Tag Archives: cream cheese

Garlic herb cheese spread or dip – low carb!

garlic-herb cheese dip
Garlic herb cheese spread

This is such a simple dip, I keep some in the fridge almost constantly. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a knock-off or copy, but it’s kinda like Alouette.

It’s tasty spread on just about any cracker, but for a low carb, gluten free snack, try it with celery or romaine dippers. These are simply the small end of a heart-of-romaine leaf. When I’m chopping romaine for a salad, I always leave the last 4 to 5″ and stash them in the fridge for just this purpose! They’ve got a perfect dipping shape, and I like them so much better than celery; no stringy stuff!

Garlic herb cheese spread or dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. sour cream OR Greek yogurt
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. granulated onion
1 heaping t. dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
1/4 t. salt (if serving with veggies)

Stir together the cream cheese and sour cream (or yogurt) until pretty evenly combined. Add the other ingredients and stir till well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Note: if you are serving this with crackers that are salted, you may leave out the salt.

Tomorrow: What to do with the rest of the romaine — Almost-Panera’s Asian Chicken Salad!

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Roasted Garlic “Mashed Potatoes” – low carb!

not-mashed-potatoes-w-text

If you’ve done the South Beach Diet or otherwise gone low carb for a while, you’re probably familiar with the “Surprise” Mashed Potatoes that are really pureed cauliflower. We make this dish frequently, and we’ve had our share of hits and misses. Here are a few tips for making them more like the real thing.

Steam, don’t boil. Since cauliflower have many tiny crevices, they tend to act like a sponge when they’re immersed in water. And too much water will make your faux-tatoes runny. Steaming them avoids this problem.

Don’t add milk or cream. You want to keep them as thick as possible; adding any liquid whatsoever will undermine that goal.

Do add some dairy fat. Sorry, South Beach, this is where we part ways! I think that some butter and/or cream cheese is necessary to give this concoction that creamy feel in the mouth that real mashed potatoes have.

Use a stick blender. This isn’t so much for taste as for efficiency. Forget pouring everything out of the pot into a food processor or traditional blender, and then having to wash all the parts. Use a stick blender. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it! It’s one of those things I wonder how I lived without.

And one secret weapon. Roasted garlic adds an element of earthiness that above-ground plants lack. It also adds a color depth and textural element that mimics potatoes with a little bit of skin included in the mashing. We’re lucky enough to have a nearby grocery that offers roasted garlic among the deli offerings, but if you’re not so lucky, you could always make your own.

Here are the proportions I used for the depicted bowl of “not mashed potatoes.” (With apologies to Monsieur Magritte.)

Roasted Garlic “Mashed Potatoes”

1 head of cauliflower
3 – 6 T. butter,
   and/or
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. roasted garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the cauliflower head into florets, and the narrower parts of the stem into about 1/8″ slices. Steam it all until very soft; you should be able to cut through a floret with a blunt mixing spoon.

Pour off the water you used for steaming. Make sure the pan is completely dry. Return the pan to the burner over medium-low, and add the butter and/or cream cheese. Stir until it’s mostly melted.

Add the cauliflower and the garlic to the pan, and using a stick blender, puree until the texture is to your liking.

Taste, and add salt, pepper, and/or more butter or cheese to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Recipe review: Twice-baked cauliflower (low carb!)

twicebakedcauliflower2_kalynskitchen
Kalyn's twice-baked cauliflower
photo by Kalyn’s Kitchen

Twice-baked cauliflower? — Yes, this is every bit as delicious as a twice-baked potato!

Whether you’re trying to cut down on carbs, or trying to sneak more healthy veggies into your kids’ meals, or just want to play a trick on someone who says they hate cauliflower (perhaps your own taste buds?), this is your ticket.

In Kalyn’s updated version of this dish, she uses reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream, but me, I use the real stuff. Do as your own conscience allows, though.

Kalyn’s recipe calls for completely mashing the cauliflower — which I think would peg the comfort food scale! — but I wanted a chunkier texture than the mixer would get me, so I used a pastry blender. Worked great!

If you try this dish and fool someone into thinking it’s really potatoes, let me know. I bet you can pull it off!

(Note: this recipe is not Paleo, unless you are “primal” and allow dairy.)

You might also like:
Roasted Garlic “Mashed Potatoes”
Garlic Herb Cream Cheese Dip
Peanut Butter Pie (low carb)