Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cooking Creme, What are you?

After reading a couple of rather heated online discussions about Philadelphia Cooking Creme, I decided there was only one logical thing to do - go out and buy some.

Yes, me, who makes her own yogurt. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? I could grow another eye from the chemicals? C'mon, I've consumed much worse.

Between the store discount and the coupons hanging right by the product, it was a pretty cheap product. I decided to buy the original (AKA unflavored) version rather than the Italian or whatever other flavors they had. I wasn't sure what the heck I was going to do with it, so I figured that unflavored was more useful. Besides, I have almost every spice imaginable. I don't need to buy cheese with herbs.

When I opened the package, I tasted it. Hmm. Tastes like cream cheese. But it's looser and smoother than cream cheese. Like sour cream or Greek yogurt, maybe. So far, I wasn't frightened.

Commercial cream cheese isn't all that "pure" of a product to begin with, so it's not like someone's taken hand-made cave-aged cheese and blasphemized it. Cream cheese was a commercial product to begin with. This is just a different version. Slightly more convenient considering that it's already smooth and soft.

To give it a test, I decided to make some turkey in a cream sauce. I had about 9 ounces of turkey breast meat in the freezer, so I thawed that out. Chicken breast would have worked just as well.

I cut the turkey into bite-sized chunks, then browned it lightly in a bit of olive oil. I removed the turkey, and added some finely sliced carrots, celery, and onion. Added a bit of white wine to deglaze, and let them simmer until the wine was gone. Added the turkey back, stirred it around, and added some small frozen broccoli florets. Then I added about half of the container of cooking cream. As advertised, it didn't break or do anything weird. Instant cream sauce.

I served the  turkey over some saffron rice.

This wasn't the most brilliant thing I've ever made, but it wasn't bad. It was simple comfort food.

The rest of the container went into some mashed potatoes.

So, I've got to say that I don't know what all the hype was about. It may not be an essential product, but it's not devil spawn either. I don't think I'll be searching it out, because I'm usually not so frazzled that I can't mash some regular cream cheese to soften it. On the other hand, if it's on sale for a ridiculously low price and regular cream cheese isn't on sale, I might consider it for recipes where the softness is a plus.

I could also see how this could be a time-saver for someone who needs to grab a hand full of things and whip together a dinner in as short a time as possible. Yes, it's doesn't take all that long to soften some cream cheese, but there are days when even a few minutes makes a difference if you're going to go home, cook, eat, and go out again.

I've got one more container of cooking creme. Not sure yet, what I'm going to do with it, but I'll bet I can come up with something creative. We'll see.


Tupper Cooks! said...

Ha! Great post. For aforementioned discussions I won't say a word!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much!! I was wondering what the difference was and couldnt find anything informative like this!

Anonymous said...

thank you for perfectly answering my search query - what is cooking creme? i learned more than hoped!

Anonymous said...

Best answer ever!

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