A small slice of wild Alaska smoked salmon on rye that's been covered with my special cream-cheese spread. A simple cucumber salad and an orange.
"Enough is a feast."
Parakeet's Special Cream-Cheese Spread
8 oz. cream cheese, light cream cheese or Neuchatel cheese (I use Neuchatel)
4 ounces sour cream (light if you're watching calories)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped (walnuts must be toasted)
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves (must be fresh. Dried basil won't work. I've tried.)
1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop basil leaves into 1/4-inch bits. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Chill at least 4 hours to blend flavors. Good on bread or crackers, alone or with salmon or chicken.
If you don't know how to toast walnuts, it's very easy. Spread walnut halves or pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place on top rack in 375-degree oven. Let toast until walnuts start to brown and smell heavenly, about 5 minutes. Immediately spread them on a cold plate to cool them down. You MUST stand by the oven the whole time and check the nuts often. Once they start to brown, they'll burn in less than a minute if you don't take them out. Toasted nuts good. Burnt nuts bad. Store the nuts in a glass jar in the freezer to keep them fresh.