Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Garden Veggie Cream Cheese

Bagel stores used to be everywhere. They are still around, just a little harder to come by. The good news is that you can transform even the most mediocre bagel into deliciousness with this homemade veggie cream cheese! Since it's so flavorful, it stands up nicely to the heartiness of whole wheat bagels, which is how we serve it up in our classes. We recommend warming or toasting the bagels first if they are not fresh. 

Be sure to cut all the veggies into small pieces so the mixture is spreadable, but still retains a little crunch. Feel free to mix up the veggies based on what's in season or what you happen to have in your fridge. We made a wintery version at a farmers market in February with carrots, beets and radishes, and just upped the garlic a bit to make up for the lack of green onions.

The simplicity of this recipe makes it a great candidate for involving the kids at home. Cooking with your kids can sound daunting (time-consuming, messy, etc). But it doesn't have to be! Even if you just have your little one stir the veggies into the cream cheese, or pinch salt and pepper to season, you are letting them be part of the process. It's that ownership over their food that gets kids invested and empowers them to try new things!

If you think your child is too young? Think again! We've been getting kids as young as two and three into the kitchen for over 10 years now. And in June we're expanding our offerings to include Babies Can Cook classes for 18-24 months olds.

Garden Veggie Cream Cheese

1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped or grated carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
2 pinches black pepper

Place softened cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. The best way to soften cream cheese is by leaving it out at room temperature. If you don’t have time to wait, you can soften it in the microwave. Just be sure to do it on a low power (start with 20 percent), and check it every 30 seconds or so. You don’t want it to melt!

Fold veggies, salt, and pepper into cream cheese. Mix until well combined. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper.

Serve as a topper for your favorite bagel, as a sandwich spread or even as a vegetable dip. You can store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

Makes 1 1/2 cups

What Kids Can Do (with appropriate tools & adult supervision)
*Finely chop or grate carrot
*Finely chop red pepper
*Mince garlic
*Measure salt
*Pinch pepper
*Stir cream cheese mixture
*Taste & adjust seasoning

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