Fresh Herbed Cream Cheese
This recipe for herbed cream cheese couldn't be easier to prepare. It's a great way to use the herbs that you grow in your garden. The basic principle behind this recipe is to combine about 1/3 cup of minced herbs with 8 ounces of cream cheese. So don't limit yourself to the herbs I've used. Experiment with your favorites.
Set your plants out about 2 weeks after the last frost when the days are warm; basil can’t stand cold weather. When planting, add plenty of organic nutrients from compost, blood meal, or cottonseed meal to the soil. Basil needs well-drained soil and full sun, but appreciates afternoon shade in the hottest climates. Water deeply during dry spells. Plants in pots dry out faster so water them more often. Watering is very important because drying stunts growth. Avoid splashing water on the leaves to prevent leaf spots and sunburn. Pinch blooms off as they appear to keep the plant bushy and productive. In fall you can bring potted basil inside.
Plant oregano anytime during the growing season. Plant in well-drained soil amended with a little compost. It needs sun for best flavor, but appreciates a little afternoon shade in hot climates. Plants spread to make a mound about 2 feet in diameter and 6 to 8 inches tall, but stretches to about 2 feet tall in bloom. Just before it blooms is a good time to trim it back and fertilize. It grows back well in the cool fall weather. The flavor of oregano is best at this time too.
Plant chives about 4 weeks before the last frost in spring, or plant in fall in mild climates. They need well-drained soil amended with compost. Chives are not finicky and tolerate neglect, but will do best if you don’t completely ignore them. Water and fertilize occasionally with a liquid plant food designed for edibles. If you harvest the leaves often, fertilize every few weeks. Divide crowded clumps every 2 to 3 years. After the first killing frost in autumn, cut the plants back to ground level. They will return the following spring. In sub-tropical climates they are evergreen, but you can cut them back anyway to refresh the foliage.
Plant parsley in spring about 4 weeks before the last frost. Gardeners in zones 7 or warmer can plant in fall, too. Parsley does best in good soil amended with compost. It will grow in full sun and partial shade. Mulch to keep the roots cool and soil evenly moist. To prevent rot keep the mulch away from the crown of the plant.
Combine all the herbs, garlic, onions and lemon juice in a food processor. Blend until everything is finely minced.
Place the cream cheese and herbs in a mixing bowl and combine until evenly blended.
Serve garnished with lemon zest with crackers, toasted slices of French bread, sliced cucumbers, baby carrots and celery ribs.
Any ratio will of basil and oregano leaves will do. Oregano tends to be stronger than basil so you might want to use more basil. Just total it to 1/2 cup.
And remember: Don't limit yourself to the herbs I've used. Experiment with your favorites!
Time to prepare: 10 minutes.