This time of year can mean the need, or want, for spreads, appetizers and dips. We live in forested mountains, far away from family and friends. That does not mean we do not make fun foods for ourselves at times. My favorite dip is onion dip. I can eat it until I am almost nauseous. There is something about onion dip that is… I do not know, but I love it. I will share a homemade version of that recipe sometime in the future that does not use the boxed soup mix. Today, I am sharing a cheese spread that is very easy to make to one’s taste.
I did not like this spread decades ago because my mother-in-law used mayonnaise for the base. (scrapping tongue) Himself loved it… and he loves mayo. (gag) Most mayo is filled with soy, canola, corn-sugars, and other foul ingredients I will not ingest. Yes, I tried making homemade mayo. I wasted a lot of eggs doing so. Making mayo is not one of my skills. (shrug) I changed the recipe, making the spread more Deb-friendly. Himself loves my version. As usual, I use all organic and/or GMO-free ingredients.
Deb’s Cheese Spread
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 small jar pimentos, drained and rinsed (optional)
2 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (Mild, medium, or sharp are all good.)
salt, pepper, and granulated dried garlic to taste**
a sploosh of whole milk
Put the cream cheese into a food processor*. Use the Pulse to bring the cream cheese to a creamy state. Add the cheddar cheese and your preferred seasonings. Blend or pulse until fully blended and smooth. This will be stiff.
Optional: At this point you can make a cheese ball if wished, or skip this part and make the soft spread. If you want a cheese ball: pulse or knead in the pimentos, more seasonings and other ingredients you wish to add, then form the mixture into a ball. Chill until firm.
For the Soft Spread: Add a sploosh of whole milk, (maybe up to a 1/4 of a cup?), to the mixture and blend until the consistency of spread you prefer. Then pulse in the pimentos just enough to blend thoroughly. Scrap the spread into a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
This is excellent on crackers, (my homemade ones, of course), and toasted nibblie-types of breads.
Note: The photo above of the spread does not include the pimentos. I had not liked them until I found that draining and rinsing them was more to my taste for some reason. It is still very good without the pimentos.
*The spread is easier to make in a food processor. A good blender may work, or you can make this by hand. I found the stick blender sucks at mixing this spread. By hand, it takes some time, and the cheese does not get as fine a shred as by using a food processor. Shredding the cheese finer than usual may help if mixing by hand, as I had made this recipe at first.
** You could also try onion powder, minced dry onion, minced chives, paprika, and so on. Have some fun with the seasonings.