RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Glorious Cream Cheese Creations

Cream cheese is basically magic.
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Claire Lower
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Cream cheese is basically magic.

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another dangerously delicious installment of Recipe of the Week. Last week was an epic discussion of hometown culinary pride, and you all have a lot to be proud of.

The winning comment from Kayla Rose reads like something from my dream journal:

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I grew up in a tiny town called Timaru in NZ. Now, strictly, cheese rolls in NZ are a southern thing (like, further south than Timaru), but OMG these things are like Jesus figured out a comfort food. Nobody from the North Island of NZ seems to know what they are, which is an abomination.
Take a tin of evaporated milk, finely dice an onion, a whole mess of grated cheese (the more the better), salt, pepper, and if you're feeling fancy, a bit of wholegrain mustard. DO. NOT. Add anything else. Don't mess with this. Throw all that in a pot and let it kind of hang out until the cheese is melted, and spread it onto slices of white bread. Roll these up (this is a fine art honed by many southern NZers). Throw them in the oven until they're all like delicious and grilled and oozing cheesy goodness.

Butter on top; let them cool a bit lest you consume lava; then eat. See Jesus, believe momentarily that perhaps there is a god.

Everything about this is #onbrand for me. We have cheese, we have white bread, we have a condensed dairy product, and we have butter. I'll admit that this is my first brush with New Zealand cuisine, but this little recipe almost has me convinced to move to Timaru.

I shredded about a pound of cheddar cheese into the condensed milk and chopped up a sweet Vidalia onion. I didn't add too much salt, as the cheese was already pretty salty, but I did grind in a healthy amount of fresh pepper. 

I'm not sure how I did in the rolling department, but I'm fairly happy with my form. I flattened the bread out with an empty beer bottle (I don't know where my rolling pin is) before spreading a couple of tablespoons of cheesy goodness over them. The cheese seemed to help the bread stick to itself, resulting in some pretty nifty little rolls. (Oh, and I brushed a little butter on them while they were still in the oven, to help 'em brown a bit.)

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I can't say I've had anything quite like these. They're almost like grilled cheese rolls, if grilled cheese were filled with cheese dip instead of cheese slices. The onion though, that's the key. The sweet onion and salty cheese are what take this to a transcendent snack-y place. 

I think these would be particularly good when stoned, so Kayla Rose's trophy is "My Drug Buddy" by The Lemonheads.

Moving right along. All of this talk of cheese got me thinking about even more cheese, and it occurred to me that we've never focused on a particular cheese in this column. Cream cheese alone has contributed much to the culinary world, so that is where we shall start. Cream cheese is great in desserts, dips, cheeseballs, chicken dishes, and pretty much anything that benefits from creamy texture and a little salt. (So everything.)

Everything bagel cheeseball tbh.

Everything bagel cheeseball tbh.

It's basically the perfect, magical secret ingredient, and I want to know what you put it in. So. Have at it.