Chive & Onion Cream Cheese

Sometimes we all need a superbly simple recipe to bring to a potluck, adorn a cheeseboard, or just brighten up our daily sandwiches a bit. This cream cheese is exactly that. It takes about 10 minutes to put together and keeps well in the fridge for at least a week, by which time I’m certain it’ll all be gone.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

You may be wondering why you’d bother making your own chive & onion cream cheese when it’s something readily available at the grocery store, but fortunately I have two great answers for that. Admittedly this recipe was original born from the necessity of using lactose-free cream cheese, which is available at the store but only in the plain variety. One of my best friends is exceptionally lactose-intolerant and making this from scratch allowed her to enjoy it too. However, having made it I am here to tell you it’s well worth the homemade effort because not only can you customize the proportions and use up excessive chives from your garden, but pieces of fresh onion and garlic gracing the creamy goodness is far superior to most recipes that call for the powdered variety.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

I started off this adventure on Pinterest as per usual, and nearly all of the abundant recipes used powdered or dehydrated onion and garlic. While I’m sure this is also fine, especially if it’s what you have on hand, the idea of freshly sautéed produce intrigued me and I opted to give that a try. Requiring a pan and a smidge of olive oil seemed a small price to pay for the depth of flavor and freshness received in return.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

I am not normally one who cares for chunky spreads, preferring smooth nut butters and pureed jams, but this is definitely an exception. Creamy goodness punctuated by soft and golden bits of onion and garlic and adorned with fresh green chives is a perfect combination of flavor and color without being texturally odd.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

Use this spread with crackers as I have here, atop bagels and toast, inside a cucumber sandwich, or to dress up a wrap. The neutral flavors go with nearly anything and I’m confident you’ll have no trouble finding delicious uses for the batch. Feeding a crowd? Might want to double it to make sure you have some leftovers for yourself.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese

Makes about 6 oz

Ingredients

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
4oz cream cheese (lactose-free if needed), room temperature

Directions

  1. If you haven’t already, set your cream cheese on the counter to soften.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering.
  3. Add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant and onions are translucent. Add to a small bowl and allow to cool about ten minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese and chives and fold in until well combined.
  5. Store in the fridge until ready to eat, allowing cream cheese to rest on the counter about 10 minutes before serving.
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Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad

A few months ago my favorite store announced a limited release of a Black Garlic Tamari Soy infused balsamic vinegar. I promptly went to the store for a taste and it quickly became one of my favorite products. The lovely umami flavor of soy paired with the tangy sweetness of balsamic and a light punch of garlic makes every mouthful interesting. I’ve used it in place of soy sauce in numerous dishes, from fried rice to scrambled eggs to this delightful Thai peanut salad I have here to share with you today.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

In my never-ending love affair with my spiralizer, I recently meal-prepped a super easy, healthy, and delicious salad for my weekly lunches. With very little knife work required, the vegetable prep happens quickly instead of feeling like you are standing in the kitchen chopping for nine hours. The sauce comes together even faster, made easily in a blender or food processor. Chopping some peanuts are all you have to do by hand, and I promise that takes less than a minute.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Inspired in part by last year’s cashew zoodle salad, I wanted to experiment with a peanut-based version. Peanut is far and above my favorite flavor of nut, and pairing it with soy and spice is nearly always delightful. Olivelle’s introduction of this soy-like balsamic sealed the deal in working on this creation.

Thai Peanut Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

I opted to use peanut butter powder in the sauce because the oils already add plenty of fats, but you can certainly use regular peanut butter too. (Just start with half the amount to begin with as the peanut flavor often comes through much strong.) Complemented with tangy balsamic, nutty sesame oil, a hint of sweet maple, and the heat of crushed red pepper flakes, this sauce covers nearly all the taste profiles in every delicious bite. I made mine quite thick to blend nicely with all the water zoodles tend to release, but to use as a regular salad dressing you can thin it was additional water.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Crispy veggies and tangy dressing topped with crispy peanuts are a perfect summer side dish or entree. Round it out with steak, grilled chicken, or tofu, served either on top or alongside this tasty salad. As its sans lettuce this is a perfect meal prep option, and it keeps well in the fridge for up to a week with your dressing reserved in a separate container until ready to eat. It also lends itself well to additional garnishes, like mandarin orange, sesame seeds, scallions, or just a sprinkle of extra red pepper flakes.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini
2 large carrots, peeled

2 medium bell peppers
1 medium red onion
1 small red cabbage
1 large cucumber
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
garnishes: mandarin, sesame seeds, scallion, red pepper flakes
optional: protein of choice (steak, chicken, tofu, chickpeas)

Thai Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter powder1
1/4 cup (Toasted) sesame oil
1/4 cup water, to taste
2 Tbsp Black Garlic Tamari Balsamic Vinegar2
2 tsp maple syrup3
1/4 tsp (Roasted Garlic) salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions

  1. Wash and spiralize all veggies: 5mm for zucchini, 2mm for carrot, and the flat blade for the remaining veggies. (Or chop them all, if you don’t have a spiralizer.)
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Add extra red pepper flakes or water as desired, but remember the zucchini will release a lot of water and thin the sauce substantially.
  3. For meal prep: divide zucchini evenly among four 5-cup containers. Top each with 1/4th of the remaining veggies. Add 2 Tbsp chopped peanuts and 2-4 Tbsp sauce to separate small containers, and tuck them in with the veggies. Refrigerate until ready to eat, up to 1 week.
  4. To serve: layer the zucchini in a large serving dish, then top with remaining veggies. Add 1/2 cup dressing and toss until well coated. Taste and toss with additional dressing if you prefer a more generous coating.
  5. If desired, layer on protein of choice, then drizzle with a small amount of extra sauce.
  6. Top with crushed peanuts, and any other garnishes you like (mandarin orange, extra red pepper flakes, sesame seeds). Serve promptly.

Notes

You could also use regular peanut butter, but start with about 3 tablespoons and adjust after tasting.

If necessary, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce should be an acceptable substitute.

If you use a sweetened peanut butter, like Jif, start without syrup and adjust after tasting.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream

Week four already! Is it just me or did the month fly by? For our last ice cream adventure in National Ice Cream Month, I’ve saved my favorite of this year’s collection.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

I had actually set out to make another recipe (which I may still revisit another time), but lost motivation with that one after coming across the pairing of rhubarb and cardamom. I am a huge cardamom fan (second only to cinnamon) and I love the twist it brings to otherwise classic desserts. Rhubarb pie and crisp are two of my favorite things, and I personally prefer the filling unadulterated by an accompanying fruit. Tart rhubarb and a side of ice cream are a match made in delicious heaven, so I decided to roll the whole thing into one. Inspired in name by the Rhubarbian cocktail at Nordic Brewworks, rhubarbamom crisp ice cream was born.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

An easy rhubarb cardamom compote is the major component of this particular ice cream. Smooth, tart, and just a little spicy, it would be just as great on toast or pancakes as it is swirled into this creamy dessert. It’s also an excellent way to use up last year’s rhubarb to make room for this year’s new crop.

I mixed my standard ice cream base with a generous amount of compote, choosing not to add additional sugar. This results in a lovely tart finish, but does have the side effect of the ice cream freezing rather harder than usual. You can definitely increase the sugar if you prefer a sweeter dessert or simply want to be able to enjoy the finished product straight out of the freezer.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

To accompany the creamy ice cream and tart compote, I baked a small batch of oatmeal crisp topping. Baked slightly crispier than you might prefer solo, it softens slightly amidst the ice cream into the perfect crunchy and creamy combination. It’s addicting on its own so do your best not to eat all straight off the pan while it cools.

rhubarbamo_crisp_ice_cream_4

After the ice cream churns, you’ll layer it into the container with extra compote and the crumbled topping before freezing. The pretty swirl and crispy oatmeal found in every bite are not only visually pleasing, but superbly delicious. If desired, top with a dollop of addition compote and crisp, and enjoy as the perfect end to a hot summer day.

Rhubarbamom Crisp Ice Cream

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups rhubarb cardamom compote, divided (below)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup egg beaters
1/4 cup sugar, optional1
1 cup oatmeal crisp topping (below)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, half and half, egg beaters, and 1 1/2 cups rhubarb cardamom compote. Taste, and add sugar if desired.
  2. Chill until completely cooled, at least four fours. Place a freezer-safe bowl into your freezer.
  3. Freeze mixture according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  4. Spoon 1/4 of the mixture into your chilled container. Drizzle with a spoonful of additional rhubarb cardamom compote and 1/4 cup oatmeal crisp topping.
  5. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream, then freeze until firm.
  6. Soften on the counter for about 20 minutes prior to serving.

Notes

I personally did not add more sugar because I like my rhubarb desserts to be quite tart. If you prefer a sweeter experience or don’t want the ice cream to freeze quite so hard, add the extra amount.

Rhubarb Cardamom Compote

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

4 cups frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained
1 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
6-10 cardamom pods, seeded
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients.
  2. Heat over medium, stirring often, until rhubarb is softened and breaks apart.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the compote until smooth.
  4. Let cool on the counter briefly, then store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes

Words

Oatmeal Crisp Topping

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup butter, cold

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Use a box grater to grate cold butter directly into the bowl (or dice it by hand and add it).
  4. Mix together with your hands, mashing the butter into the flour mixture until well combined.
  5. Crumble onto prepared baking sheet, then bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Let cool completely, then crumble into an airtight container and store on the counter until ready to use.

Pineapple Habanero “Ice Cream”

“Ice cream” looks a bit ominous but I promise this is just as delicious. I’ve made more than 30 ice cream recipes over the years on this blog and had yet to try a dairy-free version. As one of my best friends is both exorbitantly lactose-intolerant one of the most generous people I know, I decided this year to try a recipe she can enjoy too. Since sweet and spicy is definitely her jam (and mine too) I set off with that flavor profile in mind.

Pineapple Habanero "Ice Cream" {{Baking Bytes}}

I knew I wanted to use a coconut base because other non-dairy substitutes require some kind of thickener and I prefer my frozen desserts to be as unadulterated as possible. Pondering what goes well with coconut so it would complement rather than fight the base flavor, piña colada original came to mind. Switched up for the spicy aspect, pineapple habanero was clearly the answer.

Pineapple Habanero "Ice Cream" {{Baking Bytes}}

Amusingly I’d never bought a habanero before and 100% texted another friend to make sure I was buying the correct thing. As someone with a Scandinavian spice tolerance (is butter a spice?) even cutting these peppers was quite the ordeal for me. Friendship and stubbornness pulled me through and the end result was so, so worth it.

Pineapple Habanero "Ice Cream" {{Baking Bytes}}

Although slightly less creamy than you know, cream, this frozen dessert is wonderful in its own right. Smooth with a light coconut background, the first flavor you get is a strong presence of pineapple. The habanero follows more slowly, the heat building in your mouth and encouraging you to reach for another bite. This one is almost as addicting last year’s chocolate chili and can be happily enjoyed by your dairy-free friends.

Pineapple Habanero "Ice Cream" {{Baking Bytes}}

The syrup recipe results in more than you need for the ice cream, so you can use it as a topping elsewhere. Extra on the ice cream itself, atop waffles and pancakes, stirred into a margarita, the opportunities are endless. Customize the heat level to your own preference but remember it will be much more mild once mixed with the coconut cream.

If this dessert can appease me, someone who can definitely tell the difference in ice cream made with “diet” 30% heavy whipping cream instead of “proper” 40% heavy whipping cream, I promise it will please anyone. Top off your Taco Tuesday with this sweet and spicy concoction for a perfect summertime meal.

Pineapple Habanero “Ice Cream”

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

2 (~14oz) cans unsweetened coconut cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg beaters

2 – 2 1/2 cups pineapple habanero syrup, divided (below)
spoonful of compote, optional

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut cream, sugar, and egg beaters. Heat over medium, whisking often, until well combined and beginning to thicken.
  2. Stir in one and a half cups pineapple habanero syrup, and a spoonful of reserved compote if you like a little texture.
  3. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled. (Put a 7-cup freezer-safe bowl in the freezer now too.)
  4. Freeze mixture according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  5. Retrieve bowl from the freezer and add 1/4 of the ice cream to the bowl. Swirl a spoonful of the pineapple habanero syrup on top and repeat until all the ice cream is in the bowl, finishing with a little more syrup.
  6. Freeze overnight until firm (it takes longer than normal!)

Notes

I’ve not tested it but you should be able to make this recipe vegan by leaving out the egg. This will, however, change the texture as egg lends a smoothness and fullness that is difficult to get without some kind of emulsifier.

Roasted Pineapple Habanero Syrup

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 ripe pineapple, sliced

2 habanero peppers, to taste
1 1/2 cups sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large baking dish, arrange pineapple in a single layer.
  3. Roast until warmed and started to brown, 15-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the habanero peppers, removing as many seeds as you want depending on your desired heat level. I removed about half the seeds for a medium heat.
  5. Use a blender or food processor to completely puree the roasted pineapple (you should have about 3 cups puree.)
  6. In a medium saucepan, combine puree, sugar, and peppers.
  7. Bring to a boil over medium heat then simmer gently until thickened and spicy. Let it go till it’s quite a bit spicier than you want your finished product as it will be greatly mellowed by the cream base.
  8. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, using a whisk to get as much syrup as possible. Set aside to cool (reserve the chunky compote too if you like a little texture!) then store in the fridge until ready to use.

Southwest Salad

Hello friends, I hope you have been enjoying National Ice Cream Month! Here to offset this sugar rush of a month is the part two of July’s salad trio. We’re headed south of the border with one of my favorite salads in Bozeman.

Southwest Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

One of the perks at my place of employment is a company-sponsored team lunch every two weeks. Because my team is fairly large, we have a few staple places that are likely to be able to seat us. Starky’s Authentic Americana is one such restaurant and I’m never sad when it’s the choice of the day. One of my favorite meals there is their southwest salad: a delicious but still light and healthy experience including pineapple black bean salsa and chipotle ranch dressing. I often get it with chicken for a protein boost but it stands on its own just as well.

Southwest Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Inspired to make my own copycat, I set out to make a pineapple black bean salsa and a chipotle lime crema tailored to my own preferences. With a few modifications, A Hint of Honey helped me out on the salsa front and Isabella Eats inspired my chipotle lime crema. The crema was featured previously on the blog in my chipotle lime tuna-stuffed sweet potatoes, but I actually originally developed it for this recipe over a year ago! Somehow I’m just now getting around to sharing this salad with you, but hopefully it was worth the wait.

Chipotle Lime Crema {{Baking Bytes}}

The salsa is a joyous mix of fresh pineapple and savory black beans, accompanied by a little lime and the bite of fresh red onion. Over time the flavors marry together perfectly so I highly recommend making your salsa in advance. It keeps well in the fridge for at least a week, at which time I’d devoured all of it. The original recipe calls for cilantro, which I do not eat, but I will only judge you a little if you decide to add it to yours.

Pineapple Black Bean Salsa {{Baking Bytes}}

A base of spinach or romaine is topped with (optionally sautéed) bell pepper and zucchini for some extra veggies and color. I like to add pulled venison/elk or grilled chicken here, but it makes for an excellent vegetarian meal without it. Some pineapple black bean salsa, a handful of tortilla strips, and a drizzle of crema round out the dish into a lovely sweet and spicy combination. You can easily make this recipe vegan by using a non-dairy yogurt for the crema, and skipping the meat and cheese, of course.

Southwest Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Customize to your heart’s content with additional toppings like avocado or diced tomato (if you must) and then serve to adoring fans for a healthy summer meal that comes together super quickly. Make the salsa and meat ahead of time, and you have an easy 15-minute meal almost ready to go.

Southwest Salad (Taco) {{Baking Bytes}}

Additionally, if you’re not a salad person, combine these components into an awesome taco instead!

Southwest Salad

Inspired by Starky’s Authentic Americana
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil, optional
1 medium zucchini, julienne cut
1-2 bell peppers, thinly sliced

5-10oz Spinach/Romaine, to taste
1 1/2 cups pineapple black bean salsa (below)
1 – 1 1/2 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
1 cup tortilla strips, to taste
1/2 – 1 cup chipotle lime crema

optional toppings: avocado, diced tomato, grilled chicken, pulled venison, etc

Directions

  1. (Skip to step 4 if you prefer raw veggies.)
  2. In a medium frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. Add zucchini and bell peppe, then lightly sauté to preferred tenderness.
  4. In your serving bowl(s), add desired amount of greens.
  5. Layer on zucchini and bell pepper (and top with meat, if using.)
  6. Evenly spoon on pineapple black bean salsa then sprinkle with cheese, tortilla chips, and any additional toppings you want to throw on it.
  7. Drizzle with chipotle lime crema (and freshly ground pepper, if desired) and serve promptly.

Notes

These components also make for an excellent taco!

Pineapple Black Bean Salsa

Adapted from A Hint of Honey
Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients

2 cups fresh diced pineapple
1 cup black beans (or just use the whole can if you want)
1/2 cup diced red onion1
1 jalapeño, minced
3 Tbsp lime juice (1-2 limes), to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (Roasted Garlic or Lime Fresco) sea salt

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Cover and chill about 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend, or until ready to use.
  3. Great with salads, tacos, chips, and a spoon!

Notes

If raw red onion is too strong for you, soak the cut onion in cold water for about 10 minutes, then drain and add to the salsa.