Bagels are a perfect brunch item, but they must be accompanied by copious amounts of cream cheese. A great way to perk up your shmear is with Vegetable Cream Cheese. Bursting with fresh vegetable flavour, this recipe is great on anything. And, it takes only ten minutes to whip up a batch!
VEGETABLE CREAM CHEESE
If you got past my introductory sentence without flinching, then good for you! I battled with including the word shmear into this post, but when I think of cream cheese at breakfast or brunch, I tend to think of copious amounts piled high onto really good bagels. In a perfect world, Vegetable Cream Cheese and bagels would be my breakfast of choice every single day. But, alas, carbs are not my friend.
WHAT IS A SHMEAR ANYWAY?
The word shmear is a word of German origin used to indicate smear or spread, but using something thick and fatty like butter. I found a really good explanation online, which states that the use and spelling of schmear or shmear (American English) is a direct loanword from Yiddish, where its original usage referred to cheese.
In modern usage it has extended to anything that can be spread, such as cream cheese spread on a bagel. It can also refer to bribery, as a little extra spread on top, which is exactly how a Vegetable Cream Cheese should be served – extra!
Now that you have your word of the day lesson complete, let’s talk about cream cheese. I’m not a snob when it comes to cream cheese, because to be perfectly honest, I’ve never met a cream cheese I don’t like. I’m a true victim of lower-class upbringing and prefer to have my cream cheese in block form rather than whipped, but I’m learning to embrace the middle to high class way of shmearing my cream cheese.
USE BLOCK-STYLE CREAM CHEESE
Blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese was all I was ever used to while growing up. And, we never ate bagels, in fact, I can remember the first time I had a bagel. It was in 1991. My sister used to work at a coffee shop in a little town in Northern Ontario. This coffee shop sold bagels that were sliced and buttered on both sides. Tucked inside was a thick slice of cheddar cheese, or – you guessed it! – a really thick shmear of cream cheese.
These bagels weren’t toasted at all. If you wanted, they would warm them in the microwave, but that was about it. That was my introduction to bagels. I’m surprised I like them at all given that my first experience wasn’t even mediocre.
Later in life, I found cream cheese dips, and I became highly dependent on Philadelphia’s Dill Pickle Dip. I ate so much of that stuff with bags and bags of chips. I think those two things were my main source of fuel throughout my college years!
Then, one day, I found whipped cream cheese and was quite surprised at how light and fluffy it was! And, they come in all different flavours too. I love the hot and spicy type. But, for my Vegetable Cream Cheese, we’re going to stick to the solid block of cream cheese that I’m used to and love. The vegetables in this recipe need the harder/firmer, block-style cream cheese so that it can be evenly distributed and suspended. And, I feel that the block style cream cheese has a more pronounced flavour which stands up well to the vegetables.
OTHER VEGETABLE OPTIONS
When it comes to picking your veggies, pick the veggies you like most. I love the combo of broccoli, carrots, and green onions. But, I’ve had this cream cheese with green onions, fresh dill, and parsley. I’ve also had it with onions, carrots, and celery. And, Dear Reader, don’t shy away from making this Vegetable Cream Cheese with red bell peppers and jalapenos too!
I look forward to hearing about what creations you come up with. Please send me a message and let me know what veggies you’ve included in your version of Vegetable Cream Cheese! Oh, and lastly, happy shmearing!!
Vegetable Cream Cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese, use the block/brick type, not whipped, softened
- 1/2 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3-4 broccoli florets, washed
- 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Add the cream cheese to a mixing bowl. Using a handheld mixer, blend the cream cheese until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
- Add the chopped carrots to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the cream cheese.
- Add the broccoli to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the cream cheese and carrots.
- Toss in the chopped green onions and the ground black pepper to the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, combine all ingredients together.
- Transfer to a food-safe container with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for one hour before using.