I have been getting frustrated by the abundance of highly processed and crappy-flavoured cream cheese spreads that are flooding the shelves in the stores. They are filled with artificial chemicals and colouring agents and taste horrible. Here is a simple recipe that will change all that. I used a wonderful organic cream cheese, mild, creamy and delicious. The herbs add that pop of flavour that the open-faced sandwich needs. As a variation, you can add some finely minced green chillies or dried red chilli flakes. I also used homemade olive oil bread for this occasion. The really simple-to-make toasts were amazing, crunchy with flavorful cream cheese followed by the soft cucumbers. These are perfect for those lazy hot summer evenings when you don’t want a real meal. Also feel free to add other vegetables to the cucumbers, coloured peppers, kohlrabi, beets (raw), lettuce, radishes, or anything else that you desire. Deborah Madison was one of the first chefs to embrace the farm-to-table movement when she opened her restaurant Greens, one I have dined a few times. Her cookbooks are wonderful, and this one, in particular, is amazing. Simple recipes that are loaded with flavour. Like me, you should get all her cookbooks, each is a masterpiece!
For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.
8 oz cream cheese, preferably organic
3-4 tablespoons yoghurt, milk or cream
1 small garlic clove, finely minced, or mushed through a press
3-4 tablespoons mixed fresh and dried herbs, parsley, mint, cilantro, chives or scallions, basil, dried thyme, dried tarragon, dried marjoram,
White pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Wholegrain or any hearty bread, toasted if desired
1 teaspoon chives, minced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
Herbed cream cheese, see recipe above
Add the ingredients for the cream cheese mixture into a bowl and mix well. Taste the spread, it should be quite flavorful, enough to compensate for the plain cucumbers and bread. Allow marinating in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight for the flavours to come together.
On the toasted bread, add a layer of herbed cheese followed by the thin cucumber slices and a sprinkling of chives to finish. Serve immediately before the bread gets soggy.