Monday, August 15, 2016

Herb Harvest Cream Cheese

Got a lot of herbs in your garden? I've got a great idea to put'em to a good use. How about a 2-minute busy time to make gorgeous, healthy cream cheese spread. As a bonus - idea of transforming this everyday food item into a fantastic hors d'oeuvre for a gourmet feast.

Blog's Category: Healthy, Hors D'oeuvre, My Own Fast and Easy, Perfect Breakfast, Vegetarian


*** On my deck, this summer, I have oregano, sage, rosemary, 2 types of thyme, basil and tarragon growing in pots. Thyme and tarragon survived mild winter, going a second round and feeling pretty well... 

*** Now, that's a shame to keep forgetting snipping them for my everyday cooking, right? Well, this rainy August weekend morning, my idea was to throw all of them, without exclusion, into boring otherwise cream cheese. Right next to herb pots, over-ripened hungarian pepper was winking at me. Throw him too! ..and that is how Harvest Cream Cheese was born.

*** To make a rainy morning brighter, I though it would be nice to garnish bagel with my Harvest Cream Cheese with a few flowers from my Runner beans, flowering right now in a garden (nope, I'm not afraid of rain to run outside for it). 

*** Basil leaves has such a beautiful sheen and so meaty, that I didn't want to touch them with a knife, so I simply placed them around, or on bagels...

What is it?

A lot of fresh herbs and slightly spicy Hungarian pepper are added to a block of regular cream cheese. Fresh flowers, whole basil leaves and smoked paprika are used for garnish. Don't forget to smear generous amount of all of these onto your favorite toasted bagel.

Taste Description

It's like eating herb and flower garden in pieces... Herbs mish-mash creates weird competitively intriguing flavor. Tiny amount of garlic adds its own punch to this carousel of flavors. Bean flower, with its very subtle sweetness, is rather visual statement, very impressive one though. 


Per your desire, sprinkle smoked paprika on a top instead of basil leaf. For even more flavor, add a tiny bit of minced sweet onion, or cayenne pepper when stirring herbs into a cream cheese.
Small amount of cheddar cheese and ground Parmesan are optional. Through all herbs flavor, it's almost undetectable. Although it adds more finesse to overall texture.
If you are strict about mayonnaise - replace it with yogurt, sour cream, or omit altogether.

How to Serve

- Serve with a bagel, toasted baguette, or crackers. 
- Neatly piled on a thin toasted slice of baguette, garnished with smoked paprika and flower (bean flower, nasturtium, viola, pansy) it will create fantastic celebratory hors d'oeuvre.


Grow in your garden what you can't buy in a store. For example, edible flowers - nasturtium, viola, pansy, snapdragon. Nasturtium is delicious - peppery and pungent. Or grow Runner beans - they are bright-orange, have subtle sweet neutral taste. These edible flowers look fantastic as a garnish for a salad, crostini, bowl with dip, cheese tray, etc.

Herb Harvest Cream Cheese Spread

  • 1 block regular cream cheese 
  • 1/2 c coarsly grated cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 c ground parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise (optional)
  • small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 4 large leaves of fresh sage
  • small bunch of fresh oregano
  • 1 stem of fresh rosemary
  • small bunch of fresh tarragon
  • few fresh basil leaves 
  • 1 Hungarian (or bell) pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced 
  • Runner Beans flowers (or nasturtium flowers) for garnishing
  • pinch of salt (optional)
-  Strip herb leaves from stems and chop them, except basil. Slice pepper in half and remove seeds. Chop pepper finely. Mince a garlic clove finely.

- Mix chopped herbs, garlic, cheeses and mayo with a cream cheese. Spread onto toasted bagel, slice of baguette, or cracker. Garnish with basil leaf, smocked paprika and fresh flowers.

- Enjoy your [bagel, day, herbs] !



Oops.. I've forgotten about tarragon, one of my favorite herb! time :) I didn't have whole block of cream cheese, so you don't see enough herbs here. Don't skimp on herbs, fresh herbs taste milder than dry.

Pepper, snipped from a bush a minute ago is not the same pepper brought from a grocery store (even the most beautiful pepper..). This one, from a bush, squirting juices all around and almost squeaking when I was slicing it!

Cheddar cheese adds pretty sunny specks to this spread.

Well, I added some more pepper. You can too ;)

Runner Bean flower. Sweet, tender, beautiful, real treat for my visiting hummingbirds. Runner Bean itself deserves a separate post. It's a new addition to my garden. Supposedly, it is a perennial for our 5b zone. I planted them too late, in a beginning of summer, so won't have harvest of beans, most likely. But next year...

My Runner Bean

They are Running indeed. All the way to the top of poles and bird net we have installed for them.

Runner beans create a nice see-through screening. Next year I will plant them right by the deck.


From the left - oregano, unidentified legs, rosemary, sage. By the way, try to fry sage leaves in an oil until transparent and crispy - delish, great garnish!

Thyme, one of my favorite..

Tarragon (aka estragon, tarkhun). Sweet, has a vague anise note.

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