Friday, July 29, 2011

Cooking Floyd: Boursin-style Herbed Cheese Spread

I have trouble throwing perfectly good food out and that extends to my herbs as well.  To keep the herbs producing leaf and staying bushy they need to be cut back on a regular basis.  That leaves me with lots of cut herbs of all types.  I unload a good bit at the farmers market but even then I bring home herbs.  I'm thinking I should feed them to the chickens we're going to raise for broilers and roasters and have them herbed from the inside out but I know that's just fanciful thinking.  Probably.  I'm always on the lookout for ways to use up fresh herbs.  The other day in the pricey cheese section of the grocery store I was looking at a container of Boursin cheese spread.  Boursin cheese is a soft creamy cheese flavored with a mix of herbs and garlic.  Looking at the ingredients on the package I thought, "How hard can this be?"
Turns out, not very hard at all.

I googled Boursin cheese and the search yielded lots of recipes all a little different so this is one you could really tailor to your own tastes.

Boursin-Style Cheese           
This recipe makes a lot.  And it's difficult to stop eating it.  Make the full recipe for parties or to divide and freeze.  Make a half recipe for snacking.
2 garlic cloves
8 ounces butter, at room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese, chevre, yogurt cheese, or any other soft white cheese you prefer at room temperature
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

* The original Boursin cheese base is very mild (read bland) cream cheese-like.  I like tangy cheese so I went with the chevre.
* The herbs and amounts listed below are suggestions.  Please feel free to use any, all, or others in combinations to suit your taste.

1 ½ tablespoon fresh dill
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
1 ½ teaspoon fresh basil
1 ½ teaspoon fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

black pepper to taste

Mince the garlic cloves or drop them in the food processor and mince.  Combine the butter, cheese, and garlic and beat until light.  If using a mixer, mix in garlic.  
Roughly chop all the herbs together.  If mixing in a bowl, mince the herbs.  If using a processor, drop chopped herbs in with the cheese.

If mixing in a bowl, thoroughly combine minced herbs with cheese mixture.  If using a processor, pulse the herbs with the cheese until blended.  The herbs will continue to mince as they blend with the cheese.

Add black pepper to taste.

Pack into several smallish containers.  Allow flavors to blend overnight.  Cheese will keep 2-3 weeks in the fridge or may be frozen.

Use as a dip with raw veggies or crackers.  Spread on toast or bagels or use as a spread with sandwiches.  Melt over hot pasta.  Thin with milk or olive oil for salad dressing.  Use as a stuffing for cherry tomatoes or other finger foods.  Don't forget to freeze some for mid-winter enjoyment!

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