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Cooking Corner


January 28, 2012
Bernice Volkens , Reinbeck Courier

In this kind of weather I stay off the roads as much as possible. Usually this is the time of year I stay home more, especially if the roads are bad. Sometimes, I will use the 4-wheel drive, or my husband will brave bad roads if it means going to the dentist, like it did this week. There isn't anything I hate more than slipping around on icy roads. It is so nice to stay home and read, or try a new recipe.

I had noticed this fall that a new item was in the grocery stores called Philadelphia Cooking Creme made by Kraft. I bought some, but when I looked at it, I really didn't know what it was and wondered how do I cook with it? It's not sour cream. It isn't whipping cream and it doesn't seem to be cream cheese. The kind I bought was Tomato Basil. When I first saw it, it was sitting next to the creme cheese and I checked the ingredients and found out it wasn't pure dairy. It included whey protein, cheese culture, tapioca starch, various gums and a little sugar. This also came in several flavors and it is advertised as creamy and spoonable. As far as I could tell it is a version of creme cheese, designed to be stirred into simple saut or baked dishes. I finally used it in my lasagna.

When reading more I found out it has been used for years and years by French cooks and Julia Childs was no stranger to it. In cooking it has been called crme frache. There are many variations, but most have two ingredients in common: heavy whipping cream combined with buttermilk. Quantities vary as does the time for the mixture to thicken. Crme frache can be considered a staple in French Cooking. It has the richness of whipping cream, but the consistency and tang of sour cream. It doesn't curdle, or separate when heated and is great for sauces. It's taste will be both tangy and fresh and some have a nutty flavor.

Here is a easy way to make crme frache:

*Combine 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream with 1/4 cup buttermilk.

*Pour ingredients into a clean sterile jar with cover and shake to combine well.

*Allow to sit at room temperature overnight or until mixture begins to thicken. Shake and refrigerate. Use within one week.

This can be used for a substitute for sour cream in all recipes ranging from cole slaw to mashed potatoes to cheese cake, or try it any classic French bistro dish.



Heat oven to 350 degrees

1 onion, chopped

1 tub (10 oz.) Savory

Garlic Cooking Creme

1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken


1 Pkg. (8 oz.) shredded

triple cheddar cheese

1 Tablespoon chopped

fresh parsley

2 lbs. red potatoes (about

6), peeled and thinly


COOK onions in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Add cooking creme, broth, 1 cup cheese and parsley; mix well. Remove from heat. Gently stir in potatoes.

SPOON into 13X9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 45 minutes. Top with remaining cheese. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

"If there were no tribulations, there would be no rest: if there were no winter, there would be no summer."



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