Chive Cream Cheese with Smoked Salmon

8 05 2009

 

Chives are perennials and will reappear each spring in your garden

Chives are perennials and will reappear each spring in your garden

Chives are one of the first fresh herbs to appear in the spring and their mild and delicate flavour works well in many dishes such as eggs, salads and potatoes.  Chives are extremely easy to grow in a garden or herb pot and require no real maintenance. 

Smoked salmon is a favourite of mine and pairs beautifully with chive cream cheese. Spread the cream cheese on a bagel and top with the salmon for a tasty breakfast. It’s an easy but elegant idea for mother’s day or special occasions.  The cream cheese can be made in advance and kept in the fridge.  

As an alternative, make appetizers by topping crackers or toast rounds with the cream cheese and salmon. Garnish with chives and serve with a dry sparkling wine or champagne.

Chive Cream Cheese with Smoked Salmon

Makes about 2/3 cup cream cheese – recipe can easily be doubled

  • 4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese or light cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives + extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-1/2 ounces smoked salmon (about 4 to 6 slices)
  • 4 bagels, split in half – optional
  1. In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese and cream.  Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat on high until the cream cheese and cream are combined and smooth, about 1 minute.  Stop periodically to clean the beaters with a rubber spatula if necessary.
  2. Add chives, shallot and salt and beat together on high for about 2 more minutes, until the mixture is creamy.
  3. Toast the bagels and let cool slightly.  Spread each bagel with cream cheese and top with the smoked salmon.  Bagels can be made ‘sandwich’ style or as open-faced halves.  Garnish with chopped or whole chives.

Variation: to make into appetizers, spread cream cheese on crackers or toast rounds and top with a small piece of smoked salmon.  Garnish with chives.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

 

Chive cream cheese with smoked salmon on a toasted bagel

Chive cream cheese with smoked salmon on a toasted bagel

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A Valentine’s Day Menu

12 02 2009

istock_000002801671xsmallValentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year which is great for enjoying the evening with a loved one (or a group of friends if you are feeling sociable or are unattached). However, going to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth.  Struggling to get a reservation at your favourite place then dealing with the crowds and overworked staff makes entertaining at home look like an attractive option.  Save the restaurant visit for the following week, when the crowds have died down and you can really enjoy yourself.  A home cooked meal is also a great idea if you’re watching your budget.  The following dishes can be made for a fraction of what a restaurant would charge.

If you’re staying in, an elegant menu is in order.  The main dish (ribs or osso buco), potato and pudding recipes are designed to make four servings so you can either invite some friends to join you, cut the recipes in half or enjoy leftovers the next day. Half bottles of sparkling wines and red wines are usually available if you’re serving two people and don’t want to go overboard.

 

A Valentine’s Day Menu for 2 or 4 people

Champagne or sparkling wine

Smoked Salmon Spread with crackers OR a Selection of Freshly Shucked Oysters

Scallop Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Braised Short Ribs  OR  Osso Buco with Tomato Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

A bold red wine, such as Sangiovese, Barolo or Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany the main course

Individual Chocolate Puddings

Ice Wine Cocktails with a selection of cheeses

Chocolate Truffles (purchased from a good chocolate shop)

 

Bon Appétit and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Scallop Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette makes an elegant starter course for a romantic Valentine's Day meal

Scallop Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette makes an elegant starter course for a romantic Valentine's Day meal





Smoked Salmon Spread

20 12 2008

 

Smoked Salmon

Things have been pretty quiet this December at The Seasonal Gourmet.  I’ve been busy working on a project and getting ready for Christmas so there hasn’t been a lot of time for recipe development and baking (plus, for dietary reasons I’ve cut back on cookies and sweets this year).  However, it is the season for entertaining family and friends so here’s an easy smoked salmon spread that is delicious on crackers.   You can use reduced fat cream cheese and serve on cucumber rounds to lighten it up a little.

Smoked Salmon Spread

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

  • 4 oz. (113 g) smoked salmon slices (about 5 slices)
  • 1 package (250 g / 8 oz) light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dill sprig, for garnish

 

  1. Make sure cream cheese is at room temperature.  Cut into chunks and place in a food processor.
  2. Add all other ingredients and pulse until mixture is smooth.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.  Serve with crackers or cucumber rounds.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

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Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad

29 08 2008

Smoked salmon, cucumber and fresh dill make a refreshing light lunch or first course on hot summer days. Although summer is winding down, cucumbers and dill are abundant right now so give it a try on the next warm day.  The cucumber salad is also a great side dish to grilled or roasted salmon.

Crème fraîche is a thick, aged cream.  Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to find.  If you can’t get it for this recipe, you can used drained, plain yogurt or sour cream but adjust the seasonings because the flavour will not be quite the same.   It’s also possible to make your own. You can check out this link for more information on substitutions:

Crème Fraîche Substitute

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad

The crème fraîche dressing can be made in advance but do not assemble the salad until just before serving because the cucumbers will start to give off liquid resulting in a soggy salad.

Makes 4 first course servings

  • About 5 oz. (140 g) smoked salmon
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche (see note above for substitutions)
  • 2 Tablespoons shallot, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large English (Burpless) cucumber, cut into slices about 1/4″ thick (about 2-1/2 cups)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine  crème fraîche, chopped shallot, cider vinegar, sugar salt and chopped dill.  Stir to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.  
  2. Just before serving, mix the cucumbers with the crème fraîche dressing and toss to coat.  Top with smoked salmon and garnish with fresh dill.  Can be served family-style or plated individually.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

 

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad with fresh dill garnish