Bagel breakfast with homemade herbed cream cheese

One of my favorite absurd games to play is the “no calorie” game. Here’s the game: if you could pick three foods that would magically become zero-calorie foods, what would you choose? The rules are flexible and pretty much anything goes—but you can’t say things like “sweets.” However, you can say “pizza” even though it consists of many different food items.  Everyone I introduce to this game takes it very seriously—which makes sense because it’s really realistic/important/relevant/topical. Just kidding but for some reason everyone loves it. After 20 minutes of consideration and back and forth about contenders, it’s oddly depressing when you remember it’s not actually going to happen. But *~*dReAm BiG*~*

So you know where this is going. Bagels are always a frontrunner for me. I freaking love bagels! WHY are they so good? (another frequent conversation I have with people). A bagel toasted with cream cheese, tomato, and salt & pepper (and coffee) is my favorite breakfast. It may sound funny but it’s such good comfort food to me. And I think it’s such a nice unintimidating and laid-back breakfast to serve guests, for all parties involved. The host isn’t running around trying to coordinate and time a breakfast, and guests can eat on their own schedule and prepare their own bagels just the way they like them.  

But for a homemade spin, I like to spice up store bought cream cheese and get some other toppings for a great bagel spread. And I always get fresh squeezed orange juice because it’s SO MUCH BETTER. So easy, so good.

Here’s what I like to buy for A bagel spread

Assorted fresh bagels
Tomatoes (heirloom if they’re in season, or cherry tomatoes), sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
Cream cheese, enough to leave half plain and spice up the other half
Chives, dill, green onion for the herbed cream cheese
Fresh squeezed orange juice
Orange slices or lemon slices for juice garnish

I lay out all the food on a large platter, with the plain cream cheese and herbed cream cheese in serving dishes or mason jars, just for a slightly classier look. I serve the orange juice in a pitcher, sometimes with some orange slices or lemon slices in it. And of course, make sure you’ve already brewed a pot of hot coffee! Then, I lay out a bunch of knives for spreading the cream cheese, as well as glasses for juice, and cream, sugar, and mugs for coffee. 

Herbed cream cheese

Yields enough for about 6 bagels, to be safe
8 oz cream cheese
2 T chopped chives
2 T chopped dill
2 T chopped green onion
½ tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip together all ingredients until thoroughly combined and cream cheese is light and fluffy. Taste for seasoning, and adjust accordingly. Use a spatula to scrape herbed cream cheese into a small dish or mason jar for serving.