B.O.T.C.H. Cream Cheese Spread

BOTCH Cream Cheese Spread

this post was created in partnership with Green Valley Organics.

in college i had a secret job.
secret because i wasn’t allowed to work
during the school term,
it was deemed that i was to focus on studying,
#TigerParents
but i deemed that i needed to focus
on how to pay covers into bars/frat parties.
#Priorities
i worked at a bagel shop
right off campus
where i learned the subtle art
of slapping on full fat cream cheese for sorority girls.
#AlphaAlphaKissMyAss
this was in the time before
real dietary restrictions,
like gluten-free or nut allergies for others,
and most notably for me, lactose intolerance.

for a time i didn’t eat bagels,
due to the over-saturation of the stuff,
but also due to not being able to consume it
slathered with full fat cream cheese.
now, both are back in my life.

happy end of july,
hello august,
we are sweaty, but well,
hope you are too, friends.

BOTCH Cream Cheese Spread

this post is sponsored by green valley organics. all thoughts and opinions are my own. the first time i discovered this product, i damn near cried. dairy can be in my diet again without any adverse impact. basically, they’re making my dairy dreams come true. thanks so much for supporting the sponsors that keep morestomachblog up+running, toot-free.

B.O.T.C.H Cream Cheese Spread
*note: this cream cheese is softer than that of regular cream cheese. if you’re using a regular cream cheese, leave container out for 15-20 min to soften a bit.
**note: this was a super popular flavored cream cheese at the shop, but the original recipe uses fresh tomatoes, dried chives and red or white onions. due to the wetter consistency of this product, i went dry with the tomatoes and made sure the chives and spring onion were wiped dry after washing.

1 container of green valley organic lactose-free cream cheese
1/3 cup of crumbled bacon
1/4 cup fine chopped spring onion
1/3 cup rough chopped dried sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil!)
1/4 fresh chives, finely chopped

in a stand mixer whip/cream the cream cheese a bit, not too much, it is soft already but you want it pliable enough to take on the added ingredients.

add all the ingredients in the bowl and mix it real quick, just enough to combine everything together.

transfer mixture to a container with a lid.

fridge, covered, to firm up.

spread on your favorite bagel or toast.

if you’re feeling fancy, it makes a great sub for mayo in a generic BLT sandwich.

BAM!

BOTCH Cream Cheese Spread

4 years ago: green tomato & mint chutney
3 years ago: homemade thai iced tea
2 years ago: not a damn thing
1 year ago: chilled somen noodles with cold mushroom broth

s’mores pound cake

s'mores loaf

it’s been 2 weeks since our vacation
with the nephews
while i don’t miss the bugs
or shitty water pressure
i miss the idyllic pace
evening grilling
star skies
and camp fire

s’mores is not new to my life,
but it’s not often in my life.
that needs to change.
starting now.

s'mores loaf

s’mores pound cake
adapted from food&wine

*note: i made 2 loaves, for a recent girls night in gathering. i ended up baking it for longer than i would’ve liked, and i thought it came out dry, but the ladies enjoyed it fine.

1 1/2 sticks soy butter, softened (i used earth balance)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs, from half a sleeve
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 TBL lactose free half/half
3 large eggs
1 TBL pure vanilla extract

chocolate swirl:
3 TBL melted soy butter
2 TBL unsweetened cocoa powder

pre-heat oven to 325F. crease a 8×4 loaf pan. set aside.

in a mixing bowl, cream the soy butter with the sugars. in another bowl whisk the dry ingredients. and then in yet another bowl mix the liquids. keeping the mixer on medium, alternate btwn the wet and dry ingredients.

pour half the batter into prepared loaf pan. spoon in the chocolate swirl mix along the length of the loaf pan. top with the rest of the batter. using a chopstick swirl the batter around, but don’t aim to mix everything.

bake for about 50-55 minutes.

cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then turn out on rack and cool completely.

chocolate ganache

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, rough chopped, in a bowl
4 oz of lactose free half/half

heat the half/half in a small saucepan, just to boiling.

gently pour the half/half into the bowl of chocolate. ignore it for 10 minutes.

seriously.

after 10 minutes, stir until mixed through. it’ll be liquid-y but as it cools it’ll thicken up.

for the marshmallow fluff, i used this recipe.

to assemble, spread the ganache over the loaf and spread the fluff to your heart’s content. sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs as desired.

BAM!

s'mores loaf

4 years ago: spicy cantaloupe salad
3 years ago: pickled beets
2 years ago: not a blessed thing
1 year ago: fast ‘n dirty bread & butter pickles

jasmine tea + mango jello

Jasmine Tea + Mango Jello

hot damn,
it looks like a post
will go up for june!
barely made it.

we’re headed into july,
which means we are hosting our nephews soon,
and i’m ridiculously excited about it.
we’re headed into the woods,
where i’ll worry about bears and ticks
and mosquitoes,
oh my.

hope your summer is going well!

Jasmine Tea + Mango Jello

jasmine + mango jello
serves 2

note: dw loves him a good boba tea, i don’t care for it, but the local boba shop has pineapple jello that they add to their jasmine tea and damn if i’m not addicted to them.

brew tea according to preference, chill

1 mango, skinned, pitted and cubed
1 1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/2 tsp agar agar, i use the telephone brand, in powder form
maple syrup to taste, optional

in a small sauce pan heat up the water. when it reaches a boil, add the agar agar, remove from heat and stir to melt.

in a vitamix or blender, blitz the cubed mango, you want it as smooth as possible. add the maple syrup if the mango isn’t sweet to your liking.

carefully add the hot water to the blender and blitz to mix through.

pour into a container with a flat bottom. i used a rectangle pyrex container.

cool to room temp and then put in fridge to chill further and harden. (at room temp, it should be hard to the touch already)

when ready, cube the jello, be mindful of the size and that they’ll go up the straw.

to assemble:
add a few tablespoons (or whatever amount that you fancy) of the mango jello cubes to glass. pour the cold tea over it and play the game where you try not to eat all the jello pieces before the tea is gone.

BAM!

4 years ago: s’more donuts
3 years ago: veggie dumplings in spicy sauce
2 years ago: meringue cups + mango curd
1 year ago: raw blueberry coconut tart + nut crust

eleven madison park granola

Granola

it’s the point in the
season/life/year where i spend less time
in front of the computer,
even less time behind the camera,
and practically no time in the kitchen.
initially i fight it,
because what else is there to do,
and most importantly,
what will we eat??

simultaneously though,
i can’t force it,
if i’m not feeling it,
i’m not feeling it.
anything more than that
rings kinda like a farce,
and if there is one thing
i sound vaguely very pretentious about,
it’s the authenticity of whatever.

today’s recipe requires minimal kitchen time,
and it’s perfect to have for breakfast with milk,
or smother in kefir for dinner.
cus sometimes you just gotta go with it.

Granola

eleven madison park granola
adapted from eleven madison park

*note: dw & i dined at eleven madison park for his birthday a few months ago and they gave us their granola as a parting gift. short of going back there to dine, i had to make it at home. their version is sweeter, and initially i would halve the sugar amount, and now i just nix it completely. i think the key is the olive oil and low temp. it is so good, it’s well worth forcing myself into the kitchen to put together. my office sidekick cj swears by it, tells me i need to quit my day job and become a crunchy granola hustler. don’t tempt me.

**note: this recipe is for 1 batch, but we typically double it.

***note: depending on what we have available and what we buy, we’ve bought nuts and coconut chips already roasted (or salted) and we would adjust the seasoning accordingly, or omit the stuff that wasn’t raw until the end. use your best judgement

2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup shelled pistachios (ideally, raw and unsalted)
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips (ideally untoasted)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, raw
sprinkle of kosher salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dried sour cherries or raisins

preheat oven to 300F.

in a large bowl, mix together the raw ingredients.

in a small saucepan, warm the maple syrup and olive oil on low.

pour the warmed liquid on the raw ingredients and mix through, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated well.

on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, dump the granola on it and spread it out. bake until dry, about 40 minutes. be sure at the half way mark to stir granola around.

when the time is up, stir the granola one last time and allow to cool in the oven with the door open.

when it’s at room temp add in the cherries or raisins and whatever remaining ingredients that were not raw and mix through.

store in air tight containers, will keep for a week or two. we’ve managed to consume within that time frame, so i’m unsure if it’ll keep freshness beyond that.

BAM!

4 years ago: dutch oven bread
3 years ago: miso ramen
2 years ago: grass jelly with chia seeds
1 year ago: chia tea

cháo cá kho

Chao Ca Kho

today marks 3 years since
my beloved gpa passed away.
we are currently in CA,
in celebration of his life,
visiting gma,
and taking a much needed breather.

today’s recipe is one of my childhood faves,
which i have gone & bastardized.
normally it’s eaten with rice,
but gpa would make it with
rice porridge
and we’d have it for breakfast.
gpa always ate it with chopsticks,
which is weird,
this is stew-soup-porridge,
but the man was deft with them sticks.
he is dearly missed.

Chao Ca Kho

cháo cá kho
cháo amount makes 4 small servings, or 2 hefty servings (which is the norm)
cá kho amount makes 6 servings

*note: in feb, dw & i visited charleston, sc, and one of the places we dined at, Xiao Bao Biscuit had a special: fishball congee that was fresh and completely different from any congee experience i’ve ever had, at home or at a restaurant. i only like vietnamese style congee, which is called chao, every other version is not good to me, no offense to all other congees out there. their version, the balls were deep fried and proportion of balls to congee is the exact opposite of what i’m used to. chao is supposed be a quick filling and warming meal, bland with a few bites of salty. their version tipped it to the opposite side of the scale and my version attempts to even it out. the presentation is a little on the precious side for me, but it was a special occasion.

*note: the consistency of this chao is on the thick side, which is my preference, almost to the point where you could stick your chopsticks upright in the bowl and it won’t topple (don’t do that though, especially in japan).

Chao Ca Kho

fishballs
1 1/2 lb catfish filets, skinned and de-boned
knob of ginger, skinned and thin sliced
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions, rough chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
fresh cracked black pepper
oil, for frying

in a food processor add all the ingredients except the filets. pulse until all the ingredients are rough chopped and mixed together. with a spatula, push down the mixture and clean the sides of the bowl.

chop the fish filets into bite sizes and add to the processor. pulse until all the ingredients are chopped and mixed through. you don’t want it to be mush but you do want it to get incorporated.

using a tablespoon or if you’re fancy, a ice cream scooper, scoop up about 1.5 tablespoons worth into your hand and roll it around until it’s ball. place on plate or parchment lined cookie sheet. do this for the entire mixture.

in a pan, heat up a splash of oil. fry the balls until they’re all browned on the outside. don’t worry if they’re not fully cooked on the inside (though they probably are). set on paper towel lined plate and set aside.

braising/caramel sauce
1 generous tsp sugar
1/2 cup – 1 cup coconut juice (water if you end up sipping all the coconut juice waiting for the sugar to caramelize)(no judgement)
half onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
a knob of ginger, thin sliced
1-2 TBL fish sauce

you’re working simultaneously here:
in a pot heat up some oil. saute the onions until they are richly browned, add in the garlic and ginger, all the while stirring to prevent burning.

meanwhile, in a small sauce pan heat up the sugar. it’s going to melt, it’s going to harden and you might smell some burning. don’t freak out like dw did, add the liquid (coconut juice or water) and mix it all together and the liquid starts to simmer. at that point, add it to the pot of onions/garlic/ginger.

mix it all through and then carefully, nestle the fried fishballs into the pot. allow the pot to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. turn the balls to allow for even coatage, add more liquid if the pots gets too dry.

while that’s doing its thing, make the chao.

cháo
1/2 cup rice, rinsed and drained (any kind, whatever your preference)
3 cup water

in a medium pot, add the water and rinsed rice. heat on high until boiling, stir, and then lower heat to medium low, until just a simmer. semi-cover and ignore for 20 minutes. check on it, stir and check consistency. you’re aiming for a thick porridge, if you prefer looser, add more water. take off heat. as it cools, it will thicken, just add water to loosen.

toppings/garnishes
pickled red onions (paper thin sliced red onions in a sweetened vinegar mix)
fried onions
fried garlic
green scallions
sliced red chilis

to assemble
in a bowl add the chao then top with fishballs. drizzle with the caramel/braising sauce. add the garnishments to your heart’s content.

BAM!

Chao Ca Kho

previous gpa posts:
citrus curd mille feuilles
salt & pepper shrimp
guinea hen liver pate