Years ago I can remember when Boursin® cheese first appeared, and how it became immediately popular. Boursin® is a soft, spreadable herbal cheese from France, and it is so delicious. It is sold in a little crinkled foil cup, and can be used on anything, from a slice of baguette to steamed vegetables. It’s original motto was “Du pain, du vin, du Boursin,”–“Some bread, some wine, some Boursin,” meaning, that’s all you need for happiness, and I get their drift. I recently came across a recipe for “Herb Cheese Spread” in a community cookbook (Purple Sage and other Pleasures from the Junior League of Tucson, Arizona), and gave it a whirl. Much to my surprise, it’s wonderful, and almost indistinguishable from the original Boursin®. A little 5-ounce cup of Boursin® costs more than $7.00 at the store, but you can make a large quantity (about two cups) for almost the same cost. (You may not think you want/need a large quantity, but wait till you taste it! And it can be frozen like a flavored butter for future use.)
Here is the recipe:
Herb Cheese Spread
(Note: all the herbs in this recipe are dried)
2 cloves garlic
8 ounces whipped butter, softened
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon pepper
Press the garlic cloves through a garlic press into a large bowl, and add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Place in a crock and chill to let flavors blend.
Notes: Be sure to use whipped butter, and not soft butter blended with oil. Also, the herbal flavor depends on the particular blend of herbs here, and, I know, it’s quite a list. I think you could probably leave out the marjoram, but I wouldn’t tinker with the formula beyond that.
What can you do with our faux Boursin®? Slather on a slice of baguette, melt a pat on a baked or boiled potato, beat into some freshly cooked rice or noodles, stuff a chicken breast with it, slather on a whole chicken under the skin and then roast, serve at a get-together with crackers instead of a dip . . .
I packed some of the mixture into a little ceramic heart mold lined with cheese cloth, and unfolded it on the plate shown above. You could use any small bowl, can or other mold in a similar way, but it must be lined with cheese cloth or it won’t unmold.
Here’s how to cut the radishes, as shown on the plate above. Start with a nice, plump radish. The leaves are pretty mangy, but, hey, it’s February!
Slice off the root and leaves.
Slice around the equator of the radish with a small, sharp knife. Hold the knife at a 45 degree angle for the first cut, then reverse the angle for the second cut, piercing the radish to the center, to form a zig-zag cut.
Pull the two halves apart–voila!
These are so much fun you will have to restrain yourself from making too many. I sprinkled some little broccoli flowers over the radishes above just for pretty.
I mentioned that you can freeze this herb spread for convenience–just form into a roll on a piece of plastic wrap, and then wrap tightly in foil. Place in the freezer and slice some off as needed.
Not many flowers this time of year, but my geranium is blooming.
Went out bird hunting yesterday, and only found a half-asleep mourning dove! Peace to you. Fran