Cream Cheese

So a while ago, my mother purchased this cranberry jalepeno salsa/jelly out of curiosity. The vendor at the kitchen store told her to try it with cream cheese and crackers. She did so, while Josh and I were there, and ohmiword people, this stuff is amazing. Knock your socks off, out of the water amazing.

Of course, I had to try to recreate it. All recipes searched proved utterly incorrect (I knew there was no cilantro whatever from the ingredients tin, also a lack of cilantro taste. It wasn’t gelatinous at all, and quite sweet) so I had to engineer my own. A couple in particular (here and those found here) helped more than others, but largely this is a memory recall.

It didn’t taste quite the same, and mine is considerably chunkier than the original, but it is equally spectacular. I also couldn’t find plain cranberries, so I had to hydrate dried ones. It was still a smashing success.

Cover a double handful of dried cranberries with water and let them hydrate. Microwaving will expedite this process. My double handful came out to about a cup of basically rehydrated berries. They were still shriveled, but they weren’t taking any more water. I left in 1 tablespoon of “water” but if you are using regular berries, you should use cranberry juice. Just squish some out of the berries.

Now, chop one large jalapeño. Did I say chop? I meant mince. Finely. Like water. Be a human food processor! Or, better, actually chop them in a mini food processor. You don’t want pieces of this, kay? Also, take out the seeds and membrane.

Mix this in. Also mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey and a 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir (it helps if the berries are slightly warm from the rehydration, but I’m sure it works fine otherwise).

Let stand in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Pour out over 1 package of softened cream cheese (it’s fine if you don’t soften, just put out spreading utensils for your guests). Put crackers around the cream cheese and eat!


Wonton wrappers are a staple of this particular household. We love rangoons: crab, garlic, chocolate raspberry…..!!!

To begin, you’ll need at bare minimum the following:
Wrappers: Egg roll wrappers cut in quarters work as well as Wonton Wrappers, so get whichever gives you more for less. 🙂
Cream Cheese (1/2 a pack will make enough for Josh and I, but we eat a lot. 1 pack for a party of 4-6 people, depending on how heavily you feature them. These would make a great “tapas” type party! Make like 5 different kinds, but it’d be like making one appetizer.)
White Sugar (2 tablespoons per pack cream cheese)
Frying oil
Pot for frying in (or deep fryer, if you’re lucky like that. I don’t have that kind of space)
Microwave safe bowl for cream cheese
Small dish of water for your fingers

The kind that I made this time were garlic, so I also needed:
1 small TEFLON COATED (very, very important!) pan (this precludes the bowl for the cream cheese, as well)
5 cloves garlic (We like garlic a LOT. If you are not a garlic fiend, 2 is plenty.)

First, you’ll make the filling. This is relatively easy — if you are making the garlic kind, you saute the garlic in the pan until done. Then cut the heat, but before the pan cools down, put in cream cheese.(Cleaning this up is where the teflon comes in serious handy)  Stir it until it melts and mixes with the garlic. Taste – if you underestimated your desire for garlic, garlic powder can be added now. If you overestimated, add more cream cheese!

If you instead want a crab rangoon, get to this point, and then add about 1/2 a pack of Krab. Yes, Krab. This is not the time for that super-expensive real stuff, make crab cakes or something else more deserving with that. Other great add-ins to the garlicky stuff: scallions, chicken bits (BITS! TINY!), cheddar, bacon (!)….etc. I think I’ll make bacon/cheddar/scallion this evening, actually, that sounds good.

If you want chocolate raspberry, whip out that microwave safe bowl. 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (again, rangoons are a great place to crimp on cash, and you won’t notice cheap chocolate here.) to every pack of cream cheese – and don’t forget your two tablespoons sugar. A little less chocolate or a little more won’t hurt you. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir, and add 2 tablespoons jam of your choice — we’re fond of both strawberry and raspberry here.

Rangoons are a great place to play, too! Just start with a package of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons sugar, and then add whatever you think will go well in a very creamy base.
Now that you have your filling, you’ll need your wontons. If you haven’t already, cut the egg-roll wraps into quarters, so you have little squares. Put a teaspoon or so filling on the wonton:
Then  dip your finger into water and draw it around all four edges of the square:
Then fold it in half diagonally and press down, hard, on the edges – hard enough to leave a pretty crimp.
Fold up your corners and if there are any holes, feel free to fold over any extra bits so there are no gaps.
Then, deep fry in oil that’s been heated to medium-medium high. You want it hot enough to cook to crunchy quickly – everything here is already safely edible, and the less time the wonton is in the oil, the less chance there is for an explosion. Simultaneously, however, if it’s too hot, it’ll explode on principle. If you toss in a little peice of wonton and it takes about 15-20 seconds to turn white and crisp, you’re good.

After you’re done, dust with salt or sugar, depending on your filling. You could, if you were feeling fancy, even drizzle with something indicative – like chocolate, or orange glaze, or drizzle with cream cheese and sprinkle with bacon, or the like.


(My apologies for the really bad pictures, but my camera is cantankerous at best. Sometimes I think it’d honestly be better to just take them with a camera phone. Not that I have a camera phone. But that’s why I don’t normally post photos.)