I made and photographed this roasted red pepper-cream cheese spread stuff* last October, but then I didn’t post it. I think mostly I became distracted and more interested in writing other things and then I didn’t want to post it right next to another recipe (the muffins). But I think also it’s because I was taking pictures in the waning afternoon light and I didn’t get a good finished product photo. Every time I looked at the ones I had, it looked kind of gross to me. I guess I’m telling you this as part of a disclaimer. It’s good, okay? Trust me.
*(I don’t know what it is, but I hate the word “spread” as a noun, so I’m always fumbling around when I talk about this: “You know, that red pepper cheese stuff you like?”)
It looks like this. Ideally I would have it staged on crackers or with a nice loaf of bread on some Fiestaware, but this is as good as it gets for this entry.
The ingredients are very pretty, however.
This recipe comes from Alton Brown. He includes zucchini, but I leave that out. I did make it once with it, but that was so long ago I can’t truthfully tell you how it compares. I know we did not dislike it with the zucchini, but the husband is not a big fan of squash so I suspected that he would like it better without it. Then that just became how I made it.
You need onions, garlic, a red bell pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cream cheese. I assume you can add other vegetables for variety.
Alton Brown tells you to mix up the vegetables and the olive oil in a bowl before putting them on the cookie sheet, but I think that’s just getting a bowl greasy unnecessarily. I spread the cut vegetables out and dribble olive oil over them (I don’t measure; Rachael Ray* taught me that a tablespoon of oil is about as much as a circle around a frying pan). Then I take tongs, stir a little, and even it out so they’re not all in a pile.
*(This is the paragraph in which it becomes obvious that I went through a Food Network stage about five years ago.)
I don’t have a food processor, so I’m using this little blender attachment dealie that came with my stick blender. This would certainly be easier in an actual food processor. Since I have to do this in two batches and my bowl dealie (what is that thing called?) can’t hold a whole brick of cream cheese, I have to cut it into pieces at this point. I throw the cream cheese in the freezer for ten or fifteen minutes to harden it a little so it’s easier to cut into little chunks.
When the roasted vegetables look like this, take them out of the oven. Alton Brown says to let them cool completely, but I live dangerously and just let them sit until they aren’t burning hot to the touch.
The beauty of the aluminum foil, in addition to it meaning no scrubbing of the cookie sheet if you do it right (seems like I always have a corner that develops a little hole and leaks), is that you can pick it up and guide/slide your vegetables into the food processor bowl without hassling with picking up every scrap of onion with tongs or fingers.
I throw half of the veggies in with half of the cream cheese and blend it. I have to stop a lot and take my fork and make sure there aren’t chunks missed or stuck. Then I put the mixture in a bowl and repeat the process with the other half.
These step-by-step photos are thrilling! Okay, that’s the end. After I have the second half mixed, I throw the first half back in with it, stir it with my fork, and call it good.
This red pepper-cream cheese stuff goes well with bread or crackers. It could also be a filling for celery. It’s more spreadable if you let it come to room temperature before serving.
Told you the photo of the end result was kind of unattractive. Sorry about that!