When I was a young boy, and company was coming over, Mom would sometimes make what she called Benedictine – a spread of cucumber, cream cheese and grated onion, sometimes left au naturel, sometimes colored with a drop of green food coloring. It was served on white bread in little crustless finger sandwiches.
Then, as now, I detested raw cucumber. But I had to admit the sandwiches were elegant and summery.
Originally, I wanted to make ice cream for the ice cream social tonight at church. But between chili cookoffs, auditions, and the like, I wasn’t able to. I did, however, make sandwiches.
On a whim, I put together a mixture sort of like Mom’s old Benedictine sandwiches but without the cucumber. I served it on pumpernickel bread, and I didn’t bother cutting the crusts off – they looked like gigantic Oreos. When I got to the church tonight and saw how many sandwiches had already been brought, much more attractively laid out on trays, I was afraid that my little square plastic tub of weird-looking sandwiches would go uneaten.
However, all of them were eaten – and I didn’t even take one myself, having sampled one at home earlier. I had several people ask me what was in them.
Here, then, is the recipe. This makes a large quantity – I saved some of the spread and will make sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.
John’s Not-Cucumber Sandwiches
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
2 bricks lower-fat cream cheese (sometimes called neufchatel cheese), softened
2 Tbsps. chopped pimento-stuffed olives
2 tsp. celery salt (I’m guessing — did not measure. Try 1 tsp. first and adjust as needed)
Peel onion, stem and core bell pepper, and cut each into large chunks. Place into food processor and chop finely. Add cream cheese, olives and celery salt to bowl of food processor and use food processor on low setting to form a spreadable paste. Transfer to airtight container and chill before spreading.
Serve as a spread on your favorite bread (I used thinly-sliced dark pumpernickel).