Back in the day, I belonged to a Bagel Club at my office, and every Thursday, it was one member’s duty to provide bagels and cream cheese for all of the members. My favorite Thursdays were when I or, even better, my Traffic Chief, Diana, were the designated bagel delivery person, because that meant Einstein Bros. Bagles, and Einstein Bros. Bagels meant jalapeño salsa cream cheese.
I like it when my lips kinda tingle and burn during breakfast.
I don’t have a Bagel Club anymore, and I never really get over to the Einstein Bros. nearest, so I’ve been thinking about how to make my own lip-tingling cream cheese. Some friends turned us on to an all-natural seasonings and oil company that had a really nice mix of dried peppers and spices which made a terrific bit hunk o’ cream cheese; but after researching them a bit, I was far less impressed by their parent company, so I couldn’t in all good conscience recommend the product; tho’ it was so good that I did use it all up, feeling just a wee, tiny twinge of guilt (along with that tingle on my lips) every time I bit into a bagel with that tasty, tasty schmear.
Thing is, their little jar of dried jalapeño goodness got me to thinking…
“I can get dried peppers from The Spice House, or, in a pinch, Penzeys, who are also quite good, and a lot closer to my house; I bet I can make my own jalapeño cream cheese seasoning blend!”
And so I did. And it is GOOD. I began by comparing the recipes delivered to my MacBook by da Google and then considering what else I had laying about the spice rack that I thought might be nice. Here’s what I came up with:
•8 oz cream cheese
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tbsp mayonnaise
•1 tbsp dried bell pepper
•1 tbsp dried jalapeño
•1/4 cup warm water
Unwrap the cream cheese, sprinkle with the garlic powder and Aleppo pepper, and allow to come to room temperature in a mixing bowl.
Pour the water over the dried bell and jalapeño peppers and allow to soak for 15 minutes, or until your cheese is well and truly softened.
Add the rehydrated peppers, along with whatever little bit of extra liquid, and the mayonnaise to the mixing bowl and whip (the whisk attachment works best here) until light and a little bit fluffy, and fully blended.
Your cream cheese spread will be nice right out of the mixer, but let the flavors blend in the fridge for a day or two and…
I was all set to have some plain on a bagel, when our neighbor dropped by with a present: 2 filets and this lovely smoked chunk of salmon, wild-caught Saturday morning in the waters off Door County. Actually, they were fishing in Porte des Morts – Death’s Door – the strait that gave this otherwise charming and lovely peninsular county its name, but that sounds a bit like an overly dramatic way to describe a pleasant summer’s morning fishing.
While I set about to thinking about how we were going to have the filets, I needed no thought at all as to what my lunch was going to be:
Smoked salmon and jalapeño cream cheese on lightly toasted flat bread with red onion and English cucumber.
I am one happy camper.