I have to share a secret with you I like to cook with Philadelphia cheese despite its higher fat content. However the cream cheese is meant to be consumed fresh, I like to use for baking and cooking. Once you try it you will realize that its taste differs from other cheeses which are cooked or prepared by soft cheeses such as Brie and Neufchâtel (Philadelphia cheese is more comparable in taste, texture, and production methods to the French Boursin and the Italian Mascarpone).
Before “I let” the Philadelphia “enter” into my kitchen I’d made some research and I found out that according to the American food processing company ‘Kraft Foods’ the first American cream cheese was made in Chester, New York in 1872 by American dairyman William Lawrence. In 1880, “Philadelphia” was adopted as the brand name, after the city that was considered at the time to be the home of top quality food in the USA. But the technique was already well known to have been in use in Normandy since the 1850s, producing cheeses with higher fat content than the US model and Philadelphia cream cheese had been suggested as a substitute when petit suisse was not available. To cut it short here are my own recipes:
Salmon with Philadelphia cheese
Ingredients: 50g stale sliced white bread or bread crumbs, zest of 1 lemon, 4 salmon filets, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 spoons of soy sauce, 1 tbs of honey, 150 or 200 g Philadelphia Light cream with Chives, 200 g mixed salad leaves, lemon slices to garnish
Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 180°C, 350°F. Place the bread in a food processor and blend into fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the lemon zest. Grate garlic. Pour soy sauce in a bowl, add honey and grated garlic to it. Smear salmon with the garlic flavored soy sauce then spread the salmon fillets with a thick layer of Philadelphia and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Top with the flavored breadcrumbs, lightly pressing them into the Philadelphia. Roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked. Serve the salmon with salad leaves and slices of lemon.
Filo pastry with salmon
Ingredients • 250 g Philadelphia cheese• 100 g smoked salmon, chopped • black pepper to taste • Grated rind of ½ lemon • 8 sheets of filo pastry • 3 tbsp oil
Instructions: Mix together the Philadelphia, salmon, black pepper and lemon rind and leave to one side. Lay the filo pastry sheets on top of each other and cut into 3 equal strips to give 24 strips in all. Oil the top layer of filo, place a teaspoon of the Philly mixture on the end of each strip and roll up into a cylinder, then pinch the ends into a cracker shape. Brush with a little oil and place onto an oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining strips of filo until you have 24 crackers. Bake in a preheated oven, Gas 6, 200 C for 10 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve warm or cold as a party bite or as a starter.
Tips: Use chives to tie around the cracker ends. Substitute the lemon for a teaspoon of horseradish sauce.
Ingredients: 2 tsp sunflower oil, 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped, 250 g sirloin steak trimmed and cut into thin strips, 200 gs baby mushrooms, halved, small glass of white wine (about 120ml), 5-6 pickles, 100 g Philadelphia Light, 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and fry until soft, remove from the pan and set aside. Turn up the heat and quickly brown the beef strips. Add the mushrooms and cook until their juices start to run then add the onions back again. Add pickles and the white wine and let it bubble to reduce a bit. Stir in the Philly and the Dijon mustard until smooth. Serve with rice and fresh vegetables.