on this dip would be heavenly.

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